Leaf variegation or not?
November 20, 2015
I’ve been writing about germinating some seedlings of Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seeds not long ago. One of the seedlings appeared a bit different than others and started showing some kind of variegation on its leaves from the beginning. Some of the seedlings are showing signs of nutrient deficiency and have leaves with yellow-ish stripes, but this seedling has different kind of stripes – it’s actually pale green with darker green stripe. With time the pale green part of the leaf gets even paler, almost yellow, but the dark green part remains green.
As the tiny plant emerged, it appeared slightly variegated. Even at its first leaf, when bamboo managed to get all the required nutrients from the seed, the first signs of variegation could be observed.
Some of the bamboo seedlings I’ve been growing before were albinos or were too pale to grow more than one or two tiny shoots, before they failed miserably. When second leaf emerged, it looked even more yellow than the first one, and it only had a couple of thin darker green stripes. I thought about nutrient deficiency, overly dry or wet soil and a possibility that the seedling was genetically too weak to survive like albino seedlings usually are. It was not completely white or yellow, so I hoped to see a variegation and at least a bit more green colour. Hopefully even a shoot that would also show the same pattern. Third leaf was again even lighter, this time almost completely yellow. At the time, I feared that the pot got over-watered before, which was most likely true, so I left the pot to dry out, perhaps even too much.
I have learnt before, that you should not watch the seedlings every day and start pampering them on regular basis, when I’ve lost almost all the Moso seedlings. The seedling remained quite healthy and unfolded another leaf, this time, it had thicker dark green stripe and was generally a bit less pale. At first green stripe was observable, but not as much as on earlier leaves. Within a couple of days, the stripe got evident and more pronounced.
Fifth leaf again looked similar with nice and thick dark green stripe As it can clearly be seen on the photos, the seedling is completely different than other seedlings in the same pot. It’s much less vigorous and it didn’t start shooting at the same stage (number of unfolded leaves) than it’s siblings. It did create a tiny shoot bud, but in over a month it didn’t start growing. It will be interesting to see, if the second shoot also starts showing the same variegation. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep the seedling alive that long.
The first shoot bud finally started growing around 45 days after germination. The first stem was variegated and it completely lacked healthy purple tan that was caused by intense lights. All other seedlings had at least some purple on their stem or their tiny culm sheath. The thing is, shoot bud was exposed to air and light from the beginning and it actually turned purple. It might be a sign, that the seedling started turning into regular looking plant.
Is it, or is it not variegation? Anyone ever saw something similar? Did the seedling survive?
Growing Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ from seeds
October 27, 2015
I received a pack of fresh Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seeds sent by strike88 from Lesbambous.fr – thank you!
Since I’ve already been growing several bamboos from seeds, I know how fun and rewarding it can be, so I decided to try the first ten seeds as germination test and as the first bunch of new generation of bamboo seedlings. I removed the seed cover and exposed the grains to prevent possible mold infection which was prime cause of my failed Moso seedlings when I first tried growing the bamboo seedlings.
Germination rate of first ten seedlings was very high with 80% success rate. There were no albino seedlings and all the seedlings appeared healthy, except two, that were growing rather slowly and appeared lighter green, one almost yellow. I planted the first seedlings together into quite deep pot made out of empty milk carton, so there might be some nutrient related issue, but as I still remember my Moso growing experience, I don’t think that is the case. Most likely pale color and slow growth is just the result of bad genetics and these two seedlings might be the first ones that will fail. I intend do my best to keep them alive for a while, perhaps they do have a potential.
During fall, winter and most of the spring I usually keep my seedlings inside most of the time. I have really bad natural light conditions, so I have to provide them artificial lights. At the moment they are under 2 cheap 50W Chinese LED lights, one cold and one warm white. I think that I’ll toss the warm one and get another cool white, because I have a feeling it doesn’t do any good to the plants. They grow fast and strong though, so I think they should be good for a while, before they get larger. When they start growing their first shoots, I’ll divide them into separate containers.
