James Lim's Victorias
Another Approach To Growing
James Lim is a first-time Victoria grower in 2003. He lives in Singapore where the local climate averages 77 to 87 degrees F (25 to 30 degrees C) nearly the whole year - "Singapore is a seasonal country -- summer all year round."
Even though he is a beginner with Victoria, James brings with him the expertise and resources of his profession, that of publisher of the beautiful and informative Aqua Journal, an aquatic gardening magazine (largely aquarium oriented) based in Japan and Singapore.
I have always been interested in aquatic gardening, but it never occurred to me that I could have the rewarding experience of growing Victorias, with their lovely leaves and flowers. Almost no one here in Singapore has had the good fortune to see a live Victoria flower. I personally saw a plant several years ago at Kew Gardens in England, but there were only leaves, no blooms.
It will be interesting to note if the Victoria will do well for more than one season here if given 365 days of sun, with a consistently stable climate throughout the year. Although there is a monsoon season, it is mild compared to the Amazon. I will also be keen to study the effects of aquatic plant fertilization on Victoria. Our past findings indicated that nutrients composition required by aquatic plants and terrestrial plants are vastly different.
The other area of interest to me is the reproduction of natural habitat for aquatic plants and building of natural eco-system where plants and fishes thrive under same conditions. I look forward to the exchange of information and learning more.
From the Victoria seeds you sent, I started two batches of seeds at two different intervals. For the first batch, I managed to successfully germinate 'Longwood Hybrid', 'Discovery', amazonica and cruziana but with very low germination rate for all except Longwood, which sprouted profusely in our local climate.
After about a week or so, most of the seedlings with second hastate leaves started to melt. They were left to grow on their own in an outdoor aquarium tank in inert sand substrate without any addition of fertilizer. Determined to get the second batch going, I started an ICU (intensive culture unit) under controlled environment indoors to increase my chances of success.
I attributed the melt of the first batch of Victoria seedling
as having to do with the drowning of the plant. My theory is
that, when newly sprouted seedlings first put out their submerged
hastate leaves, they cannot respire properly within the controlled
environment, i.e. aquarium, due to the lack of free gaseous dissolved
carbon dioxide exchange in the water column.
My setup is as follows:
Here is a useful link for constructing a simple CO2 injection system for beginners who are interested in a low cost Do It Yourself solution to CO2 injection - http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/CO2/co2-narten.html