Well I guess this would be a good spot to post these pictures. I got this U. asplundii x campbelliana a couple months back. It came with a couple leafy bits and the start of a bud. I was thinking maybe the bud would abort but just left it alone and now it is starting to open. This is my first orchioides utric flower but lo and behold my U. alpina also just developed a bud after almost a year growing under my care. I'm guessing the flower in the pics still has a ways to go before it's fully opened and maybe I will post pics again then but ah well I got excited enough to take pics...might as well share. Anyway here's the pics:
I'd really like to thank everyone who has contributed to the thread over the years. It has provided me (and many other lurkers, I'm sure) with a tremendous amount of knowledge. Seeing the results from so many of your experiments has drastically simplified my journey in creating a good habitat for these wonderful plants. I look forward to posting some pictures when I am (hopefully) able to coax one of my plants to flower - mostly as a way to thank those who helped me to get here. I'm also looking forward to posting a terrarium build that I'm currently working on, designed specifically for utrics in this section. With any luck I can help out someone else who comes along too.
@bluemax It's about time, right? It's amazing how much things have changed since the beginning of this thread, especially in terms of lighting. There have been so many innovations in low cost LED lighting. And there has been a substantial amount of research about what many plants need from fully artificial lighting.
And that's great to hear; how are you growing it?
I'm growing all of my Orchidioides in a 20 gallon high aquarium under two 24" full spectrum 26W LED aquarium lights (the plants are about 12" below the lights). These plants end up receiving a DLI (daily light integral [basically a measure of how many usable photons the plants receive per day]) of between 6 to 7 moles per day. I basically took pyro's tutorial and calculated the approximate DLI of his setup with this handy calculator (along with many best guesses) and then calculated what I'd need for a more modern LED setup. Because these are aquarium lights instead of grow lights the amount of red light is a bit low; I may end up supplementing the lighting with additional red LEDs if I'm having difficulty getting any flowers. Everybody keeps saying these plants need a lot of light in this thread; I probably could have just taken the advice and come to the exact same conclusion... But I'm the type of person who likes to double check things with numbers. The lights are on a 13/11 photoperiod in the summer and 11/13 in the winter. I tried to find a photoperiod that was close to the natural habitats of these plants - more or less. The old section Iperua grow a bit farther from the equator while the old section Orchidioides grow a bit closer, I split the difference.
All of the plants that I'm growing in the old section Orchidioides (including alpina, praetermissa, and quelchii), a humboltdii x alpina hybrid, and humboltdii are in a 4" round net pot with a 1:1 mix of live long fibered sphagnum and pumice. I have not heard of anyone else trying out this mix but it should provide the right balance of moisture, drainage, and air (as there are some complaints about pure live LFS remaining too wet). Pyro mentioned a similar mix which is largely inorganic media for plants from the old section Orchidioides (at least I'm pretty sure that APS is the same thing as turface); I adjusted it to what I had on hand. Live LFS and perlite was mentioned here for the humboltdii - so I applied it to that plant as well as the hybrid (switching out the perlite for pumice). @Jeremiah Harris shipped me the quelchii that I'm growing with some additional draining material at the bottom so that the plant wouldn't get wet feet when standing in a tray (I think it was perlite but I don't remember); I borrowed that trick and put a 1/2" layer of pumice to the bottom of these pots to further increase drainage. Reniformis and nephrophylla are in a normal pot in 2:1:1 peat, sand, pumice (suggested here, I couldn't find anything more specific). Nelumbifolia is in a net pot in 1:1:1 live LFS, peat, and pumice (adjusted to what I had on hand from this experiment).
The terrarium is currently in my living room with temperatures topping out at 80F during the day and dropping down to 68F at night. The humidity is really inconsistent, between 40% and 95%. The build that I'm working on should get the temperature into my target range, max of 80F during the day down to 60F just before the lights come on. It should also keep the humidity at a 65% during the day and 95% at night. But, we'll see if my calculations are correct; It works in theory. In order to find the target temperature and humidity numbers for these plants I picked an average elevation for the plants that I'm growing (1500 meters) and found some temperature data for a spot in Venezuela (where many plants from the old section Orchidioides grow) at the same elevation. The climate in Rio de Janeiro (where a lot of the plants from the old section Iperua grow) at the same elevation is very similar so I figured it was fine. At least it will be good for most but not perfect. Nephrophylla doesn't normally grow at that elevation and it's at the edge of the elevation ranges of both alpina and quelchii. But, such is life. I guess I'll just need to set up some more terrariums at some point in the future.
Anyway, I'm still in the process of setting up this terrarium so it's too early to tell if it's going to be a good environment for these plants. We'll see if that's the case; I'll keep the thread updated. It's also extremely important to my fiance that this terrarium "doesn't look like a science experiment" - we'll see if that's the case as well.
Collin - that sounds like a wonderful collection of utrics and a nice growing set up. You have certainly done the research for it and I wish you success. I will be looking forward to any updates you might post.
My soil choice has largely been long-fiber sphagnum, sometimes with added chunky things but often without. I am currently growing U. quelchii both in a seasonally cool garage space and a large terrarium indoors. The temperatures are very different between the two but both are showing signs of waking up from winter-induced naps, which I partly attribute to the lengthening of the days, which are changed as the seasons progress. All are under LED lighting, some of the T8/12 replacement tube type and some of the screw-in variety. It was kind of frustrating last fall when the one in the garage that had been finally looking good started losing leaves and stopped growth in the cooler temps but I am hoping it will get back on the train at the same place now that it is starting to warm up again. I also grow U. alpina x humboltii, though only since last fall, and I'm hoping for good things from that one. I suspect my U. humboltii might've bitten the dust but I need some time to tell.
