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Re: Barclaya longifolia

On Sat, 14 Nov 1998, Tsu Yang Chen wrote:

> Subject: Barclaya longifolia
> can anyone tell me how to cultivate this plant successfully, its annual rhythm
> etc.? [snip]

Well, I can only tell you what's happened to mine.

I've been growing barclaya for only about a year and I haven't seen it go
dormant yet.  I started with two rhizomes that were just starting to show
leaves.  About 2 months later they reached about 1/2 their eventual size
and started to flower.

When they started to flower the plants nearly ceased to increase in size. 
I let the flower development continue for about 6 weeks but the plants
seemed to get progressively weaker.  I never did get viable seeds out of
the plants (other people do get viable seeds) so I started trimming off
the developing flower buds as soon as they appeared to see if that would
allow healthier growth. 

I suspect that if I let the plants continue flowering that they would
never have gotten much bigger and eventually would have just slid into
dormancy.  Instead they more than doubled the length and breadth of their
leaves and got so thick that they dominated one end of a 55 gallon tank
with a big cloud of red foliage.  Pretty cool plant. 

Tank conditions:  soft, well buffered water and yeast-generated CO2,
mature substrate of coarse aquarium gravel and sand-blasting grit with
plenty of built-up mulm, temperature 77 degrees F (to mid 80's in summer
heat), 3 watts per gallon lighting from "daylight" flourescents.  I
augment the water with epson salt for magnesium and use fertilizers with
chelated iron and potassium.  The tank normally is unfiltered. 

Recently I removed 1/3 of the substrate and replaced it with fine sand.  
At that time I moved the barclaya plants closer to the back of the tank.  
One of the rhizomes - originally a little bigger than a marble - was about 4 
inches long and almost an inch thick.  The other was about half that size.

The plants initially stopped blooming and leaf growth slowed after
transplanting.  It looks now like the plant will lose most of the old
leaves probably because of the transplanting shock and partly because of a
green water episode that started a little later.

The plants seem to be recovering; new growth appeared at the original
growth center and from at least two new centers and the plant is just now
starting to put up a new flower bud.  I'm watching closely to see if the 
plant returns to its original state or if it will decline into dormancy.

Roger Miller