Here are some Drosophyllum lusitanicum plants from "Los Barrios, Spain." Typically, they grow very strong for me for 2 years, and then flower. After that, I've never been able to keep them alive. Hopefully, I'll crack the code this year and keep these things going:
Last Edit: Jan 8, 2016 14:21:39 GMT -5 by meizzwang
I've definitely noticed the same issue with our plants. I've had some up to four years, but they seem to outgrow their pots then decline. I have one that is in a 10" tall terracotta pot that had a stem on it over two feet long, but the longest plant in that pot died this winter. I've always wondered if they just start having root problems as they age since in nature this plant would send their roots down fairly deep to find water. I have noticed plants in bigger pots seem to last longer.
Since you're in California, have you ever tried just planting one in the ground?
These look great. I've tried and failed a few times at this plant, but with the new greenhouse setup, I'm interested in trying again (as Peter's cashflow will certainly appreciate). Here's my thinking:
In the greenhouse here in VA, it will be very hot during the summer, and I can keep it dry (although I may be a bit worried about the humidity, though fans will keep the air moving). In the winter, it never gets below 38 degrees, and it is even more humid, so I'm thinking that might mimic Mediterranean climes enough for it to do well?
couple of observations I've made with this plant: 1) short nights=triggers flowering, even with tiny seedlings. I once sprouted some seeds under lights and they flowered...but that's because it was on an 18 hour photoperiod. 2) Grow wet but not water-logged during the winter (Ie. never sit in water), and grow almost like a cactus during late spring/early summer. I think the trickiest part is how to water the plant during the summer, but not overwater it. 3) slowly acclimate the plant in the spring to tolerate less water...don't just keep it well irrigated/super happy the whole spirng, and then all of the sudden, when it flowers, cut off the water. That will shock it.
The high humidity could be an issue, but keep the medium dry. These plants are definitely frost tolerant...I've had leaves freeze over complete and droop down, but then they revived the next day with no damage! Deep freezes, on the other hand, would probably kill them.
I think this plant thrives in a Mediterranean climate...almost as though it grows in the rocky outcrops of California near the ocean. It gets wet but not waterlogged in the winter, and bone dry in the summer. The coastal fog keeps it going during the summer, but the plant doesn't get completely baked...however, maybe it can tolerate higher heat...not sure.
I just pulled out some broccoli and collard greens from my garden. I haven't watered them at all, and the rain has been keeping them irrigated, but in the past two weeks, the rain is so light, it doesn't fully hydrate the soil. With that in mind, when the veggies were pulled out of the ground, the soil was bone dry, yet the plants showed no sign of water stress or wilting. I think slow acclimation to lower water levels in the soil is the key to keeping these alive in the long run, and I'm testing this hypothesis.
Last Edit: Mar 27, 2013 0:24:23 GMT -5 by meizzwang
Your observations make perfect sense (and I grew up in coastal Southern California, so I'm very familiar with the climate there). As an example, I have a Catalina Island (California) endemic succulent, Duddleya hassei, which grows in exactly the same manner. Wet season is winter, and moist ocean air sustains the plant through the dry summer. That plant is thriving in my greenhouse year-round. I'm assuming that because Drosophyllum isn't succulent, it would have less tolerance for dessication than the Duddleya, but that just means I would need to watch it more carefully.
A very helpful discussion, thank you! I just now need to get my hands on another Drosophyllum to test this all out :-).
Last Edit: Mar 27, 2013 11:44:34 GMT -5 by jlechtm
I'm a little late on this discussion. I apologize for bringing it back from the dead.
I don't have a lot of experience with this species yet, but I have made a few observations. They can be grown standing in water with decent humidity in my experience in my conditions. I've had this plant going for a little over a year, maybe closer to two years (I don't know what happened to the dated tag). It's growing in a 7" clay pot in a mix of 50/50 vermiculite and perlite. I started off having it stand in a deeper container that could hold about 3" or so of water. I always refilled it before the water evaporated out. About three months ago I was rearranging my grow area and moved the Drosophyllum down to the bottom shelf in a nursery tray. Now it only stands in about 1/2" of water at most and it gets used up/evaporates before I water again. I generally water about once a week. The basement temperatures this past winter have been between 55-62F. My summer time temperatures range from 68F-75F or so. I checked the humidity this morning, it was reading above 80%. It has rained a lot in my area the last couple of days. Generally humidity stays around 60-70%. My plant is now flowering. I didn't expect it to survive growing under artificial lighting nor ever be happy enough to bloom.
I don't have any insight yet on how to prolong their life. Mine is between 1.5 and 2 years old. Should I expect the plant to die after flowering?
Some new photos now that the plants are near the end of the flowering cycle. It is at this exact stage where I typically lose the plant. Fortunately, things still look alive and healthy, but we'll see what happens when the heat wave kicks in during the summer.
I was surprised to see the variant from "los barrios" has red capsules! Pics taken 5/11/13:
Here's a different variant from another location with typical green capsules, growing in the same tray, same soil, etc:
Blooms open in the mornings sometimes before the sun comes up:
Absolutely beautiful! I have never seen red capsules before. You have a very nice group of Drosophyllum! How do you get them out of the seedling stage? I can get them to germinate, but they usually die not long after.
I'm still struggling to figure out how to get them to sprout in the first place! They either all sprout within a month with something like 90% germination, or they take a very long time, and then slowly, one or two will sprout here and there. I think fresh seeds have an inhibiting compound in them, much like cacti. This makes sense: if there is rain in the summer for a week, you don't want your seeds to sprout because a week later, they will all dry out and die.
It seems to be important to let the seeds sit for a few months at room temperature(?) to get that inhibiting compound to break down a bit. The best germination I've ever had were from 10 year old seeds! Worst were from fresh seeds.
I usually sprout them under very humid conditions (ie. in a sealed ziplock baggie), and once there are signs of sprouting, the bag is cracked open. 2-3 days later, it's opened even more. About a week later, the bag is half open. About a week and a half later, the seedlings are hardened off enough to be taken out and planted into their own pot. At this stage, they have two juvenile leaves, and a short tap root, and it's important to be very careful with the roots.
They sit in trays filled with a little bit of water for higher humidity, and once the plant is established and has a few adult leaves, they no longer sit in water.
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