One of the things that is starting to get through to me after idle observation on my part is that if you grow numerous Utricularia species together in the same water tray you will end up with a mass of utric chop suey. Having a lot of plant mass that might be this, that or something else is kind of discouraging so I will be moving to individual watering trays for each plant. Hopefully soon before things start growing rapidly again.
Thanks Mark. Fingers crossed; plants do what they want. There are plenty of times where they don't seem to care about the research that I do. Unfortunately the humboldtii and nelumbifolia arrived in pretty bad shape; we'll see if I can coax them into putting up a leaf or two. But, I'm hopeful. I received those plants about a week ago and immediately began setting up this terrarium, moving the other species inside. The nephrophylla has exploded with new growth and the alpina has already put up a flower stalk; hopefully it won't abort. Maybe it was the transition that triggered the bloom? Or maybe it would have flowered outside? It's hard to tell.
How far are your plants from your lights? Do you know the wattage? Sorry to hear that about your humboldtii; they sound to be one of the most challenging to grow unless you just let them grow unchecked in a bunch of water trays. That being said @RSS has an interesting method for growing these plants. Hopefully your quelchii bounces back, that's what those tubers are for.
And yeah, that's one of the problems with happy utrics. Some species are worse than others - I keep those separate. But, for most species I just lift up their pots and check for errant stolons on a semi-regular basis. I'm considering using thin acrylic sheets to divide up this terrarium; basically creating 4" cubes across the bottom of the terrarium (with an open top). That being said, I worry that it will negatively impact the airflow around the pots (especially for the side farther from the fan). And it'll be a pain to cut and glue all that acrylic. Jury is still out on whether or not I'll end up doing that.
I found some hourly weather data for río Arabopó, Venezuela. The elevation is 1500m; the location is just a few km away from Mt Roraima in the Guiana highlands. Based on my interpretation of the elevation and location data in Taylor's monograph, the largest number of plants from this section should be able to grow in these conditions (all of them except unifolia and nephrophylla, although I neglected to look up cornigera). I spent a few minutes doing data visualization so that I could better see how the weather changes over the course of the day throughout the year. How does 10am in March compare to 10am in September, etc.
Here's the google sheet. You can copy the sheet over to your account if you want to play with the data in a way that I did not (although it takes a minute to copy with over 100k rows). I'm pretty sure that the precipitation data is an extrapolation of data from every three hours to hourly. So, maybe take it with a grain of salt. Either way it has been the best insight into the growing conditions of these plants that I have been able to find and I wanted to share.
'Very nice to have a solid representation of seasonal temperatures when figuring out what specific plants will like. That's a find.
My plants are roughly 12" from the lights but this varies and I keep on eye on them and increase or decrease the light amounts depending. Because I add long-necked clamp-on type lights with screw in leds I can add light as needed on my garage growing shelves. I'm afraid I haven't checked the wattage in a while but I suspect it wouldn't really mean much because of the way I shift the lights when I want to more or less. Having said that I'm not really sure what most of the utrics really want but I generally give them moderate light as they seem to get sunburned if I go too high.
I just recently found a pot with a single leaf in it that might be humboltii and I believe it was a back-up pot of that species. Here's a reason not to be sloppy with the pot tags. I am still hoping that the larger plant will come back but it hasn't been warm for long enough to know yet. Even the U. reneformis, which I can tell is healthy by just looking, is sitting there waiting for warmer days right now.
Fingers crossed that it is a little piece of humboldtii. Let me know if it isn't - I'll be happy to share a small piece of mine if I'm able to establish my plant. It's looking good so far - I noticed a small aquatic leaf the other day. Progress! The plant arrived as a few stolons and bladders, not a leaf in sight. It might be a while, lol.
I was doing some research the other day and I came to the realization that many epiphytes are CAM plants. There are several different photosynthetic pathways that are beneficial in different situations (C3, C4, CAM). In the majority of plants (C3, C4), the stomata open during the day. (Stomata are organs on the underside of leaves which can open to facilitate gas exchange.) This allows the plants to take in CO2 and release O2 during the day while they are doing photosynthesis. This is good as it means that photosynthesis can occur at a faster rate. This is bad in certain circumstances as water evaporates out of the stomata - a process called transpiration. For context, 97% of water taken up through the roots is lost to transpiration in C3 plants. That's really bad if you're living on a tree in the dry season. CAM plants open their stomata at night in order to reduce the water loss that occurs during the day. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find any studies on the photosynthetic pathways of Utricularia. That being said, an extremely diverse number of plants are CAM plants - including mosses, ferns, cycads, conifers, and flowering plants; some plants within the Utricularia's order (Lamiales) are CAM plants. It has also been shown that the expression of CAM is plastic; some plants even switch between C3 and CAM depending on conditions. So, this definitely requires more investigation - especially when you consider the growing conditions and climate data for these plants - especially from January-April. Little rain, cool/humid nights and hot/drier days. Growing on trees and mosses, where moisture is limited. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Anyway, there's a point to all of this. I know that many people use an ultrasonic humidifier to bump the humidity during the day - but I think I'm going to try things a bit differently. I'm going to try to bump humidity at night. If my wild speculation is correct, this help open up the stomata by reducing ratio of pressure inside the leaf vs outside the leaf (which is an important factor in triggering the stomata to open, as is lowering the temperature). But, who knows. Maybe these aren't CAM plants after all. Unfortunately I don't have the space for a control group, maybe one day.