Byblis is a carnivorous “Godsend” plant for many gardeners faced with flying pests troubles. Their long sticky leaves trapped anything that fly by. And all they need to thrive are filtered water and as much sun as they could get.
Thus these plants are easy to maintain and grow for organic pests prevention.
It is not difficult to propagate the plants by stem cutting, and I preferred using a net-cup and sponge over sphagnum moss to establish the cutting, following in the footstep of Brendan Goh.
PROPAGATING STEPS –
First, chose a netcup size that fit a shallow container well. The cutting will not have any roots and its cutting’s end need to be submerged in water.
Soak sponges ahead of time so that the cutting will be supported by a moist environment to reduce stress.
Chose a longish (6 – 8 cm) stem for the cutting and remove lower leaves while its still attached to the mother’s plant. The lower stem will be tucked in the sponge.
UPDATE – Any length is okay for propagating
The cutting’s end need to be outside the sponge’s edge. Water level will reach mid point of the sponge height.
Sponge will be inserted into a netcup. The latter will be placed over a reservoir container.
See how this method completely sealed access to stagnant water? With this method, I will be testing them in outdoor gardens without worrying about mosquitoes breeding.
While we wait for roots to show, this entire container can be placed in the sun and all we need to do is periodically check if water need topping up.
A shallow container can be further inserted into another taller container to prevent leaves from flopping to the ground.
This cutting rooted in 10 days on October 30 2018. It also fell from height due to windy conditions at home but the sponge and netcup buffer the fall well.
When the roots grew longer, we move netcup holder to another taller container instead of uprooting to transplant the Byblis. This mean it’s less stressful for the plant. They’d root and bloom faster the lesser the stress in their environment.
When the roots grew longer, the sponge will no longer be soaked in water. This part will be dry, only roots in water. I hope that this will reduce mealy bugs problem as seen from some posts this morning (October 20 2018).
With any clear container, where light meets liquid, it is better to cover to prevent algae growth and keep roots zone in darkness.
Last but not least, I am sure there are many other ways to propagate the byblis plants, but this is the way I preferred to do ours. They are really wonderful to keep pests at bay and we hung some of these cuttings on windows as well.
PART 2 – REVIVAL
We noticed that byblis plants can turned woody over time. It usually start at the lower stem area and then progressing higher. Left untreated, sometimes the plants died. Drier browning leaves do not trapped insects well and they become weaker.
STEPS to revive BYBLIS
- CUT away dry brown leaves at the lower stem area
2. TUCK lower stem (where drier leaves were removed) into liquid base if possible. The sponge now support the higher area where leaves are still green.
3. SUPPORT higher stem upright position to harness sun.
- SUPPORT – In indoor environment, BYBLIS that were supported in an upright position seem to thrive better. We used to let them flop over our window grills (in natural sunlight) but noticed that lower stem seem to turn woody faster.
Satay Sticks were tucked into the sponge to lend a firmer support for these weak stem plants.
When they recover, these plants will grow new leaves, regained back the sticky sap to trap more insects.
2. Green stems had better chance of rooting than dry brown parts of plants.
3. Indoor systems
With this netcup setup, it is also possible to plug this carnivorous plant in high tech systems, as a pests prevention measure. The care maintenance of this plant is just lights and water and any flying insects could be trapped by its long sticky leaves. The more lights received, the better they thrived. However they cannot tolerate plants’ nutrients, thus it needs its own reservoir.
4. Outdoor Gardens
We found mosquitoes presence greatly reduced after it was introduced outdoor. Access to stagnant water must be sealed completely, thus the sponge method work very well. When it rained, water soaked through and in drier times, we could add water and then closing the access.
5. Fragile leaves (and stem)
Byblis’s leaves (and stem) were observed to be quite fragile. They easily break if rubbed against other surface too often. Any tear can caused browning of stem over time and the plant will die.
The only remedy is to cut the green portion of the plant and root with the above steps on propagation.
These are really pretty and useful plants to grow and propagate. From one mother plant, we had many cuttings to protect our gardens from common flying pests.
This is how the cut point revived on the mother plant. Instead of a single off shoot, sometimes two parts emerged. Thus it became a denser bush if we propagate often.
Even without roots, the new cuttings could still trapped insects and “feast”. The more they ate, the faster roots showed. And then the cycle begins again ! 🙂
October 20 2018 cutting that was used in the propagation steps showed flowers on November 8.
Mosquitoes and any flying Pests Prevention!
PS. These handy netcups and sponges are available for SALE here!