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Thread: How I grow Drosphyllum

  1. #1
    I am a CPaholic... DJ57's Avatar
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    How I grow Drosphyllum

    I can only write about what works for me in my particular conditions in the Pacific Northwest, results may vary for someone else. They are outside in full direct sun 8-10 hours a day throughout the growing season, from about April/May to October/November depending on outside temps. Outside they are exposed to the elements including rain, wind, and temps in the 90s (occasionally 100) at the height of summer and nighttime temps as low as just above freezing in fall. They seem to tolerate light frosts quite well in my experience. After one or two light frosts, I bring them into an unheated attached garage in front of a south-facing window with a T12 shop light above them and they remain there until weather/temps permit in spring. Garage temps over winter generally range from low 40s at night to mid 50s during the day, with occasional night temps in the upper 30s and day temps as high as the low 60s.

    These conditions seem to work well for drosos here, but may not in another location. As is true with any CP, there are so many variables to take into consideration based on where you live and whether you grow them outside, inside the house, or in a greenhouse; Pot size, soil content, humidity, sunlight vs. artificial light (8 hours of direct sun in my area may have more or less intensity in another part of the country), temperature range, how much food they get, pot type, etc. I like to use terra cotta pots for my drosos because of their evaporative effect, keeping the soil cooler and helping the pot dry out quicker than plastic pots since we tend to get more rain in the growing season than say Southern California. Drosos grow deep roots so I like to use large tall pots, but I have seen them growing well in 6" and 8" pots although the roots can grow out the bottom of the pot.

    Soil: I use an airy mix of perlite, pumice, sand, and a little bit of peat. No exact formula, I just mix everything, add water, grab a handful and squeeze and if it falls apart easily when I open my hand I call it good. I need the pots to drain quickly since they get rained on a lot in spring. Since I use large 10" and 12" terra cotta pots (the tall ones), that is a lot of soil and too much trouble to keep track of measurements.

    Watering: I prefer to err on the dry side rather than wet, keeping in mind their natural habitat and that their roots are adapted to growing in much drier conditions than most other dews. I really don't have an exact watering schedule.
    Outside during the growing season I do not have them sitting in water trays and top water until water starts to run out the bottom. I mostly just go by looks to decide when they want water, usually when the leaves start looking slightly droopy. When in doubt at the height of summer, I push a long skinny wooden skewer deep into the soil and if it comes up dry I water, if it is moist I wait another day or two. I don't change how I water when they are flowering. If we get heavy all day/night rain that lasts for more than a couple days in a row, I move the pots under a table outside until the storm front passes.
    In the garage over winter, I have the pots sitting in shallow trays and don't top water them, I only fill the trays with water when the soil is dry using the wooden skewer method or if the leaves look droopy. I add water to the tray until the pot stops sucking it up, then let the tray dry out. I use the same indicators for watering regardless of season. They seem to slow down in growth some during the coldest part of winter, so they don't seem to use as much water then. I am not quite sure if this slowdown in growth is due to lower temps, lower light levels, the fact they are not eating as well as they do in summer, or a combination of these factors. Due to being inside with much less air flow and probably different humidity than when outside (the clothes washer and dryer are in the garage and are used every day), I think the soil tends to stay moist longer than when outside and that is why I use the tray method to water rather than top watering, keeping in mind they are large pots and I don't want moisture retained at the crown in these less than optimal conditions.

    Feeding: Outside during the growing season, they feed themselves quite well. In the garage over winter, I spray a weak orchid fertilizer mix on them once or twice a month plus give them the occasional fly or bug I find flying/crawling around the house.

    [IMG]2014 by Djoni C, on Flickr[/IMG]
    Last edited by DJ57; 10-12-2014 at 05:39 PM.

  2. #2
    Admin- I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az. adnedarn's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for taking the time to cover this. Could you add in you preferred method of germination? A picture or two of some of your plants would go well with your details.
    Thanks again!
    Andreq
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  3. #3
    I am a CPaholic... DJ57's Avatar
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    How I germinate Drosophyllum seed:

    I use 6-cell plastic seedling inserts and small Jiffy pots, although it seems easier to control moisture in the plastic seedling inserts. I usually sow seed in late winter/early spring.

