Variegated Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seedlings – fall 2016 update

The largest variegated seedling

The largest variegated seedling

Three variegated Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seedlings are now all around 1 year old. All three are still showing different degrees of variegation. As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, I placed them into a more shaded position during the summer. The reason for that was the fact, that the most variegated seedling started showing leaf burn when exposed to full sun in the spring. The damage in the spring could also be a result of change of growth environment, not the light exposure alone. The reason for that was, because I wanted to see, if shaded location affects variegation level and if the leaves remain healthy – without burnt leaf tips. I planted them in the same raised bed with my chillies. I never expected the peppers to grow that large and bamboo seedlings got completely shaded out by early summer.

The weakest seedling

The weakest seedling

During most of the spring, the seedlings received full sun exposure. At that point, they had shown some growth, but not nearly as much as while they were inside under LED grow light. Even the smallest seedling that was about to perish, managed to push out two tiny shoots, both more variegated than it’s original shoot. Shade prevented it to continue growing during the summer. The largest, most variegated seedling stopped growing completely and only managed to unfold a couple of leaves. The leaves remained healthy and I think there was no difference in variegation strength. It was way to shaded to grow and it would certainly not survive another season like that. The least variegated seedling was also placed in deep shade. It somehow managed to grow a couple of new shoots and leaves throughout the summer. It’s showing a lot less variegation and most of the leaves remained dark green, which allowed it to photosynthesize in low light environment.

Dark green leaves

Dark green leaves

None of my seedlings had shown any culm variegation of the mother plant, Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’, so far. The variegated seedlings are not nearly large enough to show it. I am now deciding what to do with the seedlings, if weather permits, I could leave them outside during the winter. Much more likely, I’ll just bring the seedlings inside, not just because of the poor current weather forecast, the main reason is, that the seedlings are really not in their best shape. Full shade might not have been the best idea. 🙂

Update a week later…

We did receive enormous amounts of rain and weather cooled down considerably, so I moved the variegated bamboos inside. I have placed them into small pots where they can recover, before I up-pot them for overwintering inside. None of them had shown any leaf curl, which means there was not much root damage when I dug them out from the raised bed. A couple of days after I brought them inside, I have noticed some shoots that started growing when temperature increased.

Leaf variegation detail

Leaf variegation detail

Leaf variegation detail

Leaf variegation detail

Green seedling's variegation

Green seedling’s variegation

Shoots on the green seedling

Shoots on the green seedling

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Borinda fungosa update 2016

Borinda fungosa in early fall 2016

Borinda fungosa in early fall 2016

Bottom nodes with anchor roots

Bottom nodes with anchor roots

This growing season, Borinda fungosa seedling was 5 years old. Like during it’s previous seasons, it started shooting late in the spring and managed only to push out a couple of shoots that were about the size of last year’s growth.
We’ve had relatively mild winter last year. Since there was not enough snow, to protect the bamboo, like year before, there was some damage. Most of the late summer shoots have been defoliated completely, fresh branches died off, but the culms remained alive. Most of the unbranched nodes restarted by mid spring. This year, one of late autumn shoots actually remained alive and started growing when soil temperature got high enough.

A bunch of new shoots in early autumn

A bunch of new shoots in early autumn

The shooting season began early, because one 3cm tall shoot from previous autumn managed to survive the winter. As usual, spring shots are roughly the same size as large shoots from previous year. With a bit more damage than usual, seedling lost at least 6 fully grown culms during the winter. Winter damage is probably the main cause of smaller upsize this year and very bad spring shooting cycle. The late summer / autumn shooting, however, ended up “heavier” than ever. Shoots are not much larger, but they really came out in great numbers this year.

Culms upsized a notch during their 5th season

Culms upsized a notch during their 5th season

The summer was quite dry, with abundance of sun and mild summer temperatures that never reached more than 33°C. Night temperatures also remained below 20°C most of the time. Leaves remained healthy and green throughout the whole summer. I was watering it occasionally, especially when the weather remained dry for longer periods of time in late summer. Borinda fungosa is supposed to look bad in warm and dry weather, but it seems that with maturity, the plant became resilient enough to withstand strong, full sun exposure. Seedling behaved differently from any of my bamboos from the early beginning. The shooting is usually completed in about 2 months. Not the case with my Borinda. Shoots are maturing throughout the whole season, and only the earliest shoots manage to harden off completely before the winter cold destroys all the branches that are still soft. During summer, it looks healthy, but it’s growth slows down considerably. With cooler weather in late summer it starts growing faster and doesn’t stop until hard frosts kick in.

