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Old 08-29-2011, 07:36 PM
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Default Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

I really like Alocasia’s (Elephant Ears), but most are far too large for viv’s. A new miniature species is really attractive. Alocasia reginula (Black Velvet) grows very well for me in my Exo-Terra 18 X 18 X 24 vivarium. The lighting is from two Exo Terra double bulb hoods with Day White 12W and 14W LED bulbs from LightYourReptiles.com. The pictured Alocasia was purchased a year ago, and shipped badly. The plant arrived out of the pot, and all of the foliage was crushed and broken. I repotted the roots, and it began to grow immediately. The two largest leaves are those produced in the last month or so in the viv (which BTW has four Vanzo’s). This species is available on e-bay, from several suppliers. Just search the name, Alocasia reginula.

It would be useful and interesting to find out what plants you all have found to be both beautiful to look at and easy to grow in your viv’s.

Mike in Helotes
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:50 PM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

i hate to say it, but it's very likely that it will outgrow your tank and theres a good chance if left alone it will kill all of your other flora as well.

these, although considered a miniature, still get much too large for your average tank. the large thick leaves also have a tendency to shade out other plants, and cover them completely in a nasty decaying mess when they die. this combo is usually more than enough to kill other plants in the viv.

dont get me wrong, in an appropriately sized tank, this would be a nice addition, but once it establishes its massive root system and you realize its going to be much too big, you might find yourself choosing between killing the plant or removing all the substrate from your tank.

james
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:05 PM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

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Originally Posted by james67 View Post
i hate to say it, but it's very likely that it will outgrow your tank and theres a good chance if left alone it will kill all of your other flora as well.

these, although considered a miniature, still get much too large for your average tank. the large thick leaves also have a tendency to shade out other plants, and cover them completely in a nasty decaying mess when they die. this combo is usually more than enough to kill other plants in the viv.

dont get me wrong, in an appropriately sized tank, this would be a nice addition, but once it establishes its massive root system and you realize its going to be much too big, you might find yourself choosing between killing the plant or removing all the substrate from your tank.

james
James,

Thank you for your post. Have you grown this species? I have grown it for a year, and it has maintained a really nice size. I agree that most of the other Alocasia's are way too big, but this one seems miniature. In a year's time, growing on my porch and in the viv, it has not done what you describe. At least not so far.

Mike
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

just keep an eye on it. it did just occur to me that your able to cut off any/all large growth deemed too big for the terrarium. as you noticed, the plant can pretty much be cut back to the tuber/ roots with out killing it.

james

plant growth also has a LOT to do with the conditions its cultivated in. so yours may be "dwarfed" even more than standard plants. the most dramatic change ive seen like this is a violet i gave to a fellow frogger which now only produces 1/4' elongated leaves.

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Old 08-29-2011, 09:31 PM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

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just keep an eye on it. it did just occur to me that your able to cut off any/all large growth deemed too big for the terrarium. as you noticed, the plant can pretty much be cut back to the tuber/ roots with out killing it.

james

plant growth also has a LOT to do with the conditions its cultivated in. so yours may be "dwarfed" even more than standard plants. the most dramatic change ive seen like this is a violet i gave to a fellow frogger which now only produces 1/4' elongated leaves.
James,

Without wanting to sound like a jerk, my culture does not create dwarf plants. I grow plants well, and have about 40 years of experience doing same. My point is that I have grown it well for a year and it still doesn't show signs of taking over the viv. Why is this so hard to believe? It IS a miniature Alocasia.

Mike
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:09 PM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

I have one of these in my 20 long, not black velvet, but the bright green variety. It does grow well and pretty fast, but I don't think they can outgrow a moderate size viv to easily.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:36 PM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

We have sold them for years through Josh's Frogs... My experience with them is that they can get a fairly large leaf that can shade out parts of the bottom of a tank. They don't get particularly tall (over a foot). So, a medium sized viv, or perhaps a vertical configuration.

They are mealy bug magnets, and susceptible to spider mite as well. Other than that, a nice plant.
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Old 08-29-2011, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

Orchids and Neo. Broms have my vote. In the future I'll have my hands on a Vanda when I can properly give it strong/indirect light and high humidity.

Question though to the OP are you wondering what will co-exist with our froggie friends, or a viv devoted to only flora? Had to ask.
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:17 AM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

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Orchids and Neo. Broms have my vote. In the future I'll have my hands on a Vanda when I can properly give it strong/indirect light and high humidity.

