Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Help Support the NASC, Limited Edition T-Shirts!

The Sarracenia Forum has decided to create a t-shirt for two reasons. 1. To build awareness of our community and 2. To raise a small profit to donate to the North American Sarracenia Conservancy. This shirt was chosen as the best design, and will never be available again.

Profits go to support the North American Sarracenia Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, dedicated to preserving the natural habitats and genetic diversity of the genus Sarracenia. The t-shirt is American made by American Apparel. A quality, well made brand, not the cheap stuff! The goal is to sell 40 shirts. Teespring, the company producing them works like a crowd funding site. If we meet the goal everybody gets their shirts and the NASC gets our donation. If we don't meet the goal then the shirts don't get made, you won't be charged, but you also won't get an awesome shirt.

So help us help preserve the ever shrinking natural habitats that Sarracenia grow in. Even as far back as 1993, estimates that 97.5% of Sarracenia habitats have been destroyed in the Southeast US. Three Sarracenia species are already listed as Federally Endangered under the USA Endangered Species Act, (S. rubra subsp. alabamensis  in Alabama, S. rubra subsp. jonesii in North and South Carolina, and S. oreophila in Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina. To read more about why Sarracenia need special protection click for the Wikipedia Entry and The Carnivorous Plant FAQ.

Designed by rmeyer
Women's T-shirts too!

Please share on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc.! We're already halfway to our goal and it's only day one!
Prices for different style shirts are between $19 and $20.50 USD.
Domestic (United States) shipping $3.85 + $.25 for each additional t-shirt. Your shirt will arrive within 7-14 days from the end of the campaign.
Domestic (Canada) $7.50 + $1 for each additional t-shirt. Your shirt will arrive within 14-21 days from the end of the campaign.
International shipping is $10.50 + $1 for each additional t-shirt. Your shirt will arrive within 14-21 days from the end of the campaign.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Parodia werneri ssp. werneri: 1st Cactus Bloom This Year

 Love this cactus, total of 8 flowers this round of blooming. Lots of other cacti budding up now...

Doesn't it look nice even when the flowers are starting to wilt? Like it's wearing a purple crown.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

By Request: "How's Your Robcantleyi Doing?"

I do take requests for this blog and the most common one I get is for how my Nepenthes robcantleyi 'Queen of Hearts' x 'King of Spades' is doing for me and how I'm growing it. This being among the "newer" Nepenthes on the market, most hobbyists have not grown it to maturity yet and many are still figuring out how to best grow it at all.

N. robcantleyi 'Queen of Hearts' x 'King of Spades'

Here's what I've found out about mine. 

1.) It likes it's media wet.
Like really wet, wet. I've partially by accident, because it's been on a rack with another plant overhead, been watering it (from what I consider, having grown Nepenthes for many years now) too much. It seemed happy when I looked at it so I let the plant above continue to drip extra water onto robcantleyi. It's now growing better than it ever has.

2.) It has always grown better for me under artificial lighting in a semi-closed environment.
Back when I first got my robcantleyi it was expensive, still maybe the most I've ever spent on one Nepenthes. So I chose to grow it in with my Drosera and mini orchids in a 10 gallon terrarium. It grew well, and pitchered on every leaf in there. Then it outgrew my tiny terrarium and I grew it on a rack in a window or outdoors after that. It rarely pitchered and seemed to be susceptible to every mite attack possible. It looked and grew like crap, even when I wasn't stalling it out with pesticide. This winter when I brought everything inside for the colder weather I had the luxury of a grow tent. It's now growing better than it ever has.

This leads me to believe one of two things. Either it's the amount of light or it's the consistent temperarures. Or maybe a combination of both. The tent is consistent like the tank was back in the day. Warm, 85 F/29 C during the day, and room temperature, about 70 F/ 21 C at night. I would call that intermediate temperatures. Robcantleyi seems to be ok with this. 

Robcantleyi was not ok with the heat when I attempted to grow it outside here over the last year. It tends to be 90's F/ 30's C during the day and 80's F/ 20's C at night for months. Robcantleyi grew very slow with funky shaped leaves and small pitchers. Not happy, so back indoors it went.

On the other hand, robcantleyi does seem to be ok with inconsistent, wild swings in humidity. I am not the most diligent water-er and I tend to underwater by choice rather than over-water and rot something. Thus the tent has high humidity when I water and for a day or two afterward, then the humidity drops into the 40-50% range for a few days before I water again. The same went for the old tank.

So for all of you that have asked me how my robcantleyi is doing. The answer now is great. I hope what I have discovered about growing this Nepenthes is somewhat helpful to others. Now I don't advocate for any of the above methods for successfully growing yours, this is just what I've found mine to consistently like over it's lifespan and travels since 2010 with me. This being a seed grown plant it may be a stronger or worse grower than yours, or maybe it's pickier or more tolerant than yours.

Oldest picture I could find of robcantleyi in the 10 gallon terrarium, 3.5" pot, late 2010/early 2011. Drosera for scale.

Summer 2012, 6" pot, outdoors in NY

N. robcantleyi 'Queen of Hearts' x 'King of Spades' today. Had to wash it out a bit with the light, otherwise it was hard to capture the detail against the black pot.

N. robcantleyi, 4/6/14
iPhone photo, captures the color better than my digital camera

I'm excited to see what it looks like next year!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Sarracenia 2014

The Sarracenia and Flytraps are all budded up, it's officially spring!

Sarracenia leucophylla 'Tarnok'. This is it's first flower for me, so I'm super excited to see it in all it's mutant glory!
Sarracenia leucophylla 'Tarnok' bud
Next up, but much further behind, is Sarracenia flava var. rubricorpora Red Tube.

Sarracenia flava. var rubricorpora

This year we also have some new additions to the family. You know those "Bug Biting Plants terrarium set," sold in Lowes this time of year? More on this in another post. Well, I decided to buy one because I didn't have the Sarracenia in the kit already in my collection. The kit comes with a dormant rhizome of a flytrap (and despite what the package leads you to believe picture wise,) a Sarracenia rubra rhizome. According to the internet identifiers, it's S. rubra ssp. rubra, however AG3 just lists this as S. rubra, so I'll wait for a flower + mature plant to ID.

I made this first pot with the original box I bought. The flytrap isn't much to see at the moment but the Sarracenia rubra has the tiniest little flower bud I have ever seen on a Sarracenia!

S. rubra

Isn't it cute, next to such a tiny pitcher?

Then, one of the Lowe's here had started putting the kits on sale already so I picked up a few more. Mostly because I'm a total nut, I decided to go back and buy all the kits on sale. I gave the flytraps away and made a big community pot of all the Sarracenia. They are all a bit light deprived and squiggly from trying to grow in a small sealed package.

S. rubra compot

There's a few buds in there.

My Sarracenia purpurea ssp. venosa may not flower this year. It had started to dehydrate for no apparent good reason, so I unpotted it to find some mold and some evidence of insects munching on it. I treated it for both and it's now growing again, but I don't expect flowers unfortunately. I decided to forgo flowers for the flytraps and cut them all off. A healthy flytrap can flower and make decent sized traps throughout the year, but I decided to try and do some stem propagation with the flower stems instead. I have never had much luck trying this in the past, so I'm trying it differently every year until something works and I can claim some skill in this area.

Happy Spring! Wishing you all a productive growing year!