Varun's (vraev) CP/Orchid terraria

VarunA

Carnivore
Nice! I don't think it's unusual to keep feeders for specific pets. I'm working on getting back into keeping dart frogs (kept them many years ago in high school) - it's my pandemic project. That will mean a surprising number of feeder colonies: fruit flies, crickets, collembola, isopods; plus I am contemplating trying to grow pea aphids (which I'll then have to figure out how to keep off my plants) and even starting an ant colony (which has entertainment value all on its own). All just to feed some finicky little toads.

I will say, that's a nice looking fish though! What is the fish? Some type of cichlid?
It’s a nano fish from India called Dario Dario or scarlet badis. They are mini predators that only eat live food (mostly) and are otherwise not too difficult. I would say keep an Eye Out for the fruit flies and neps. In the past I have killed hairy hamata and even now I am dealing with hamata issues due to mites that tend to take over fruit fly cultures. I almost killed the hamata (it is a very rare form) and luckily it seems to be coming back. When you say collembola is that globular springtails? If yes I would love to get a culture from you. Those are so awesome and cute.

beautiful orchids!
thanks :)
 

Apoplast

Carnivore
Just looked it up. That's a cool fish! Does seem worth the extra effort.

Tell me more of the mite issues you had with your hairy red, please. What happened? That's a tricky clone by all accounts. I was talking with Rob about it a couple years back, and he almost lost it from his nursery! That is a tricky plant. Are the mites causing direct damage to the plants? That would surprise me. I have had collembola cultures (just Folsomia candida) before that I used to feed my seedling winter growing dews. I've had them taken over by grain mites, so I am super curious what you've been seeing. I'll have to do FF for darts. You just do. So, it would be good to know what I should be on the look out for.
 

VarunA

Carnivore
just a question, do you have any tips for caring for bulbophyllum mastersianum since you are so good at growing orchids.
Haha. Me good at orchids? lol. If you mean I can barely keep them alive...yea. Honestly I have never grown that species and my tactic for orchids is to throw it in my nepenthes tanks. If it sticks it sticks. From my understanding, the orchid world has a slight variation on how they define warm/intermediate/cool growing orchids. Now, I generally find that their warm plants can be grown best intermediate conditions and still experience slight temperature drops (unless you are growing some terrestrial lowland orchids). The cool growing orchids tend to be more picky and what I have lately learnt is to definitely fertilize orchids. It is best recommended to grow them like CPs but fertilize them regularly because they tend to be more hungry and tend to flower themself to death. I also found the following forum very helpful...so check out if you can find any specific info here: https://www.orchidsforum.com/
 

plantant

Carnivore
Thanks! My bulbo is in ICU when my friend decided to "care" for it. (A growth points rotted and it lost its roots) lol. He is recovering but only has one root. I hope they will grow back.
 

VarunA

Carnivore
Thanks! My bulbo is in ICU when my friend decided to "care" for it. (A growth points rotted and it lost its roots) lol. He is recovering but only has one root. I hope they will grow back.
If conditions are good.. it will take a while but it will come back. Plants are pretty resilient. All the best.
 

VarunA

Carnivore
I do not want to give the impression that everything is just perfect in my setup. This past winter has been the worst ever for my CP hobby. It has definitely pushed me to the point of considering quitting the hobby. I almost completely killed my N. villosa that I have grown from seed for over 10y (germinated in 2010). It was great and all the sudden gradually started going yellow on current growth and just rotted.

Before the carnage and the most hurtful thing I had to deal with in this hobby.


The one thing I am thankful to God is that the fungus did not yet infect (unlikely) / or manifest in the basal so at least the plant in essence is still alive. But I don't know if I will get another chance if this happens again. I really don't want this plant to be lost. It has been a tough plant and I really love it.

Now another plant I waited 6y on a wait list to get and then again just recently around the same time as the villosa, completely lost it after 6y of growing it from a 1.5" plant to a 6" plant: N. edwardsiana

Believe it or not...can't find a pic of the plant before it went downhill






When suddenly I noticed the growth stalled and it wasn't doing too well.. it was already too late



Alas, no basal or anything to save here. Rotted to the core. Definitely some sort of pathogen. I think I also opened the window in the basement. I think the new LED light wasn't good for these guys.. the temps were too cold ..and cold and damp is a bad combination. Nepenthes as in anything else have a balance that they accept and if you are off, it is a slow steady decline. I don't think I am past that. IN this past time, I have lost N x kinabaluensis seedlings (incl. one in the pot with the N. edwardsiana), N. mollis/hurrelliana seedlings , N. lowii seedlings , N. macrophylla seedlings. it is definitely upseting to loose rare plants and makes you question whether you can still do this or not.

Again, this is just to show everyone the reality. Pictures posted sometimes only show a small aspect of our hobby and generally paint a rosy picture of everything just perfect. Things can turn on a dime and without you realizing, something that has been perfect for literally years can decline and die.
 

VarunA

Carnivore
Oh my god dude, im sorry you had to deal with that.
It physically hurts just to read about it and see the damage
Thanks. We all face challenges in life that make us realize that sometimes things just happen no matter what you do. You just have to learn from it and try your best and if it doesn't stick, perhaps it's time to move on. I haven't reached that point yet and hope I will not any time soon. ;)
 

Avery

Carnivore
Very true, Varun! I’ve lost a few good ones along the way and it can be... disheartening. Thankfully most of the plants I grow (now) are pretty forgiving.
 

