Last week the government announced it is going to ban the sale of peat compost from 2024. Which is good because peat is a precious resource and the vast majority of compost does not need to contain peat. But it’s bad if you grow plants that have evolved to grow in peat bogs, like me. I tried a peat substitute called Thrive a few years ago for germinating seeds and it was rubbish. The seeds germinated fine, then grew for a little while, then just stopped and eventually died. Meanwhile the ones in peat kept going.
So I’m trying again!
These are some Venus Flytrap seedlings which were germinated in peat. I think they’re about a year old but I’m not exactly organised when it comes to this stuff.
The ones on the left are in coir, which is some kind of coconut by-product and supposedly* an eco friendly peat substitute, and the ones on the right are in sphagnum, which is/can be a beautiful moss (not so much here, but hopefully after the sun gets on it).
My prediction is that the ones in sphagnum will do fine, and the ones in coir won’t.
Here are a few other planties. I’m pleased with the plant in the first photo, which is a Sarracenia Luecophylla. It’s been very slow growing and doesn’t produce many pitchers, but it’s 70cm tall this year. I have a few divisions of it now but this is the biggest. I liked how the colours on the second photo came out.
*I am sceptical that coir’s real life production is either eco-friendly or ethical, but that’s for another time.
Storm Ciara turned out to be surprisingly bad. My weather app described it as ‘dangerously high winds, so it was a weird day of staying inside all day until late afternoon when I went out for a short walk just to say I had. It occurred to me that the last time I didn’t go outside for a whole day was probably last January when I had flu. I really would have liked a run but I had visions of being hit by a flying tree.
I did some of what I wanted to with my plants. I didn’t do anything with them this time last year because I wasn’t really (mentally) healthy enough to think about ‘investing’ in them. Somehow I managed to keep them alive, but plants are a long term thing. You repot them now and in six months they look better. You sow seeds or take cuttings now and maybe in 3 months you see the faintest hint of growth. I wasn’t really doing long term back then. So some of them are long overdue a bit of care and attention. I don’t like doing much with them over the summer because it can shock them and interrupt their growth, so the best time is right now, just as they’re starting to wake up.
Usually they wouldn’t wake up until a bit later in the year but apparently this year must be mild, because a few of them are throwing up flower stalks. A couple of years ago they didn’t really wake up until June(!).
I still have a lot more to do, but I’ve split a few and potted them up, and de-weeded a few other pots.
This one has been so neglected that it’s deformed the pot. I think that it’s been trying to grow downwards because of lack of space…
A few trays I brought inside so they wouldn’t blow away. As you can see, I have the gift/curse that I can grow plants very easily, which (un?)fortunately means have millions of them. I was intending to start selling them but it’s too much hassle. Baby flytraps are so cute.
I forgot to take a ‘before’ pic of this one but here’s one from last summer, then after splitting it into two today. The smaller of the splits is in the original pot. This was a therapy plant my dad bought for me (in a very unusual display of generosity!) shortly after I had a serious trauma about 18 months ago.