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Growing Dionaea From Seeds

Growing Dionaea From Seeds

Buying Cheap Dionaea Seeds

First sprouts emerging!
First sprouts emerging!

I tried my luck by buying Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) seeds on eBay. As I’ve already found out, it’s not really the best idea to buy carnivorous plant seeds from eBay or Aliexpress. It’s almost impossible to receive the seeds you would like. I’ve learned my lession when I bought Carolina Reaper and Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Chili seeds. I received some seriously interesting hybrids and a nice collection of yellow, red and orange habaneros. Despite my better judgement, I decided to try getting Dionaea muscipula seeds from 3 different sellers. I have bought Dionaea ‘Dark Red’ (10 seeds) and a bag of mixed random seeds (15 seeds) that might be crosses of who knows what from German seller.

The seeds arrived quickly and I planted them on January 3rd. In a bit more than two weeks, first seeds started sprouting. In the pot with red form, the first sprouts actually arrived with a red tint. The sprouts of VFT seedlings from the Dionaea mix seed pack on the other hand all appeared green. Perhaps the seller was truthful after all!

Slightly red sprout of Dionaea muscipula
Slightly red sprout of Dionaea muscipula

Germination occurred in less than 3 weeks
Germination occurred in less than 3 weeks

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I also bought two packages from different Chinese vendors. 10 Dionaea Muscipula Giant Clip seeds from eBay and gigantic pack of 100 Red Dragon Flytrap seeds from Aliexpress. The first package did not arrive after more than a month and the seller kindly offered to send me another package. The large pack of seeds from Aliexpress arrived quickly and I have instantly noticed that the seeds looked different – I’ve been scamed. I opened a dispute and got my 40 cents back. 🙂 I might try to grow the fake seeds and write about what the seller actually sent.

The seedlings

2 weeks old Dionaea seedling
2 weeks old Dionaea seedling

The seedlings grew faster than I had expected. I was a bit worried they would not do well in pure peat, but they accepted it quite well.
I have decided to remove the plastic cover as soon as I’ve seen that most of the seeds have sprouted. Mold was already starting to grow as there were white threads growing all over the wet peat. Uncovering did not harm the seedlings. I was doing my best to keep the air moisture as high as possible. Air humidity was between 40% to 60% during most of the time.

Red trap colour was evident from the beginning
Red trap colour was evident from the beginning

Seeds from Dark red cultivar were showing sings of red coloration from the early start. Cotyledons seem to be a bit darker green, but as soon as the first carnivorous leaves appeared, the red color was evident. Strangely, the pot with mixed seeds should also have red variety, yet none of the 15 seedlings turned out to be red. Most of the seedlings pushed out one true leaf at once, but there were a few that managed to start with two. There was some diversity among the seedlings. Some had thick and others narrow cotyledons, there was one, with only one, conjoined cotyledon, some were more glossy and some had rough edges.

Young seedlings grow quite fast
Young seedlings grow quite fast

As the young seedlings grow and mature, it will be fun to see if any of them starts showing some kind of unique characteristic that would make it different from other Venus Flytraps. Seller took the seeds from cross-pollinated  plants, grown outside in the open, which means the resulting seedlings can be interesting. I hope to get some interesting and hardy Flytraps from these seeds.
I’m definitely going to grow more Dionaea seeds in the future, but before that, I want to go step further by growing Nepenthes seeds. I am trying my luck again by purchasing the seeds online. Wish me luck, I will need it! 😉

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Bamboo fungal infection?

Bamboo fungal infection?

Dark brown bottom side of the leaf
Dark brown bottom side of the leaf

Temperature outside dropped considerably, and I’m afraid that some of my less hardy bamboos will get completely toasted this year. In late fall, I have taken my variegated Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seedlings inside for overwintering. In just a week or so, I have noticed dark spots on some of their leaves. All the plants seemed to have been affected, but the issue seemes to be a bit different on the greener seedling. The darker, less variegated seedling started getting larger spots on it’s leaves. These spots appeared on old and on new leaves, young leaves seemed to be much more affected than the hardened ones. This seedling is overall happy and started shooting vigorously. New shoots are affected, but at this time, it seems like the infection is slowly fading out as new leaves take longer to develop the spots.

Upper sides of leaf surface are holding much better
Upper sides of leaf surface are holding much better

Other two, more variegated seedlings, took the same time to develop tiny black spots all over the leaf. These are much less visible from upper side of the leaf and hit the bottom side first. New leaves appear healthy at first, but when they age to a month or two, they start getting dark brown. Bottom side of the leaf gets hit first with just a couple of brown spots, eventually, it spreads all the way to the leaf tip and through the leaf to the upper side of leaf. I have cut off all the leaves from the largest seedling at the very beginning, when I first saw the issue. It doesn’t show any issues for now, but it grows really slow. It shows signs of recovery. I thoroughly sprayed all the seedlings with insecticide and it didn’t do much good.

Bamboo grows vigorously despite the infection
Bamboo grows vigorously despite the infection

When I took the seedlings inside, they all started growing rapidly. All of them started shooting and don’t really seem to be bothered by their infection. Especially the greener form started acting like the super-aggressive seedling from last winter. I keep temperature around 21°C – 25°C, relative humidity around 45% and around 16 hour light cycle. They have a fan nearby, which makes sure there is always some airflow. I will leave the seedlings inside for the winter and keep an eye on them. If they start to decline, I’ll bath them in fungicide, if not, I’ll wait for the spring to come and thoroughly spray them before planting them outside the next season.

