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Carnivorous Plants

 

Table Of Contents

Introduction

Species

Darlingtonia

Cephalotus

Dionaea

 

Introduction

This section of the site is devoted to carnivorous plants. I will be covering species, growing tips and all other sorts of information. If you have any suggestions or tips, etc that you would like to share which I haven't covered then feel free to e-mail me or post a message on the messageboard. Full credit will be given.

 

Species

I will be adding pictures here shortly once we upgrade to a new computer that is able to load pictures from our digital camera. Until then though, there are some other pictures I took a while ago here.

 

Darlingtonia

Californica - Cobra lilly

The cobra lilly is a type of pitcher and the only species in it's genus. It comes from mountainous regions in Northern California and Oregon. Due to the cold climate they are accustomed to, cobra lillies need to be kept relatively cool, especially their root system. They should also never be allowed to dry out completely so placing their pot in a tray of water is an easy way to combat both of these problems as it allows water to continually flow over their roots. The water should be maintained at a temperature of around 15șC. Cobra lillies are most happy when planted in 100% sphagnum moss.

During winter the plant can be allowed to become a little drier than during the hot months, but again the plant should not be allowed to dry out completely. Removal from the water tray may be necessary to acheive this. Care should always be taken to protect the plant from extremes in temperature, especially heat.

During spring cobra lillies may begin to develop flowers which can often be attached to stems a metre or so long. Spring is also the main growing season for these plants. Propogation can be acheived through seed collection as well as division of the plant's stolon once sufficient growth of pitchers and roots has been observed.

 

Cephalotus

Follicularis - Albany pitcher

The albany pitcher plant is a type of pitcher and the only species in it's genus. This plant is native to a very small area in Western Australia and is on the endangered list due to over harvesting of wild specimens as well as trampling by livestock, etc. Albany pitchers do not like to be as waterlogged as most other carnivorous plants in my experience, although many people still have success with keeping their pots in water trays during the warmer months. During winter however, they should be removed from the water tray but again, never let them completely dry out. As with most carnivorous plants, try to avoid subjecting the plant (especially the roots) to extremes in temperature, especially heat as this is a sure way to kill them.

The most sucessful potting medium I have had with Albany pitchers would have to be a mixture of 50% coarse sand and 50% peat although many growers have had success using 100% sphagnum moss. Upon recent research though I have decided to replace peat in favour of coir dust (also known as coconut peat) in future plantings. I will cover my reasons for doing so elsewhere on this page shortly.

Propogation of Albany pitchers can be acheived via division of large plants, using root cuttings as well as leaf cuttings. When making leaf cuttings only use the non-carnivorous leaves rather than the pitchers and remove them by plucking rather than cutting.

 

Dionaea

Muscipula - Venus flytrap

The venus flytrap is an interesting plant from Northern and Southern Carolina. It is also the culprit most likely of turning people into carnivorous plant fanatics due to it's facinating way of trapping insects. Venus flytraps are currently on the endangered list and as such should not be taken out of the peat bogs they are native to. Although there is only one species in this family, there are an abundance of different varieties which have been grown resulting in some spectacular results such as different colours and larger traps.

Each trap contains three trigger hairs and it is which these that the plant detects prey. If one of the hairs is triggered twice or at least two of the hairs is triggered once then the trap will snap shut almost completely. If a small insect has been caught it is allowed to escape and the trap will open again shortly, however, if the prey is large then it will inevidably trigger the hairs again at which time the trap will shut completely and digestion occures. The reason for this is that the plant uses up alot of energy trapping and digesting prey and anything too small will not yield enough nutrition to replace this lost energy so the plant cuts it's losses and reopens in the hope of a larger meal.

Contrary to popular belief hamburger meat should never be fed to venus flytraps as their digestive system is not made to cope with such foods. Venus flytraps should only be fed a diet of insects and seem particularly adept at catching spiders. The good news for those who are a little squeamish is that you need never feed your plant if you don't want to, they will survive happily on their own, even if insects are unavailable. They are sensitive to flyspray as well so should never be fed bugs killed in this manner. Constant poking and prodding of the traps in order to watch them close should be avoided as well as this will without a doubt kill the plant eventually.

Venus flytraps flower in spring and produce tiny white flowers at the end of stems which can reach 20 or so centimeters long. Many growers agree that the flower stems should be cut from the plant as soon as they are noticed unless seed collection is a priority because producing them can significantly drain the plant, often resulting in death.

The recommended potting medium for Venus flytraps is 2 parts peat to 1 part coarse sand. They enjoy very wet conditions as well as high humidity and benefit from having their pot placed in a tray of water. During winter they should be kept a little drier but never allow them to completely dry out. Venus flytraps also need alot of light to grow strong and colourful.

Propogation can be achieved via seed, division of large plants as well as leaf cuttings. Venus flytrap seed is only viable for about a year and the sooner you use it the better. When dividing large plants be sure to remove some of the rhizome with the new plant to ensure growth.



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