Monday, 28 January 2013

Planting Nepenthes seeds (Pitcher Plant)

Nepenthes Seeds
No luck so far but I'm hopeful :)

Hey Everyone :),

As you probably know by now that I like to challenge myself with growing new and different things.  I am in an Orchid and Carnivorous plant stage in my life.  Well for now anyways.. I have a LOT of things on the go but that's where I'm focusing right now :)

  I recently purchased some seeds from EBay for a few varieties of Nepenthes (a.k.a. Pitcher plant).  the seller I purchased from is "albermarlesounds".  Here is a photo from the the sellers page of one of the plants just as a reference if you have never seen a Pitcher plant before. 
Please note that this photo is from the sellers page and is not actually my plant.  Please check out the sellers page if you want to order some seeds like I did :)

Time to Plant my seeds

First I chose my container.  For this I chose some take out plastic food containers.  They have clear plastic lids that will keep in any humidity.  There are no drainage holes in these containers.  I chose this to keep the soil moist. 
  I filled the containers with Peat moss.  Make sure that there is no fertilizer added to the mix as it will likely kill your plants.  Then make sure to moisten the soil with rain water or distilled water.  You could also use finely chopped sphagnum moss instead of Peat moss or Heck mix it up and use a combination of both :)


Nepenthes Glabrata 

      Nepenthes Naga

 Nepenthes Maxima
Notice the large seed pod, The actual seed is that small dark bit with the threats on each end.  I spread them out evenly over the surface of the peat moss, each seed variety was given its own container so i know what is and isn't growing. With the tip of my finger I ensure that the seeds have firm contact with the soil.  I then watered them in again to really make sure that the contact was made and to add moisture to the seed and hopefully start the germination process.  Look at all the seeds sprinkled on the soil surface.  COOL!
I then put the lid on the containers and taped the labels on top with the date I planted them.

I will put them on a heat mat and make sure that they get some light.  I will keep you posted on the progress of these seeds.. My fingers are crossed that I have some success. 

Happy Growing :)


Sunday, 20 January 2013

Phalaenopsis Orchid - Easy and Beautiful

Phalaenopsis Orchid
Easy and Beautiful

Well to be honest I didn't know what I was going to write. I started off thinking that maybe I would talk about orchids in general but then I thought.. Hmmm, let's go through one at a time. I will only be talking about plants that I've grown an my own trials and errors. There might be some experts out there that think what I'm doing is completely wrong... But hey, I have had lots of success so it can't all be wrong right. :)


Phalaenopsis is the first plant that comes to mind if you have never tried growing orchids before.  There are so many colour variations to choose from that there is surely a colour for everyone.  It is Low light tolerant..  Actually it prefers a North of East window.  You need a bright indirect location for this one.  If you want to put this plant in a dark corner of your home you will need to think about putting a light on a timer near by :)  They grow well under artificial light.  so an office environment can also be an option.

I made an instructional video of re potting a Phalaenopsis.  also in this video i was showing off my new orchid finds.  the sale rack can be a great place to look if you have some time to wait for more flowers and you want to save a few dollars.

Watering and feeding is the last topic for this Blog :)  I will soon have an instructional video on this too just in case you don't know if your doing it right :)  All I do is put my pot into a water tight container that is around the same height as the pot containing your plant.  I then water the plant filling the container full of water (careful not to submerge the crown)  i then let the pot and plant soak for 10 or 20 minutes. Then I remove all of the water and let the plant drain fully then place the plant back to its home :)  Every few waterings I will add a 1/4 - 1/2 strength of fertilizer to the water and just follow the same process.  I like to use a fertilizer with a higher middle number as that helps promote healthy flowers.
I used to keep my Phalaenopsis on my window ledge by the kitchen sink.  There I was able to remember to water it.  also these orchids are pushed into bloom when the night temps drop about 10F. In newer homes Phal's have a harder time blooming simply because they are insulated so well.  if you keep them closer to a window you will usually get the needed fluctuation in temp to promote bloom spikes in the fall and spring. :) 
Good Luck growing your Phalaenopsis Orchids.  They are Very forgiving plants. If you have any questions or concerns about growing these plants please comment or send me a message on my PlantzNThings Facebook page and I will do my best to help you out :) 
We're all in this together :)

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Amaryllis - Lets do some Math... :)

Making your Bulb Bloom when You Want

Amaryllis is one of those plants that you can have bloom whenever you want.  It just takes a little planning first.  All you need is some basic information and i will help you out :)

1. I takes between 6-8 weeks for a dormant but ready to grow bulb to produce a flower.

2. It takes about 3 Months of dormancy to set the flower bud in the bulb.

Knowing that information gives you the power to have the plant bloom whenever you want.  Lets try that math out Shall we :)

Get out your Calender you'll need it :)

So lets say that you want your bulb to bloom by Dec. 25 here's the math. 

Count back about 8 weeks from Dec. 25th...  That Brings us to Oct. 30 roughly (this is when you need to bring the bulb out of dormancy.

