Carnivorous Plant chat - is this the forum?

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)

Hi everyone,

I'm a relatively new person to DG, and am wondering where the Carnivorous Plant (CP) gardeners go to exchange this the forum? Thanks for answers or pointing me in the right direction!


Safety Harbor, FL(Zone 9b)

Hi, Joseph --

I think I read about pitcher plants in the Tropicals forum. Try that?

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)

Thanks,'re the best!

Wauconda, IL

I have many Sarracenias(pitcher plants)..foisted upon me by friends!

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)

I would enjoy having friends like yours, dodecatheon!

I've had fun starting Sarracenia flava from seeds. Miraculously they germinated after being held in the refrigerator for a few months! Now I have a bunch of seedlings residing in moist peat moss; they look very much like grass seedlings, with long cotyledons.

I have had less luck with plants I bought on eBay. I need to work on getting the medium right. I figure I will kill a few plants in the learning process. Such is the gardener's life.

Currently I have a pitcher plant that is sulking, probably from not having been dormant through the winter (read about that requirement in the spring), a Venus flytrap that doesn't look happy but may make it, and a Pinguicula that seems happy, and has been successful at attracting and holding fungus gnats on its leaves!


Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

Fascinating plants, these guys. Nature is a trip. Who'd a thought - bug eating plants. Wow. As a kid they enthralled me.

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)

I agree, BWAV, it's the ultimate revenge for plants to use the enemy for food. The Sarracenia flava seedlings are putting up a stem that has a little tiny cool watching them grow.

All VFTs as well as Sarracenia are temperate species requiring dormancy. Wonder why they're over in Tropicals? Neps and Mexican Pings being discussed over there maybe?

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the lead, Equilibrium!

Say dodecatheon...."foisted upon me by friends"???

What horrible people would "foist" Cps upon you? They should be stoned I tell you! No, burn them at the stake! No... the Chinese water torture, then put them on a rack, and then shoot them!

Say dode, I'm thinking it's time to "foist" on Gerris2, whatdoyathink?

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)

My 10 year old son, Daniel, and I started a container bog this week. The container is a light weight container about 24 inches in diameter into which I put a couple small bags of rinsed gravel. On top of that we put several bags of chopped up sphagnum moss and soaked it all down with a few gallons of distilled water. I read in an article in Horticulture magazine I had to let the artificial system sit for a few weeks so as to let the pH stabilize before putting in the CPs. Has anyone else done this little project who would like to share their experiences?


Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)

PS Equilibrium, I would be delighted to be foisted upon (woohoo!) LOL

Wauconda, IL

I'd be happy to foist in the's too hot to ship anything right now!

Hi Joseph, there are a few people who have grown and a few who do grow Sarrs in pure Long Fibre Moss as recommended by the writer who wrote that article in Horticulture magazine. Now mind you, that writer of the article has probably never grown a Sarr in his/her life but does that count? Not too many have bogs of LFS on gravel for a few reasons which I will spare you as I'm sort of tired. I'd go ahead and try it but next year you might want to consider removing it all and going for Canadian Sphagnum Peat mixed with rinsed sand and call it a day. You can use the LFS to top dress your bog though.

Well Gerris2, if you want to be foisted upon... e-mail me. You have my private e-mail address. I might have something right now that might interest your son that I can dump on you. He will be a very happy boy. I will have to wait to ship it to you though until the temps get out of the 90's for a 5 day stretch to give it a better chance of ending up alive on your end. This is a tropical species and it can be grown outside during the summer but you will need to bring it in for the fall, winter, and spring. It should grow perfectly fine in a southern exposure window. Are you game? Other than that, you will have to wait until next spring and then I can foist a Sarr on you that should be fine outside all year round. Haven't seen you post in a while. How grows your CPs?

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)

Thank you so much, Dodecatheon and Equilibrium! I appreciate the offers (yes, yes!) and the feedback on substrate for a container bog. Two thirds of the container is sphagnum/peat moss mixture, with a little sand (didn't have very much to begin with). Will have to see what happens. I bought a couple Sarracenias on eBay and they will populate the container on arrival and also will put out a couple Home Depot Venus Flytraps. I have a sundew that I just can't bring myself to put out there, it looks so delicate, and also a butterwort that will remain indoors. Equilibrium, remember that Nepenthes I had in a hanging basket arrangement? It is putting out pitchers like mad! I am so delighted. As soon as they pop open I am going to go out to the meadow with a sweep net (am an entomologist) to collect food for the plant.