Question though to the OP are you wondering what will co-exist with our froggie friends, or a viv devoted to only flora? Had to ask.
I am interested in what plants easily co-exist with my thumbnails, look nice in the viv, and are easy to grow.

Mike
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:26 AM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

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James,

Without wanting to sound like a jerk, my culture does not create dwarf plants. I grow plants well, and have about 40 years of experience doing same. My point is that I have grown it well for a year and it still doesn't show signs of taking over the viv. Why is this so hard to believe? It IS a miniature Alocasia.

Mike
my comment was not intended to criticize your ability to grow plants. i think you took it the wrong way. different environmental conditions can produce different types of plant growth. thats not to imply that differences in growth are a negative, or that they are any less "healthy". also i never said i didnt believe you, im just saying that a 1 ft tall + plant that gets equally large in diameter takes up a HUGE amount of space in a tank your size, and its quite possible that it will grow to overshadow your other plants, potentially harming them.

james

Last edited by james67; 08-30-2011 at 03:19 AM. Reason: double signature
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:08 AM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

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Originally Posted by randa4 View Post
I am interested in what plants easily co-exist with my thumbnails, look nice in the viv, and are easy to grow.

Mike
Ah, gotchya. Since I have zilch experience with thumbnails, hopefully others will chime in. I would be curious to know as well.

Jessica
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

i agree with james, in time, if left unchecked it will outgrow your viv. They are a dwarf compared to other species but can still get a bit of size on them, although thats the case with many viv plants but regular maintenance keeps them in check
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:31 AM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

I was gonna say, mine didn't outgrow my viv..... but then I remembered I had it in a 125G
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:40 AM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

maranta is a pretty bulletproof genus IME.

james
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:52 AM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

I have some begonia thelme that I really like - I got a free cutting from a friend and now it is growing well and constantly flowering in all 4 of my tanks I don't think it is ever not in bloom
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:36 PM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

Personally, I love Alocasia's and have them in many of my vivs. While I have not tried Black Velvet, I have kept Alocasia Polly for years. Yes, they get pretty tall so I just go in with a razer blade and cut out the bigger, taller leaves from time to time. There are always smaller, younger leaves ready and willing to fill the void. My Imitators love the broad leaves to lay eggs on.
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:17 AM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

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Originally Posted by DendroRachel View Post
I have some begonia thelme that I really like - I got a free cutting from a friend and now it is growing well and constantly flowering in all 4 of my tanks I don't think it is ever not in bloom
What a beautiful Begonia, foliage is really striking and the bloom very pretty. Thank you for the pics.

Mike
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:12 AM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

I have some type of Peperomia (don't have an ID though) that I love. I really like the way it looks (but I like "boring" plants). It grows quickly, is adaptable, and roots very quickly from cuttings. It is the plant on the ground in the pic. Also love Pilea "creeping charlie": cuttings root very easily, grows quickly, does well on backgrounds...an all-around great plant. It has cool crinkly leaves and its growth habit is quite attractive.
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Old 09-01-2011, 06:12 AM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

Hold up, Mike--I think you may be misconstruing Jame's point, and it is an important horticultural point:

"Dwarfing" is not the same thing as "stunting." Many tropicals we grow will take on different growth forms, due to light, humidity, soil quality, etc. This is why, for example, most epiphytes tend to grow smaller when grown epiphytically (i.e., naturally), than when grown in pots. It is also why cultivated plants often look better--more symmetrical, more vigor--than their wild counterparts.

Of course, many aroids have juvenile and mature forms, but many do not take on mature form in cultivation (this applies to many of the hemi-epiphytes like Philodendron, Monstera, etc.). I don't grow any Alocasia in my tanks for precisely the reasons James points out; also, my big tank is probably a bit too moist (this blows, cause I do keep hylids and rhacophorids who would appreciate the broad leaves). However, I have seen many plants grow for a year or two, and then all of a sudden take off in a kind of teen growth spurt--the new growth is bigger, thicker and more aggressive, and the surrounding plants suffer. Three aroids I have seen do this are Syngonium wenlandtii, Spathiphyllum 'Petco' and even Anubias barteri 'nana' (which can get leaves almost the size of one's hand when grown emersed). What gives? Maybe the plants needed a long time to really establish; maybe the root systems found the sweet spot to really metabolize the substrate nutrients; and maybe, just maybe, we dont think about the fact that plants, like animals, have different lifespans (for example, aroids live longer than acanths).

For me, when I grow a potential big boy in a viv, I sink it in a clay (porous) pot to slow it down. By all means, enjoy your Alocasia, but be aware of its future growth potential.