Now from Oct. 30 we need to count back about 3.5 months :) that brings us to the window between July 16-30th (This is when you want the bulb to go dormant to set the flower bud).

So now that you know the math you can move the date around and play with it so the plant will bloom when you want it to. middle of summer.. early spring ... Whenever! 

Just remember that you need to grow the bulb after it flowers and feed it well.  The better you look after the plant the better the flower show will be :)

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Amaryllis - They Want to Live Another Year

They Want to Live for Another Year :)
  Amaryllis are one of those flowers that are known around the holidays. They are Huge and vibrant, they make people stop and way WOW!  Unfortunately most people will toss these into the compost after the flowers have faded thinking that they will never be able to make it bloom again.  I think this is sad because that is completely untrue.  They can be a lot of fun to make them bloom over and over.   In fact you can make these plants bloom whenever you want.  So in theory you could have an Amaryllis blooming in your home 52 weeks a year if you had the space to allow for many bulbs at different stages of growth.  I have made some videos of Amaryllis care on my YouTube Channel and i will share those here as well as some other helpful tips.  Feel free to ask me questions and i will do my best to answer every one of them to help you out :)
  The first video is actually my most recent.  I am putting this one first because it shows you how to plant an Amaryllis Bulb if you choose to buy it Bare root.  This video is also showing when to remove them from dormancy.  So I was considering this video to be the last one in the but this works,  you can always come back to this one at the end if you like :)
   After your bulb has flowered and all of your Oooo's and Ahhh's have finished and all you have left is a sad looking flower stalk you can watch the following video :)  sorry it was one of my first and I'm a little camera shy... but it does the trick :)  We are cutting the spent flower stalk back to the bulb and if there are leaves growing it's time to start feeding :)  your plant will need to build up its energy you it can WOW you next time with another Spectacular flower Spike or 3 :)  WOOHOO!
The leaves will need to grow for a few months.  I Know.. the leaves are they get in the way and flop EVERYWHERE.  I recommend using either decorative sticks or a tomato cage to keep things in check..  They love full sun so if you can put them outside for a few months they will really reward you later.  remember that they love lots of water (they're not water plants so not soggy) and lots of food...  I feed mine either 1/4 or 1/2 strength fertiliser once a week..  the bulbs will get bigger and you will get LOTS of leaves..  If you want your bulb to bloom again for you at Christmas you will want to have your plant go dormant around mid July...  And Hey!  what do you know... YUP i have a video for that
Here is a video of me chopping their leaves off to force them into dormancy because these plants just wouldn't go to sleep on their own... sheesh!  you might also need to show some tough love.. LOL!
 I will post a few more blogs with more updates as well as tips. I think this is enough for now.   You now have the basic knowledge on how these beautiful plants re bloom... and it's just Too Easy why not give it a try! 

Next time I'll show you how to back track so that you can get your bulbs to be in flower for a specific time frame.

Until Next time :)
   Happy Growing!


Monday, 7 January 2013

To a New Beginning

Plant Lovers,

   I would like to welcome you to a new space I'm working on creating.  This will be the First Blog I have ever done.  We can grow and learn together :)  I would like to use this space to document my journey through the Jungle of life.  So on this page i will mostly be dealing with plant related topics but i will throw in some twists from time to time to keep it interesting.


Friday, 4 January 2013

Lithops - Adventures with "Living Stones"

Welcome Everyone :)

   Lithops are wonderful plants that I think everyone should try to grow at least once.  Many people will avoid growing them because they are difficult but if you know what they need they are one of the easiest plants out there.  They are small plants so you can grow a nice collection on a small window ledge (as long as you get strong light).
   To grow Lithops successfully you really only need to know 2 things.
1. Bright light - They love, love, love the sun.  if they are lacking in the light department they will stretch and not look as nice.
2.  NO WATER!! - well I exaggerate a little...  But seriously no water over the winter and spring.   I will say that 90% of lithop death in the home is due to someone feeling sorry for the little gems and giving in to the stone dry soil with a good watering.

I have posted some videos of my Lithops on YouTube and i will share them with you.  I also have killed my fair share of Lithops...  and I am just sharing my experience with you :)

Another question you might have is "How do I know when to water?"  well I have that covered with a video as well.  you'll want to wait for the old leaves to dry up.  check it out! :)

Once you get the hang of growing Lithops it would be fun to get creative with your collection.  why not make a living rock garden.  how Zen would that be :)  I find that it's a little more difficult to grow them in groups only because each plant might be at a different stage of growth.. meaning some might need watering and others not...  so that's why I say try a mix planting after you get the hang of one on one growing :)
  When transplanting or dividing Lithops make sure to not water them for a while... let them callus any wounds on the roots.  Even if there are no roots on the plant it still will likely survive if you don't water it for a month or two. 

Soon i will have a Blog entry on Growing Lithops from seed.  I'm still playing with that but can't wait to share that adventure with you.

Have fun with it.  These plants are amazing.  Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns.  I am no expert but I would love to help you out if I can :)