Archive

Archive for the ‘Carnivorous Plants’ Category

Another Pitcher Plant Project

December 24, 2011 Leave a comment

My craze over Nepenthes is back after having success with African violets in the office! That prompted me to order some pitcher plants from Borneo Exotics, through my old time friend. Nepenthes ampullaria has always been my favourites as their squat round pitchers are just too cute!

Amp-1 Amp-2

Nepenthes ampullaria ‘Harlequin’ (L), Nepenthes ampullaria ‘Lime Twist’

I have made orders for Nepenthes ampullaria ‘Lime Twist’, which bears red speckled pitchers with green peristome, and also Nepenthes ‘Harlequin’ (‘William’s Red x ‘Harlequin’), similar but red peristome. I am definitely surprised  that the plants delivered are much bigger and healthier!

402821_10150439984556537_635721536_8808973_1984738713_n

As they are shipped without potting media, I have potted them into a round glass dish filled with pumice and topped with sphagnum moss. The setup was pretty fast and simple, but the end product is simply amazing! As they are grown in office environment, the wet sphagnum moss will supplement the necessary humidity for them to grow well.

Indeed, it’s a showpiece in the office with my colleagues crowding around and asking questions. I took the opportunity to share knowledge with them and some are even interested to grow! This is definitely gratifying moment to me that I have sparked interest in many of them!

Biodome, another gardening innovation

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

                        IMG_1895     IMG_1896 

Many of us may have heard about wick watering, where there is a wick coming out from the bottom of the pot to a reservoir of water. The water is then drawn up to the pot when the soil is dry. It was a hit within my gardeners specifically in growing African violets. We improved the design quite a bit to make the entire system last longer and better. Check out my previous entries for that!

  As I am also a carnivorous plant enthusiast, I was quite amazed that our long time dealer, Borneo Exotics, made wick watering system for tropical pitcher plants! It was named Biodome, after its dome shaped lid with an opening at the top. The pitcher plant is sitting in a small pot with a sponge collar around it, which absorb the excess water and provide humidity. The dome actually helps to contain and maintain the relative humidity in the dome, which is extremely helpful since providing humidity is always a challenge in gardening.

IMG_1897

There is a also a wick that leads to the water reservoir, this will mean that you need not worry about watering it everyday! All you need to do is to top up the reservoir by pouring it into the sponge through the dome opening. This actually reduces the chances of the plant dying from root rot, fairly common cause of death in growing pitcher plants.

The only downside about this is that there is too much plastic around the plant. It does not look natural, and it resembles kind of take away lunch boxes! Well, you can easily decorate it with some stuff, but I will be trying out something else.. Stay tuned, I will share it in the next post!

Sundew seeds

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I harvested another batch of sundew seeds from my few pots of Sundews ( Drosera burmannii) Now with better photographing equipment, I am able to show you how the seeds will look like:

Drosera seeds 02

They are black elongated seeds with tapered ends, usually 20-40 seeds are developed in a seed pod. Unripe seeds are pale green in colour and not viable to germinate. However, seeds that are ripe have a long lifespan, I have germinated seeds which I harvest a year ago! Sundew seeds can stay viable for around 2 years, and of course chances of germination will be lower than those freshly harvested.

Drosera seeds 01

They are extremely small, a gust of strong wind or brushing the seed pods will send the seeds away, which is their way of propagation. They will take 2-4 weeks to germinate and you can expect them to be almost microscopic for the first leaves! In fact, they look like tiny green specks in the pot!

Seeds of this size make sowing fairly difficult. Unlike other seeds, we can organise and space them equally in the pot. However for sundew seeds, they are just too small for our fingers to space them out neatly. I can only arrange them properly when they had germinated and had a few leaves, which I use a tweezer to move them around before their roots had established into the media. It is no easy feat at all! You may just squished them into pulp if you applied too much pressure!

Pitcher Plants!

November 7, 2009 2 comments

It’s been some time since I talked about pitcher plants. Being my main interest in gardening, pitcher plants never fail to attract attention of many people. The talks I conducted were very well received and many had lots of questions to ask about these exotic plants.

 nov003

Pitcher plants are often mistaken as challenging plants to grow. In fact, they are much easier to grow than the usual garden plants! Carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants, do not need any fertilizing or pruning at all. They are mostly slow growers and hardy.

Pitcher plants (Nepenthes) are native to our tropical region, require high humidity and fair amount of sunlight to grow well. Some species can take full sun, but most of them will be happy to be in partial shade. However, they need to grow in nutrient free potting media such as sphagnum moss and perlite.

 

nov005 Nepenthes ampullaria is one of my favourite pitcher plant.  The red pitchers (Nepenthes ampullaria ‘Harlequin’) are speckled with purple and green and have a open lid, which resemble small water pots! Nepenthes ampullaria is one of the pitcher plants that can grow a carpet of pitchers on the ground, which is why it is the one of most popular pitcher plants gardeners wanted to grow. They also come in different colours, green with red “lips”, green with “black” lips,green speckled with red, pure red and many more!

