Thursday, June 18, 2015

Encyclia Care & Some Blooming Encyclia Pictures

As you may have noticed I went through a bit of an Encyclia phase last year, scooping up any new species I came across, along with some hybrids. I've learned a few things about caring for them since. If you've got some tips to grow these beauties to share too, let me know below!

Encyclia maderoi

Encyclias like to dry out between waterings, a lot like growing Cattleya orchids. Encyclia are native to South Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, and down through South America and in their natural environment they experience a dry season, but the humidity stays on the high side year round. Water heavily, then let it dry out completely before watering again in the spring, summer, and fall.

Rot is always the enemy here in Florida. Although we experience less extreme wet and dry seasons here, during our rainy season it would make sense for the weatherman to just say 50/50 chance of rain, at some point in the day, every day. So I make a point to keep good air movement,have nothing blocking the wind for them. I leave them totally dry through much of the winter months when it gets cooler here. I'm heavily considering mounting them for the future. As long as the lead pseudobulb isn't shriveled, you're watering enough. More people kill these through over-watering than under, which is why I'm leading with this care tip.

Encyclia guadalupeae

Encyclias like high light. I let mine get direct sun for hours a day, a few in the morning, a few in the afternoon, only somewhat protected from midday sun. If your Encyclia isn't blooming, try giving it more light. Adjust it to higher light slowly though, as just like with any other plant, it can burn with direct sun if it isn't used to it.

Encyclia cordigera

These are some of the easiest species I've cared for so far. Nothing is easier than to just find a good spot for them outdoors when the weather is warm and for the most part, leave them alone.

Encyclia tampensis

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cultivating Carnivorous Plants: A Book Review!

Recently I received a copy of our friend Natch Greyes' new book, Cultivating Carnivorous Plants. I had a little time yesterday to catch up on the reading I've been wanting to do. So here's a little review for anyone considering picking up a book on cultivating carnivorous plants.

I will admit I have never actually read a book on carnivorous plants before, ever. Until quite recently, never read Peter D'Amato's book, The Savage Garden either. Shocker, I know. Most information can be found online for free, so I never bothered buying a single cultivation guide for any of the plants I've ever tried to grow. This book has changed my mind about that stance. Especially with the less "popular" genus, it's not easy to find a source online with all the info you might want in one place. I love a well organized chart and this book has one for all the genera that have enough species to desire one. I like to grow heat tolerant species, so being able to look at things like altitude range and country of origin for almost all Utricularia is so handy.

Speaking of Utricularia, in reading this book, I learned there are quite a few species that may do well with the heat here, besides the native FL species. If nothing else, I love looking at pictures of beautiful species of all the plants I can't grow here easily. There is no shortage of fantastic photos throughout this book of all types of carnivorous plants. It's really great to see a mix of people's personal collection photos and not just "professionally" grown collection photos as well.

Natch also mentions bog building and common pitfalls for potential new bog-builders to consider, (wish I had read about a few of those issues and not by figuring things out after the fact,) growing indoors under artificial lighting (actually, I wish the section on lighting was larger, but that's only because lighting choice questions seem to pop up with frequency on forums,) as well as so many other growing tips and techniques throughout the book. 

There is also a great section on pests and disease as well. Pictures of the offenders and pictures of what their damage looks like ON carnivorous plants is so great to see as diagnosing what pest is harming your plants is a skill usually learned the hard way after many years of growing and witnessing different damage. The one pest I'd love to see covered in a cultivation guide book (Natch, if you ever do a revised edition?) are sod web worms and other various cutworms and moth larvae. They are common, and I usually see them misdiagnosed online as the less common rhizome borer, but they can do massive damage quickly on outdoor grown plants. Even The Savage Garden, (which I only thumbed through so far) only makes a brief mention of Exyra moths, which are only one of many moth larvae genus that can kill outdoor grown plants like Sarracenia.

This book is a great resource for anyone interested in growing carnivorous plants. Cultivation information, soil mixes, terrarium building, it's got a bit of everything for indoor and outdoor growers. Only the relevant information you'd want too, no filler or fluff here. If you're considering picking up this book, (and you really should,) you can purchase it online in paperback book or Kindle formats from Amazon, or get a signed copy from the author himself by clicking Here!.

By the way, Natch, my apologies for the delay in reading your book, been too busy with the new house and a new job to read at all lately. In response to your inscription (readers, of course I bought a signed copy) I had no idea Catopsis berteroniana existed or is a Florida native. Follow-up to anyone can I get one? It's beautiful!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How's The Nepenthes Tank Doing?

A few people have been curious, so I took some photos of the smaller Nepenthes I have in my tank. I have unfortunately not been focused on doing anything to make it look nicer in there, but the Nepenthes don't care about that anyway though, do they.

N. bicalcarata Orange Blush

N. sanguinea (Death Cube seedling)

N. rafflesiana "Dark Form" and one pitcher "Pink Form" on the right

N. veitchii Pink

N. 'Judith Finn'

Some photos I could only take with my phone as it's a bit cramped in there at the moment. Until I move some of the larger plants outdoors, it's hard to get a camera in there at a good angle. I also got a few new ones so rearranging is in order again too.

N. mirabilis var. globosa (N. Viking)

N. sumatrana

N. ampullaria Bau Green

N. kutchingensis x Viking
So that's the tank as of today! I really enjoy having at least the smaller plants indoors to look at again. I stopped growing the seedlings outside as it was too difficult to water them regularly, and I've rotted a few letting them go dry then too wet. So this is working out for me, and although the tank isn't as aesthetically pleasing as some of the terrariums you all have, friends and guests enjoy it anyway too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sarracenia Flowers for 2015!

