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Joseph Clemens

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It really doesn't matter what media (in this case half silica sand and half coral sand) I use, it is always wet. That's because I keep my potted Mexican/equitorial Pinguicula in plastic trays, and I keep the water levels in the trays, near the top of the media levels in the pots. I do this year-'round, and also keep the lights on 24/7/365.

Here is a photo of Pinguicula gypsicola, growing into a split crown, which is in its own rocks glass. The media in the pot is just below the top of the rocks glass. I refresh the water in the glass, daily, to maintain the level just below the media surface.

Fed weekly with dried powdered bloodworms and dried powdered locally captured insects. Also with a bi-monthly spritz of 80 ppm solution of Peters 20-20-20 soluble fertilizer with trace minerals. When I spritz, I wash the insect powder between the leaves and into the crown of the plant. The insects exoskeletons are made of chitin, which promotes chitin eating bacteria. Since these plants are prone to crown rot, promoted by nematodes, and nematodes egg shells are made of chitin. Hypothetically using lots of powdered insect remains, suppresses nematode populations, reducing the incidence of crown rot. Also chitin feeds beneficial fungi, such as Trichoderma species.

There are several successful cultural methods that work with these plants. Most are more of an attempt to duplicate the natural environment. I like to illustrate a method that is outside the typical, yet produces excellent results. I developed my methods by following the advice of my first college Horticulture professor. His lesson was the lesson of limiting factors. That growing plants depends on a complex interaction of limiting factors. Factors such as; light, photoperiod, water, water quality, soil moisture level, humidity, soil/media, temperature, nutrition, and etc. If all factors are optimal, and balanced with each other and the plants, growth and health can also be optimal for the particular plant genotype. Hence producing a plant with a clearly defined phenotype.

If you look closely you will see that several flower stalks are forming on the left, and this plant is quickly approaching flowing time.

i-QF6pdW8-M.jpg

 
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Joseph Clemens

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Consider that, in 2001, I obtained my first solitary specimen of Pinguicula gypsicola.
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Whenever I transplant or repot a Mexican/equatorial Pinguicula plant I usually do at least a few leaf-pullings.

Here's a group of Pinguicula gypsicola plantlets, with the leaves they originated from, now all dried up. They've been like this for nearly a year (about seven months). They were laid on a piece of dry paper towel in the bottom of a small, transparent, plastic container. This is one of several groups of leaf-pullings, all of different ages, but around the same stage of development (kind of like being in stasis). My backups. If they don't last until I have room to grow them out, their are usually more leaf-pullings that can take their place.

i-3sGN9wJ-M.jpg

Here are a few of these plantlets, three or four months after planting them into individual pots. At about this time, I still have about a half dozen very large specimens, and five or six trays, with fifteen two inch pots, like the photo below ->

i-PFrXLsp-M.jpg

 
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Joseph Clemens

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One of my favorite media and methods for turning the little leaf-pulling generated plantlets into the healthy looking individually potted plants with flowers as seen in this pic ->
i-PFrXLsp-M.jpg

Sieve horticultural grade perlite through window screen to remove fines (dust size particles). Then sieve it again through 1/8[SUP] th[/SUP] inch mesh hardware cloth (like a course screen). Collect these ~ 1/8[SUP] th[/SUP] inch size pieces in a plastic container. Moisten the perlite until it is damp, but not wet (if there is free water, drain it off). This helps it to clump together and for the iron oxide powder to cling to the perlite particles. I then mix/stir about 1/4 teaspoon of red iron oxide powder (I buy the kind used for glazing pottery), into about a one gallon volume of moistened perlite. This is enough to tint all the perlite a reddish-pink color. Next I prepare some APS/turface/kitty litter for use as a topping. I put it into its own plastic container and soak it in an 80ppm solution of Peters 20-20-20 soluble fertilizer with trace minerals. Once it stops giving off bubbles, it's ready to use, and I drain off any fertilizer solution that wasn't absorbed/adsorbed by the APS.

