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Thread: "difficult" epiphytes.

  1. #1

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    Every time the topic of epiphytic species comes up, the knee jerk response is to say that they are difficult to grow and unsuitable for beginners. Is this really true? I would like to hear from people who have had trouble growing these plants.

    With the exception of U. quelchii, which has only ever limped along for me, I find my other species from Sec. Orchidiodes to be mostly trouble-free. And preliminary reports on U. jamesoniana indicate that it is also an easy grower. They are certainly less prone to drought damage than even U. livida!

    So what do you think, is it time to retire the "difficult to grow" caveat for the more commonly available epiphytes?

  2. #2

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    Well, I lost both U. quelchii and U. asplundii as cuttings, and these are pretty much my only failures within the genus. I suppose it is easy for me to therefore generalize from the specific to the general case, and lord knows I hate that type of headset! Experience can also be a bad teacher, so this topic is of interest to me.

    I have had reasonable success with U. alpina, and think this is the least "difficult" species, meaning I have never lost it. I wish my current U. asplundii was doing as well. It's doing ok, but hardly prospering. Same for U. geminiloba.

    Also, they are not rapid growers by any means, which partly accounts for their rarity. Like any plant, once you learn the requirements of temperature and moisture, they do grow all by themselves. With some of the higher elevation forms, cool conditions seem to be a prerequisite: but even here there are those who will have success growing them in impossible conditions.

    Too bad they are so hard to find, it would be good to experiemnt, and receive wider reports from other growers. For whatever reason, these plants are scarce, although they are appreciating a greater demand now than in the past.

    So, I think that it is probably a combination of slow growth, and a more sensitive approach required during their real or imagined dormancy that is responsible for their short supply.

    What other explanation could there be....other than these are snooty plants for snooty people who don't want a lot of other snooty people stealing their thunder?
    "Grow More, Share More"

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    They may not be difficult to grow, but they are darn hard for me to obtain.

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    IceDragon's Avatar
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    I heard that U. campbelliana is a pain to grow... At any rate I have the same problem as Seandew, they are so hard to get a hold of.
    BTW how fast does U. reniformis grow? I got a good size cutting ( the "leaf" is about an inch and a half across and it has a tuber) about a month ago and it hasn't been doing much yet. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_h_32.gif[/img]

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    I don't really think they're difficult... my new u. nelumbifolia is doing just fine, sending up new stolons and the like. I'm just confused on dormancy with species like u. reniformis. Does it really require it? I've heard "yes" and "no". And if it does.... how will it come about? _

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    Cool

    I am growing U. alpina and unifolia from section Orchidioides, and reniformis, nephrophylla, and humboldtii from the section Iperua. I don't know where longifolia is caterogized, but I'm growing that as well. All are grown in my "Nepenthes" tank under the same conditions and soil mixtures, etc. I've noticed that all are growing well (nephrophylla and humboldtii especially). They are not any more "difficult" nor slower growing than my other tropical terrestrial utrics growing in the same terrarium.

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]BTW how fast does U. reniformis grow? I got a good size cutting ( the "leaf" is about an inch and a half across and it has a tuber) about a month ago and it hasn't been doing much yet.
    Icedragon, I recieved a similar sized cutting from another PFT member on 2/17/04. It was the only "leaf". On 4/4/04 I noticed another "leaf" emerge, but it was much smaller. Just this week, on 6/21, I noticed a 2nd leaf emerging, a little larger in size. It is a slow grower, but from what I have read this is normal behavior.

    Just my 2 cents worth...

    -Homer

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    Is the consensus that quelchii might want a dormancy? I thought this one was could come from permanently wet places (eg. wet bogs) as well as as an epiphyte. Does it form tubers?

    I have found that the info on this site http://home.earthlink.net/~dionaea/endress2.html is quite good. I have not tried complete bone-dry conditions, although this year it is quite correct that the asplundii I have has stopped growing in summer without shedding leaves, whereas the endresii I have has shed its main leaves leaves (there are a few very tiny leaves hidden low down amonst the moss it's growing in). I hope both come back into good growth later this year.

    As for my quelchii, this has died back in response to a drier period. It doesn't look like it wanted to do this - the leaves have shrivelled rather than detached (like they do for endresii). However, there are live shoots under the soil level and I have recommenced moister conditions for it. I have a hunch that some more shading might help.

    Alpina like it kinda moist all year, never wet, for me. One of my clones is coming up with flowers at the moment - probably in response to the summer sun.

    As all my plants sit in a sunny greenhouse with shading, and they naturally get a drier summer. They don't sit in water and the sunshine dries the pots (plastic mesh) out faster than in winter without having to moderate watering quite so much. I guess I water the "dormant" plants about once or twice a week in hot weather (20-30C), and spray the surface of the moss if it's looking dried out as necessary.
    Rob Howe.

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  8. #8
    N=R* fs fp ne fl fi fc L Pyro's Avatar
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    I tend to find the same habits with my plants that you all observe. I think the cavet of "difficult"on;y really applies to the fact that compared to things like livida and sandersonii they are "difficult" and I also feel (and maybe it is just me personally) that they are somewhat more difficult to establish as cuttings but that is usually because when a cutting is offered it is just a single leaf and a scant amount of stolon. I am sure it would be just as difficult to get a pot of livida going off just one leaf.

    The main problem I find with these plants is that they are very sensitive to compacted media. Once the media starts to pack down the plants start to decline.

    Rob, in answer to your question yes quelchii does form tubers but it is not an obligate epiphyte and Taylor indicates that it grows terrestrially as well as arboreally
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