Culm color of variegated Luteosulcata seedling (1)
February 14, 2017
Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ & yellow sulcus
There was a debate recently on bambooweb forum regarding seeds sold as ‘Yellow groove’ seeds. It’s known that Phyllostachys aureosulcata (and other bamboos from that gang) flower from time to time, without resulting viable seed. Since it’s also not in gregarious flowering, there’s no way someone could get viable seeds of Yellow groove bamboo. However, there is a bamboo with similar characteristics (including zigzag and yellow striped sulcus) that is flowering recently and has given a lot of seeds already – Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’. Despite the fact that there are many growers, trying to get a Bamboo seedling with yellow sulcus, no such plant had been found so far.
The seedling that does show a bit different culm color
My first variegated Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seedling has a very pale leaf variegation. It doesn’t only have pale leaves, culms are also lacking green pigmentation. In early stages of seedling’s growth, I could see that culm color was different than any other seedling I’ve grown, including other variegated seedlings. As soon as young shoots loose their sheaths, the culm inside looks almost completely white to very light green. Within days, light exposure makes the shoot turn more and more red. It can turn into unbelievable red color, unlike I’ve seen on any other bamboo. It later fades out into yellow. Seedling is still in a very young phase (it actually lost some weight due to chain of wrong decisions I’ve made :)) which means it can change considerably as it matures. It may end up looking much greener further down the road. We will see …
Culms of other Luteosulcata seedlings?
The seedlings I am growing have shown no culm stripings so far. They are young and will perhaps show some kind of culm variegation later, but there are slim chances. So far, there are no reports about a new generation seedling with culm variegation. My other seedlings do show some difference regarding strength of light induced color, though. All have dark green culms with red coloration that colors the sun exposed culms purple/brown. The second variegated seedling also has a bit less intense green culms, that do not turn red, instead, they look quite similar to majority of other seedlings – less intense purple green.
Variegated Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seedlings – Winter 2016/2017
February 2, 2017
First half of winter
In the late January, winter slowly starts fading, nights become shorter and days a bit warmer. We’re half way through winter! Since, I’m overwintering my variegated bamboo seedlings inside, they have no idea about our brutal winter outside. At this point, it seems, two of my Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seedlings will gain in size a lot. The first and previously the largest seedling remained alive and still refuses to grow. For now, at least, it’s the smallest of three variegated seedlings. It grew many shoots as soon as I brought them inside and all but a couple of them died off and rotted. It’s getting better, but it lags more and more against it’s younger siblings.
The oldest seedling, which grew quite well during last winter is not doing exceptionally well this winter. In the beginning, it was infested with aphids and it soon started losing even the youngest leaves. I decided to spray all three bamboo seedlings with insecticide to eliminate any possible pest I had brought inside. I also trimmed the seedling considerably, removing all the highly damaged branches, leaves and a couple of dead culms. At that point, it started shooting heavily, but ended up losing most of the new growth.
Eventually it started to look much better. It actually ended up being the only of three seedlings without the strange fungal infection. I have left old culms that were still alive and they soon started branching out. The leaves were miniature, but they showed nice variegation. On a couple of leaves, I could observe another type of variegation. Some leaves were not progressively turning from lime green to yellow-green gradient kind of variegation, instead, the variegation was present from the very beginning, (completely green) dark green stripes on yellow leaf. Like last winter, I have had difficult time preventing leaf tips from drying out. I’m still investigating what actually causes that issue as it sometimes appear on other seedlings as well. I’m almost sure it’s water or nutrient related.
The weakest seedling that somehow recovered after being neglected for almost a year started strong from the very beginning. It merely had one shoot when I brought it inside, but it managed to push out one pretty large shoot. That single but large shoot used the energy from the previous stem, it died off when the shoot leafed out. The second seedling has shown incredible ability to survive and it actually grows much faster than the first seedling. To fight off the fungal infection I mentioned earlier, I regularly sprayed it with Aspirin dissolved in water. It looks like it’s working, the infection of the leaves slowed down considerably. Aspirin triggered another thing – growing branches and shooting. I’ve grown many bamboo seeds by now and I never used Aspirin. I have also never seen a bamboo seedling that would start branching out that much, or in the case of the third seedling – shooting insanely.
The least variegated seedling ‘exploded’ immediately after I brought it inside. It also got infected by the same fungal infection as the second seedling. Fungal disease did not slow it down as it remained vigorous and looked strangely healthy, if I count out the darkening leaves. It produces a lot of green matter, which makes it heavy feeder. It shows signs of nutrient deficiency soon after I stop giving it daily dose of water soluble liquid fertilizer. After treating with Aspirin, it went completely insane, pushing out more than 20 shoots at the same time. At the same time, older shoots branched out on nearly all of their internodes. I can’t tell for sure if it was the salicylic acid that did the magic, but it sure look so.
