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First Nepenthes Pollination

Joined
Jun 8, 2021
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Looks like tomorrow is the first day of pollination! All tips are appreciated, as it has taken a year of daily work to get to this point and I'm a bit terrified to muck it up. By minor miracle it looks like the N. spathulata x petiolata male (right) is starting to open ~12 hours before the female N. (lowii x veitchii) x boschiana (left), which is about perfect. It definitely lost one possible flower bud during shipping but the rest still look good. I also have some stored N. spathulata x spectabilis pollen from a forum user I am going to try on half the flower.

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I might try and do the open lightening jewel orchid flowers in my paludarium at the same time. That is going to take a magnifying glass!

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The incubator has finally been rigged up with full humidity control and lights in preparation, and the seeds and seedlings already in there seem fairly happy. We are doing our first test batch of seeds on agar, so hopefully we have some luck with those.
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Jun 1, 2009
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LAND OF CONFUSION!!!!
Hi there. Very nice work that you're doing there. Looks very nice indeed. The best tips that I can offer in your pollinating your female nepenthes is once you have collected the pollen from your males in a small plastic tube/vial or between tin foil or wax paper still attached to the male stamen, is you can either carefully touch the tip of the male part to the exposed female flower tip till you see the tip of the female flower covered in enough pollen or you can use a very fine tip paint brush that has the real hair to it and that's much more gentle on your flowers as it actually holds the pollen much better than a plastic bristle brush. Plus the plastic bristle brushes can actually damage your female flowers. I just did some pollination on some female Nepenthes flower stalks the paint brush way and its going really well. My female Hamakua is flowering very nice with 2 flower stalks on her. Should be alot of seeds when she is done.
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Joined
Jun 8, 2021
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Wow, what a beast! o_O She's gorgeous. I bet you are a happy camper.

Good tip about the paintbrushes. I haven't decided whether to try using one or just dab the male straight on but I will make sure to have a nice natural bristle one on hand.
 
Joined
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Messages
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LAND OF CONFUSION!!!!
Wow, what a beast! o_O She's gorgeous. I bet you are a happy camper.

Good tip about the paintbrushes. I haven't decided whether to try using one or just dab the male straight on but I will make sure to have a nice natural bristle one on hand.
That I am. I can't wait till the next few months are done. Going to split the harvest 50/50 with the pollen donors, then the rest plant, and what ever left overs I have, probably do some giveaway's.
Oh and yeah, it's always a great handy tool to have with the natural bristle brush. Always works well for me, so long as the pollen is fresh,lol. So once you see the pollen start to develop at the tips of your male flowers, I would go ahead and use it, but make sure that the male tips have alot of pollen on them first, so that way you can get alot more pollen and be able to make as many seeds as possible .
 
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Pollinate once the stigmas on the female flowers appear wet or sticky and the tepals around the ovary have begun folding backward; if possible, pollinate multiple times (once is usually enough but more ensures that you're more likely to hit prime fertility periods). And if you store any pollen, dry it thoroughly before putting into wax paper or foil packets and freeze it to keep for up to and over a year at a time.
 
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Jun 8, 2021
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She's teasing me! It looks like the whole flower stalk is starting to loosen up around the same time, so it's a good thing I have some stored pollen ready to go too. This is a pic from this morning.
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So far I have harvested one anther off the male (first pic, from yesterday) and this morning there are three more open but not quite ripe-looking (second pic, from today).
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Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
995
Location
LAND OF CONFUSION!!!!
She's teasing me! It looks like the whole flower stalk is starting to loosen up around the same time, so it's a good thing I have some stored pollen ready to go too. This is a pic from this morning.
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So far I have harvested one anther off the male (first pic, from yesterday) and this morning there are three more open but not quite ripe-looking (second pic, from today).
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Looking very good there.. It shouldn't be too long till you will be able to do alot more pollination there. One other thing I do when I store the pollen in the freezer is I use those silica gel packs to help keep the pollen dry and fresh for a good long while. So if you have any left over pollen, those silica gel packs will come in handy.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2021
Messages
38
Sweet; thank you all so much for the tips. I'm definitely stocked on desiccant packs., although hopefully I'll be using most of it up pretty quick. I have another quick question - I'm supposed to pollinate "as soon as the flower opens," but does that mean now, when the stigma is slightly exposed (lower center of photo), or later when the sepals are folded all the way back like they do in the males? Both, I suppose, just to be thorough about it?

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Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
995
Location
LAND OF CONFUSION!!!!
Sweet; thank you all so much for the tips. I'm definitely stocked on desiccant packs., although hopefully I'll be using most of it up pretty quick. I have another quick question - I'm supposed to pollinate "as soon as the flower opens," but does that mean now, when the stigma is slightly exposed (lower center of photo), or later when the sepals are folded all the way back like they do in the males? Both, I suppose, just to be thorough about it?

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I usually just pollinate as soon as the female flower is exposed enough to be able to pollinate, For me the sooner the better, that's what has always given me the most success with my females. I would wait till the bottom flowers open just a bit more so that way they're fully open, but as soon as they're fully open, I would go ahead and immediately start applying the pollen while the ladies are freshly receptive.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2012
Messages
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Location
Greeley, CO, USA
The flowers are not fully "open" until the stigmas turn sticky and become receptive. At what point that is while the flowers fold out varies, but it is rarely the moment the stigma is visible; early application of pollen is unlikely to hurt much though as pollen will germinate once the environment is right for it.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2021
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Thank you so much, pitcher plant experts! I really appreciate the weigh-ins.

I pollinated the lower 16 flowers with stored spathulata x spectabilis pollen both last night and today, and then also started using the fresh spathulata x petiolata on the upper half. We made a contraption to keep the occasional wandering fly away. It mostly works.

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I got an interesting shot of the ripe and not-quite-ripe male flowers side by side, and one of the freshly pollinated female flowers.

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On to the long waiting game!
 
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