O, as for easy (beautiful in bold):

--Episcia 'Silver Skies' (all Episcia are easy, this one stays manageable)
--Pellionia pulchra--many Pilea sp.
--Ruellia makoyana
--Ficus pumila
--Dischidia ovata (don't get too wet)
--Hemigraphis repanda (also aggressive)
--Anubias 'nana' (can be slow)
--Monstera seltipicana--Syngonium wendlandtii
--many Cryptanthus (except 'Pink Starlite')

And while I don't think any begonia is quite as easy as the above, I find Beg 'Buttercup' to be the most vigorous of the West African rhizomatous types.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

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...............

And while I don't think any begonia is quite as easy as the above, I find Beg 'Buttercup' to be the most vigorous of the West African rhizomatous types.

I second the B. "Buttercup". Not only does it seem to tolerate wet soil and having its leaves wet, but it flowers(yellow) freely, has cool crinkly leaves, withstands vigorous pruning and is the easiest begonia to grow from a leaf cutting that I have ever tried. I put a couple leaves into froglet grow out boxes because I was running low on magnolia leaves and in a month I had two nice little plants growing in there. They were not under lights and the tops of the boxes are frosted and they are still growing.
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Old 09-02-2011, 12:01 AM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

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Originally Posted by Groundhog View Post
Hold up, Mike--I think you may be misconstruing Jame's point, and it is an important horticultural point:

"Dwarfing" is not the same thing as "stunting." Many tropicals we grow will take on different growth forms, due to light, humidity, soil quality, etc. This is why, for example, most epiphytes tend to grow smaller when grown epiphytically (i.e., naturally), than when grown in pots. It is also why cultivated plants often look better--more symmetrical, more vigor--than their wild counterparts.

Of course, many aroids have juvenile and mature forms, but many do not take on mature form in cultivation (this applies to many of the hemi-epiphytes like Philodendron, Monstera, etc.). I don't grow any Alocasia in my tanks for precisely the reasons James points out; also, my big tank is probably a bit too moist (this blows, cause I do keep hylids and rhacophorids who would appreciate the broad leaves). However, I have seen many plants grow for a year or two, and then all of a sudden take off in a kind of teen growth spurt--the new growth is bigger, thicker and more aggressive, and the surrounding plants suffer. Three aroids I have seen do this are Syngonium wenlandtii, Spathiphyllum 'Petco' and even Anubias barteri 'nana' (which can get leaves almost the size of one's hand when grown emersed). What gives? Maybe the plants needed a long time to really establish; maybe the root systems found the sweet spot to really metabolize the substrate nutrients; and maybe, just maybe, we dont think about the fact that plants, like animals, have different lifespans (for example, aroids live longer than acanths).

For me, when I grow a potential big boy in a viv, I sink it in a clay (porous) pot to slow it down. By all means, enjoy your Alocasia, but be aware of its future growth potential.


O, as for easy (beautiful in bold):

--Episcia 'Silver Skies' (all Episcia are easy, this one stays manageable)
--Pellionia pulchra--many Pilea sp.
--Ruellia makoyana
--Ficus pumila
--Dischidia ovata (don't get too wet)
--Hemigraphis repanda (also aggressive)
--Anubias 'nana' (can be slow)
--Monstera seltipicana--Syngonium wendlandtii
--many Cryptanthus (except 'Pink Starlite')

And while I don't think any begonia is quite as easy as the above, I find Beg 'Buttercup' to be the most vigorous of the West African rhizomatous types.
Yes, you are right. When I got to thinking about it, you and James are correct. I have spent a fair amount of time in wet rainforests in Central & South America, and recall vividly how big ordinary Pothos grows in its native habitat. Leaves are 1-2' across, and rhizomes are as big around as garden hoses. Monstera deliciosa has huge 5' leaves, compared to the much smaller ones as houseplants.

Will keep a watch on my Alocasia's and thank you also for the plant list. I have a couple of Dischidias, and really want to try some of the Begonia and Episcia's. Red is my favorite flower color, and Episcia's and related do them well.

Mike
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Old 09-02-2011, 03:18 AM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

PM me if you want some episcias. i dont usually use them in vivs so i have a few lying around. perhaps a plant trade?

james
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:38 PM
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Default Re: Beautiful & Easy To Grow Viv Plants

No prob, Mike. Very often, there are plants that we think grow well, and then they grow--too well

Q: How big is your tank?
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:35 AM
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Why is creeping fig so bad to some people?
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