The infection doesn’t seem to be spreading now, and the seedling looks even healthier. The seedling showed three types (perhaps I could call them stages) of variegation. There are some completely unvariegated green leaves. There are loads of seemingly unvariegated leaves with a stripe on the edge of the leaf blade. Stripe sometimes have gaps of unvariegated leaf tissue which makes the stripes look a bit fuzzy. Some leaves have more pronounced stripes that appear in the middle of the leaf as well as on it’s edge. Lately, I am able to see leaves with same kind of progressive variegation as on the previous two seedlings. Strangely, it only appears on some of the shoots and they then have the same kind of variegation through the whole culm. Perhaps that could show chimeric nature of the seedling?
It’s much darker than other seedling’s variegation, it looks very similar and it also ‘grows’ progressively from more uniform lighter green color. Darker parts get darker while leaf matures and paler stripes get lighter green. These stripes are never (so far) yellow, compared to other seedlings, which makes the leaves look healthier.
I am not sure if these variegations will change with time, if one of them will become dominant or just fade out eventually.
Drosera capensis and Spiders
January 29, 2017
Drosera capensis is a carnivorous plant that can effectively fight fungus gnat flies, but can have a lot of problems, when infested with aphids. Aphids are usually moving over the parts of plant without traps, which makes them safe from Drosera’s sticky mucilage. Drosera can tolerate some aphids, but will start declining as the aphid population grows. At first, leaves can get stunted, wilted and show signs of damage. When there are too many aphids, D. capensis can no longer support sucking pest and all it’s leaves, which makes it start loosing leaves. First, old leaves dry out, then it spreads towards the newer parts of the plant. Eventually, if not treated with insecticide, the plant dies.
Aphids and Overwintering
Each year when I bring my plants in for the winter, there are all kinds of insects I bring inside with my plants. As soon as I accommodate my plants, I see an ‘explosion’ of fungus gnats population. It can easily be suppressed with careful watering and an army of carnivorous plants. Then comes aphid outbreak. My carnivores can’t help much about that issue and are usually the source of aphids in the first place. Aphids are more resilient to insecticides, because they live in various life cycles. Aphid eggs often stay hidden and protected, hatching when the insecticide fades out.
Together with all the plant eating insects, overwintered plants often bring in less annoying creatures like small spiders, worms, centipedes or springtails.
This year, I’ve ‘imported’ several spiders in my large Drosera capensis container. Most of the time, they remain hidden among Drosera leaves. It’s interesting, how they can place their spiderweb around the sticky Drosera traps without being caught. They compete for food with Drosera capensis, but can’t really compete when it comes to efficiency. The thing I have noticed, however, is that the spiders seem to be hunting for aphids. I have been bottom watering for a while, and I noticed a bunch of aphid corpses under their web.
They bring all their prey to the same spot in the center of the spiderweb. When the spider eats them, tiny carcasses are dumped down onto the soil. Watering removes these piles of dead insects and it took bottom watering to observe them piling up.
I am overwintering a lot of Drosera capensis plants this winter and I have almost lost a few because of aphids. Strangely, the large pot remained quite healthy, despite the fact that there were aphids on them, as well as in all the other pots. Seems to me, that the spiders are doing quite a nice job, keeping aphid population in check. I hope that these little spiders spawn at least a couple (hundred) more. I intend to leave them on my carnivores and probably introduce them to my other plants as well. The nicest thing about them is – they stay at the same spot as long as they have food. None of them left their pot.
Broken winter dormancy …
January 23, 2017
We’ve had quite cold and very dry winter so far. Most of the pots outside dried out completely during the dry, cold and windy weather. I needed to thaw some of my bamboo seedlings that were completely dry. Temperatures plunged below freezing even during the day, so I placed the containers into the basement. My initial plan was to keep them in somewhat warmer place, water them, and take them out when the weather warms up at least a little bit. It did not warm up soon enough for them. I noticed elongated leaf buds and branches on most, if not all my bamboo seedlings. Bamboos and my blueberry cuttings decided to leave the winter dormancy behind and start actively growing.
If I would not water them, they would dehydrate completely, but when I took them inside, I unintentionally broke their dormancy cycle. They only needed about a week of warmer temperatures to start showing signs of growth. When I wanted to finally take blueberries out, I’ve noticed their swollen buds that were already green. They were just waiting to burst open and start flowering. The fast growing Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seedling from last year was also fully awaken.
Temperatures outside will remain below freezing for quite some time, and I’ll not be able to place them outside until at least late March. They will have to remain in the basement for at least a couple of months with only minimal available light. I intend to take them outside whenever weather allows me to. If it warms up enough, I’ll leave them outside as long as possible, until it cools off well below freezing again. Breaking dormancy, not the best thing to do during such a cold winter…