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Byblis guehoi

Byblis guehoi is a fascinating carnivorous plant that brings together the best of both worlds - profuse, cheerful flowers and delicate, glistening and sticky carnivorous leaves. It is magically beautiful, interesting to observe and in the right environment - very easy to grow.

Byblis guehoi is an annual plant that is grown from seed each season. In order to have success with the seeds you need to understand two things - that the seeds are dormant and that they are hydrophobic.
In order to induce germination we have to deal with the dormancy first. Dormancy is a natural adaptation that prevents the seeds from germinating during a season that will not be suitable for the growth of the seedlings, it makes the seeds lie and wait for the right clues that will tell them it is a good time to grow. Nature does it in it's own way and one of the clues is smoke produced by burning vegetation. However in cultivation it is easier to directly use a plant hormone called Gibberellic acid (GA3).

Byblis guehoi plant

GA3 is a crystalline powder and in order to use it you have to dissolve it in some pure alcohol (>95%), then slowly add distilled water until you reach 270 PPM concentration (if you work with the supplied 90 mg. 90% GA3 this will mean to reach 300 ml. volume). The less alcohol you use - the better, maximum of one teaspoon should be enough.

Byblis guehoi plant

When you have your solution ready you have to soak the seeds in it so that they can absorb the hormone. The problem here is that the seeds are strongly hydrophobic so that very little contact with the solution occurs. I think this is the reason most people recommend using very high GA3 concentrations (1000 PPM for 24 hours). In fact you will get much, much better results, higher and more quicker germination if you add a drop of liquid soap and soak the seeds in the lower concentration which I suggest until they all sink to the bottom and imbibe visibly. The soap removes their hydrophobic property and allows them to absorb the solution. The seeds are small but you will see them visibly swell and sink, it will occur within several days. It is safe to leave them in the solution for 5 days.

After the Gibberellic acid treatment you have to sow them in a container filled with fine sand. The easiest method I think is to use a dropper / pipette, picking up one seed at a time and placing it with a drop of the solution on the sand. Place the container under bright light. The strong light is very important for good seedling development. Optimal temperatures are 27-32℃. Do not allow the surface of the substrate to dry out until the seedlings are ready for transplanting. You can use closed container, but monitor the temperature inside and acclimatize carefully! In my experience it is much more difficult to acclimatize seedlings grown in an enclosed container than to grow them exposed to normal air from the beginning so I don't cover the container with glass.

Using this method you should start seeing some tiny sprouts within a week, which is much quicker than the usual one month waiting when using the method of short soaking in high concentration GA3 without soap.

When the seedlings gain enough size so that you are comfortable to work with them you should replant them in their own containers. I think that 2 litre pots are perfectly enough for a single plant. A suitable substrate is a mixture of coarse and fine river sand with some silt, perlite and a little peat and some compost or loam.
Byblis are very sun and heat loving plants so make sure they receive plenty of them. Keep the substrate moderately moist, not waterlogged and if they aren't catching any bugs feed them regularly.

I am sure you will enjoy some more photos of my plants here.
Have fun growing these extraordinary plants!

Author of the text and photos: Petar Kostov, telopeanursery.com, 20170813.

 
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