I personally prefer red pitchers as they contrast very well with my other green plants. Nepenthes ‘Gardentech’ is one of them, which grow very red pitchers! This particular plant is a hybrid between two hardy species, Nepenthes ventricosa and Nepenthes ampullaria, and was named after the gardening event in Singapore, Gardentech. My plant is still a very young plant and its pitchers are elongated, whereas a fully grown adult plant can develop stout and rectangular looking red pitchers!

                    nov002                   nov004

Unopened new Nepenthes ‘Gardentech’ Pitcher              Cute Nepenthes ampullaria

Pitcher plants make very good houseplants and can make your garden look more interesting. Also, these unique plants are also good education materials to show others that plants also eat animals!

Harvest time!

October 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Are you thinking about harvesting fruits or veggies? Not this time, I was harvesting the seeds from my carnivorous plants! My small humble pot of sundews (Drosera burmanni & Drosera intermedia) produced lots of seed pods the last few weeks. There would be easily hundreds of seeds I have collected!

IMG_1506 IMG_1507

Specks of dust or seeds?

Do you wonder how sundew seeds look like? The seeds are literally the size of dust specks! And yes, dust specks! They are black in colour and so tiny that a sneeze from you will send the seeds flying all over the place and cannot be recovered.

IMG_1508 DSC00223

Each seed pod can contain 50-80 seeds!                        Two week old seedlings

Carnivorous plants are generally slow growing plants. Their seeds can take 4-6 weeks to germinate and so small that you think these  are green moss! Only after a week or so before they start growing dewy leaves. They will take around 6-9 months to grow big enough to flower.

Byblis

July 19, 2009 1 comment

Byblis, also known as rainbow plants for their glittering leaves under the Sun. It is a small genus of plants, consisting of seven different species and all native to western Australia. They have tiny droplets of muscilage or “dew” similar to sundews (Drosera) but they are classified in different order. Byblis is placed in the order of Lamiales whereas Drosera is placed in the Caryophyllales.

Plants_0011 

Byblis liniflora 

Once thought to be a proto-carnivorous plant which depends on insects to break down the captured prey before digestion, it is only proven to be truly carnivorous in the recent years that it produces enzymes to digest prey.

Gardeners grow them for their beautiful flowers. The five petaled flowers of Byblis liniflora are purple in colour which emerge from the leaf axes. Fertilized flowers then mature into small seed pods which split open and drop the seeds into nearby ground.

IMG_1539Flower of Byblis liniflora 

Byblis enjoy good amount of sunlight of around 4-6 hours and keeping the media moist at all times. They can grow up to a height of 15cm and produce numerous flowers all year round. Byblis are annual plants and therefore, it will die away after a period of time and new seedlings will take its place in the same pot!

My Garden!!

It’s been some time since I last talk about my garden… Well, there are new additions to my already crowded garden and many of them are flowering too! My latest addition is the Star Glory (Ipomoea quamoclit). This vining plant produce small red star-shaped flowers but mine has yet to bloom. I attached a very long string for it to climb and within a week, it had already hit the top of the ceiling! The leaves looked special and resemble palm leaves. From the information I gathered, this particular plant can climb to a height of 6 metres!

IMG_1081 IMG_1101

Ipomoea quamoclit

Remember my cherry plant (Malpighia glabra)? They are fruiting like no tomorrow and this time round the fruits turned burgundy red! They fruit in bunches of two and three and definitely a very beautiful sight to behold!  Some of my friends who visited even tasted these sour but full of vitamin C fruits!

IMG_1096 IMG_1099

Malpighia glabra 

My Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) is going for a second round of flowering and this time even more spectacular. The flowers are arranged in an encircled manner and flowers point to all directions! It has been a year or so without flowers but the wait is definitely worth it!

IMG_1106 IMG_1104

 Adenium obesum

My signature plant, the Flamingo Flower (Anthurium andraeanum) is still at its best condition, keeping the constant number of ten flowers for at least a year! There are new shoots and growing fast, even some have started to flower!

IMG_1107 IMG_1109

Orchids

I got some orchids flowering too! Two of my mini Dendrobiums are putting out flowers now and add to the already very colourful garden! Their coloured and patterned blooms brings more exciting colours and you can’t resist not looking at them.

IMG_1110 IMG_1112

Rosemary                                           Nepenthes veitchii

My rosemary plant is growing taller and bushier now. Every time I am watering plants, the fragrance of this plant can be even detected at a further distance! And brushing your hand against the leaves will leave a strong aroma that lingers around you for a long time!

 

Finally my carnivorous plants, strong winds have resulted in strong fluctuations in humidity makes the plants grow slower and losing quite a number of pitchers. But my Nepenthes veitchii is still growing strong putting out the biggest pitcher for me! Soon, the monsoon season will come and this beautiful sight may not last long. So I have been spending more time admiring my plants before it is too late!!