Sarracenia rosea, Mobile Co. AL, clone k

Sarracenia rosea, Liberty Co., FL

The flower petals will fade to a darker pink in time, but just opened is my favorite coloration.
One petal got a little stuck and curled up while still in bud. 
S. leucophylla f. viridescens

Totally looks like this flower is melting. If it wasn't a bright lime green, it might look like it's drippy and sad. 
S. leucophylla 'Tarnok' 

would've had 2 flowers, but sod web worms :(

S. minor, Orange Co., FL

Looking good overall already

S. rubra?

This is the rubra or rubra hybrid from the "Bug Biting Plants Terrarium Kit" sold at Lowe's. S. rubra ssp. rubra or a hybrid?
There were a few that didn't flower this year for one reason or another, and some more just getting ready to flower that I'll add in later on.

I also have a whole bunch of new Sarracenia this year. Went a bit overboard and probably doubled the collection between spring sales and trades. So stay tuned for some pitchers as the growing season continues!

The latest additions to the crew just potted up. Some more from Mike Wang, and a few imported back to the states from Mike King in the UK. Super excited to see how all the new Sarrs do this year!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Help Support Meadowview Biological Research Station, Limited Edition Shirts!

This year The Sarracenia Forum has voted to help fund Meadowview Biological Research Station with sales of these awesome shirts."Originally created to support and advertise the forum, The Sarracenia Forum Limited Edition T-shirt is now a fund raising effort to help protect our beloved Sarracenia in the wild! This year all profits raised from shirt sales will go to Meadowview Biological Research Station to help fun land aquisition at their Central Virginia Preserve. For 2015 our very own Rick Meyer has created an amazing design featuring the pleasingly plump pitchers and ornate venation of Sarracenia purpurea ssp. venosa var. montana, the Mountain Purple Pitcher Plant. Please help support Meadowview and our forum by purchasing one or more shirts! Thank you!"

This campaign went very well last year when proceeds went to support the NASC. I can vouch that the shirts are well made and the print does not wear off. I still have and wear my shirt from last year's fundraiser and it's been through the washer and dryer quite a few times!

Men's and Women's tank tops and t-shirts available this year.

 photo Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 1.22.49 AM_zpsqlwf6gsx.png
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.

Please share on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc.! We're at 10 shirts into our goal of 40 and it's only day one!

Prices for different style tank tops and t-shirts are between $18 and $20 USD.
Domestic (United States) shipping $3.85 + $1 for each additional t-shirt.
Domestic (Canada) $9.50 + $4 for each additional t-shirt.
International shipping is $12.50 + $2 for each additional t-shirt.

Domestic orders have an estimated arrival date of approximately 2 weeks after the campaign has ended and International orders have an estimated arrival date of 3 weeks after the campaign has ended, (not 2-3 weeks after you place your order.) The campaign is for 20 days only so order asap!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Gardening: It's Working

So, you'll remember recently I posted about picking up a few bulbs and roots, and was going to attempt to grow them. If not, click to read: Gardening: How Does That Work?  Having never grown actual garden plants before, I started everything in pots so I could control their environment and watering better, and make sure no animals dug the bulbs up before they got a chance to sprout. So here's how it's going.


Tricyrtis 'Blue Wonder.' Not sure what happened. One day it was wilted, then totally collapsed into a rotten mess the next day. (Tricyrtis hirta was growing next too it, same soil mix, same watering, same few hours of evening sun. So I may get another and try it again, keep it slightly drier this time?)


Canna 'Pretoria.' Actually, the correct name for this cultivar is Canna 'Bengal Tiger.' They are the same cultivar, but 'Bengal Tiger' was registered 1st. I only started 2 of these bulbs, I don't have a ton of full sun spots for them at the moment, so 5 was too many. It doesn't look variegated though, so I'm hoping the right bulbs were in the package?

Ismene festalis. Started all 3 bulbs, all 3 have come up.
Tricyrtis hirta. What started as a root is now a small plant, and doing phenomenal. I'm working on the part-shade garden 1st so this one's going in the ground soon.

Ismene festalis from bulbs, Tricyrtis hirta in the small pot to the lower left.

I also made an order with Plant Delights Nursery Inc. Prices and shipping were reasonable, but I was a little nervous ordering from a large scale production nursery. I just ordered one of some things that looked interesting. I'll be ordering from them again shortly. Everything was packed well and looked great on arrival.

For the full sun spots: Canna 'Australia', a purple/black leaved cultivar with red flowers and Canna 'Phasion' (Tropicanna Canna,) purple/pink with yellow and red striped leaf cultivar (super tacky and fabulous, look it up if you've never see one before!)

For the part shade garden: Drimiopsis maculata, Asarum shuttleworthii var. harperi 'Velvet Queen', Tricyrtis lasiocarpa, and Helleborus x hybrida 'Black Diamond'. I'm primarily excited about the black flowered Hellebore. If it does well, I'll be getting more of the other black flowered cultivars out there.

Left: Asarum shuttleworthii var. harperi 'Velvet Queen, Right: Drimiopsis maculata (just emerging)

Left: Tricyrtis lasiocarpa, Right: Helleborus x hybridus 'Black Diamond'

Just starting out are some Crocosmia 'Lucifer' bulbs, as well, so it'll be awhile before we see anything of those. Almost everything went in the ground a few days ago, so give me a few weeks and maybe I'll have a decent picture of these growing to take.