Here are some photos of my ceph flowers now they are open, as promised.
It's hard to believe that only a month ago the flower stalks were only a few inches high.
I'm not sure if I'm going to get seed as the flowers are constantly wet from my overhead watering. The VFT's don't like it and I am very lucky to get seed from them, even in the dryer section of the GH. I also tried to pollinate my sarras this year but the number of seeds was also quite low even with repeated pollen transfers onto the stigmas.
Nice. Wish my ceph would flower how old do they need to be before they do? Then again my ceph has made 4 more grow points this year probably wouldn't have if it did flower. I haven't tried this or anything but a suggestion would be that you could lightly wrap the flowers with plastic wrap to keep them dry.
I've thought about wrapping them up to keep them dry, maybe I should stop thinking and actually do it...
I'm no expert on cephs, I just maintain a good growing environment shown to me by Phill. At a guess I would think they are somewhere around 5 years or older going by how big they are. Though the plant is very crowded in it's pot so it could be much, much older and it does have five flowers.
I'm going to have to cut it out of it's current pot soon and separate the growth point that is poking through the drain hole in the bottom of the pot.
The flower stalks are easily over 40cm, it's dark at the moment so I will have to wait till morning to check for sure. Seeing as they are growing without having to compete with surrounding vegetation I'm sure they could grow much taller. They took quite a while to get to a few inches tall and then they shot up very quickly over the following few weeks.
I've measured the flower stalks today and they vary from the shortest of 42cm up to 55cm and still growing.
The flower heads start off as a ball and this ball continues to grow up so the flowers end up being distributed along the length of the flower stalk.
I hope these two pics will show you what I'm trying to describe.
Though this one has already started to elongate so you can't see how it started as a tight ball of unopened flowers, the next photo will show how they progress over time.
This is a different flower spike but it started to open it's flowers much earlier and so it's development in more advanced.
I've also come up with an idea of sorts to help keep the water off the flowers in the hope that the plants produce seed. The concern is that if the pollen is constantly wet then how will it get onto the stigmas?
I had a few baggies lying around the house doing nothing so I've slipped one over each flower stalk and cut off a corner to allow water vapor and excess heat to escape.
I'm also hoping the weight of the water that clings to the baggies at watering time doesn't get too much and break the flower stalks. Only time will tell, so fingers crossed for a good seed set.
If the flowers successfully dry then I might be able to manually pollinate in the hopes of improving the quality of the seeds.
Here's an update: The baggies were a good idea..... they just didn't work all that well!
I walked into the GH that afternoon to find one of the flower stalks had fallen over with the weight. The others were still standing but the baggies were heavy with condensation and the flower heads were drooping quite dramatically so I've taken the bags off for now.
The stilts idea is a good one but I will have to find something long enough to hold everything without shading the pot from the retic.
There are spots in the GH that receive less water than others but they still receive some misting and so with the high humidity reducing the evap rate they still don't get much dry time. I tried this with my VFT's without much success. I think the humidity keeps the pollen too wet and prevents it from doing it's thing.
I can only turn off the retic to miss one scheduled watering otherwise, with our hot and dry weather, the humidity would drop too dramatically and this does have quite a nasty effect on some of my other plants. The other day when temps soared to 44 deg C the local humidity was only 2%! Even with my humidifier and regular mistings the humidity in the GH was struggling to reach around 45%. I've just added some new neps so I don't want them to suffer low humidity before they've had time to adjust to my growing conditions.
I will be receiving some custom made tanks for my growing collection of neps soon, so maybe next year I can pop my flowering cephs into one of the tanks in an effort to get some seeds.
My sarras did manage to produce some seeds but the seed count was quite low.
I may just have to resign myself to having great looking and robust plants without being able to easily produce seeds.
Another idea may be to try some sort of hydroponic watering system. I plan to expand the GH soon so maybe I could have a section without the overhead mising for plants that need water flowing past their root system like cobras, cephs and the like. That way I can rest easy knowing they won't get root rot and the flowers can be kept dry enough to encourage good seed set.
hmmm....well! too bad I guess. But hey! you still have the plants.....so u can try it later.
actually the hydroponics is a terrific idea. I mean I was thinking of it many times considering how CP's like nutrient free soil and LOVE water movement. So basically plants like HELI's should love that. But does anyone grow it like that? I don't know.
The CP ADDICT: Nepenthes and Cephalotus are starting to consume my life.
In a way the overhead misting my plants receive is like a hydroponic setup where water is flowing past the roots. The other benefit is you can use tap water without having to fear the typical salt build up as the soil is constantly being flushed out, assuming the water hardness isn't drastically high.
My heli's love it and are in no way adversely affected by high temps. The cephs thrive and the neps are going crazy, even the ping collection seems to like it, the only cp's that definitely hate it are drosera.
The only real drawback with overhead misting, as we've discussed is the detrimental affect it has on flower pollination and seed set.
I may need to grow all my plants hydroponically in the future. It would be great to see if anyone else is growing their plants like this.
Please, if anyone out there is growing their plants using hydroponics or knows anyone who is, let us know.
but wouldn't that mean tons of water wastage?? thats one of the things that puts me off as my tap water is pretty bad... 400 ppm or something + chlorinated. I purchase and use distilled water...and already I buy like 7 gallons per 3 weeks or so.
The CP ADDICT: Nepenthes and Cephalotus are starting to consume my life.
I capture a lot of the water and use it to water the plants in the garden. There is just enough water used in each cycle to keep everything moist, infact the benches dry out well and truely between each misting.
With regards to the weather, I live several hundred kilometers north of cephalotus country or about a 5 hour drive. The climate is very much hotter and dryer where I live and this means the humidity is very, very much lower. The other week the outside humidity was just 2% and the GH was barely keeping 40% even with misting, a humidifyer and the evap cooler running!
Our water is chlorinated too, I've walked into the GH on more than one occasion on a hot day and it was like walking into an enclosed public pool it smelt so badly of chlorine. It doesn't seem to phase the plants though, I guess the plants are not sitting in it so the chlorine has a good chance to dissipate.
The other restriction is the wind that comes in almost every day during the summer. Perth is something like the 3rd windiest city in the world and this prevents me from keeping any of my CP's outside successfully.