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"Jeff Fullerton" <tcmajorr at westol_com>: NANFA-- Bladderwort & CP Culture

From: "Jeff Fullerton" <tcmajorr at westol_com>
To: <nanfa at aquaria_net>
Subject: NANFA-- Bladderwort & CP Culture
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 12:49:26 -0400
Message-ID: <199804141654.MAA08482 at oak_westol.com>


Is the bladderwort you find a species that produces a radiating wheel
float at the base of flower stem ? 

That would be either U. inflata - which I grow in my pond (plants from a
quarry hole on Andrews AFB Maryland do so well here I have to thin it out
and throw it away - makes great addition to the compost pile !) Or the
smaller form - U. radiata which I see occassionally along with the former
in Florida & other southern states. 

But the mesh like growth you describe sounds more like U. gibba - the
thread leaved or "Humped Bladderwort" which has very tiny bladders. This
the one that will often turn up in tanks because it is tangled in with
other plants like Cabomba. That's how I got it going once.

To all

I have to admit terrible luck with bladderwort in tanks , other than U.
gibba - this species is even growing for me right now in a jar of water
that was dipped out of a tank and forgotten - a fragment has grown into a
tangle of green threads with a few tiny bladders. All the others do much
better for me outside either in the pond or in plastic tubs with a slurry
of sphagnum peat topped by a few inches of rainwater. This is a necessity
for the Purple Bladderwort - U. purpurea which demands very acidic water
stay alive and will not grow in the pond unless I add pine straw or peat
the filtration system. Even then it will not thrive like it does floating
over a peat substrate. 

another one that is a favorite of mine is Utricularia intermedia - a
species with feathery growths of non-carnivorous foliage and subterranean
bladder bearing strands that descend into a peat slurry. I grow this one
a tub and in low parts of my bog garden where bare peat is covered by an
inch or so of water and exposed to the air when the water in the pond
receeds. This species is an intermediate between the free floating
and the terrestial (amphibious species) that grow at the edge of acidic
ponds , ditches and in seepage bogs. These are very cryptic plants with
carnivorous parts underground and tiny foliage that is hard to find among
the sedges and other plants. "Terrestrials" are most easily found when in

All bladderworts have yellow or occassionally pink /purple flowers that
resemble little snapdragons.

In addition to the types mentioned above there are also "Epiphytic"
which grow on damp bark or mossy branches in the tropical rainforests and
even a few aquatic ones that occupy a most unusual niche - in the
waterfilled cups of bromiliads (air plants) !

If you can provide the right conditions - which can be tricky these
will grow in a tank. Algae is a major menace and if it gets started it
choke out your plants. I cured an infestation on my U. gibba once with
"Algae Destroyer" tabs. If you keep the water very acidic and stained
tannin that will help inhibit algae. 

Most of the other species I tried in tanks often get very leggy and end
looking nothing like the original plant. I also have the same trouble
Hornwort indoors. I'm not sure it it's the higher temperatures or
spectrum of light that does this but I do know that outdoors they do much
better outside. 

The terrestrials can be grown under the same conditions as sundews and
pitcher plants . Indeed they will often become "weedy" in a greenhouse
collection and self sown plants will spread through the pots of other

Vince or anyone else interested
if you want to grow CPs outside - the Kiddie pool approach is probably
best. A 50 / 50 mix of non-calcareous sand (silica , quartz or fine
grit) and sphagnum peat is the ideal growing medium. You don't have to
include the charcoal. This should be overlaid with a layer of long
sphagnum moss - perferably live sphagnum if you can get it. If you cannot
get live sphagnum - then use the dried moss - "Orchid Moss" brand is
excellent. It is available in many garden centers and the importer has a
web page.  http://www.losvolcanes.com/spmoss.htm

To this topping add a small portion of live moss which will in time
under the right conditions. Also there is often a bit of life left in
moss which sometimes resprouts from dormant buds. Often carnivorous
and other nursery stock are packed in live moss for shipment and you can
use that to get started.

If you want to grow just aquatic bladderworts - then create a pond with a
substrate of waterlogged peat (sphagnum slurry). If you want to grow the
sundews etc then fill the container to the rim with the sand/peat mix &
with the moss.

To provide drainage for your bog the best way is to poke a small hole or
two in the side of the container a few inches below the rim. This will
slowly bleed away water during periods of heavy rain. 

I could get into all kinds of companion plants like hatpins and yellow
grass various broadleaf evergreen shrubs and other acid wetland flora
grow with CPs. But rather I refer you to the numerous sources available
print and on the world wide web. 

Good luck




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