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!