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Greased grass - Pinguicola grandiflora

Greased grass - Pinguicola grandiflora

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About 80 species of Pinguicola are known, widespread all over the world, even in Europe, but most of them in the wild are found only in Central and South America; some species are also present in Italy, but the appearance that is very reminiscent of succulent plants, often does not allow us to notice a penguin immersed in its natural habitat. Given the large area in which we can find a species of pinguicola, there are plants with very different needs and appearance; in order to be able to describe the characteristics of the various species more quickly, we usually tend to divide penguages ​​into four different groups, which have only a descriptive purpose. There are tropical penguins that produce carnivorous leaves only in the spring period, while during the cold months they have only a thick rosette of succulent leaves; others produce only carnivorous leaves, all year round. Among the penguins widespread in areas with cold winters, some produce vegetative rosettes and very different generative rosettes, while others produce rosettes that are always the same. Regardless of the type of penguin, most are perennials; in areas with a cold winter climate typically penguins tend to lose much of the aerial part and the root system, leaving only gems, gathered in a structure called hybernacula. The great part of the leaves of pinguicula forms a dense rosette, has a spatula-like shape, and a light green color, sometimes with pinkish edges; the main characteristic of these plants lies in the traps, which are not made up of metamorphosed leaf structures, very clear to see: in fact the whole rosette is covered by glands, which emit a mucilage that traps and slowly digests small insects and pollen . The general appearance is that of a succulent plant, with a dense and flattened rosette (except for some species, with very long and thin foliage), with the upper side of the leaves having a shiny and moist appearance; in fact the humidity is due to the secretions of the leaves, apt to attract insects. The second salient feature of the penguins are the flowers: unlike the flowers of other carnivorous plants, these are very colorful, purple or deep pink, and vaguely resemble violets.

Balkan pinguicula

Small carnivorous with spatulate leaves, light green, forming a thick rosette; widespread in nature in the Balkan area; it develops starting from the mild autumn climate days, when it produces the first carnivorous leaves, with a succulent appearance; in summer it produces small purple flowers, carried by a thin, erect stem. When autumn arrives, the production of new leaves stops, and the plant forms the wintering buds in the center of the rosette, while the leaves begin to dry up. It will remain in conditions of vegetative rest throughout the autumn and winter. It is cultivated in partially shady areas, with damp and fresh soil, consisting of peat and small amounts of sand.

Pinguicula moranensis

Plant of Mexican origin, of small dimensions, which shows a marked dimorphism: in the rainy season, during the spring and summer months, the plant produces carnivorous leaves, very small, obovate, among which bloom small dark pink flowers, carried by thin stems erected; when the dry season arrives, in October, the carnivorous leaves are replaced by succulent leaves, up to 8-10 cm long; even in winter the plain produces flowers. It is one of the most cultivated species, as it needs a very well drained soil, easy to prepare, consisting of sand, mixed with perlite and little peat, so as to give rise to a poorly coherent compound, which must be moistened periodically, in the spring and summer months; in the winter period it is left almost completely dry.

Pinguicula alpina

It is one of the most widespread species, as its distribution area in the wild starts from Europe and reaches Asia, in particular it develops in humid mountainous places; produces a thick flattened rosette, made up of light green lanceolate leaves; every single rosette does not exceed 5-6 cm in diameter, and only well-developed rosettes, which are at least some years old, begin to bloom, producing small white flowers; in winter the plant loses its leaves and maintains a small hibernaculum, that is a sort of large bud, which will develop when spring arrives. The roots of the plant remain vital throughout the year, contrary to what happens to other temperate pinguicola species. It is grown in a sunny place, with a cool and damp, poor soil, without any type of fertilizer.

Pinguicula leptoceras

Species widespread in nature in the alpine area, and therefore also in Italy, much appreciated for its purple flowers, which have a light speckling on each petal, produces lance-shaped leaves, with revolute margin, united in small compact rosettes; as soon as the summer climate tends to cool down, at the center of the rosette a hibernaculum is formed, that is a sort of gem, constituted by the future leaves of the rosette, all approached; the plant loses its leaves, which dry up, and the hibernaculum remains until the following spring. It is grown in a bright place, in a mixture consisting of sand and peat, avoiding fertilizing.

Pinguicula vulgaris

Herbaceous plant with fleshy and carnivorous leaves, present throughout the northern hemisphere, in Europe, Asia and North America; produces a thick rosette of pale leaves, which in winter is replaced by a small compressed bud; in the vegetative period it produces small pinkish flowers. It is grown in a bright, sunny place, in a light and poorly fertilized, alkaline soil. In Italy it is generally present in humid areas, in alpine or subalpine climate.

Grow pinguicula

There are many species of pinguicula, and although in Italian nurseries it is often easier to find endemic species, the same cannot be said for penguins, since the species widespread in Italy are not easy to cultivate, and it is therefore preferable to cultivate in pots , or in a terrarium, the species of Mexican origin, more suited to the climate. This is because the species widespread in Italy tend to like an alpine climate, decidedly different from that found in our homes. However, before buying a penguin, let's make sure that it is possible to recognize the species, so that we can understand the place of origin. In addition to the climate, the cultivation of penguins also differs in the type of soil to be used: some love acid soils, other alkaline soils; therefore it becomes difficult to define a generic ground in which to cultivate these plants. Generally speaking, however, the physiology of these plants forces them to live in a damp and cool place, with a constantly damp soil, completely devoid of nutrients, which the plant obtains through the prey it captures. In particular, all penguins usually, even in the wild, pass through a dry period, corresponding to the autumn and winter months, and a fairly warm and very humid period, in the spring and summer months. Temperate species will spend the cold period enclosed in a hybernacula; the species of South American and Mexican origin instead in autumn and winter do not need any watering because they produce succulent leaves, not carnivorous. Therefore, we water regularly, from March to October, and almost for nothing in the remaining months; in any way we avoid tap water, rich in salts, and fertilizers of all kinds; we also avoid the use of pre-constituted soils, such as universal soil, because during mixing they are always enriched with fertilizer. Penguins, unlike most carnivorous plants, do not need to be placed in a completely sunny place, and prefer semi-shaded, bright places but without the perennial presence of the sun.

Propagate the penguin

These plants produce small capsules containing the seeds, which can be sown directly as soon as the capsule breaks; most of these plants produce, already in autumn, small buds, which will overwinter attached to the hibernacula, which can be detached and cultivated individually. In the case of Mexican and tropical species, it is possible to divide the head of winter fleshy leaves, and cultivate the portions produced as if they were single plants.

Greased grass - Pinguicola grandiflora: Pests and diseases

Generally these plants are not affected by pests or diseases, but often undergo premature death, due to the particular needs of cultivation; in nature they live in damp places, with a very rich climate of water, especially in the air; only in the winter months can they tolerate the dry climate present in the house. For this reason, many penguin growers prefer to place them in a terrarium, where it is easier to work on the climate, especially as regards the humidity of the air. The species widespread in Europe can be cultivated even more difficult than those of South American origin, because they originate from alpine or mountainous areas, where the file (throughout the year) is decidedly very different from that where we can grow them at home, or in our sunny and warm garden. The main cause of death for a carnivorous plant, whatever it is, is usually to be found in the water: scarce or excessive watering, with water always stagnated; or even calcareous or salt-rich water; these are the two main penguin killers.
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  1. JoJolabar

    It is remarkable, the very useful message

  2. Nikolrajas

    It seems to me that this has already been discussed.

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