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Thread: Growing a better(?) Brocchinia photo log

  1. #1
    clippity-clip-clip Clue's Avatar
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    Growing a better(?) Brocchinia photo log

    If you're familiar with Brocchinia reducta, then you'll probably know two-ish things about it:

    1. In the wild they grow as neat little pipes ("tight rosette")
    2. In cultivation they do not ("sad pineapple thing")

    The solution, as Barry Rice writes here, is high light intensity. So naturally, I parked my Brocchinia outside with my Sarracenia for the summer because my Nepenthes lights won't cut it. The only problem was my "screenhouse" that keeps the critters out is shaded in the late afternoon and evening.

    Brocchinia reducta "build"
    The left side has the space, but not the light. Why's that?

    Brocchinia reducta "build"
    Whoever planted ivy by this fence didn't realize (a) that ivy eats fences and (b) grows much higher than the fence to flower.

    Good thing I have a nice, unobscured southern exposure to work with elsewhere. Behold, the laziest build in human history:

    1. Get a platform.
    Brocchinia reducta "build"
    (I like to think inside the box on these projects)

    2. "Cleaning"
    Brocchinia reducta "build"

    3. Various assembly
    Brocchinia reducta "build"
    This window pane is so the box won't get any more water damage, otherwise it's back to step 1.

    Brocchinia reducta "build"
    I was gifted a nice undrained ceramic pot recently.

    4. Locate a test subject
    Brocchinia reducta "build"
    Preferably one that belongs to you

    5. Trap test subject
    Brocchinia reducta "build"

    Brocchinia reducta "build"

    Brocchinia reducta "build"

    Brocchinia reducta "build"
    (Note to self: get denser rocks)

    6. Wait

    Hopefully I'll have a skinnier Brocchinia to show soon, otherwise he'll be sent to the gym next!

    Bonus: I fed it some earwigs because I hate earwigs. Earwigs, which are normally skillful swimmers, quickly sink and drown in the urn.
    Brocchinia reducta "build"
    Last edited by Clue; 07-21-2017 at 05:51 PM.
    "I, for one, can't wait to grow Nepenthes extincta!"
    Plant List ; blog

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    Nice setup! There does seem to be a big difference in appearance between wild and cultivated Brocchinia reducta. It would be cool if your plant also turns yellow like those in the wild. I wonder how often you will need to add water to the urn growing it outside.

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    carnivorous plants of the world -- unite! DragonsEye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanukimo View Post
    I wonder how often you will need to add water to the urn growing it outside.
    I imagine very frequently.

    Assuming this works (and I'm rooting for you that it does), are you planning on cutting it free of the wire mesh? If you were to cut the mesh in half and use clips or zip ties to hold the halves together, that might make extricating the plant easier down the road.

    "Blessed are the cracked….
    For they are the ones who let in the light."



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    carnivorous plants of the world -- unite! DragonsEye's Avatar
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    No idea why this double posted.

    Last edited by DragonsEye; 07-22-2017 at 08:36 AM.
    "Blessed are the cracked….
    For they are the ones who let in the light."



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    nimbulan's Avatar
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    It will certainly be interesting to see how this experiment turns out.

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    clippity-clip-clip Clue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanukimo View Post
    Nice setup! There does seem to be a big difference in appearance between wild and cultivated Brocchinia reducta. It would be cool if your plant also turns yellow like those in the wild. I wonder how often you will need to add water to the urn growing it outside.
    Thanks Howard! A good spraying every morning does the trick, and I could probably do every other day but some live Sphagnum is popping up and I'd like to grow it out (plus I'm trying to establish some U. pubescens in the pot). For no particularly good reason I also keep it sitting in a bit of water, but I wouldn't do that in the winter for fear of rot.

    Quote Originally Posted by DragonsEye View Post
    Assuming this works (and I'm rooting for you that it does), are you planning on cutting it free of the wire mesh? If you were to cut the mesh in half and use clips or zip ties to hold the halves together, that might make extricating the plant easier down the road.
    Hi DragonsEye, it will probably have to be cut out down the road but I'm not too concerned since Brocchinia are usually slow growers. Clips are definitely a good idea, I'll keep them in mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by nimbulan View Post
    It will certainly be interesting to see how this experiment turns out.
    For sure, I'm a little obsessed with Brocchinia now. The BACPS potluck yesterday gave me a chance to see some excellent greenhouse-grown B. reducta:

    Brocchinia reducta in a Heliamphora sea
    These tubular specimens were growing in a tray with some Heliamphora and very happy Utricularia alpina.

    Brocchinia reducta and Utricularia alpina
    These were positioned right underneath a beam but evidently the light is very strong (see the Heliamphora shape and color).

    Brocchinia reducta
    There were also some potted clumps in a more open location - these must be very old plants. The yellow color on these seems mostly from plants that have finished flowering. Another pot next door:
    Brocchinia reducta

    spent Brocchinia reducta inflorescences
    It was too late to see the Brocchinia flowers unfortunately.