VarunA

Carnivore
Very true, Varun! I’ve lost a few good ones along the way and it can be... disheartening. Thankfully most of the plants I grow (now) are pretty forgiving.
No way my friend. You grow the same "finicky" plants but at a different level. lol. I used to be pretty good at growing small plants but always started failing as they grow larger. Need to fix that as many of my plants are now nearly a decade old.

Great growers kill great plants.
Haha... I wouldn't call myself good at growing them until I can keep them alive. Not to mention once all those great plants are gone, that's the end of the hobby. ;)
 

Apoplast

Carnivore
Hi @VarunA I'm so sorry, my friend. I had something similar happen to my plants a few years back. As I look at your plants, mine sure looked the same when they went. I lost most of my Helis and all but 3 of my Neps, plus most of my Orchidoides Utrics. I decided it was because I could no longer care for my plants properly with a new family. I gave away much of the rest of my highland plants, and various other stuff. I kept a few Sarrs, my tuberous dews, and my Mexi Pings, which were all things that I could largely ignore for months on end. And then I did. I kept them going with minimal effort feeling like the other shoe would fall soon, and I'd be responsible for their loss as well.

But I missed it. It took this pandemic and staying at home to realize how much I missed it. I've been putting renewed effort into the stuff I have left. Interacting with you and Avery again here has also got me thinking about that now mostly empty water-cooled grow room in my basement. I'd like to know what happened with your plants, as I now suspect mine might have been lost from a similar cause (I might PM you in the coming days). I now wonder if maybe it wasn't the time I had, but it was similarly disheartening. My signature here quotes someone who started a botanical garden in the States as a reminder that we all lose plants; however like all "inspirational" things, it's much easier to blithely state and to take to heart.

And for the record, I agree with Lloyd. I can trace my interest in attempting to grow highland species to two people and discussions of coling systems (which at the start I was only interested in for my winter growing dews). You, and your talents, inspired me to try to grow some highland species. Despite the similar struggles I've had, I still thank you for that. It has been a great experience, and I have learned so much. So much, I would never had known had my interest not been piqued. Thanks for your inspiration, and for your openness. Then and now.
 

VarunA

Carnivore
Thanks for your kind words Alex. Appreciate it man. I am glad I was helpful and inspired some to take up the hobby.

I'm also sorry to hear about the issues you had in the past. This is the sad unfortunate reality of all the plants that we grow. Plants live in a different time-frame than our short lives. Even growing a plant to its full potential doesn't mean it will survive as long or as vigorously as it can in the wild. And then just like us, plants can also suddenly die in spite of all the care we put into them. They could be in the same place as they have been for many years. Hence, the key is to be realistic and assess whether we have done what we can, and if not, we should take a break rather than keep doing the same thing and killing more plants. I tend to air on the side of caution due to the losses and get scared at manipulating the plants rather than take action. For example I have a rare N. hairy hamata, N. eymae in a pot that is clearly with rotten media, but I am scared to touch it and kill it.

The fact that you got a renewed interest in plants shows that this is something that you are likely to keep doing long into the future. I myself have gone through phases where I was thinking about giving up the hobby, but something came up which re-motivated me to try harder, do better and keep going.

Sure. We can definitely discuss more. I wholeheartedly believe it's a pathogen that caused the problem. Most likely fungal in nature and that cold damp conditions caused it. I haven't had much luck with repotting success. It feels like I have a 60%/40% chance of living/killing plants upon repotting. I tend to overwater and while that used to be fine when I had ferns in the tank that sucked up all the water, the pickier nepenthes just rotted away.
 

Apoplast

Carnivore
First off, @Lloyd Gordon. Don't think all options weren't on the table. But the kids were doing well and the plants... Not so much. Made the decision easier. ;)

Thanks for your reply, @VarunA ! Pathogen is my fear. Is the disease a symptom of conditions that make the plants susceptible, or are my grow spaces now harboring pathogens that will reduce any new introductions to mush? I've seen how Phytophthora cinnamomi can lay waste to entire flora in Western Australia, leaving only the few resistant species. What if I now have something equivalent? I know it sounds melodramatic, but it's something I've had to consider given the speed with which everything went south. Anyhow, let's talk via PM soon. Your photos look just like the plants I lost.
 

Lloyd Gordon

Parasitic Plant Aficionado
Staff member
I think most of our failures are due to root failures. Of course that doesn't mean solutions are easy. It's so hard to appreciate what's happening under the soil. I'm convinced a plant with healthy roots will generally not get infections.
 

Avery

Carnivore

Thought I’d post this- it was linked on another Nepenthes group.

Not sure if it’s relevant to your situation, but I suspect I’ve encountered Cercospora with some of the notoriously difficult Nepenthes- apparently it is treatable. I wish I’d known that... it should be noted that the plants were not experiencing their normal nighttime temperature drop which I believe weakened the plant and made it susceptible- and it sure didn’t take long. I think the “bad” fungi are always going to be around in some capacity, they’re just exacerbated in the wrong conditions.
 

VarunA

Carnivore
I totally agree with that. I think it is true . Unfortunately none of those products are available around here. :( I just noticed last night that I lost a very old N. izumiae seedling as well to rot. :( . I have contacted a few companies here for some fungicides. Lets see what comes of it. Clearly the problem is the conditions that I need to fix...and treating the resulting condition is not the solution if the main problem is still intact. Just don't know what it is because I have been growing these plants exactly since I started (super wet as some would consider).
 

Lloyd Gordon

Parasitic Plant Aficionado
Staff member
Using fungicides:
Resistance
Testing for Resistance
Rotation
Toxicity
Expense

Best to be careful with cleanliness and ventilation.
 
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