Re: Irapeanum and friends

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Abgeschickt von Alastair Robinson am 15 Februar, 2000 um 19:54:12

Antwort auf: Irapeanum and friends von Darcy Gunnlaugson am 12 Februar, 2000 um 03:02:31:

Hello Darcy,

I can't say that I have given any of these species a go, much as I would like to at some point.

I read with interest what you related about Stirling having grown them with measured success in their native soil, which is great. Unfortunately, the majority of us, if it isn't stating the obvious, would not be able to obtain soil that is anything like what they grow on in their natural environment.

Which brings me on to your first question... :)

Yes, I do think that these plants will eventually be mastered - as with all the 'tricky' plants that have only recently entered cultivation under the hands of the dedicated specialists, it takes a little bit of time and practice - and fatalities - before success is achieved. The problems seem to lie with the substrates that people use, as well as with winter conditions.

Though pretty much dedicated to hardy orchids such as the Cypripediums, I have been growing Nepenthes for a good ten years or so. Why bring it up?
Well, this genus, as you might be aware, is ubiquitous through much of SE Asia, where, if they aren't growing as epiphytes, they are growing as terrestrials in laterites of sand and/or ironstone - the orange soil that is so readily associated with tropical or seasonally tropical locations. These soil types are similar to those in which the Mexican Cyps. grow, and it would follow that, at least in terms of substrate, these plants would appreciate a similar if not identical one; moisture retentive, slightly acidic, but very well drained. A classic mix is moss peat, perlite/vermiculite and orchid bark (1:3:3).
There are even rare Nepenthes that grow on heavy metal serpentines that we have learnt to grow comparatively recently, so given the chance, I am sure that someone - if not you (they are still much easier to pick up Stateside!) - will crack it.
Many rainforest plants, especially ground orchids, are damaged by inorganic fertilisers - fantastic success is achieved by using mild strength organic ones - peat teas are perfect, and are easy to create.

Second reference - Pinguicula. I have grown a number of these in the past - many share the same habitats in Mexico as the Cypripediums. Winter minimums of seven to ten degrees C (45-50F) do fine, with water being the main point. When dormant, these plants like to be comparatively dry - not bone dry - but dry/humid as you would keep a dormant Pleione... so that they don't shrivel up like raisins. Of course, this would vary according to the plants in question, and the Cypripediums might appreciate a little more moisture, as the successful implementation of your advice would suggest. Clearly though, they would not put up with the levels of moisture that others in the genus might take.

As I was telling Alex, I did find an online nursery (I think in Mexico) that claims to offer C. irapeanum from TC every now and again - this might suggest that they have had a degree of success. Perhaps not.

With regard to your second question, it is generally accepted that plants that are benefited by a symbiont in the wild often do much better without one in cultivation, provided that their needs are suitably met. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but my experience as someone who studies plant pathology/interactions leads me to feel that it is more a case of being able to satisfy the plants, however that might be - have you seen Little Shop of Horrors? - rather than a particular need for a symbiont.

So yes, I'd agree that they are seemingly difficult, at this stage. But then, so once were Nepenthes, and now I can't kill one if I try! Maybe one day...

Thank you for soliciting.
Warmest Regards,