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Thread: Grubs' Emersed crypts

  1. #1

    Default Grubs' Emersed crypts

    A couple of people have asked me how I grow my crypts emersed.

    When we bought our house it included a run down garden shed where the roof had rusted and collapsed in. I bought some translucent fibreglass factory roofing cheap on ebay and put on a roof to make a kids cubby house...(+ gravel floor and the kids had fun painting it). They used it for a few weeks but it was too hot and uncomfortable in summer and after a while it collected spiders and rat droppings and became a no-go zone. Five years later I dumped the rat infested couch and mouldy rug and reclaimed the space.

    I've grown many different crypts in planted tanks but not emersed before. I started my "formal" collection only 12 months ago. My "grand plan" is to propagate up enough of each type to have 2 pots of each variety emersed, get flowers and confirm IDs where I can and then compare and contrast to another 2 pots growing submersed in tanks... then share around the "offspring". For some slow growing crypts its going to take a while.

    I'm growing my crypts in 95mm pots sitting in polystyrene boxes with water 10-20mm below the soil level under bubblewrap to contain the warmth and humidity. The lighting under the fibreglass is very subdued and diffuse.. but crypts grow on the forest floor in low light so it works well. Since most of the plants are fairly new the only maintenance I do is to remove any dead material so it doesn't go mouldy and on very hot days (<38C) I throw off the plastic and turn on a couple of misting sprays and wedge the door open so they don't bake (can see the black dripper line under the roof in the first pic). If any of the pots get mouldy I add more water to the polystyrene box to drown all the pots for a few days... and then siphon out the excess water a few days later which seems to fix it. One day I hope to have the burden of repotting pot-bound plants, but for now its set-and-forget. I tried having the water over the top of the soil level but the pots got a lot of algae. There are some varieties that may need to be a bit deeper (thinking of the crypt siamensis group) but so far they are struggling on OK. Some will also need bigger pots.

    The potting mix is a DIY mix of old aquarium gravel (~<60%), peat moss (~<%40) (the good stuff not the pine bark rubbish Bunnings sell), some handfuls of "magic red clay" some shellgrit, a small amount of "rooster booster" chook poo fertiliser and I bury a small amount of osmocote in each pot.

    In winter - I pick up the polystyrene boxes and put them in a glasshouse - but keep the bubblewap over them to keep them warmer and keep the humidity in. I measured the water as low as 8-10C last winter, but there were enough sunny days to warm them up and get them through the winter. Not all the plants in the photo have been through a winter yet so my fingers will be crossed... but thats months away.





    Last edited by Grubs; 03-11-17 at 08:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Footscray, Melbourne
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    72

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    That's a pretty healthy looking setup.

    How do Crypts go as an indoor plant? can they be "weaned" to a dryer environment?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    ACT
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    Hi grubs, fascinating read indeed. Thanks for sharing.

    Do you subscribe to the idea that crypts need basic (as opposed to acidic) substrate to flourish? Anthonyrae mentioned this once. I've noted that crypts do better in diy soil compared with aqua soil. However Bryan has shown that at least for some crypts, sand vs aqua soil is equal.

    You are such a lucky duck to have the space to do this.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel View Post
    Do you subscribe to the idea that crypts need basic (as opposed to acidic) substrate to flourish?
    It depends on the species/variety. Some naturally occur in limestone country or in streams draining limestone country and do better in hard calcium rich water (e.g. C. affinis, C. aponogetifolia, C. crispatula "balansae", C. usteriana) so these might benefit from a more basic soil. Others grow in more acidic peaty conditions in lowland swamps and forest streams (e.g. the C. wendtii and C. cordata variants) down to pH 4. Some guys on planted tank started a list of hardwater crypts I think. Lots of info buried in The Crypt Pages website too.

    Currently mine are all in the same mix and I have no complaints as to how they are growing. I do add a little more hardness booster (for the calcium) than I add to my shrimp tanks because I noticed Balansae growing in water that is very soft seems to get very soft flacid leaves with wavy margins and with higher hardness they are the right shape with a strong bullate blade and relatively straight margin. When I get a few more and need to reorganise things around a bit I'd like to group the "limestone" crypts together in the same box and give them an extra teaspoon or two of hardness booster and maybe a handful of marble chips in the box or pots... to see if it makes a difference.
    Last edited by Grubs; 03-02-16 at 07:00 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Melbourne, VIC
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    721

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    Any updates on this project Grubs?

    Very interested!

  6. #6

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    Sure thing!

