Byblis, also known as rainbow plants is a small genus of carnivorous plants, native to Australia. Glittering drops of mucilage on the leaves attract insects which stick to the plant and get digested. There are several species of byblis, one of the easiest to grow of them is byblis liniflora. It is an attractive plant which grows readily and sets a profusion of flowers within a couple of months from germination when grown right. The flowers are self-fertile and a single byblis liniflora plant will result in plentiful seeds being produced for future growing.
The seeds provided here are from my own plants and always fresh (I sow any seeds that get over a month old and keep only fresh ones for sale).
If you have not grown carnivorous plants before, please, please PLEASE read up before buying the seeds to avoid disappointment. While not excessively difficult, the process can be quite different from regular plants. Always remember, a substrate that is lacking in nutrients and pure water with very few dissolved solids – if any. Use distilled water, reverse osmosis water, rainwater and such. Do NOT use regular tap water unless it is really low TDS – you will regret. That said, any water is better than letting pots dry, so in an emergency if you have to use tap water, go ahead and use it, but when you have access to pure water, be sure to top water and let water flow through for the next couple of waterings. Never ever fertilize. Insects is all the nutrition they want. They will attract and trap insects on their own. You don’t have to do anything for it.
The plants can be grown under lights indoors, I hear, but I have not done it. It will likely need very bright lights and will probably grow right into them. If you’re growing the plant indoors and run an unusually clean home without any insects for the plant to attract, you may need to feed the plant an occasional ant or mosquito or small speck of fish food. In such a situation, start putting the occasional insect every week or alternate week on a dewy leaf.
Growing byblis liniflora:
Note: seeds of Byblis, like most carnivorous plants are very tiny and please open the packet with extreme caution (and ideally switch off the fan and use a white paper under your hands and the packet to quickly see any seeds you may drop). I repeat, extreme caution. THE SEEDS ARE VERY VERY SMALL.
Sow the seeds on the surface of the growing medium and keep moist. Many people prefer to cover the pots, but I usually sow the seeds on damp sphagnum and leave it uncovered in the location in which they will grow – my east facing balcony where they get at least 5-6 hours of bright sunlight every morning. If the conditions you provide are right, fresh byblis liniflora seeds germinate within days and pretty much grow themselves as long as the potting mix is kept moist.
So far, they have grown well on dead as well as live sphagnum, well rinsed cocopeat, with or without perlite added. They seem fairly easygoing and will likely grow similarly on any medium suitable for carnivorous plants. I would recommend larger and deeper pots for these, as their roots can get quite long and the plants will get bigger the more space the roots have to grow. an 8 inch pot isn’t too much to expect (though the ones shown in the photos are smaller) and I suspect the plants will appreciate something bigger too.
Fresh seeds germinate in less than a week usually, but can take another few days to emerge completely out of the seedcoat. Byblis liniflora seeds don’t need any special treatment and fresh seeds germinate readily within days in warm weather. It may possibly take longer in cooler weather, but no special treatment should be necessary.
If you use a large eough pot, you will probably not need to sit the plants in a tray of water, though I’ve done it without any harm. The larger the pot, feel free to add some perlite or sand (rinse, rinse, rinse) for drainage though so far I haven’t seen byblis liniflora complain about anything. It just grows, sets flower, seeds….
Byblis loves sunlight. The more, the better and so far hasn’t been bothered by temperatures up to 37 degrees celcius at all.
What else… that is about it.
If you have any questions, ask away.
Disclaimer: Due to the culture of carnivorous plants being a matter of skill and providing right conditions, the germination of seeds cannot be guaranteed, in the event you fail to grow them. However, I get a near 100% germination rate in the conditions I provide here.