Philcula, bog pot or ground bog for new sarracenia hybrid

Lucedale, MS(Zone 8b)

Philcula, I'm getting a new sarracenia hybrid from a very sweet person in a few weeks. I'm in zone 8 so I'm wondering should I make a bog in the ground or should I make a bog in a pot. I was told that as of right now it's growing in a pot. Can you tell me how you think I should care for it. I've read your recipe for the bog and I know about the type of water they need. What else do I need to know? I want to be prepared because I want it to stay healthy and do good for me. Thanks

Morgan Hill, CA(Zone 10a)

For the time being if you only have the one plant you will be working with, I would opt for the bowl garden bog. There are a number of very good heavy duty undrained types you can use. I like the large, round, terra cotta colored plastic bowls. Inground bogs are great too, but can look somewhat lonesome if you have only one or a few plants to work with. Also, being a breeder and hybridizer of Sarracenia my inground bog gardens are a minimum of 350 gallons. My philosophy is this: If you are going to construct an inground bog garden it is best to construct the largest possible. It will fill quickly and is a much better eco system if planted with a variety of native or hybrid cps, grasses, compatible sedges and orchids. The effect is very natural and very superb, but of course very subjective to one's individual esthetic tastes. I also employ many large 20 to 50 gallon above ground undrained containers that can be moved around and not flooded by winter rains. The inground bogs also have drainage holes as well.

Upon arrival your plant should be potted on with root ball intact....provided it is being sent potted. If it is received bareroot I would be restrictive to giving it large amounts of water. Either way your plant is probably in a dormant stage or approaching it. Try to keep it moist, but not soggy wet. Sarracenia are very susseptible to root rot if kept too wet during the winter. If you have a greenhouse, cool or barely heated, your plant will do well in there as well. I am pretty confident that it will not try to continue growth as they are very particular in their dormancy clock once started.

Do not fertilize...even if you are told they respond well to it. DO NOT FERTILIZE during their dormancy. You can commence very weak fertilization with miracid or peat tea once the new growth has commenced next spring. The plant will want to sleep now and should be protected from frost or freezng temps. I have seen hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Sarracenia grown in all parts of the country and those which have been subjected to frost or freezing temperatures are more likely to show signs of less vigor the following spring as compared to those that have had a mild to cold winter rest (35-45 deg. F).

Dormancy for these plants is a science in itself. They must have air circulation and natural light. Plants that are mulched over during the winter are far less vigorous in the next growing season than those that are allowed to have their rhizomes exposed to natural light. Yes it's true that some Sarracenia are often covered in snow fall, but these are mainly plants of the northern forms of purpurea and are genetically accustomed to this. For the most part, plants of hybrid status are comprised of species that are more southern in their native range and should have similar treatment in their growing conditions IF, and I emphasize, IF you want the largest, healthiest plant the following year.

I can't tell you how many growers I have met and observed their collections and seen typically weak, spindly plants that they are so proud of. They really don't have anything to compare them to so they have no idea that the plant should be 2 or 3 times the size it currently is. So many factors to consider. I try to be as polite and forgiving as I can if they ask my advice because you don't want to burst their bubbles, but truth be known...the plants can be doing so much better if a little more effort was employed.

There are also several different recipes for soil mixes out there, the most common being a 50/50 ratio of sphagnum peat moss to pre-washed sand. If you chose to go this route DO NOT use fine sand. If your sand is too fine your soil mix will inhibit any possible air flow to the roots and when dry will become compacted like cement. Use the largest grade grain size of silica sand you can get...20 or lower. If you can't get pure silica sand then use a type of sand that has large grains and wash it throughly 10 or so times. The absolute best and largest plants are gorwn in pure sphagnum moss or combos of pure sphagnum and perlite or pummice. The air flow to the roots promotes the very best growth immaginable. Still....many growers are steadfast in their regimine and refuse to experiment. It's all good though.