Next, I fill 2" plastic pots with the perlite mix to within 1/4" of the pot rim, pushing it firmly but gently into the pots. After I have the number of pots I plan to use, ready - I top the perlite with the APS. Sometimes I use kitty litter, coarse silica sand, coral sand, fine colored gravel, or other heavier mineral media as a topping to help hold the perlite in the pots, or I even sometimes fill the entire pot with just the topping material.

I then set each pot, one at a time, into a small cup of water, to thoroughly wet the media. This makes it easy to use my stainless steel widger to make a small opening in the topping and a depression in the perlite, where the plantlet will be placed. But, before I place the plant, right after I make the depression, I sprinkle a generous pinch of dried, powdered, insect dust that has been mixed with a small bit of RootShield® (Trichoderma harzianum) powder. I sprinkle this over the surface of the planting depression, then place the plant and using the widger, I tuck some media topping around the base of the plant.

As each pot is finished, I place them into the shoebox sized plastic trays (each tray can hold 15, 2" pots, with a small gap on one end that facilitates watering. Once each tray has its planted pots, I add water until the level is even with the top of the media, then place them under the fluorescent lights. I check them every day or two to ensure the water level remains at least a half inch deep in the trays, topping them off whenever I notice it dropping below this level. Once the plantlets begin noticeably growing, I start sprinkling them lightly with the insect powder, and spritzing it into their crowns a couple of days later, with the dilute fertilizer solution.

>>Concerning the transparent plastic growing trays. I prep them for use, by first washing and drying them thoroughly, like I would dishes. Afterwards I spray paint them with flat white paint that is formulated for adhesion to plastic surfaces. I concentrate my painting efforts on the rim and sides that will be exposed to the fluorescent lights. Without the protection of the paint the light will quickly destroy the plastic trays.
 
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Joseph Clemens

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Here's another, just about to finish going into winter leaf - and its crown has split three ways, too -->


I agree with jimscott, it certainly is a rewarding species to grow. Though, it is difficult to focus my attention to only a few varieties of Mexican/equatorial Pinguicula. But, if I had to be so limited, I'd hope that this would be one of them.

The plant and the intricate forms the leaves take as they transition between leaf forms, are quite attractive to me. The pretty blue/lavender flowers are just a little icing.
 
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uphwiz

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great information Joseph.
i will try some of these methods. though i cant do the 24 7 photo period. i can only do 12 to 14 hours a day, so i guess 14
will be my best.
and i guess i also need to begin feeding i have never fed mine and they do seem to eak along .
maybe they are starving , Thoughts ?
 

Joseph Clemens

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In my early days, I didn't know their nutritional needs. I planted them in pure peatmoss. They barely survived. Things changed as soon as I began feeding. Over the years I've discovered that they can survive, in very minimal environmental conditions. They are very versatile plants.

But, don't forget, when increasing things like nutrition, other environmental factors also need to be adjusted to maintain balance. With increased nutrition, the light, water, and temperature should be adjusted to balance the additional nutrition, otherwise the imbalance could be disastrous, instead of beneficial.

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I squeeze six, four foot lamps (three - dual lamp fixtures), over each shelf. I'd fit more, if I could fit them, without creating custom lamp mounts. I did play with overdriving the normal fluorescent lamps, at one time. But that made it more complicated, and I've since stopped rewiring balasts to create this state.

I like to position the lamps as close to the plants leaves, as is practical. Sometimes I lay the lamps across the tops of the plastic shoebox size trays. The trays the potted plants are sitting in.
i-pQFvmPQ-XL.jpg


That puts them a few inches from the plants leaves. I try to raise the lights, when the plants are blooming, so the flowers and flower stalks don't contact the lamps and get damaged.
 
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Jcal

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Wow! This plant just got added to my wish list. Love the info. Thanks for sharing
 
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You have the most incredible gypsicola. It seems you keep your Pinguicula very wet with excellent results! This is very much to contrary of what I had come to understand.
 
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