(Propagation) Nepenthes Gardentech

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Basal!

When I first realized that the N. Gardentech I bought last year (which my dad ‘stole’ and transplanted into a bigger pot) had produced a sizable basal, I was ecstatic. Finally! A nepenthes I had growing a basal! It was unprecedented for me, probably because I keep all my nepenthes in small, four-inch pots due to space constraints.

Attempting to cut off the basal, I instead, by accident, snipped off the main portion of the Gardentech. Without roots, I might add.

I nearly died from the frustration at myself, the grrrrrrr which enveloped me right then.

Main stem snipped into three portions with more than four nodes each

But instead of throwing the cutting away, I decided to just heck it and try rooting the cuttings. I mean, why waste the cuttings, right? I might as well take this as my first nepenthes rooting experience.

Armed with prior knowledge in Cindy’s thread at GCS: How to take nepenthes cuttings and root them, I shortened the long cutting into two larger portions with more than four nodes each, and a smaller portion also with more than four nodes, but smaller in size.

Cutting #1

The stems being quite thin, I couldn’t really do the cut-and-flip of the outer layer which Cindy did in her thread. So I simply scraped the outer portion off.

The two larger cuttings are in pure water now; the smaller cutting is in pure perlite.

I think that roots should grow in about a month or so, hopefully.

(I’d already cut an N. ventrata cutting about a week back and did the cut-and-flip method on it. It being a common and hardy nepenthes, I thought I’d use it to learn before I tried the method on my rarer nepenthes. But ah well. Learn as I do, I suppose)

Cutting #2

Cutting #3 - the smallest one

It grew such a nice and large picther, no less! =(

(Propagation) Propagation attempt of allspice

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I just acquired some allspice cuttings, courtesy of a friend. His mature plant had almost half of its top bent to the ground by either heavy rains or strong winds, and he went to snip those parts off.

The allspice is notoriously hard to propagate through vegetative means, so this is more of an (hopeful) experiment since we don’t want to waste the cuttings either.

The cuttings were mature and long enough for me to play around with them, so I more or less have sets of softwood, semi-hardwood, and hardwood cuttings.

I made sure to either scrape the soft outer layer of bark off the softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings, and to totally tear off about an inch of the outer layer of bark from the hardwood parts, since wounding plants seem to encourage a release of rooting hormones in the cuttings. Two branch-offs had heels too, so that might help as well.

I planted them in various media in a few pots: mature Greenback compost + volcanic sand; mature GB compost + Aquaclay leca; pure Aquaclay; pure worm cast. All the pots have been bagged up and misted to keep the humidity high.

Now…to see when/if these cuttings will root. I’m hopeful.

Note: These cuttings come from an allspice plant with rounded leaves. Some research points to the possibility that it is pimenta dioica/officinalis var. ovalifolia, so I shall refer to it as such until I’m corrected otherwise.

(Propogation) Allspice

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About half a year ago, when I heard that the nursery at Ang Mo Kio had finally – FINALLY! – released their allspice plants for sale, I rushed down and bought two plants immediately, even though each cost $30. There came a sale of 30% the month following my purchases, but ah well. Done is done.

Notoriously hard to propagate, the allspice comes from the Greater Antilles, Southern Mexico and Central America. The unripe berries are plucked and used. But one would need a separate male and female plant to achieve cross pollination. That was the reason why I bought two plants in the first place – in the hopes that one was male, and the other female.

However, I have no idea when flowers would appear. I suspect only when the plants became huge trees. Not having the space to grow the plants that large, I’ve finally hit down hard on my fears and turned to marcotting this plant.

I’ve read and done a few marcotting, myself, but mostly on plants far less expensive (though no less hard to find in Singapore) than the allspice. Still, I had to gather my guts to do it.

I did two marcotting portions on each plant.

For the first plant, I merely did slanted cuts on a semi-woody stem, smeared rooting hormone in the cuts, and wrapped worm casting around them before sealing them up with cling wrap.

For the second one, and especially the second portion, I tore out the whole layer of outer bark on one portion, smeared rooting hormone up and down the wound, and also used worm casting on it (and on the other).

I decided not to use soil this time because, well…I have excess casting for one, and also I heard that worm casting somehow encourages rooting in plants.

It was a messy affair, as usual, since my hands become like feet whenever I have to handle marcotting processes. But the slightly paste-like texture of the casting helped, so that it didn’t crumble here and there.

