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Thread: How to protect nepenthes seedlings from geckos?

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    Vidyut's Avatar
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    How to protect nepenthes seedlings from geckos?

    I've seen a lot of newly germinated seedlings look.... bad, a few pots that seemed to move/topple, etc. Then when I lost my sole (so far) kinnabaluensis seedling... I started conducting random raids on the balcony to see if I can find the cause. And I spotted a gecko that sort of was enjoying the sphagnum? I don't think they are interested in the seedlings. Maybe interested in insects trapped in pitchers or on sundews? Now what?

    Any of you have lizard/gecko issues? What do you do?

    Covering is not an option for me. In my climate, covered seeds don't germinate as good as those getting fresh air. I'd even be happy to give them their own bit of sphagnum to do what they want, but how to keep them away from the really tiny seedlings? Would keeping the baby neps away from sundews, and bigger neps help? So that they are out of the way of any insect thieves?
    Balcony farmer, carnivorous plants, DIY, sustainability, socio-political commentary India.

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    Vidyut's Avatar
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    There have been casualties among the seedlings in the past also. Seedlings that seem uprooted or crushed or .... disturbed. Numbers of seedlings reducing in what I now see seems to be "areas" rather than randomly decreased numbers. I dismissed the losses/damage as normal for nepenthes seedlings. I hear all the time that most of the seedlings die out as they grow. So I figured whichever ones didn't like my climate were dying. But the kinnabaluensis seedling being the SOLE one, I knew exactly what that specific individual looked like - healthy and putting out its first pitcher. Not at all struggling.
    Balcony farmer, carnivorous plants, DIY, sustainability, socio-political commentary India.

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    nepenthesl0ve's Avatar
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    perhaps some mesh screen?
    lover of toothy species and hybrids

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    carnivorous plants of the world -- unite! DragonsEye's Avatar
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    Why not cover with a cage? Depending on your set up, you may be able to create a "cage" of mesh screening (as one would use for a window to keep bugs out), or a metal fencing like chicken wire -- though you would have to double or triple layer that to make the holes too small for geckos to easily fit through. If the seedling pots were deep (as unlikely as I know that to be) you might try sticking a large number of chopsticks or similar items in the pot(s) amongst the seedlings.

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



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    Vidyut's Avatar
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    For now, I've put them at some distance from any plant catching insects that the geckos could want and put cheap plastic colander-like baskets covering them. This will block some light to the seedlings though. Maybe I'll look for thin cheap nylon mosquito netting and drape it on an upturned net pot or something.

    My bigger seedling trays (that actually took more damage) I've not covered - didn't find something simple that would do the trick, but simply kept them away from the sundews and bigger neps.

    With a lot of seeds sown and my method avoiding water trays and watering using a spray bottle instead, this is rapidly getting tedious. Here's to hoping the bigger neps catch the damn gecko before too long. The neps aren't too big, but at least the gecko I saw wasn't too big either. Filed under "asking for it"

    Edit: Speaking of nepenthes seedlings, I have found fantastic success rates sowing them in plastic net trays (usually sold as flimsy shelves) and I water them like regular nepenthes, except with a misting bottle or a squeeze bottle with a nozzle, so that the seeds aren't flooded away. So I water till soaking, let it dry till surface is slightly dry, then soak again. The seeds don't dry out, they germinate faster! I regularly get germination starting from two weeks. Three at most.

    Caveat: None of the lowland seeds I've purchased (Ebay) so far have good germination. So I have lots of highlander in various stages of microgreen that may not live and lots of pots with dud seed that could thrive if it germinated at all. I need a reliable source for lowland nepenthes seeds.
    Last edited by Vidyut; 07-21-2019 at 11:44 AM.
    Balcony farmer, carnivorous plants, DIY, sustainability, socio-political commentary India.

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    Vidyut's Avatar
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    Turned out it wasn't the geckos doing damage, but probably a snail. I saw a tiny one on a night raid after the covered seedlings also seemed to decrease in numbers. Immediate measures taken - I found some snail bait online, spread it as soon as it arrived.

    Magically, the seedling damage has stopped overnight. Didn't see another snail again. Lost a lot of seedlings, including some I was really, really hoping to grow - trays thick with seedlings left with maybe a few dozen and one large tray left with only four seedlings, but lesson learned. Snails are evil and they aren't always as huge and easy to spot as the internet articles imply.

    Going forward, any mysterious plant damage will immediately be met with snail bait.

    My apologies to the poor gecko though it is probably still the culprit for the pots falling.
    Last edited by Vidyut; 08-07-2019 at 12:24 AM.
    Balcony farmer, carnivorous plants, DIY, sustainability, socio-political commentary India.

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