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Cypripedium acaule - watch with me

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xiphius

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Last year, shortly after moving into my new apartment, I was taking a walk in the woods behind the complex and stumbled across a nice little population of Cypripedium acaule. Conveniently only about a 10 minute hike out. Unfortunately, this was midsummer, so they were already bloomed out for the year. But I made note of them with the intention of watching them this year. I am guessing it is a fairly new (or recovering) population because the number of very mature plants is small (I only saw a dozen or so big ones). There were a TON of little guys though. This year, I am going to watch them carefully and try to catch a timelapse of them coming up and opening. Figured I would share those images here for others to enjoy as well. I may also try to give them some help with pollination. Last year was a rough one for them. I only saw 3 seed pods, of which, 2 were destroyed by the heavy rains/floods/falling trees. Also, there were many mounds of decomposing granite/mica chips that seemed to be havens for seedlings. Quite a few of these got completely washed out (presumably along with all of the seedlings they sheltered). So, without further ado!

It's a loose pine/hardwood area. The ground is mostly decomposing granite/mica covered by leaf litter (oak, hickory, and pine).


This past week they have just started to break through!


...still attached to last years surviving pod:


...closeup of new growth with last years leaves:


Well, at least they'll have plenty of iron :p


Stay tuned. I am going to try for weekly updates (barring terrible weather). When the flowers start to open, I'll try and get out there every couple days.
 

abax

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Cherish those babies! We had a huge mature stand
of acaule on our property, but between the pine
bark beetle invasion that took out all the pines
shading the site and flooding they're all gone.
We tried to save a few, but they didn't make it.
I'll REALLY enjoy your photos.
 

Duck Slipper

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I will be watching...curiously, I am in West Kentucky waiting for some Cyps. to emerge. What state are you located in?
 

xiphius

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I am in central Virginia. So, around about the same level as you guys. It has only been about a week or two so since they started popping up, and there are a bunch that haven't even started yet. So it is quite variable. Hope yours come up soon!
 

abax

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Duck Slipper, I haven't seen any on our property
anywhere for quite a long time. Of course, I
haven't looked at the whole 128 acres either.
 

xiphius

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Not in situation but here are a few of my Cypripedium acaule coming up this year
Nice! How long have you been growing them? As I understand they are tricky to keep going in the long term in pots?
 

xiphius

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They do grow up fast, don't they? :p

It has only been about a week and they have grown quite a bit! In fact, several that hadn't even sprouted last time are already up with developing buds (really fast growth for only 7-8 days!). They are really starting to come up in earnest now. I had to be really careful where I was stepping and tried to walk around on downed trees as much as possible. Growth rates seem highly variable. I wonder if the ones that are in a blooming year grow faster? It seems like the ones with buds are much further along. However, it could also just be that some of the newer ones haven't developed buds yet, and these are simply overachievers.

This little guy wasn't even poking above the leaves last week, and now it has a bud coming along nicely!


Some of the slugabeds just starting to come up :)


Patch nestled on the sides of a small gully


Another one in bud already


Patch with old seedpod
 

Berthold

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Not in situation but here are a few of my Cypripedium acaule coming up this year
Did You vaccinate the pine bark in the pot with fungi of the from natural habitat
 

abax

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Great photos, xip! I hope the plants are on
your property so you can protect them.
 

Phred

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I have grown acaule in pots for several years. I grow in 50% Turface/50% coconut coir. The pine bark is a tiny layer on top to break the stream of water when I have to water and hold in moisture for a little longer. Last year I used a little soluble mycorrhizae for the first time. I used very little because it also contained some other nutrients.
 

Berthold

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I have grown acaule in pots for several years. I grow in 50% Turface/50% coconut coir. The pine bark is a tiny layer on top to break the stream of water when I have to water and hold in moisture for a little longer. Last year I used a little soluble mycorrhizae for the first time. I used very little because it also contained some other nutrients.
Thanks, we in Germany can keep this species alive only at a pH-value below 4.5 (3.5 - 4.5), which kills most bacteria.
Do You know the pH-value of Your mixture?
 

xiphius

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Thanks, we in Germany can keep this species alive only at a pH-value below 4.5 (3.5 - 4.5), which kills most bacteria.
It does need pretty low pH. Probably why a lot of people can't maintain it in pots in the long run. I have heard that some growers water it with a dilute vinegar solution during the growing season in order to help keep the pot pH from getting too high.
 

xiphius

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I hope the plants are on
your property so you can protect them.
Sadly, no. I am in an apartment, so I do not own the land. Come to think of it, I am not sure how much of the adjoining woods is actually owned by the apartment complex. They probably own some, but definitely not all, of it. It is not a huge tract - maybe 25 acres, 30 max. It's bordered on all 4 sides by roads and stuff, so it would be hard to get lost out there :p. I know a lot of people take their dogs for walks through, but mostly just to cut through the narrowest part to a trail that leads to a local park. I have never actually seen anyone else in the "deeper" portions of it. There is supposedly a bear that sometimes hangs out in there though. Last year we got several "bear warnings" from the complex. I never saw her, or her cub, on any of my walks though. I did stumble across a really old boundary marker for the county parks department one day while exploring. I don't know if some, or most, is still owned by the county or not. The colony should be more protected this year. The rains last year brought down a ton of trees and kind of formed a natural fence around a good portion of the population. Actually took me a bit to find them again because the landscape has changed so dramatically from last year.
 

Phred

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68CBB3B4-463E-45D7-B5E3-DD218F8AEB28.jpeg AFC1E8CD-0D66-45C0-8686-662A31839667.jpeg I use 3 oz apple cider vinegar to each gallon of rainwater. Plants are growing fast now that it’s getting warmer.
 

Berthold

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I use 3 oz apple cider vinegar to each gallon of rainwater. Plants are growing fast now that it’s getting warmer.
I reduced pH of water down to about pH 3.0 by red wine vinegar. Basic substrate was peat.
The plant was not in a pot but in the garden. That was my problem because rain raised the pH value
 
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