I was eyeballing the substrate in which the CPs I purchased for clues as to the type of peat or sphagnum moss to use, and it appeared to my very novice eye that it was not long fiber but processed material. I can get the long fiber material as I think it would be good for the top layer of the bog to act a bit as a mulch.


Why Joseph, you sleeper you! You're an entomologist! Do not scream but how are you at Dragonfly identification if I send you a few photos? Yes yes yes, I know the male and female adults look different from one another and the juveniles bare little or no resemblance to the adults. That's what throws me off.

Glad to learn that your bog is not filled with LFS but sphagnum peat- whew! I was sort of having a heart attack over that one. I've only used 100% LFS to grow Darlingtonia californica. I am actually trying an experiment right now with 100% LFS and I am not all that happy. I've used it for germinating seeds and some D. intermedia like to be grown in it but then they like to be flooded out like some psittacina.

Some people use coconut fiber. I buy it and use it in some mixes. I think it comes under the brand GrowCoir in a brick size block. That does have the appearance of being processed but it's expensive so I seriously doubt commercial growers would use it.

Regarding the Nep, what about moving it outside for the summer and letting it catch its own food? Will your wife be happy with you if your Nep's dinner escapes in her house? Notice how I typed "her" house. Oh I am almost in fits of giggles over the thought of you going out to catch dinner for your Nep. I have an idea. What about nice meal worms from the store. They'll still wiggle enough down in the pitcher to trigger the digestive enzymes.

You need to e-mail me your last name and mailing address. I will send the box out to Daniel. The box in the spring will be for "Dad" but this plant is for your son.

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)

I can try to ID from a photograph, however it is best to be able to see the wings on a real specimen. Email the pics to me, I'll take a look.

I was able to capture some small, black, circular beetles from Daucus carota seed heads and they fit perfectly into the pitchers of a Sarracenia "Scarlet Belle" I have and tried a couple in the traps of a VFT, and I harvested (que maniacal laugh track here) a bunch of Japanese beetles from my Rose of Sharon shrub and after slightly modifying their exoskeleton with a little squish I dropped them down the big remaining pitcher of my Nepenthes.

My wife is an entomologist, we're both sick LOLOL.


Ha ha ha... you married within the ranks. Too funny. Guess there's no need to worry about what escapes in your house!

I'll go find photos and e-mail them to you. Some are good, most are not.

Pssst... little secret... your Neps need live bugs. If you squish them, they can't wiggle around in attempts to free themselves which triggers the digestive enzymes. I use very long and slender tweezers. Surely you have some of those around! Come now BugMan, Daddy must provide for his baby Nep. Baby wants its dinner live!

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)

They were living beetles, their lil legs were still moving some, it is truth, it is fact LOL.

Hmmm, usually when my kids have squished something nothing is wiggling. You entomologists must have a special technique to squishing ;)

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)

I planted out several of the CPs I had out in the bog. Yesterday when I came home from work I saw a bumble bee sitting on top of one of the Sarracenia Scarlet Belle's pitchers sipping from what must have been the attractive nectars of the looked like it was in an altered state LOL.

I left the outside light on last night near the CP bog, and it attracted lots of insects to the area...maybe the plants snared some of them.

I had a hornet go down the tube of one of my rubra and the darn thing chewed its way out and left a big hole in my pitcher.

I don't leave outside lights on, it messes up the moths. I do use those little solar lights around a pond though to bring late night snacks to my herps but they're not bright enough or hot enough to do damage.

Next fall when you get ready to trim back your pitchers, take a big one and slice it lengthwise to show your son. You will be really surprised at what you will find in there. I know I was the first time I split one open. The plants are better than any bug zapper out there.

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)

I'm amazed at how fast they are growing now that they are out in the warm ambient temperature of summer shade.

