Plants in The Middle East

Back from ‘Dam
June 30, 2008, 10:21 am
Filed under: Carnivorous, Outdoor, Perennials

Got back from Amsterdam last night.  It’s a wonderful city.  My conference went well and I spent the last two days walking around.  Luckily, I ended up at the Floating Flowermarket.  I was overwhelmed to say the least.  Here are some photos but please forgive the quality as these were all taken with my phone.

What I didn’t expect from that visit was this: a shop FULL of carnivorous plants.  For the first time I got see all the carnivorous plants first hand.  They looked big, colorful and healthy.  This included Venus Fly Traps (Dionaea muscipula), Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes, Sarracenia), Sundews (Drosera). Check out the last 7 pictures of the gallery above.

I bought a few Amaryllis bulbs, VFT seeds, mixed cacti seeds and Lotus plant seeds.  Should be interesting! I will post more about that soon.


Friday update
June 20, 2008, 10:02 am
Filed under: Carnivorous, Indoor, Perennials

I was looking forward to this update to see the progress of the new seedlings, so lets start there:

1. The Stevia (Sugar Plant) have sprouted (left of the picture above).

2. The Polka Dots have grown about an inch since last week as can be seen from the picture below.

3. Coleus (Black Dragon) have finally sprouted (below).  Nothing from the Giant collection yet.

4. Coleus (Batch B) Update

5. Venus Fly Traps – not much to say here except the one is very close to flowering. Check out the long flower stalk.

Thats it for this Friday! I’ll be in Amsterdam next Friday for a conference, but I’ll update the blog once I’m back.  I’ll see if I find new flower seeds to grow during our “winter”.

VFT Walking Towards the Light
June 16, 2008, 3:05 pm
Filed under: Carnivorous, Indoor

I’ve read that you shouldn’t give up on a VFT even if it loses all its traps.  If the rhizome is fine then it may regrow leaves.  This one has been slowing dying so I decided to remove it from the soil and spray it with fungicide and replant it.  The rhizome still appears to be ok but I’m not optimistic.  Below is whats left.

Compare it to its brother (purchased the same day) who’s been exposed to the same conditions:

Notice the flower stem in the middle.  It grows much taller than the other leaves to attract insects which will pollinate it.  I’m letting this one flower to harvest the seeds.

They are NOT man-eaters!
June 13, 2008, 7:12 pm
Filed under: Carnivorous, Indoor

I’ve had this conversation three times already. Venus Fly Traps do NOT grow to become man-eaters! pictured below is a fully grown Venus Fly Trap.  It only grows to huge sizes in movies and video games, otherwise this is generally as big as they get, thus the name Fly Traps instead of Cow Traps.

“Bushier” Plants
June 13, 2008, 7:02 pm
Filed under: Indoor, Perennials

I always read that in order for your small indoor plants to become bushier, rather than taller, is to cut the top leaves when the plant reaches the desirable height.  Here is a picture showing what happens if you do:

Better picture

If you enlarge the picture above (the prominent fully green coleus), you will notice the lower branches all consisted of a single leaf.  Now that I snipped the top leaves before they fully grew I have two new branches consisting of two leaves each.  Interesting.

The Friday Update
June 13, 2008, 10:09 am
Filed under: Carnivorous, Indoor, Perennials

I’m hoping that I’ll be able to post a regular Friday update.  Here is the first one.

1. New seedling updates

I planted fresh seeds of several types of plants on the 9th (5 days ago) and the Polka Dots have already sprouted!

This is what they should look like fully grown:

Photo courtesy of

Nothing else to report on this front.  Yet to see some progress from the Sundews, Coleus’ and Sugar plants.  Will sow the Birds of Paradise today having been soaked in water for 5 days.

2. Coleus – Batch B update

Must have misplaced my Sharpie, so my finger will have to do.  Growing very nicely under my plant lights.

This batch has some yellow in it, besides the typical red/maroon.  I’m hoping my new batch (not locally bought) will show different colors.

Again, compared to some of their peers some are still lagging behind in growth.

3. Venus Fly Traps

Growing nicely and flowering.  I have two flowering simultaneously so I may leave them and then cross pollinate and plant the seeds.  I’m dooming the plants by letting them flower but it’s all for the sake of learning and experimenting.

The flower stalk is the long one in the middle (pictured above).

That wraps it up.  My yellow sunflower has a brand new flower but I didn’t take pictures yet and its too hot at the moment!

I’ll leave you with a fun quote – “I used to play sports.  Then I found out you can buy trophies. Now I’m good at everything”.

Problematic plants or ignorant owner?
June 11, 2008, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Indoor

Sometimes I get frustrated with certain plants and I reach one of two conclusions: either I’m not cut-out to own it or its a pain-in-the-arse to maintain.

Take two examples: A Cordyline I bought from Jawads (our Tesco).  It looked pretty healthy and happy there. In fact, all of them looked happy there! and I still think I can provide it a better home than a coldstore! Found out I’m mistaken.  Instructions say 1) moist (not wet) soil 2) Sunny spot. Did both, but its still not happy.  Moved it to a sunnier location (sun from wall and roof windows) and placed the ugly plastic tray under it so it can bottom feed and stay moist.  We’ll see.  If I keep cutting the dead leaves I’ll end up with a twig.

My second example is this Peace Lilly.  It’s my second time around with these and I consider myself more experienced this time around.  The leaves seem to be ok, but the flowers are dying.  This plant likes humidity so I placed a water tray next to it and I mist it once or twice a day, but no luck.  They say its natures best air purifier, but it looks like it’ll end up as compost. I’ll try cleaning the leaves but I won’t move it since it’s partial to direct sunlight and can withstand being in shaded areas.