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Greetings.

Although many forum members are quite familiar with this species through interaction with plants in their own collections, there are not a lot of good images available of fully mature Hydnophytum puffi that illustrate what they are capable of achieving in terms of size when in cultivation. I have attached a pair of photos take yesterday of my original plant, obtained as a seedling from our own esteemed Frank Omilian five years ago. The plant is established in a 20 cm/8" basket. Total canopy spread is ~75 cm/30". 

IMG_20170207_144247.jpg

During the winter this species sheds leaves on a constant basis so it looks a little bit ratty now, but this is also peak flowering and fruiting period. The combination of a very striking caudex with a spreading, almost acacia tree-like canopy is most attractive. I find that many orchid and carnivorous plant people who visit the greenhouse that are not otherwise too impressed by hydnophytines find H. puffii extremely appealing. Of all of the hydnophytine species that I grow, this one is the most amenable to bonsai-type training and cultivation.

Hydnophytum puffii - Sarawak.jpg

Given its prolific nature, this species is fast becoming a common species in cultivation. It would be great if we had some fresh accessions to augment a genetic base that apparently derives from a single wild plant.

 

J

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Ah, Jay,   I don't feel so "esteemed" when I see how much better you grow my plants than I do!........laughing!!..

Great plant and great photo!

I concur from my plants that this species flowers and fruits in January, February and March here in the Northern hemisphere with a few sporadic fruits other times of the year.  Those of you growing this below the equator - what say you on their flowering season?

For a number of years I found it rather disconcerting that this species is actively loosing leaves at the exact time it is reproducing.  Thought I was growing them wrong.  Seems like this would be a time you would want to keep maximum photosynthetic surface area so you could maximize seed production?

When I first started growing Rubiaceous ant-plants I assumed they would grow year-round because they come from so close to the equator.  The reality for me growing here at 42 degrees N latitude is that most do their best growing in the summer with some pushing either way into spring or fall.  Only H. puffii is clearly a vigorous winter grower and reproducer for me.

Edited by Frank
removed erroneous information

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Hi, Frank.

Thank you! I think you may have momentarily confused this with the Leiden H simplex accession, which also is a one-off, I believe.

Art Vogel, formerly curator at Leiden, posted partial accession data here in August 2014. It was collected at Nabawan, Interior Division, Sabah in December 1995. This is a fully lowland tropical locality, as are the other collection localities listed in the published description of H. puffii.

I know that at least a couple growers in Asia are making an effort to get a new batch of wild-collected seed into cultivation.

I now suspect that the seasonal slow motion leaf shed - that apparently everyone on the forum experiences, no matter where their location - is an adaptation to facilitate avian access to ripe fruits on the wiry stems. For sure it is far more abrupt and dramatic when the temps are allowed to drop too much, but they abort fruit at that point, too.

J

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Hi Frank,

I am growing this species in the southern hemisphere at  28o south in S.E.Queensland. The first small flowering on a 19 month old seedling occurred between the 20th to the 29th of October, which is our mid spring. No leaves were shed though until a misshap with a neem oil spray a week or so later followed by a fairly hot day caused about 60-70% of the leaves and its first three fruit to fall off. I was NOT happy!  But the plant soon started to push out new growth and yesterday the first flower from a new bigger batch of flower buds opened, we are in the last month of summer here with about 22oC av.min. to 32oC av. max. for the last month. So at this stage not following main flowering times as in the northern hemisphere , or it may just be sporadic flowering and the plant might settle down to a main flowering period as it matures. This plant is grown in natural sunlight under shadecloth.

 

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Fruit at last, 27 months after planting my first ever  H.puffii seed the plant has matured its first fruit. It has just over a dozen fruit on it and the first one has ripened in the first month of our winter here in the southern hemisphere, so Frank the plant seems to be following the same fruiting cycle as plants in the Northern hemisphere.DSCF3443.thumb.JPG.0f15f9a719c326d96be7606682151dbc.JPG

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the forum members who shared their experiences of growing this species both good and bad, as it was this information that ultimately led to my success in growing and fruiting this lovely species. This is the best thing about this forum, the sharing of knowledge of which there is a wealth of amongst its members. Below is a picture of the entire plant which is in desperate need of re-potting, this will be done after a few fruit have been harvested and have started to germinate, I do not want to take the risk of the plant possibly dropping immature fruit as it is the only plant I have, and only one of five in the country.