    I scarify the seed with a small file on the side of the bulbous end, scraping off the surface of the seed and being careful not to get down to the "white" part. All you need is a small area scarified. Sometimes I put the seed in distilled water while I prepare the inserts and sometimes overnight, but have not noticed any difference in germination rate or speed whether I soak them or not. Before planting the seed, I place a very thin layer of pure peat on top of the soil media to keep the seed from falling down into the bulky medium and to retain the moisture the seeds need for germination. I don't top water or spray the seed to avoid mold development. I place the seed on the surface of the media scarified side down, two in each cell. After planting, I completely ignore them except to keep enough water in the tray to keep the soil surface moist. I have gotten germination anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months.

    Media: Roughly equal parts perlite/pumice/washed play sand/just enough peat to retain some moisture, then a thin layer of pure peat on top.

    Water: Tray method, keeping the moisture level as you would for sarracenia. I don't top water as in my conditions the seed tend to mold.

    Light: A south-facing garden window that gets full sun all day, and also outside with less sun as I put the inserts under a table so the rain does not wash the seed out. I prefer sowing them outside as my house conditions tend to encourage mold/fungus formation on wet peat so germination rates seem to be better for me outside.

    The Jiffy pots are neat because you can just plant the whole Jiffy pot into the larger pot and not have to chance disturbing the roots, a killer for drosos. Droso babies can be transplanted from the plastic insert cells safely if done when they are very small, like after forming their first 4 or 5 leaves (after the root is completely out of the seed shell and down into the soil). Either plant the entire contents of the cell into the larger pot if you can get it out in one piece or scoop out the soil deep around the seedling, making sure to get the entire root without disrupting the soil around it too much.

    This is what has worked for me in my particular conditions and in no way implies this is the only way to get droso seed to germinate (see below). Many others have had success using different methods than mine. I don't have indoor setups with strong grow lights, climate control, fans, etc., so work with what I have.

    I have also experimented with sowing a small amount of fresh unscarified seed in late summer in a large pot with a standard CP mix for sarrs and leaving the pot outside over winter exposed to the elements (freezing temps and snow cover at times), and some of the seed germinated in early spring two years in a row. Not a real good germination rate, but don't know if that is because of seed getting washed out and around by rain or just the harsh conditions. Interesting experiment anyway.

    Notice the seed shell still attached in the first pic, you don't want to transplant at this stage.
    [IMG]IMG_6560 by Djoni C, on Flickr[/IMG]
    [IMG]IMG_6562x1 by Djoni C, on Flickr[/IMG]
    [IMG]Drosophyllum seedlings 2014 by Djoni C, on Flickr[/IMG]
    [IMG]Drosophyllum seedling by Djoni C, on Flickr[/IMG]

    This is the pot I put seed in and left outside all winter:
    [IMG]Drosophyllum lusitanicum (dewy pine) by Djoni C, on Flickr[/IMG]

    Jiffy pots and 6-cell plastic seedling insert. The jiffy pots (also called peat pots) will break down over time when buried in whatever soil media you are using. Thank you David F. for pointing out the importance of clarifying what I mean by Jiffy pot and plastic seedling inserts.
    [IMG]IMG_0966 by Djoni C, on Flickr[/IMG]
    Last edited by DJ57; 10-26-2014 at 11:33 AM.

  4. #4
    BANNED
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    I think this needs to be "stickied!"

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    Lotsa blue bluemax's Avatar
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    Good stuff! With your successes, DJ, it is great that you are sharing all this.
    - Mark

  6. #6
    Admin- I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az. adnedarn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mato View Post
    I think this needs to be "stickied!"
    It will after it has it's view time and such so people learn this topic exists since some times stickies are hidden from sight.

    Andrew
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  7. #7
    NatchGreyes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mato View Post
    I think this needs to be "stickied!"
    I second this. I'll be returning to this thread in the future.

  8. #8
    The sticky ones are my favorite. Tacks's Avatar
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    This is great. I definitely want to start growing Drosophyllum, and I'll be referencing this thread!

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