- Wed Jun 22, 2016 3:55 am
Well since I wrote that years back, I'd say I'm almost (tongue-in-cheek) the King of Kings LOL. Sundews that is! I've grown about 100 plants now. And have many to sell and trade. All sizes. And 3 varieties (2 officially recognized). The normal, seed-grown variety with seeds obtained from South Africa. Then the officially recognized cultivar 'Big Easy'. And a new one I believe because it's quite distinct: It has thin, red rather dainty looking leaves so I christened it 'Red Lacy'. And now, just recently, a new one possibly: smaller with very fat leaves! In fact easily 4 times as wide as 'Red Lace' and twice as wide as the native variety. And it's very colorful compared to its sisters and brothers. I spoke with an expert about why my plants appear to be mutating and was told that it's been noticed by him, too, that growing plants from root cuttings (which is how I propagated these plants) can trigger the creation of "throw backs" so-to-speak that become cultivars, since they are not the native variety.
I could write a book about everything I've learned with these plants. Truly simple to grow once you know the simple basics and so beautiful, graceful and regal living up to their name!
Here's a quick list of my own observations, etc. over the years:
1. To protect your plants' roots from heat, which will surely kill them, I use large white pebbles around the full-grown plants, and larger than average pots. They seem to love the thick clay ones. When potting them: think "INSULATION" and incorporating something into the soil to also protect the roots from heat.
2. I fertilize my plants regularly, especially during times when they don't have access to wild food (yes: they grow best outdoors even in the horrible climate here in Central PA: Zone 6a. I put them out earlier than the tomatoes go into the grown. They LOVED the cool rainy spring we had this year. And since they're so well insulated both outside and in, they've withstood brief excursions into the 90s. Obviously, BRIEF! Once temps get that hi, best to bring them at least int o the shade or even inside.
- 4 osmacote pellets
- regular waterings with Maxsea and occasionally mixing this with Superthrive (the latter used alone, also esp. during transplanting!).
- foliar feeding as per above. I use 1/4 tsp per gallon most of time, but go up to 1/2 tsp during periods of growth.
3. Regarding this plants sensitivity to having it's roots disturbed: I HAVE NOT LOST ONE PLANT EVER BY REMOVING ALL THE SOIL AROUND ITS ROOTS, CUTTING MANY OFF LEAVING 4", AND OTHERS COMPLETELY CUT OFF. All for reasons of transplanting and also harvesting the roots to make new plants. I soak the plants well in Superthrive for at least 15 min. and two hours seems to work best. No losses to date!
4. I find that standard CP soil mix 50/50 is quite unsuitable for growing these plants, because they despise anaerobic conditions. Therefore the airier and lighter the mixture, the more the plants seem to thrive. My mixture incorporates:
1 part small pine nuggets (sold as mulch)
2 parts perlite or very course pumice
1 part aquarium substrate
2 parts LFS (long-fibre sphagnum moss)
1 part peat moss
5. Use large, heavy pots. Line the bottom with pebbles for both drainage and insulation purposes. Then add a layer of LFS to act as a wick to totally cover the pebbles. Then big adding your soil mixture. About 2/3 full I pause and add the osmacote pellets. Also prepare a little label not re. date of feeding so I know when to use the 3-4 month osmacote pellets again.
6. As mentioned above, the more insulation, the better. filling your container with pebbles would make it too heavy, so I use lava rock instead because it's lighter. I make a layer twice or even three times within a large pot. So soil then rocks then soil again.
7. Plants definitely benefit from being grown outdoors and therefore, the protection of roots also occurs at soil level: The surfaces are decorated with large white pebbles to reflect heat and keep those roots cool.
8. Do not let water in which plants stand get stagnant! Growth of algae is a sign that the water is foul. I recommend throwing in some aquatic plants that look nice in the containers, but most importantly, esp. Duckweed, significantly oxidize the water, stopping it from fouling and inhibiting the growth of anaerobic bacteria. You'll know you have them by the rotten egg smell of the water. The plants really help.
That's all I can thing of for now. Any questions, ask. Best, Joseph DBA "Plants Bite Back"