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Thread: Utricularia humboldtii help

  1. #1
    I've got a magic window! elgecko's Avatar
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    Utricularia humboldtii help

    I'm not happy with the growth from my plant and want to see what others may be doing for their plant.
    My plant grows very few leaves a year. Is this normal with most other growers?
    It does form adventurous growth which I stick into other pots and it establishes itself and sends up a leaf or 2.
    What size pot do most use? I have mine in a 4" pot and would like it to be bigger, but do not have the room. I thought this might be the problem of so few leaves on the plant.
    What soil mix? I think I have mine in my standard mix of equal parts perlite, peatmoss, and LFS.
    Lighting? Mine gets some direct light during the day, and bright indirect the rest.
    Temps? Average household temps.
    I have thought about trying one of the new plants in an undrained pot with lava rock in it, filled with water. Since the plant naturally grows in the wells of some bromeliad I thought simulate that some.


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    Admin- I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az. adnedarn's Avatar
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    Hey man, have you checked out this thread? http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=111086

    Also, where did you get it? and maybe if you know your source's source's source... As I understand it, there are at least 2 clones floating around... And each like something different. The one that I have (and is talked about in the the link above) likes almost pure peat and to be really wet in larger pots. While the other clone likes a dryer mix etc...
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    Moderator Colieo's Avatar
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    My experience was that it would grow gang-busters for months, then slow down and put out a few every couple of months. Mine never flowered before the cat knocked it over during a vacation and it dried up. Keep us posted.
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    Doing it wrong until I do it right. xvart's Avatar
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    Rattler also said that it can crash pretty easily if not repotted or divided in a timely manner. Despite what Andrew said, I grow mine in a drained pot and a little more dry, as shown in the pictures on that linked thread. In about a month I'm going to dig mine up and see how it's doing, divide it a couple times (if big enough) and a grow one drier and drained and one like Andrew describes.

    edit: as for soil, I have a very loose mix with some orchid bark, perlite, LFS, and peat.

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    Last edited by xvart; 04-13-2008 at 02:14 PM. Reason: soil mixture.
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    In the Savage Garden, Peter D'amato says he grows his in waterlogged bowls of long fibered sphagnum and it sound like they're supposed to grow fast, by seeds anyways.
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    rattler's Avatar
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    per Peter Taylors book(condensed here somewhat)

    Distribution: Venezuela, Guyana and northern Brazil

    Habitat: In pools of water in the leaf axils of Brocchinia micrantha, B. tatei and B. reducta and of Orectanthe, and also as an epiphyte on tree trunks, or subaquatic or terrestrial in shallow water or very wet soil in open savanna, or clearings in scrub forrest. mostly between 1200m and 2500m but sometimes as low as 300m. Collected in flower in every month of the year.

    i grow mine in peat based soil kept wet most of the time but let it dry out a tad every so often....never completely but to damp instead of soggy. here is the info i got when i got my clone:

    This is a very special clone. It was hand collected by (name removed) on a Heliamphora collecting trip...but I have never been able to get the location data from him. I believe it was Mt. Roirama. I've had it for around 10 years now. He is a very ellusive individual and sometimes prefers to remain annonomous. It is a giant among humboldts, as you can tell by the tall and rather tough textured leaves. I have flowered this clone several times. Last year there were 6 spikes on it and most all of them were 37 inches tall. The flowers are magnificent.

    I grow this plant in an undrained deep plastic terrarium in a mix of peat, sand, chopped sphagnum moss (2,1,1) all mixed together and kept very soggy. The moss always grows and covers the top...which is a very good thing for this species. Light is kept bright, but no direct sun. Temps are 80 to 90 days and down to 40 at night during the winter. Humidity is maintained at around 70-80% at all times. It's very hardy.

    When it is spiking I increase the light to nearly full sun. They typically will send out very long spikes from the bromeliad urns the grow in naturally and reach into the brighter light. They will also send out aerial runners that I allow to settle into another pre-prepared container of the same soil mix.
    i have twice recieved the more(or one of the more) common humboldtii's in cultivation but both times its been a small division and i havent gotten it established......most of the time from what i understand they grow it like nelumbifolia in a LFS slurry
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  7. #7
    N=R* fs fp ne fl fi fc L Pyro's Avatar
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    I have 3 different clones of humbo and each does something different so I will echo the need to know where you got the thing from.

    The clone rattler shares the quote form above does indeed like it drier than my others. I tried to grow it wetter and the thing sulked. I transfered it into a set up like described above and it kicked into gear almost immediately.

