Saturday, October 6, 2018

Rise of the Sarracenia flowers, a second try at Drosera schizandra and the Nepenthes ampullaria terrarium

Sarracenia flower buds rising, 2018-2019 season

The Sarracenia are preparing for another beautiful show of flowers. I did a quick head count this morning – 263 buds emerged and rising – which makes for a bumper year. The first flower looks to be about two weeks out still. I’m thinking of getting the pollination brushes out and doing some crosses. To make it easy, the plan is to self everything. Fortunately, the leucophylla almost always open up after the flava are done, so the chance of interspecies hybridisation is low.

Drosera schizandra terraria Drosera schizandra in coffee jar terrarium Drosera schizandra in a coffee jar terrarium

Last night was the October AUSCPS Canberra ground meeting, which had an emphasis on Pinguicula. I had an unexpected score – Dave Colburn from Sydney brought down some Drosera schizandra, a long-time favourite of mine and a plant I’ve only had the chance to try once. I currently have two coffee jar terrariums on my desk, getting indirect light through a north-facing window (southern hemisphere, so sun is to the north) and each growing a decent sized plant. Another AUSCPS member here grows D. schizandra to very large size, so I will have to take a look at his growing conditions.

On a sad note, the friend who accompanied me to try and find D. schizandra in the wild – Bob Miller – passed away a couple of months back. He was a very good friend who will be sorely missed.

Terraria for two of the Three Sisters - Drosera adelae & Drosera schizandra

Next to the D. schizandra is a large bowl holding a pot of D. adelae. The D. adeale are not especially happy (the spot they thrived last summer is not available at the moment) but that they are alive is still cause for celebration – I have lost D. adelae to the cold most years I’ve been in Canberra. Lack of light seems to be the problem (but I’m hoping this means there will be enough light to make D. schizandra happy). If it can hang in there a bit longer, it will get its old spot back and hopefully thrive again.

Terrarium grown Nepenthes ampullaria

There is another terrarium in my office, and it contains one plant each of Nepenthes ampullaria ‘green’, N. ampullaria ‘red’ (not that it gets very red!) and N. x hookeriana. The plants are doing very well, but the light has consistently been burning their leaves (and has bleached out the Sphagnum!). That said, both the N. ampullaria have been producing ground rosette pitchers, some aerial rosettes and decent sized lower pitchers. The light I’ve been using is a 20W LED floodlight producing 2000 lumens, mounted 20 cm above the plants. I’m now thinking of trying either a 15W floodlight (but the local Bunnings are out of stock), a 24W compact fluoro (which has worked for me before) or two of the Ikea grow lamps. All of these options get me to about 1400-1600 lumens, which should help reduce leaf burn. The plants grow above a heated water bath, which produces if anything too much humidity (the pots are too wet and I don’t water them – I just top up the water bath). I might need to put down a coir basket liner under the pots to trap more of the humidity in the water bath while I’m messing with the lights.