DSCF3441.JPG

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Well done, Robert. Wouldn't worry about the repot. These things fruit promiscuously when older, as you can see. I don't think I've ever lost one in cultivation and it must be one of the spp. I have most of.

Jay

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Bonjour

The two mine, adult and that have fruited abundantly, I lost them unfortunately.
They began to lose all their foliage, then were invaded by a kind of moss that made them die.

Also, I made a fatal mistake, I distributed seeds everywhere and I did not worry about me, if I could sometimes find one or two Drupe, it would be enchanting.

jeff

 

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6 minutes ago, jeff said:

Bonjour

The two mine, adult and that have fruited abundantly, I lost them unfortunately.
They began to lose all their foliage, then were invaded by a kind of moss that made them die.

Also, I made a fatal mistake, I distributed seeds everywhere and I did not worry about me, if I could sometimes find one or two Drupe, it would be enchanting.

jeff

 

Hi Jeff-

If someone in EU doesn't answer - I have plenty. Postage from the US. :}

 

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Hi everyone,

Just joined the forum today, and it was a direct result from reading this post. So good! And it got me thinking...

Is it possible that H.puffii can get away with dropping its leaves in winter precisely because it's also the time when ants would be what I call "bedding down," ie; staying closer to the nest site??? If that checks out, maybe the ant's increased refuse gives the plants that extra boost of nutrients, allowing it to forgo much of its leaves and still maintain healthy fruit production. I have no scientific basis for any of this, I'm just a humble hobbyist throwing out an idea.

Otter

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Hi,

I'm new here. I have only had my puffier for a couple months.  When I received the plant the "bulb" looked very healthy.  But as time goes on I have noticed the "bulb" looks as though it is getting smaller as though it's drying out.  It's in a window with blinds facing South.  I water when I feel the "soil" drying.  Leaves seem fine.  I guess my main question is why is the "bulb" appear to be drying and getting smaller?

 

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Hi George,   Welcome to the forum.  We hope you find a lot of useful and interesting information here.  Thanks for joining us.

As to your H. puffii - you are right to be concerned - the shrinking of the caudex is not a good sign.  (A caudex is a swollen stem base --  a bulb is like an onion, a collection of closely wrapped leaves) .   

When you say "soil" we hope you do not mean soil as in what you plant a garden or regular houseplant in.  These ant- plants are epiphytes - plants that live on the surface of another plant so their roots will die if they are planted in normal garden-like soil.  They need to be grown in an epiphyte mix like most orchid growers use to grow orchids.  Something made of bark chips, long fiber sphagnum, perlite, coconut husk chunks, etc  - so that the roots stay moist but can still get air.

If you passed the soil test and have the right growing media, the next thought is watering.  When you water, water well, not just a little water at the surface.  With epiphyte  mix you can even set the pot in a small tray or container of water for 10 or 15 mintues, let all the soil components soak up their fill and than take the pot out and not water again for perhaps a week or so until the mix is close to dry again.

Do you live where it is cold?  If so and if what you are describing as your window growing is between the blinds and the window than your plant could be getting too cold at night  Get it a little further from the window.  Most of these ant-plants do not like getting below 60 Fahrenheit  Cold can cause rot that often presents as a soft, shrinking caudex.

Those are my thoughts on your problem based on the information you gave us.  If these things I have described are not the possible problem tell us more about your growing situation, perhaps give us photos, and we will try again to help.

Let me add that in my experience H. puffii is the poster child for an ant-plant that takes a definite winter rest for me (northern hemisphere, USA,Michigan).  They have never grown for me during December to sometime in March or April.  They just sit there and look pretty.

Thanks again for joining the forum

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