    The other 2 clones prefer wetter feat but still not too wet. I like to use deeper pots for these (15cm+) so that they can "climb and dive" to find the exact conditions they prefer. I so not use the slurry method because I have found that to be too wet for them. I use a mostly LFS media but have some added material for aeration purposes (PBM, perlite, orchid bark...) One of the clones grows mostly at at about 5-6cm above the bottom of the pot while the other is more concentrated at about 8-10cm from the bottom.
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    Hi folks,

    This thread has forced me out of hiding. Perhaps I can shed some light on the subject a bit but I ask you to forgive me for the length this post is going to be.

    I am responsible for getting this large growing humboldtii into rattlers hands, along with one other member. If you received a piece of this plant from rattler then it is originally from my plant.

    Here is how I obtained, grew and ultimately flowered this elusive clone of Utricularia humboldtii.

    First and formost...I received it from a non member who hand collected the plant himslef on an expedition. I do not know where the plant was growing at the time of the collection; ie. in the well of a bromeliad, epiphytically, or terrestrially. Although I thought he had mentioned at one time it was in the vicinity of Mt. Roraima...although I COULD be mistaken so you should take the location with a grain of salt...so to speak. I only know what worked for me and I'll share that.

    I have had this specimen for at least 10 years before I gave the first division away to rattler, etc. It was originally a tiny piece of stolon or whatever the underground portion is called. I know there may be other proper terms...Pyro..HELP!!! It was no bigger than maybe 1/2 inch in length and as thin as a piece of thread.

    I originally planted it in a mixture of chopped up live LFS and perlite. I didn't have a shread of experience with this group of Utrics before so I was going at this blindly. Over a several month period it managed to send up a few very tiny petioles..all under 1/4 inch tall, with tiny, slightly paddle shaped leaves. I had the plant potted in a 2-1/2 inch square plastic pot sitting in a small saucer of water on a greenhouse bench that received very bright but indirect light.

    Over the next 2 to 3 years it grew excrutiatingly slow but enough so that I had maybe a small plant about 1 inch dia. and 2 inches tall. During this time I had seen pictures or maybe had read that this species was often found growing in the wells of bromeliads so the eager botanist in me decided to dig out the small root mass and plant it in a large Vriesea bromeliad that I had in the greenhouse at the time.

    It sat there and did nothing for about 3 or 4 months. Then one day I saw the leaves turning yellow and it was clearly obvious to me that it was preparing to give up the ghost, or so I thought. Incidentally...this is an important observation I will comment on later.

    I was frantic. I did not want to lose this rare gem that my friend had so GENEROUSLY, LOL!! provided me with. I was fortunate to make contact with him soon thereafter. I asked him for advice on the culture; where did he collect it from, what was the amount of light, temps, humidity, soil, etc. He practically refused to give me any details on it, particularly location data, but he DID recommend I try growing it in a bowl of wet peat/LFS mix and try it as a terrestrial rather an aquatic in a bromeliad and increase the humidity around it.

    So I rushed home and bought one of those clear plastic pet-pal containers..the rectangular kind with the colorful plastic screen lock tops. Know the kind?? The container was one of the large ones...gallon size I believe. I filled the container one half full, about 4 inches, of a mixture of equal parts of peat, chopped up live sphagnum, and a few handfuls of high grade washed sand. Not a lot of sand..but enough to see there was some sand in the mix. I don't know if the addition of sand was necessary...but I usually added it to my mixtures so....

    I filled the container, tamped it down a bit to level it off, then filled it with water until the surface of the soil was just a film of water. I literally plopped the plant down into this 'bog' and placed the whole thing inside a large plastic doll display case. I found a source for these cases that was cheap and they made perfect humidity chambers. The unit I was using was 30 inches square by 32 inches tall. I drilled several air holes in the top for a bit of ventilation.

    What was to happen then was nothing short of miraculous. Almost immediately I could see new growth..the stolon type, begin creeping along the surface, then followed by new leaves. And now the leaves were getting progressively larger and they were coming on in multiples. Within 1 year's time I had maybe 6 leaves on the plant that were on 6 inch tall petioles. By the end of the following year I had maybe 20 leaves on the plant that were on 12 inch tall petioles, each leaf almost 3 inches long (top to bottom) and 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide, and tough as leather!

    I continued to keep the soil moist...occasionally letting it dry out a bit, then flooding it until there was a surface film of water. The chamber sat on a low bench built specifically for these chambers...about 8 inches off the floor and in a direct line of my swamp cooler, but not directly in front of it. I also covered the chamber with shade cloth during the summer because the unit sat in a location that got the brightest sun and I didn't want the chamber to get too hot inside...although there were times it may have risen to 100 degrees..especially if you know Morgan Hill. YIKES! The humidity was always around 80 to 90 percent...although I found out later that it didn't need to be so high.