I’ve had to strip a few leaves. So…maybe I’ll enjoy some cups of fragrant allspice tisanes today.

Now…let’s see how long roots take to form. I hope ants don’t make nests in them!

(Propagation and harvesting) Raspberry

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I wanted to title this post “Raspberry HEE” but thought it a bit too hyper.

The three raspberry cuttings I’d taken a few days ago have gone limp. Well, the two in my room (and which I’d semi-sealed up in plastic bags) have gone pretty limp and some leaves had wilted; the one in my balcony which is in shade just has tender leaves with the slightest bit of wilt.

Worried, I’d gone to the garden, intending to dig up the oldest newly-formed sucker (there are three!) when I saw that the first ripe raspberry was ripped partway, and was hanging there by the barest thread. So, without noticing that my fingers had bits of soil, I plucked it off and put it in my mouth.

Yum.

It had the barest taste of sweetness with no hint of sourness. The perfect raspberry, my friend says.

Afraid that the other ripe fruit would suffer the same fate, I ate it too. 😛 Sorry, no pictures. LOL.

But, I’ve separated one sucker from the mother plant, and am waiting for the other two suckers to grow up quickly. This plant seems pretty prolific. No wonder the raspberry is treated like a bramble-weed in some countries.

The oldest raspberry sucker

Tap root and feeder roots

The thorns. At this young age, they're bristly and soft instead of hard and thorny

The potted-up sucker

(Growing conditions) Lemon verbena; addendum

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Just to add on to my previous post on growing lemon verbena, propagation can also be done with growing tips, preferably no more than three or four leaf nodes down from the tip, placed in pure perlite, and then bagged up, allowing a small opening for some air circulation.

Roots formed in about two to three weeks; this picture shows the stalk in my fish tank, after I'd transferred it there

(Propagation) Cephalotus follicularis

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In October 2009, I went to Cameron Highlands with a group of friends, and bought back three adult pots of cephalotus follicularis, otherwise known as the Albany Pitcher Plant.

At that time, while I’d had some experience in growing some forms of carnivorous plants, the ceph was one I’d stayed away from for some time because of their notoriety in suffering from root shock whenever they get transplanted.

I decided to risk it anyway. Once I got home, I set to transferring them out of their too-wet long-fiber sphagnum media, and into a potting media which I’d pre-mixed (and which has worked on all the CPs I’ve owned thus far).

Unfortunately, all three parent plants died on me over the course of a few months.

Thankfully, during repotting, I’d done leaf pullings (about six leaves) and had plonked them tip-end into pure peat moss in a clear plastic container.

For almost five months, there were no signs of anything happening. The leaves remained green.

My policy with CP propagation is that…well…I’m terribly lazy to clear out anything, sometimes for months on end. And a few times, this has worked in my favor really well, because even when the leaves rot away (like those of my venus flytraps), plantlets will still grow provided you leave them alone.

So, after about six months, I saw the first shoot. It was nothing more than a single green point then, but it has now grown to form a shape and some pitchers.

Three other leaves have sent out shoots also. I gave the second-eldest away, and am now left with three in total.

Not bad for a total newbie at cephs, methinks. =)

My method: Hold the parent plant firmly, and use a pair of sharply-pointed tweezers to grab hold of the leaf as close to the parent plant as possible. In a stable move, pull the leaf downwards so that part of the main stalk tears off along with the leaf. Place the pointed tip into a layer of peat moss in a clear plastic container, and water thoroughly so that the peat is moist but not boggish in conditions. Leave the container in an area with bright sunlight (mine gets two hours of direct morning sun a day, and bright shade thereafter). Do not disturb unless you see leaves yellowing or rotting away – remove these ASAP. Note that one ceph. website (I can’t remember which) states that new growth can take anywhere from one month to nine. So, do be patient.


The eldest plantlet in the box.


The second one…


The youngest for now.


Four out of six (remember, I gave one away) is an acceptable average. Now, to manifest the last two leaves growing something too…

(Propagation) Note to self/everyone

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If you break off a part of the stalk of any plant, but there’s still the barest hint of plant fiber holding the stalk to the mother plant, please don’t throw the stalk away (unless the plant is so easily propagated or you don’t want more of the plant). Go marcot it. It works.


Image Credit: Kotsengkuba.com

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