I tried giving a small caterpillar to a venus fly trap, but after the jaws closed some on the critter, I thought it was dumb to put a chewing insect into a plant. Fortunately it escaped out one of the holes of trap that hadn't completely closed yet.

Will do on the dissection idea...great suggestion!

Safety Harbor, FL(Zone 9b)

I take peeks into my pitchers from time to time to see what has crawled inside. Garden fun. lol

Equilibrium -- "Next fall when you get ready to trim back your pitchers"...what does that mean? As they naturally die off and need to be trimmed off? Have you tried propagating your pitcher plant? Mine is growing great. The leafing and production of new pitchers is amazing this first summer (got it at a garden show in February).

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)

I bought 2 hybrids from a vendor in Florida that I am very pleased with, ebay purchases, and they are "Dana's Delight" and "Judith Hindle". The plants had really long pitchers, I was happy with them, and will install them out in the bog this late afternoon once the hot sun goes away. I will leave room in the container to be foisted upon, however LOL!

This is exact plant I am sending you a division of-

Thumbnail by Equilibrium

I've got another plant to send out to a gal that I am holding off on sending right now too. Too risky and we're going to be in the low 100's tomorrow. I can't believe the heat we have been getting,

By the way Gerris2... I'm still not telling what I'm sending you to give to your son. A division of the plant above is for Dad!

Hey soozer, yes they naturally die back. S. oreophila is beginning to start now. It is somewhat earlier than others but then again it is one of the first to start growing in the spring. Some deviation in die back within a species will exist based upon the original location where the plant would have occured naturally but not more than 3-4 weeks one way or the other. Anyway, trim them back the same way you would trim back an iris. But, I don't generally trim mine back until at such point in time as the pitchers are all crispy and brown because they are still photosynethesizing. If it's getting late in the year and I'm ready to mulch the bogs or start hauling patio pots inside the garage, then I whack away with wild abandon and hack them down to about 4". Some people go lower to an inch or two and I've seen some whack back to only 6-7". Personal preference. I do think that plants left outside year round definitely need to be trimmed back. These plants don't have deep roots and from time to time wind can rip them completely out of the ground.

Safety Harbor, FL(Zone 9b)

Equilibrium -- Mine is a Nepenthes alata (forme rouge clair, I think) and its two 'leaders' for growth are going like crazy. The hanging plastic pot it came in seems way to small at this point. Maybe I'll take it down from the pygmy palm I have it hanging in and check the fiber it's growing in. Rootbound? Would really like to have more of these (eat more skeeters, please) but it doesn't look like it would propagate by root division.

Just checked and it can be done by cuttings of 3 or more leaves. Will start today.

Nice plant photo you posted. Thanks

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)


Thank you for the photograph of that CP, it's beautiful!


Hey soozer! You stated, "two 'leaders' for growth are going like crazy" and you want to mess with success by moving it right when it is growing like there's no tomorrow to see if it's rootbound? My vote would be to hold off and wait to repot it in a larger pot for a little bit but Gerris2 grows Neps so see what he thinks. I pretty much only grow highland forms and I suspect your alata is a lowland. Two different beasts so to speak.

Ohhh Joseph... that is actually S. flava var. cuprea that has lids that haven't colored up all nice and coppery yet. Your son is getting the better of the two plants and I think I'm going to toss in another for him to play with and nurse back to health. Why people give me tropical Drosera is beyond me but some do. I kill tropical Drosera left and right. They're right up there with lowland Neps in my book which I also can kill as fast as someone sends me one. Needless to say, your son is also going to get a tropical Drosera that is limping along under my ever so nurturing hand IF... it is still alive by the time it cools down here long enough to ship plants.

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)


I have an overgrown-in-container Nepenthes of unknown species. It is putting out pitchers like crazy so now I am very reluctant to mess around with it. You could try your hand at pruning the active leading growth and try rooting those for more plants to adorn your deck, yes? That is an activity I have yet to do so ask Equilibrium about all that stuff LOL.

Equilibrium, He will love anything you send to him. I think one has to kill a few plants in order to learn what makes them happy (is this the tried and true empiracle method of science? LOL 1) Install a healthy plant. 2) read about its requirements after its rapid decline. 3) Try again with better success.) I have a Drosera spathulata that is perfectly happy under the lights indoors. I bought one of them on ebay when the buyers were looking at more exotic species and got one for low money. So far it shows no signs of has actually put out satellites and is flowering nicely.