Many growers of the best Sarracenia use the peat/sand method but have mastered other cultural fators to create the growth they get. This is the basic recipe. You should stay away from using perlite unless you top dress with a thick layer of pure long fiber sphagnum moss. Perlite floats like crazy! I just hate the stuff :)
If I have left anything out or you need to know something in particular just ask.

Happy growing!


Lucedale, MS(Zone 8b)

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!
Oh I can't wait to get started!
That's true, it probably would be really lonesome in a ground bog.
Thank you so much for taking the time to help.
I'm gonna get started in the morning.
If I have any more questions I'll be sure to ask.

Morgan Hill, CA(Zone 10a)

I'm happy to have been of help. Bog gardens can be so much fun and with the right selection of plants...the most beautiful bowl gardens you will ever see. They look especially great if you can top dress them with living sphagnum moss. As the moss grows it forms a beautiful carpet over the soil and your pitchers pop up through it. Quite superb effect.

Have fun!

Wauconda, IL


So should I uproot my plants and give them a dormancy where their rhizomes will be exposed to light? Or do I keep them potted and put them by a window in a cool sheltered place? I'm so confused! And also...can I use ordinary garden sulphur drench as an anti-fungal agent? Thanks!

Morgan Hill, CA(Zone 10a)


If you can keep your plants potted and have them in or by a bright, cool window that would be best. Only the top portion of the rhizome and leaves should be exposed to light, not the under soil portions. I have no experience with bare rooting Sarracenia for dormancy. I have heard it is a successful practice, but this is usually reported by people who say their plants do great bare root, stored in the fridge. I am of the opinion that plants treated this way do not grow nearly as well as they should. Unfortunately this is the only practice many hobbiests must employ so they will never truly see the plant's potential.

You see...many of the taller species of Sarracenia; flava, leucophylla, minor, will never reach full size unless the plants are left to grow as very large clumps, undisturbed, undivided, for many years. Most people can't fit a 12 inch pot worth of Sarr. rhizomes in their fridge
So if you can avoid not bare root.

As far as using sulphur drench for anti-fungal prevention, I am not entirely sure. I have used sulphur as a light, dry dusting on plant parts that were showing signs of mold and fungal infection because the last thing I wanted to do was add more moisture to an already moisture created problem. I would never 'drench' a plant. I would either spray or dust. If the drench is intended for the plant to take internally, I am not sure sulphur is systemic.

In any case you should proceed with caution and definitely refer to some of the cp books that are around, like Savage Garden, etc. I'm sure you will find suggestions for systemic fungicides.

All the best.


Lucedale, MS(Zone 8b)

Ok, here is what I have.
The pot that I'm showing I used the 50/50 peat and sand. When you said wash the sand I had no idea it would be so muddy, if that makes sense. I washed the sand several times until the water started clearing up. In the spring, should I submerge the pot in a deeper dish of water?

I also made another bog. I had an old 10 gallon fish tank that was split down one side. I went ahead and sunk it in the ground in my flower bed. I used sand, peat and cut up pine needles. I read somewhere that the pine needles would help with airflow as well, so I thought I would try. What do you think? I've only got my VFT planted in there. I covered the rest of it up with pine needles so it would be ugly since their is nothing else in there right now.

Oh yeah, one more question. These sarracenias were potted during shipping and some of the potting medium got inside most of the pitcher. I tried to gently tap out the dirt but it never would come out. Is this a big deal. I'm hoping since they'll go dormat soon that it isn't a big deal.

Here they are in their new potted bog.
I've got them in the greenhouse now where they will stay until spring.

Please let me know if I need to change anything.

Thumbnail by GSkinner

Very nice plants. You need to unbury the top of the rhizome. You've got them too deep.

Lucedale, MS(Zone 8b)

Thank you so much, Equilibrium, I wondered about that.

Cincinnati, OH

Perlite may float, but kitty litter (sintered clay) doesn't. Do not use any of the fancy brands (clumping, etc.). I would recommend some activated charcoal, particulary if using a bowl.