    On the assumption that last Thursday's warm spell in Melbourne is the last of the warmer weather I've moved the crypts back into the glasshouse. They still get very cold at night (was down to 10C in the crypt boxes the other night) but during the day they warm up and I have to be careful that with direct sun they don't get too hot. Today when I took these photos it was 33C under the bubblewrap. I have recorded up to 45C under the plastic and the plants cope well (in fact its after very hot periods that I get C. wendtii and C. spriralis spathes). The water and pots are not this hot - (reminds me I should move the probe into the water not in the air!).

    There are a few empty pots scattered in the boxes. These are not dead plants but just potting mix that is "maturing" in situ. I have a theory that planting into an established pot prevents "crypt melt".










  7. #7

    Default End of summer 16/17 update

    Photo update of my emersed crypts before I move them from their suymmer "shed" back to the glasshouse for winter.

    The boxes are slowly multiplying - my goal is to have a couple of pots of each variety and after that any extras I can propagate will be distributed to other collectors first (off-site backups!) and then to whomever shows an interest. There are 4 tanks of submersed crypts inside too. OTT? maybe.






    Above: Mostly Cryptocoryne undulata varieties in a new potting mix that is working really well (sand, clay, peat, a handful of shell grit, and composted oak leaves) - notice the dark greens. Growth has been great in these pots and I think composted oak leaves have improved the mix.



    Above: Older pots (a little yellowing suggests more ferts needed) mostly Crypt wendtiis to the left, C. cordata to the right, C. albida varieties in the back, C. crispatula var. kubutae is the grassy one in the middle


    Above: Mostly Crypt spiralis in the back (lots of flowers at the moment but not really visible in the pics), C. crispatula varieties in the front. Again notice the yellowing of some of the plants suggesting the nutrients in the pots are exhausted - crypts are heavy feeders and these post have been going for more than a year. I've started putting just a little of my aquarium fert and trace mix into the water.


    Above: Bits of this and that - Crypt wendtii varieties in the back, C. crispatula var balanasae poking through... A lovely pink Crypt pontederiifolia front left and closeup below.









    Cryptocoryne cilliata var. latifolia - finally happy after nursing it along for a year or more, two other pots all rotted away. I have one submersed also (not going so great but stable). It looks like I have some runners forming and also maybe... a flower! I love the hairy flowers from these and have not seen one that was grown in Australia before - see pics here: https://crypts.home.xs4all.nl/Crypto...y/cil/cil.html
    Last edited by Grubs; 08-04-17 at 12:07 PM.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2016
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    Northern Rivers, NSW
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    Beautiful plants, Grubs! Very jealous of all those C. undulata varieties you have! My C. pontederiifolia has got the pink happening at the moment, too - I got a bit of a shock when I saw it for the first time! Good luck with that C. wendtii 'Green Gecko' and C. x purpurea... looks like you weren't kidding about having issues with them. I have some larger emersed 'Green Gecko' if you ever are in need. I found that it was quite hard getting them to a decent size and "stable", too, so I know the struggle.
    Last edited by Cryptocorynus; 28-03-17 at 10:59 AM.
    Rainbowfish, Cryptocoryne, Echinodorus

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Brisbane, QLD
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    Love the c. pontederiifolia. I have them growing both submersed and emersed.

    Is that c. cordata blassii in the 4th pic? They look awesome. Mine is barely growing in both submersed and emersed.

  10. #10

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    Yes those are C. cordata 'blassii'. Much smaller emersed but these have only just come back from last winter where I didn't heat them and they dissapeared completely. I find them easier to grow loose in a shallow tank where they regularaly send out runners. In pots, even submersed, they are a little less vigorous. The europeans seem to grow them successfully semi-submerged in plastic tubs. (check pics from ECS 2010)

  11. #11

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    thanks for sharing Grubs, that's an awesome setup. Very jealous.

  12. #12

    Default Crypt undulata

    Here is a couple of super healthy emersed C. undulata.... no flowers yet.


    Cryprocoryne undulata 'Kasselmann'



    Cryprocoryne undulata 'brown'

    Last edited by Grubs; 08-04-17 at 12:02 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Northern Rivers, NSW
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    Jealous. So very jealous... They look stunning. I'm loving the white venation on that 'Kasselmann' - definitely something different!
    Rainbowfish, Cryptocoryne, Echinodorus

  14. #14
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    Jun 2013
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    ACT
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    Grubs, you da crypt whisperer.

  15. #15

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    I wish the submersed crypts looked so good. There is a reason why the commercial growers do it all emersed. I really need to get some more of my submersed crypts into emersed culture but I'm only transitioning plants when I have more than one in case I lose a fickle plant in the trasition.
    Last edited by Grubs; 04-04-17 at 09:06 PM.

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