The growth rate of young seedlings can almost be compared to Borinda fungosa seedlings – one young P. arcana actually started shooting almost a week earlier than Borinda seedlings, which were by far the fastest growing bamboos I’ve ever grown from seed. Faster shooting could be the result of most likely warmer conditions, because they are being grown in late fall, compared to Borinda, which was grown during the winter, Borinda seedling did grow leaves a bit faster though. Results should be considered with a grain of salt, because growing conditions were not nearly the same.
I’ll continue writing about their development in a couple of weeks, when they hopefully all start growing shoots.
Total Dissolved Solids in Water
October 17, 2015
When I started growing Drosera seedlings, I started thinking about how much solids we have in our tap water and if I could use it to water the carnivores. I bought TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter and started measuring sources of water nearby.
Total Dissolved solids refer to all salts, minerals and metals that are dissolved in water. TDS is sum of all dissolved charged ions in water. TDS of pure water is 0 PPM. Dissolved solids come from inorganic materials, such as rocks, polluted air or atmospheric gasses that can chemically react with water, forming ions. Organic source of dissolved solids is waste water or sewage, decomposing organic materials. Using chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides is also major source of TDS in water.
As expected, I measured lower concentrations of dissolved solids in rainwater and standing water in a pond. Pond is filled with water plants and tadpoles and occasionally filled with tap water, if there’s not enough rain to replace water that evaporates. When it rains, TDS of pond water drops considerably.
I thought groundwater and water taken from nearby stream would be lower than TDS of tap water, but there was not as much difference as I expected. The best and cheapest way to water the carnivore plants is to store rainwater. There’s only minimal difference between distilled water and rain caught into plastic container. Rain water during wet autumn weather can fall all the way down to 2PPM and can also be higher after long period of dry weather and in case amount of rain isn’t high enough to remove the particles in the air. It’s a good Idea to wait for a while before starting to collect the rain when TDS drops, but it’s not necessary. Using any other sources of water have proven to have too high TDS values.
Nearby stream 208 PPM (almost no precipitation in about a month)
Pond 140 PPM
Tap water 248 PPM
Groundwater 238 PPM
Rain water (summer) 4PPM
Rain water (fall) 2PPM
Distilled water 2PPM
In the end, even water from the pond would be OK to use for watering, but would require watering from the top, removing water from the tray and washing down the soil every now and then with rain water to remove possible accumulated salts.
Tiny grass-like plants
September 12, 2015
Usually I write about plants I know – or about plants I think I know :). This time I have no clue and would like to get some help with plant identification. I’ve made a photo of two small patches of the grass-like plant that is well under an inch (2cm) tall. It spreads by growing above ground runners or stolons, in a similar way like some other grasses or for example strawberries. Each runner makes two or even more tiny plantlets that grow roots and effectively spread around their mother plant.
The plants are extremely small and I didn’t even see them at first, but after a while, when they made a couple of small patches in dry and very hot weather, when other grass and moss appeared brown, I noticed them. They started growing in sand around the house just under the roof, which means that seeds could have been brought there by wind. I’ve never seen such a small grass (nor reed or sedge) around here in Central Europe. If anyone knows the plant, I’d like to know too.
I have not seen their flowers yet, but I’ll save a couple of them inside for the winter in case they can’t tolerate winter well enough. The way it grows, it would be superb undercover for any potted plant to hide the bare soil under thick tiny dark green grass.
Perhaps it’s just a common weed, but as I said, I’ve never seen something that small.
When it finally started flowering, it became evident that plant was nothing special. By asking and intensive browsing on the internet, I found out it’s most likely from Sagina genus. When I saw it’s flowers, I knew for sure, it was Sagina procumbens. I haven’t seen it around here before, but I have read it’s growing all around the northern hemisphere. I actually saw this thing being sold in a garden centre.