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Carnivorous Plants

I was a fill-in presenter today at the local garden club meeting, doing a show and tell about the green carnivores I share my space with. One of the gardening ladies suggested there was a certain justice were they to take a chunk out of us after all the plant eating we have done.

The one on the right is a Nepenthes ampullaria x hamata that somehow thrives in the imperfect conditions I provide. Mostly north east glass in a laundry room that had always attracted most flies who made it into our house. We really didn’t have many this year.

Perhaps that is why this plant is thriving in sub-optimal conditions. The flies disappeared into the pitchers rather than rattling around on the windows all summer long.

The botanical names highlighted take you to the California Carnivores page describing the plant and offering them for sale. I can’t offer enough kind words for that organization. They are super in knowledge and service.

I do not deserve to have the plant to the right still alive. The poor American Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia), through no fault of its own, could not be placed where I had planned to have it. The only “safe” location was around the corner from the front porch on a south wall where I almost never saw it.

It is a bog plant … that should be always wet. I don’t know how or why it survived being baked in the sun and dried out more often than not. Since it did survive my neglect, I have developed a soft spot in my heart for it and vow to treat it better… probably killing it with unexpected kindness.

These guys can handle a very wide temperature range, but not the real cold our Montana winters can dish out. I would love to build an outdoor bog for it, but really have to move it into a more moderate cool during winter.

The carnivores I treated the best showed very modest growth this year. What I could not provide was a diet of fruit flies and other insects within their abilities to harvest.

My mini-bog has a pair of perforated aluminum cake pans sitting in a constant lake of distilled water parked in my south-facing studio window. That is a great bog situation … other than location, location, location… meaning one with more carnivorous plant food.

In the front left corner of my round bog 😉 is the most familiar carnivorous plant of all, the Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula). They die back to their roots for their dormant winter. This one came back this spring, but never grew or thrived much this summer.

Mid-way on the right side of my round bog 😉 is a Rosetted Sundew (Drosera) a fresh planting in spring, but one that also did not have a healthy growing season this year.

At the top center is my long-leafed Drosera spatulata x capensis sundew. It, along with the other partners in this bog did not thrive like my prior efforts.

I really need to rethink my ideal bog. While maintenance is easy, something does not thrill the plants. If I have success in the future I will post it here.

Meanwhile, take advice from the experts:
California Carnivores