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Hey all,

I got this marcgravia rectiflora clipping in November, put it through quarantine, and started it in my viv about a month ago. However, it looks like the uppermost leaves are turning yellowish and I haven't seen any growth on it (it had those leaf buds when I got it). Any thoughts on what could be going on? It's one of my favorite plants, so I'd love to see it thrive! It's in filtered light right now and is climbing up a bed of sphagnum to which it has started to root. Thanks in advance for the help!

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How consistently damp is the sphagnum?

Is the stem touching or hovering over the moss?

Those are my two immediate thoughts / little issues I've debugged in getting mine to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The sphagnum is damp consistently - should I move it to a dryer background? It is firmly planted and is growing climbing roots.

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Marcgravia is not an epiphyte, so I grow it with roots buried in ABG, not on top of sphag.

Epiphytic plants are plants that are acclimated to growing attached to tree trunks or branches. They often have roots that are thick, not divided, and will stick to branches, and in the case of orchids those roots even photosynthesize, since they're meant to be exposed to air and not buried. They collect water via these roots when it rains directly on the trunk. Terrestrial plants grow in soil, and have fine, branching root systems that are great for pulling water out of a whole section of dirt when it rains and the water soaks in.

When creating vivariums, we use dead long fiber sphagnum mostly for its moisture retention capabilities. I believe it also has some helpful antiseptic properties that discourage bacteria. We mix it into soil or ABG, which mimics soil but with a lot of air pockets, to help evenly distribute water through the mixture. We wrap it around the roots of epiphytic plants to create a very humid, consistent microclimate around their roots when we can't keep the humidity level as consistent as they would like. At least, I think that is its purpose in both cases. We also use it to keep local humidity extremely high when encouraging cuttings to develop roots - I think the reasoning here is that high humidity reduces leaf transpiration and helps the plant preserve as much moisture as it can, since a plant without a root system cannot absorb water efficiently.

The lines between terrestrial and epiphytic can certainly get blurry. You can grow a terrestrial plant directly in sphagnum for a while, but it has absolutely no nutrients and also, by itself, tends to stay too wet, so the roots might rot. You can grow an epiphytic plant in ABG mix, since it's chunky and airy, as long as it dries out well enough. Every terrestrial orchid I've seen has thick roots like other orchids, not the usual finely divided roots you see on terrestrial plants, but they do tend to be hairy so those hairs might help draw more moisture from the soil.

In any case, Marcgravia is a terrestrial plant and I believe it would prefer to be growing in soil/ABG rather than pure sphagnum. In my tank it will ramble along the surface of the substrate until it finds a solid wall and then grow up that, but its main root system is still in the ground.
 

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Marcgravia is not an epiphyte, so I grow it with roots buried in ABG, not on top of sphag.

Epiphytic plants are plants that are acclimated to growing attached to tree trunks or branches. They often have roots that are thick, not divided, and will stick to branches, and in the case of orchids those roots even photosynthesize, since they're meant to be exposed to air and not buried. They collect water via these roots when it rains directly on the trunk. Terrestrial plants grow in soil, and have fine, branching root systems that are great for pulling water out of a whole section of dirt when it rains and the water soaks in.

When creating vivariums, we use dead long fiber sphagnum mostly for its moisture retention capabilities. I believe it also has some helpful antiseptic properties that discourage bacteria. We mix it into soil or ABG, which mimics soil but with a lot of air pockets, to help evenly distribute water through the mixture. We wrap it around the roots of epiphytic plants to create a very humid, consistent microclimate around their roots when we can't keep the humidity level as consistent as they would like. At least, I think that is its purpose in both cases. We also use it to keep local humidity extremely high when encouraging cuttings to develop roots - I think the reasoning here is that high humidity reduces leaf transpiration and helps the plant preserve as much moisture as it can, since a plant without a root system cannot absorb water efficiently.

The lines between terrestrial and epiphytic can certainly get blurry. You can grow a terrestrial plant directly in sphagnum for a while, but it has absolutely no nutrients and also, by itself, tends to stay too wet, so the roots might rot. You can grow an epiphytic plant in ABG mix, since it's chunky and airy, as long as it dries out well enough. Every terrestrial orchid I've seen has thick roots like other orchids, not the usual finely divided roots you see on terrestrial plants, but they do tend to be hairy so those hairs might help draw more moisture from the soil.

In any case, Marcgravia is a terrestrial plant and I believe it would prefer to be growing in soil/ABG rather than pure sphagnum. In my tank it will ramble along the surface of the substrate until it finds a solid wall and then grow up that, but its main root system is still in the ground.
Thank you - this is really helpful! I read somewhere online that marcgravia should be sitting in and climb on sphagnum, but that always seemed like it would be too wet to me and I wasn't sure how it would get nutrients. I'll try moving it to ABG and see if things improve! :)

Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk
 
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