Lush Borinda foliage

Lush Borinda foliage

So far the vigor and overall appearance of Borinda fungosa seedling is surprisingly good. Due to the fact, that it grows in marginal climate with cold winters and (too?) warm summers, it grows extremely well. It survived cold, drought, heat, got infested with insects, rodents,… It grows faster than all of my Phyllostachys seedlings, including my vigorous Phyllostachys pubescens ‘Moso’.

 
 

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Chinese Praying Mantis

Chinese mantis resting

Chinese mantis resting

Chinese Praying Mantis (Tenodera sinensis) grows up to 11 centimeters and is often used as a pet insect. They are strict carnivores with never ending appetite. They eat flies, mosquitoes, moths, grasshoppers, spiders, caterpillars, stinkbugs and other insects. I have seen them catch a wasp, bee, and bumblebee as well. They start as small insects that can end up as food for many of the early emerging spiders. At the beginning, they are feeding mostly with small insects like aphids and small flies. Chinese mantises are highly cannibalistic and they often attack their own species.

Praying mantis right after hatching

Praying mantis right after hatching

As they grow, they outgrow most of their predators and have no problems feeding on large spiders or even wasps. They eventually become accustomed to people and will even take a quick snack if you bring them one. That way, I was able to feed them various stinkbugs and even potato beetle larvae.

Chinese mantis is not moving much during its early development, in fact, I’ve only seen them travel a couple of meters away from the place where they hatched. I have taken several to more remote places and they remained in the exact same spot until they became adult mantises. When they mature, they grow wings and start flying around, searching for a place to mate and lay their egg sacks.

Green version of Chinese praying mantis

Green version of Chinese praying mantis

Brown version of Chinese praying mantis

Brown version of Chinese praying mantis

It is hard to find similarly effective predator. I have seen them devour almost every insect that lives around here. Praying mantis can see practically everything around. It has a neck and it’s the only insect I know that can turn around using it. I must admit, it looks very intimidating when it turns towards the prey.

Mantis taking a dump - notice the dung behind it :)

Mantis taking a dump – notice the dung behind it 🙂

Praying mantis in fighting position

Praying mantis in fighting position

It looks alien. Especially the neck!

It looks alien. Especially the neck!

I have found myself taking photos of these fine (not so) little creatures on regular basis. They are almost impossible to notice at first, but when you ‘calibrate’ your search algorithm a bit, you see them each time you go visit the garden. The funny thing is, they get used to people as well.

And, for the end, here’s a video of the mantis catching a stinkbug.

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Giant orange habanero chilli cross

Much larger orange habanero pod

Much larger orange habanero pod

Last couple of seasons, I’ve been banging my head, trying to figure out the ancestors of chilli I bought on eBay. It was supposed to be Trinidad scorpion, but as well as we all know, there’s no way to receive the right seeds that way. I decided to collect the seeds and try growing them anyway, perhaps I could find out the difference in phenotype of the pods and figure out the related chillies. That did not happen, because the pods remained strange and similar to those last season, but they did start showing another, much larger pod phenotype.

Pepper plant, full of ripe pods

Pepper plant, full of ripe pods

Last season, my peppers had a really hard time ripening, and I was hardly able to collect enough seeds to start a couple of new plants this year. I later decided, I don’t really need many pods from that hybrid and I rather planted a whole bunch of superhots instead. The two plants I did plant, however, had grown into nice little peppers with above average number of pods. Last year, I have noticed that these peppers are heavy producers and this season the same thing repeated. On two relatively small pepper plants (they were more shaded than my other peppers), there was more than 1kg of pods, and there are new pods ripening as we speak.

Thicker pods

Thicker pods

Whole range of pod phenotypes

Whole range of pod phenotypes

The pods remained similar. They are still extremely hot, but not superhot. The pods have thin wall which makes them ideal for drying. They have less placental tissue than last year, but there is some, and there is quite some oil on the inner walls of the pods. The colour is deep orange, but can get a bit paler or darker, because of thin, semi-transparent skin. Skin texture is smooth and glossy. Most of the pods are elongated, but, like I mentioned, this season some of the pods became larger. Length remained nearly the same, but the pods got way fatter.

Ripe pods of orange habanero hybrid

Ripe pods of orange habanero hybrid

In late season, the pods were attacked by some kind of worms

In late season, the pods were attacked by some kind of worms

Tiny, but annoying worm

Tiny, but annoying worm

In late season I have noticed a lot of pods that started to appear dark in the middle. When I checked the pods from inside, I have noticed some kind of worms that started chewing the seeds and created a webbing in which they were hiding after I exposed them. It seems that their thin skin makes them vulnerable. attacked pods started rotting from inside, which made them unusable. I tried to dry some of the healthy looking pods and later realised, that some of them started rotting. Each of those had a little worm inside. There is a way to minimise their damage though, you have to pick ripe pods as soon as you can, cut them open and freeze them. The best option is to use them as soon as they ripen completely.

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