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Does U. praelonga flower in captivity?

I've had a 4" diameter x 2" high clear water tray full of U. praelonga for about six months and it has not flowered. it's very densely overgrown with each leaf type (wide shorter blades and the very long grass like blades and some that are half and half). Is there a trick to getting it to flower? My other utrics seem to flower easily but only when their pots get very densely overgrown which this one certainly is.
Will the larger utric species tolerate light fertilizer (urea free orchid fertilizers 30-20-30 or 20-30-30) mixed at 1/4 or 1/8th strength?

The utrics pots usually stand in 1/2" or less of water at all times. 65-80*F night/day. 70-80% humidity & 160 watts of flourescent light. Should the Utric pots be nearly waterlogged at all times for better growth and flowering?

Thanks for any thoughts!
Let me see if I can answer all of these for you

On praelonga; I have heard that the plant needs to be ultra rootbound like to the extent that there is more plant material than soil. RichardUK got his to flower in his green houts so maybe they also need some seasonal cue.

On fertilizer; I have used a 1/8 strength orchid 30-10-10 on all my Utrics and seen no ill effects.

On watering; the water level is up to you, I am growing the majority of my Utrics in 2" pots in large trays and the water level is anywhere from 2" to a film on at the bottom of the tray. I like to have the fluxuation and I find that my plants like it.
My praelonga, livida and a few ?? species are in the condition you describe of more plant than soil. When the temps get a bit warmer maybe I'll try it outside and see if it does anything interesting.

I have heard that it does need a cold winter to stimulate flowereing the folowing spring.

"cold" winter for my area would have to be April to June the rest of the time between Nov & Mar is d--- cold!

I wonder if April to June would be good enough "cold to warm" transition?

I'll have to give it a shot and let y'all know!
I know a friend that left a pot out through an English winter, and he said the plants flowered big time the subsequent spring. I too have heard the root bound theory, and I believe it might have some merit. U. longifolia was very root bound before it put up a scape. On the other hand, some Utricularia refuse to flower unless divided, so I think that experimentation is in order. My plant has had a cold winter, and has frozen a couple of times. All the visable surface growth is brown and dead, but there is stolon activity beneath the surface. I grow my plant as a near aquatic, allowing it to dry off only in late summer. It's in dead LFS with a top dressing of laterite/sand (mostly for effect and to discourage algae) I am hoping to get flowers, and I will crow a lot if I do!
Don't you have problems with algae growing in your sand? Just about anytime I make a soil recipe with sand I end up repotting with plain peat before too long as the sand I've got (silica playsand) seems to be a perfect place for algae to grow .
Do you use some sort of special sand?
I make sure the medium is rinsed until the water runs crystal clear. If I start to get algae, I spray the surface, and after awhile the problem goes away. Top watering periodically leaches out any accumulated micronutrients and is a good housekeeping measure.
What mix does everyone grow their plants in? I have mine in Peat/sand, but I think it may grow better in some other soil.

  • #10
The bulk of my Utrics are small species and they are in coarse sphagnum peat but some like: longifolia and calycifida are in long fibered sphagnum that is kept very wet but drained and sitting in 1/2" or so of water all the time.

I too have been wondering if perhaps a coarser soil mix (like a 50:50 blend of LFS and small orchid bark) might be better for the larger epiphytic utrics.

Since calycifida grows as a lithophyte (at least occasionally) I wondered how I might copy this at home?
Perhaps a 12" glass fish bowl 1/2 filled with rocks and living sphagnum and some divisions of calycifida? Anyone ever try growing utrics lithophytically? How did you do it?
  • #11
Hmmm, this is getting off topic, but it is a worthy question. Maybe Pyro can set this up in it's own topic. This question is often asked :)

I grow most all my plants in fluffed up pure peat, or live sphagnum. Adding sand does nothing, and I feel it compacts the medium too much. I have experimented with various other things, but these 2 seem to fill all my plant's needs. I have noticed that, once established, the Utricularia that have made it into my pots containing live sphagnum have just done better than in any other medium. When I try to get material established in live moss, I have the devil of a time doing it! I plan now on establishing the new starts in pure peat, and then transplanting into milled live LFS, possibly with a little bark for aeration. I feel more and more that the plants need air about their stolons. It's an oxygen thing. After awhile, the water they sit in gets stagnant: in habitat there is usually a slow seep that is carrying oxygen beneath the surface.
  • #12
</span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (Tamlin Dawnstar @ Feb. 26 2003,02:48)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE"> Maybe Pyro can set this up in it's own topic.  [/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

Go here or just find my new topic
  • #13
I fairly recently started keeping carnivorous plants, but I feel I may be able to add to this thread.

I recently obtained my U. praelonga and it has not flowered, but I have had numerous conversations with those who are successful with theirs, and I am told that praelonga prefers to have the water level about even with the soil level, and that it enjoys occasional flooding.

Under these conditions I understand that it should flower. I also suspect that it may be worth the effort after keeping a plant in this manner for an extended period of time to experiment by lowering the water level to see if that induces flowering.

Hope this helps!

  • #14
Welcome to the forums Kayaker78!

You're right about praelonga liking a lot of water, and many species of utrics do flower when the water level drops.

I wonder if it could be some combination of water level changes and another cue, probably temperature and/or light.
  • #15
Hi Bryant,

I have my plant underwater currently and its been like this for 2 months. I am holding my breath: if something is going to happen I think it will be soon when the plant returns to growth. After I get some aboveground growth, I will start to dry the plant off. I figure thats about every durned cue that I can give it. It is pot bound, went through a cold winter dormancy including a freeze, has been under natural photoperiod, semi-aquatic and about to dry.

Anyone got any fairy dust?
  • #16
Looking at my plant today I noticed there are numerous things poking up: a forest of them! They are not green like the grass like leaves, and they are round in cross section, not flat. I think they might be scapes!
  • #17
Congratulations Tamlin.

Those are very good news. Please keep us informed of the progress.
  • #18
They are growing, and there are a lot of them. I am confident that these are scapes because of the round cross section. Of course, it's a far cry from seeing a scape to seeing the flowers, scapes are known to abort. So far the growth is steady. If it does flower it will be quite a display.

Man I just love Utricularia!