    Anyone else want to share how they're growing Brocchinia and what has and hasn't worked for them? I'm also interested in growing B. tatei and especially B. hechtioides at some point, but these are even harder to find in the US than B. reducta.
    Last edited by Clue; 07-25-2017 at 06:37 PM.
    "I, for one, can't wait to grow Nepenthes extincta!"
    Plant List ; blog

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    clippity-clip-clip Clue's Avatar
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    Brocchinia reducta

    Brocchinia reducta

    So far so good; there probably won't be much to report until the very end of the season and unfortunately I don't think that's enough time to see any serious changes. I did shift the setup location so it basically gets full sun all day, there was a tree giving it a little afternoon shade originally. Anyways, the old strappy leaves the plant came with are slowly dying away and the new leaves are much wider, stiffer, and brighter in color. The plant is much waxier now, which seems to help it catch insects, it's caught a few fruit flies so far. It hasn't been a very hot summer so far but it seems like B. reducta isn't sensitive about higher temperature; I'd imagine if I tried to grow Heliamphora like this they'd overheat.

    Granted, the pictures today aren't much different than the pictures I originally posted, but I had already been growing it with some full sun for a few weeks. Summering B. reducta outdoors definitely has its benefits, by comparison this is how it looked as received in early July:
    Brocchinia reducta

    Brocchinia reducta
    and now, taken from the same angle.
    "I, for one, can't wait to grow Nepenthes extincta!"
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    Mr. veitchii mikefallen13's Avatar
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    Looking good so far! Definitely should be interesting to see how it looks after a few more months of growth.
    Good Growing!
    -Mike Fallen

    My Growlist: http://highlandtropicals.blogspot.co...-growlist.html

  9. #9
    clippity-clip-clip Clue's Avatar
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    The growing season's winding down, and I won't be able to keep my Brocchinia outdoors through the winter. Two months has really changed its habit, but it's not satisfyingly tubular just yet. Per DragonsEye's suggestion, I cut the wire screen into two separate pieces so the entire pot is much easier to take out.

    Brocchinia reducta

    Brocchinia reducta

    A couple of cultivation notes from this summer:
    • Evidently, some Brocchinia reducta can tolerate high temperatures. We had some heat waves peaking in the triple digits Fahrenheit and sustained temperatures in the low 90s for a couple weeks; my plant didn't sulk at all in full sun. Barthlott et. al (2007) claims temperatures over 28 C/82 F should be avoided, but this range might be from observations in the wild. The caveat is that even with the heat, there is always a significant temperature drop at night around here. YMMV based on your clone, so be careful.
    • Established B. reducta don't mind wet feet in the summer. I stood the plant in water up to half the pot height while traveling for several days and came back to some very healthy root growth into the water. I definitely would not keep it this wet in the winter, and if the plant wasn't established this could easily lead to rot. As an aside, the mix this one came in looks like equal parts long fiber sphagnum, perlite, and peat, with a little sand mixed in.
    • The urn doesn't seem to dry up very fast; I stopped misting it daily after a summer trip and noticed that after 4 days, the urn fluid level was low but not empty. I wonder if the plant can pump fluid into the urn, but I didn't push it longer to see if the urn could dry out.
    • Brocchinia make their most wax in very bright light. The waxy cuticle is meant to conserve water in conventional bromeliads, and despite relying on their wax to capture insects, Brocchinia wax production is still correlated to light levels, so for best trapping, maximize light. B. reducta prey is supposed to be overwhelmingly ant species, but mine didn't seem to catch much by itself besides some fruit flies. Ants I threw into the urn usually could not crawl out unless I sprayed most of the wax off the leaves first.
    • Dilute feedings of fertilizer into the urn aren't fatal and might actually be appreciated. I was scared cyanobacteria might take over and smother the plant but the urn stayed clean.


    Brocchinia reducta
    Healthy white roots and root hairs.

    In regards to shape, I'd like to think this clone can get more tubular. It might be that any offsets that grow under these conditions will grow into the right shape, but I guess we'll see. Other random thoughts are that if I kept the media drier the plant might also grow into a neater shape to conserve water, but based on this root growth it seems comfortable enough that I won't try that any time soon.

    Since this plant is apparently rootbound, I'm planning on repotting it in the spring next year -- my dream is a large biotope planter with some hardier tepui plants - the Utricularia pubescens stolons I pinched and planted into the pot are starting to spread now and I'm hardening off a South American Epidendrum to full sun as well.

    Other news:

    Brocchinia reducta and hechtioides
    I actually found a Brocchinia hechtioides! Looks a little rough, so I'm trying not to keep it too wet until it's well-rooted. I'm also keeping this little pup shaded for now.

    Catopsis sp.
    My non-carnivorous Catopsis morreniana surprised me with a flower. I grow this with my highlanders, so it doesn't get very intense light. I'm still disappointed that this plant turned out to be C. morreniana since it was sold as C. berteroniana.
    "I, for one, can't wait to grow Nepenthes extincta!"
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    Your plant looks really nice. Hope it gets even more tubular for you. I'm looking forward to seeing a recreation of a tepui habitat.

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