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Drosera capensis water-float method?

I've read about the water-float method but I have not found detailed instructions.
How exactly does one set up the water-float method for leaf cuttings and flower stalk cuttings?
What I like to do it take a clear vial or test tube, fill it with purified water and leaf cuttings and stopper it. Then I lay it underneath grow lights and change the water about every two weeks. Watch for sprouts.
I use to do this routinely (because it's just so cool!) but recently it hasn't been working. I didn't think to change the water, do you think that the amount of growth in the adult plant has an effect on the success or failure of this method?
Also keep in mind that capensis will be more likely to root from pullings rather than cuttings. Grip the leaf and pull gently downward removing as much of the leaf base from the stalk as possible.
Like Bluemax, I usually use test tubes because I can fit a lot of them in a small space. I try to use fresh growth (leaves that are not covered in bugs) & I don't bother changing the water. I also usually stick the tubes on an east-facing windowsill (I don't know that direction matters - but that's what I have). For a longer thread on the topic - look over here.
Thanks all!
Great link RL7836!

I've heard that the water-float method gets better results than placing cutting/pullings in substrate. Is that true for Drosera capensis?
In my experience you get a higher strike rate with the water method but the plants grow much slower than strikes done in substrate.

And I find root cuttings are far more efficient than leaf cuttings/pullings for this species. Or just let them go to seed and you'll have dozens of them in as much time as it takes for cuttings to strike.
I've had the water-float method work for me. I just put my leaf cutting in a shot glass with RO water and put a plastic bag over it. Then I set it under my lights and on my heat pad. It took a while but they started growing! The only problem I have is putting them into soil after they've started. Each time I add to soil they die! :( I'm going to try a longer stalk on my leaf cuttings..
You may have seen this already but John Brittnacher wrote a great guide for this technique here: http://www.carnivorousplants.org/howto/Propagation/DroseraLeafCuttings.php.

My tips:
(1) I tried adding 1/16 strength fertilizer to the water when I saw plantlets, just to experiment... thought it'd make them grow faster. That's a no-no. Instant algal bloom. I'm always amazed how algae find their way everywhere.
(1a) If you start cuttings under mist, not in water, you can spray-fertilize them without causing algal blooms. The plantlets grew faster and I just scraped off whatever algae appeared. Best of both worlds.
(2) @ Unstuckintime: Changing the water helps oxygenate it. This is key to root growth because the roots of all plants need air. If the water never changes, the plants will be unlikely to ever make roots. I'm not strict on when to change the water, but generally once a week. I'm not sure if there's an optimal interval or not. John Brittnacher told me 2 weeks fairly recently when he sent me some leaf cuttings.
(3) I make sure the leaf is clean before I take a pulling. No dirt, no bugs, and hopefully as few microorganisms as possible. I try to pick a clean leaf and if it's got anything attached I'll tweeze or wash it off.
(4) Test tubes rock for leaf cuttings. Water bottles are decent but take up a lot of space.

In my experience with water rooting, transitioning the plantlets to substrate can be a pain. In fact, it might even be so tedious that one mistake can lose all the plantlets and hard work altogether. It depends on your conditions, specifically how much heat/light/humidity you can provide and how stable you can keep things.

I had some capensis and filiformis leaves under mist in peat, and they struck very well. Plus, they were already growing in media and this eased the transition considerably. There were maybe 1/3 fewer plants with the misting system, but because they were so much easier to deal with I was very happy.
  • #10
I've done both methods. In all honestly, leaf cuttings placed in media, especially in their own little grow chamber, aka a used take out container, are easier. While they'll have a lower strike rate, the transition from water to media can easily cause losses greater than non-striking cuttings.

As said above, newer leaves work better, but, in all honesty, for D. capensis, root cuttings or seeds work better.
  • #11
(1a) If you start cuttings under mist, not in water, you can spray-fertilize them without causing algal blooms. The plantlets grew faster and I just scraped off whatever algae appeared. Best of both worlds.

Under mist...? Would the cuttings sit on soil and you could use a fogger/mister in a terrarium? Or spraying it down each day?
  • #12
I've never had any success with the cuttings placed directly in media. Guess I'll have to keep trying..

And I guess next time I repot I can take a root cutting and see how that works out for me..
  • #13
I've heard you can increase success with media cuttings by brushing the back of the cutting with rooting powder, but I've never tried this.

Additionally, I recently learned, that if you microwave the media or pour boiling water on the sphagnum to wet it, you'll drastically decrease your incidence of mold, mildew, fungus, etc. (Something I wish I had known sooner). I'd highly recommend you do that, especially wherever you're trying to start seedlings/cuttings.
  • #14
Thanks! I might have some rooting powder in my gardening toolbox. I might have to try this.
  • #15
Under mist...? Would the cuttings sit on soil and you could use a fogger/mister in a terrarium? Or spraying it down each day?
I used a large propagation bench which is under intermittent misting 24/7. It's hooked up to a mist timer. I believe it was set to come on for 30 seconds every 6-10 minutes or something like that. The settings have worked perfectly for years so I really don't manipulate them enough to remember what they're set to. It will be much more difficult to try cuttings without automation. I think you can achieve something decent with a sealed, 100% humid container but you will have to avoid placing it in high-light and high-temp environments or all you'll make is steamed leaves.

Speaking of rooting hormone, whenever I do leaf cuttings of Drosera or VFT they seem sluggish to make roots. My first way to stimulate them to make roots is 1/16 strength fertilizer, ensuring it has calcium. I have also tried diluting Rootone in a spray bottle and misting the cuttings completely with this mixture. The hormone did work for VFTs, although it was still pretty slow. Little to no effect on Drosera capensis and filiformis. I didn't measure the strength I used--just kinda eyeballed it--so let me know if anyone is able to affect Drosera with hormone. Maybe treat half the cuttings and not the other half.

If you're going to use a microwave to sterilize any kind of soil, make sure it's moist. Microwaves operate by jittering around water molecules until they heat up. The effect just isn't the same on dry soil.
  • #17
I just wanted to give an update about the little experiments I did..

#1 I had one clear test tube with RO water and a leaf cutting of D. cisitflora. I stoppered it and put it under my lights. Changed the water every 14 days. Used fresh growth and the tube was sitting on a heat mat. Everything was sanitized before adding the cutting. I saw sprouts on the cutting in 17 days.

#2 Then I did the same thing with a pulling of D. marston dragon. Water changed out every 14 days. That took 19 days until I saw any sprouts on the leaves.

#3 The next thing I tried was the same as #1 with the leaf cutting of D. cisitlfora but I didn't change the water at all. It took 32 days until I saw sprouts.

# 4 Was the same as #2 a pulling of D. marston dragon but no water change. Sprouts appeared in 8 days.

#5 Last thing I tried was a sealed plastic container. D. marston dragon leaf cuttings on media. I put the container inside of my terrarium. And I used a root hormone on the cuttings. The container was sanitized prior to the experiment. This took 42 days to see any sprouts.
  • #18
A picture of the D. marston dragon that I did and put into a soupy soil mix. This was #2 from my previous post.