Re: Midsummer Report

Rick Walker (
Tue, 26 Jul 1994 21:18:12 -0700

> > Also potted in a peat/perlite mix are my Dionaeae, and
> > I've been told that the mineral content in perlite can affect
> > the growth of these plants.
> I'm also in the DC area and agree with the suggestion to repot
> your VFT in peat.

Back in 5/93 I mentioned that several of us here in the SF Bay Area
have been experimenting with growing CP in compressed peat pellets.
In my opinion, the results have been dramatic.

VFTs grow with much thicker petioles and more robust traps. Traps seem
to live for most of the season rather than constantly dying back. The
roots show no signs of decay or rot as is common in a peat media. Small
seedlings grow vigorously without any sign of damp-off. Both Mike Ross
and I have had these same results.

Robert Allen has experimented with _Nepenthes rafflesiana_ in compressed
peat pellets. Robert's indoor growing conditions are similiar to mine
but his _N.rafflesiana_ seedling has doubled its size compared to my
seedlings, from the same sowing, which are grown in pure peat.

These pellets are sold as an additive to raise the acidity and tannin
levels in tropical aquariums. The only source I know for them is German
company "Sera" who sells them under the name "Schwartztorff" <sic?>.

Unfortunately, here in the states, the price is $7.50 per ~1500cc.
However, this stuff is fairly miraculous and is worth the money for
a prized specimen.

I wonder if any of our German correspondents have experience with this
media, or might be willing to negotiate a bulk purchase with Sera
directly. If I could get a 50gallon drum for a good price, I'm sure I
could sell it to local CPers!


On another subject, one of my VFT's (not in peat pellets :-)) has produced
a "double trap". This is a trap which appears normal in the first 1/3
of the distance from the point of the attachment to the petiole. However in
the next 2/3's of the trap, the midrib bifurcates into two branches, each
branch having a separate set of opposing lobes.
Here's the obligatory ascii graphic:

{|} {|}
{ | } { | }
{ | } { | } <- double-trap region
{ | V | }
{ \ / }
{ V }
{ | } <- normal trap cross-section
\ / <- petiole
| |
| |

Anyone else seen such a critter? I'm currently trying to make a leaf cutting
from this leaf to see if it is a spontaneous mutation that will propagate
true. If it does, you'll be hearing from me :-).

Rick Walker (in SF, CA)