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Thread: Cephalotus top watering

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    Cephalotus top watering

    I top water my ceph, and it's been doing very well. Leaves and pitchers grow large quickly (adult pitchers first appeared in March, and those that started growing in April are currently about an inch long), though I haven't checked the root system. I always do my best to not get water on the crown, and when it does happen, the plant is outside in a Boston area summer, so it dries off quickly.

    I never thought much of it, but a few days ago I was reading about sudden death syndrome in Cephalotus, and people often point to top watering as the culprit. However, I've also read that plants being to wet can cause them to rot also, which is part of why I decided to top water. In addition, I added trichoderma and mycorrhizal fungi to the soil today, trichoderma because I've read that trichoderma often prevents rot and I know it's been found to be a hyperparasite, and mycorrhizae because they were mixed in with the trichoderma :P Should I start tray watering instead? Is top watering really the culprit in many cases of sudden death syndrome, and if so, is it a specific kind of top watering or just top watering in general? I'm sure what would be best would be a deep tray with some way of moving the water around and keeping it oxygenated (I've seen an aquarium bubbler as a suggestion), but that is both expensive and seems like overkill for one plant.
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    Cool

    Ignore practically everything you read about Cephalotus. Most will refer to plants in terraria whereas you are growing outside.( I include greenhouse and conservatory as outside)

    I grow pots of Cephalotus in trays, standing in water for the growing season. I was assured by an "expert" that I would definitely acquire root rot pursuing that method. I explained at that time that I hadn't acquired it for 25 years so how soon would it strike? He didn't contribute to the thread again. It's now been 35 years and I'm still waiting.

    I've had new growth coming out, underwater from the bottom holes of the pots, new shoots developing from leaf cuttings below water level. The crowns of those didn't rot, they loved it

    Pots have been half pots to long toms. I'm now using long toms for many of my plants but that is simply so that I can have a greater depth of water so the reservoir lasts longer if I go away.

    As with all plants, grow them the way that works for you in your conditions. If top watering has been successful why stop? The plants get top watered in nature, it's called rain. I occasionally top water in really hot, sunny weather. Tray watering is just a lot easier and quicker if you have a number of plants.

    NB. This is the method I have found successful for me. That does not guarantee it will work for anyone else which is the situation for any other published method.

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    I've become quite convinced that the main culprit of rot is ignoring the plant's seasonal requirements - most people treat these like a full tropical plant, growing indoors year-round in constant conditions. If you respect the plant's need of seasonal variation, and avoid particular clones that are prone to fungal problems like Hummer's Giant, the plants can handle a lot.

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    fredg's Avatar
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    BTW schmiggle when I first started growing Cephalotus the general view was that they dislike root disturbance. Perhaps it would be better not to disturb the roots until you have a spare or two.

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    Well, this all makes me feel much better. For now, a winter rest is very easy for me to provide--I just leave the plant in a dorm over winter break.

    I don't really see the point of growing these guys in a terrarium--mine can clearly handle lower humidity, since I've never had it in a terrarium (it spends its summers outside and the rest of the time by a window under lights). I suppose I'll keep growing it as is, then.
    The worst thing [about being an adult] is when you realize that oreos are just OK
    --Zach Weinersmith

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