Safety Harbor, FL(Zone 9b)

Joseph - Yes, I will take a cutting from the hanging pitcher plant. It can afford that since, upon closer inspection, the plant has started a third leader. So in six weeks, if the roots are about 2", another pitcher plant will be luring in things that we don't need on the screened patio. Bye-bye gnats and such. I could get more descriptive, but I don't want to ruin the fun for you and your son when you inspect the contents of your trimmed-out pitcher.

The more pitchers the merrier :)

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)


Can you describe your technique for propagating the leaders you cut?


"I think one has to kill a few plants in order to learn what makes them happy (is this the tried and true empiracle method of science?" Bingo.

Several corrections though-
1) read about its requirements
2) purchase plant and meet its cultural requirements to a T
3) watch plant's health decline rapidly
4) scratch head mumbling profanities under one's breath
5) toss plant that went to CP heaven in composter
6) search Internet for unorthodox growing methods
7) repeat 2-5
8) receive plant as "surprise" gift
9) pass it on to a child like a hot potato
10) receive photo of plant from child. Note that plant is thriving on neglect with no cultural requirements met whatsoever.
11) scream
12) scream louder and cry in your adult beverage

I'm still killing my fair share. We have this song that my girlfriend and I sing when we see one getting crispy and brown..."and another one bites the dust".

Safety Harbor, FL(Zone 9b)

Equilibrium -- LOL for your tips list!

Joseph -- The directions for cuttings seem so simple. Here's what I found:

1. Take cutting with 3 or more leaves.
2. Stick end of cutting in jar of distilled water. No need to trim leaves.
3. Wait approximately 6 weeks or until roots are 2 inches long.
Sometimes the cutting will begin to pitcher while still in the water.
4. Pot up cutting in favorite a sphagnum/bark/perlite.

I have a follow-up dr. appt. this morning so will doctor my pitcher plant later :)


Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)

You crack me up, Equilibrium! LOL! That was my experience with salvias, too much attention to the cutting kills it every time. Just stick it into moist medium and just leave it alone, and voila, perky plant results!

Sue, Wow that could not be any easier! I will give it a try! Thanks so much!


Aurora, TX(Zone 8a)

After recently killing my umpteenth attempt to keep carnivores (wink) for munching gnats, I have officially given up. May the rest of you enjoy the extra plants on the market. I cannot keep them alive!!! =0

All I can say is that I tired of watching lowland Neps and Tropical Drosera bite the dust on me. If anyone sends me one of those as an extra to an order... I send it off to somebody more qualified to provide care for it. I don't even want them over here.

I will not do petiolaris complex although there are people out there trying their darndest to get me hooked. I could probably figure those out in time but I don't want to bother. I know the basics and that's enough I also do not do Cephalotus, Drosophyllum, Byblis, or Heliamphora. No sense driving myself crazy with terrariums everywhere and indoor greenhouses.

I like my Pings, highland Neps, Utrics, Dionaea, temperate Sarrs & temperate Drosera and I toss in Roridula, Darlingtonia, Aldrovanda, and Genlisea for sport.

nkjones, did you ever try S. alata? It's a native to Texas and I bet you could have success with that. Don't give up on only the umpteenth try. Silly you, the umpteenth plus try could probably be your jackpot. Have you ever seen a 30 gallon pot filled with a wave of alata? So beautiful. Come on, try just one more time.

Aurora, TX(Zone 8a)'re right. It IS often that upteenth Plus try that does the trick! ;-) But, the pitcher plant kinda grosses me out.........yes, I'm a grown woman and said that, but it DOES! I don't know......maybe because it's veiny.......=/

I do like Pings alot though........although, killed all four of my darling little pings........darn it...............

Wilmington, DE(Zone 7a)


How do you care for the Pinguicula plants, perhaps one of the more experienced carniculturists can pick out areas for improvement?


(I kinda like that new word, carniculturist LOL sounds like we are ticket takers at an exhibit at the fair).

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