Our Carnivorous plants don't seem to be doing to hot...

ric_greenhouseAugust 11, 2008

Greetings, all, from the RI College Greenhouse! WWe have been having a rather difficult time in getting our carnivorous plants to grow, or to flourish in our greenhouse....I was hoping that you all might be able to make some recommendations?

First, the carnivorous plants that we have (just the common names for convenience): quite a few variety of pitcher plants and venus fly traps, mexican butterwort, cape sundew, etc. We have babies of all of them, and three established adult pitcher plants.

Now, first question is, what is an appropriate media for them to be in? We currently have the 3 adults in a metro360 and they are doing great! The babies are all dying, we actually just lost 7 more of them...we have always wanted a very strong carnivorous plant section but every year they all die and we have to buy new ones. We have nothing special set up for them: no lights or heat, etc. Anyway, some of the babies are in a shredded wood, others in a straight metro360, and a couple in a small wood chip.

Next question, should they all be under our misting bed to stay moist? should they be out on out rock beds in full sun? our dry and shady tree room? help!

How often should we be watering them? We were instructed by our now retired manager to keep them moist at all times. But it seems a lot of them are rotting from the roots up!

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Media = peat moss and perlite 50/50

No misting bed needed.

They should all be sitting in trays of distilled or rain water or R/O water ONLY, about an inch or 2 deep.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 8:53PM
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Media HAS to be mineral free. Peat Moss and Perlite.

Water HAS to be mineral free. Distilled water, rain water, or Reverse Osmosis water.

Other than that, I haven't found them to be nearly as difficult as their reputation says they are to grow. You might want to pick up a copy of "Savage Garden" by Peter D'Amato. It's literally "The book" on Carnivorous Plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Savage Garden by Peter D'Amato

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 10:18PM
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The problem is with the soil mix 360. I know you purchased the premixed soil because it has sphagnum peat moss but it also contains - depending to the company - ash bark, dolomite, fertilizer, and sometimes wetting agents. Ash bark, dolomite, fertilizer and any wetting agent is poison to carnivorous plants. The reason why they seem to be doing fine, then they suffer root rot and quickly die.

"tommyr" advice on soil mix is the true and tried mixture for most CP. One thing, make sure the sphagnum peat moss and perlite are totally free of any wetting agents or fertilizer. Some vendors sell treated peat moss and perlite, so ask a seller that you want the peat moss and perlite chemical free!

Mexican butterwort on the other hand requires a more different mixture that is 1 part peat moss, 1 part perlite, 1 part vermiculite, and 1 part pumice. Mexican butterwort requires more drainage in their media because they grow in shale soil and the pumice provide limited amount of minerals, which they are accustomed in their natural environment. They can tolerate some drying in their media before watering so they have to grow separately from the other plants.

All CP are sun-loving plants so they need a lot of sunlight to fully form their traps and develop the stunning colors natural to them. Except for the Mexican butterworts, they do require filtered bright sunlight.

One book you should purchase is "The Savage Garden" by Peter D'Amato. It is a very popular book for both amateurs and professional. It is a very helpful book and will help you how to grow your plants.

Good luck and happy growing!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 10:50PM
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How much light are they getting ? I hear it's been raining up that way a lot this summer.

Most carnivorous plants are sun lovers and need lots of sun to do well.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 12:21AM
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