Did any of you ever noticed anything similar on any of your bamboos? Hopefully I can identify the bamboo fungal infection, so I can get rid of it before the spring.

In the end, leaf becomes almost completely brown, turns yellow and falls off.
In the end, leaf becomes almost completely brown, turns yellow and falls off.
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Feeding Sundews Fish Food

Feeding Sundews Fish Food

Each winter, when I keep my sundews inside during the cold part of the year, I try to keep them as strong as possible for the following summer. They are more than capable of catching it’s own meal outside, but when I bring them inside, they don’t get much more than occasional fungus gnat.

Why do I even bother?
Feeding Drosera capensis
Feeding Drosera capensis

Carnivore plants usually require only small amount of nutrients and can easily withstand periods without captured food. They slow down their growth and refuse to start flowering until they get enough nutrients. My goal is, to make them grow as much as possible before the following season, possibly inducing flowering at the time when they come out in the spring. I keep them under grow light, which enables them to start flowering in late winter. They are in their full health when fungus gnats strike in the spring, when I start sowing my vegetables.

Healthy diet
Fish food I use
Fish food I use

In the past, I tried feeding them different kind of food, but I soon realised that giving them fish food is the easiest option by far. I have given my plants live springtails, while they were seedlings. They multiply vigorously and are excellent source of food for tiny Sundews, but they soon outgrow their tiny food. At one point, I have fed the carnivores aphids. In the spring time, they suck on tender cherry tree leaves. I have picked the infested leaves and placed them into a bag and thrown them into a freezer. I ended up with almost unlimited supply of dead aphids which lasted until the next spring. I could not feed them as much as I wanted to, because it was really time consuming. And as I later realized, giving them fish food really makes a difference. They just love it!
The food consists 50% of common water fleas (daphnia), a bit of vegetable proteins and fish derivatives. I was afraid the food would be too much for them to handle, but it seems to be perfect for the job. I usually mix it with some distilled water, to make it thinner.

Feeding plants
Time to rock and roll
Time to rock and roll

To apply the fish food paste onto the carnivorous leaf, I use a toothpick or a screwdriver. I dip it into the paste and apply it onto the trap. In a couple of hours, leaves usually start folding and start the digestion. When the process of digestion is finished, traps usually die off. Tentacles that were used are damaged and cease mucilage production. Dew appears only on unused tentacles. That’s the reason, why I usually apply the food all over the leaf and I leave some leaves intact. I feed those later. 🙂

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Plant albinism

Plant albinism

In some plants, albinism is quite common
In some plants, albinism is quite common

Albinism in plants is partial or complete absence of green chlorophyll pigment, which is essential for any plant to convert inorganic molecules into larger, organic molecules. Albinism interferes with photosynthesis which often leads to plant’s death. Well, unless the plant is parasitic, it doesn’t stand a chance of survival without photosynthesis. In the case of partial plant albinism, there is some chlorophyll production, but there are also parts of the plant that are lacking the green pigment. Partial albinism can be the cause of plant tissue variegation, such as variegated leaves, fruits, flowers or stems. In some cases partial albinism causes flowers to appear white even if the plant’s chlorophyll production is otherwise normal. According to one of the theories I’ve came across when reading about the issue, albino seedlings lacks a trigger hormone which is essential to initiate the chlorophyll production. Seeds can loose some of the needed hormones during storage, possibly due to mould infection. Seedlings that appear completely white or yellow usually die in the first couple of weeks, when they use all the food stored inside the seed.

Albino Phyllostachys arcana 'Luteosulcata' seedling
Albino Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seedling

Some plants, including many bamboo species, can have quite a lot of genetic mutations that cause albinisim. While germinating Phyllostachys arcana ‘Luteosulcata’ seeds, I noticed a large number of sprouts that were light pink, white or yellow colour and had no green pigment. Some of the first leafs had also shown minor difference in strength of green colour. There is a chance, that the lighter green seedlings will end up as partial albinos. Seeds usually store enough energy for the bamboo seedlings to grow up to three leaves, before they deplete the reserves, which makes them less dependant on nutrients from the growing medium. In later phase of growth, different colours can be the result of nutrient deficiencies, but at the stage of small seedling, that can’t really be the cause. The seedling colour could be slightly different because of other factors, for example, difference in stored enzymes or hormones, seed age, physical damage or genetic mutation.

Bamboo seedlings
Bamboo seedlings

Albino bamboos will perish in around two or three weeks. I might try to keep them around for a while longer, using lightly sugared water solution and foliar feeding. The albinism is supposed to be unconditional, without a chance for the seedlings to somehow restart chloroplast production. I will try to foliar feed those seedlings with plant matter from healthy bamboo leaves. If the theory about plant lacking triggering hormone is right and if those hormones can travel into the albino seedlings through the leaf via diffusion or through stomata, perhaps introducing the albino seedling to hormones from healthy leaves can trigger the plants to start producing green photosynthetic pigment and avoid certain death.

Albino seedling with fully developed roots
Albino seedling with fully developed roots
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