    I was so happy that I found a suitable location for my baby because it was growing so beautifully. THEN...one day in late summer I noticed some of the leaves were beginning to dry up, followed by more, followed by more. OMG!!! What was happening? I hadn't changed anything. I WAS allowing the aerial runners to just meander back into the soil...and there were lots of them. I hadn't disturbed the plant for several years and it WAS looking root bound. Could this have been the reason? I wasn't sure. But what I was sure of was that I was NOT going to disturb this plant in any way, shape or form. I was going to just leave it alone and see what happened. Another one of my experimental thoughts.

    When fall was in full swing I noticed I was getting new growth on the plant. Phew!! What a relief. I did not remove all the dead stems that were still on the plant unless they slipped off easily with only the slightest pull. If they did not come off then I cut them off about 1 inch above the soil line. I did not want to accidentally damage the growth underground by tearing the old stems off.

    Winter came and went which during that time the plant put on more growth, albeit a bit slower. By spring..late Feb in this part of California the plant was now in active growth and here came more of those aerial runners. This time I was going to let them drop down and root into a separate pot so I could have more material to work with and later on share with other growers. I should mention too that these runners can get veeery long indeed.

    A few weeks went by and the runners were not bending over like they normally do. They were growing straight up to the top of the chamber. There were 3 of them and they all came from the growth that formed along the edge of the terrarium which seemed to be the thickest. I took out a magnifying glass to eaxmine them closer and OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could so clearly see these were not runners, but flower buds.

    I didn't want them to hit the top of the humidity chamber and grow all distorted or come in contact with the condensation that formed on the top so I slid the lid over about an inch or so to let the spikes emerge and grow straight up. During this time, actually in the fall, I removed the shade cloth and gave the plant as much light as possible. One of the spikes blasted, but the other two continued to grow..past 3 feet tall. One spike held 4 flowers and the second held 6. They took forever to develop becasue they're so..damn...big!! I'm not kidding. The flowers were at least 2 inches wide..at least..by 2-1/2 inches tall and had a really long spur on their back side..if I remember correctly.

    A few of these spur like things got a bit tangled up in themselves and didn't develop properly..but most of them did. So like any good natured utric enthusiest would do..I set out to hand pollinate some of the flowers. I managed to get 2 ripe pods on all the blooms from both spikes. During this next growing season I saw a repeat of the same growth cycle. Lots of big leathery leaves developed, followed by rapid dieing off, followed by renewed fall growth, followed by larger spring growth, followed by flowers. The following year's blooming only saw 1 spike, but it developed fully as well and I didn't want to cheat the plant out of any vigor so I only pollinated 2 of the 5 flowers that it had.

    I let another season pass and the following year I had 6 spikes develop and all of them flowered..although not every flower developed fully. Some blasted while some were deformed..got all caught up in themselves while trying to unfurl. During all those years I was growing it I never once repotted it or divided it and it was clearly a mass of growth.

    Then one day I managed to trade a piece off to rattler and 2 other folks. I carefully cut away some sizeable chunks for them..(I will always cherish their reactions), and set out to regrow my baby back up. In all actuality I ended up giving away nearly 90% of the original plant. I knew these folks would eventually get pieces of it into other collections so I let them have most of the material. Ain't I nice?? I think I may have even traded off some of the seed on this forum as well.

    My original plant was very slow to recover...very slow. But it is still alive and is actively growing although it's going to be some time before it gets anywhere near as close to its original splendor.

    So folks, for those of you who are growing this particular clone my advice is...LEAVE IT ALONE!!!!!!!! I know that sharing is a great thing and spreading around rare plants is important for keeping the genes alive and strong...but you may possibly be setting the plant back every time you disturb it. Let your specimen grow. Don't worry about repotting it or dividing it. Let it get root bound...but please put it in a large enough container so it can spread around. Mine didn't flower UNTIL it was root bound although there is every possibilty some other environmental factor was at play to help it along, I just don't know. Remember...this is how I got it to flower so don't accept this as gospel on its proper cultivation.

    I would love to see everyone who has this clone flower it and enjoy how truly magical it is. In all honesty I don't think I've ever seen such a flamboyant utric flower before. It's petals are like giant wings. Grow it up, flower it and get some seed, then you can divide it to your heart's content. And yes..you can actually see the seed germinate. I think they come out of the pod already germinating and the addition of water hydrates them instantly into activity. I've watched it several times and it's like watching time lapse.

    I should mention too that when I repotted my remaining piece after dividing it up, I planted it in a large, white plastic dish pan filled with the same soil mixture. The sphagnum moss is now covering the entire surface and I can see new leaves popping up here and there. I know rattler wanted to see pics of my plant after he received his but it was so pathetic looking...my pride just wouldn't allow it. Just ask Vft guy in san jose. He takes all my pics that get posted and he saw it even last year and didn't want to embarass me by showing it. LOL!!

    If I have left out anything that any of you feel is important, please ask. Again, I'm sorry for the length of this post. I just wanted everyone to know the origin of this clone and some of its background.

    Happy Growing All.

    Phil

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