I have heard of people using kitty litter before but mostly for aquatic plants that have a need for nutrients. Sintered clay is a silica-based oxide material with an organic binder. It might not be the best choice for a carnivorous plant. Horticultural grade charcoal is a great addition to many CP mediums. Not necessary for Sarracenia spp. though.

UUalace hit it on the head with the perlite for outdoor plants. That stuff can and does float and created big messes for me.

Lucedale, MS(Zone 8b)

Equilibrium, does this look better?

Thumbnail by GSkinner
Cincinnati, OH

Kitty litter is Calcium Bentonite. With 1-4% Washing Soda, it can be sold as Sodium Bentonite. When water is added sodium replaces calcium. Sodium B. swells greatly and is used for sealing sewage lagoons and ponds. Clays are weathered volcanic ash. They consist of frustrated unusually fomed crystals that are held together with certain ions. Sintering fuses the crystals leaving a lot of spaces for air and water.
Plants can retrieve the ions they need.
This is the ranking with lower replaing the ones ahaid of it:
Calcium (Kitty Litter)
Magnesium (a little more swelling than Kitty Litter)
Potasium (Least sweeling e.g. mica/vermiculite) = Ammonium
Sodium (most swelling)
Manganese (e.g. Kanuma, popular for Bonsai)
They hold more tightly toxins, similar to Activated Charcoal. Charcoal is better for organic toxins, Clay is better for binding (pianic* toxins?) lead, arsenic, etc.
*Poetic license #BR-549

This message was edited Nov 13, 2005 2:07 PM

Hey GSkinner- Looks Great!

Hey UUalace- This was great, “*Poetic license #BR-549”
I couldn’t find a reference to the word pianic in any of the kids’ science books here. I presume it means inorganic?

The use of Sodium Bentonite as a material to create ponds I am quite familiar with. We purchased our Sodium Bentonite from a company named CETCO to create a 1 acre pond just over 10 years ago. It was a lame brain idea to create a little Mayberry RFD on our own property complete with a willow tree and a tire swing. Bears are thoroughly enjoying it now I am told. That pond is doing fine although we no longer own that home. The Bentonite we purchased was mined out in Wyoming and I have no idea what they did to it to process it. Sodium Bentonite definitely swells upon contact with water and is frequently used to seal leaking ponds. I am not familiar with it used to seal off anything else but I could definitely see it.

I have heard of people who occasionally use kitty litter in their Mexican Ping mixes but I can't recall anyone who has ever used it in medium for any other types of carnivorous plants. I tried it in a ping mix because it had been suggested and ended up recreating a new mix using more traditional ingredients. I do use it frequently for aquatic plants and find clay kitty litter to be quite variable. Here’s my highly scientific method for testing my clay kitty litter worthiness as an aquatic medium…. I take a handful and dump it into water and swish it around to see it is going to disintegrate or not. Kitty litter that does not disintegrate passes my little aquatic potting medium test. Kitty litter that doesn't pass is doomed to being used as actual kitty litter.

I’m not familiar with all clay being of a weathered volcanic ash origin but I suppose that would depend on where it is being mined. Time for me get up and go look at my son’s earth science book- I found this, “Clay is formed as a result of the geological weathering of the earth's surface. The rock and stone comprising the earth's crust erode into microscopic particles to form clay”. I think all of the perlite I use in mixes is a processed volcanic mineral though. For me, I think there are too many types of clay mined in the US and the mineral composition as well as the organic content is going to vary from site to site so I’m way too nervous to use it. I know the clay on my property is anything but nutrient deficient and I did have that tested by labs and it was found to be laden with iron and organic matter. It was my understanding that the ability to exchange ions was not a characteristic of all clays but most. I’m not exactly a clay connoisseur and I can’t afford to test any of the clay I buy before using it other than my basic swish test. Clay seems far too variable to risk using as part of a medium for any carnivorous plants but that's based on my personal experiences which will differ from those of others. Evidently your experiences growing carnivorous plants in clay kitty litter have been good and mine haven’t. If you don't mind my asking, what types of carnivorous plants are you growing in a clay kitty litter and how long have you been growing your carnivorous plants in a clay kitty litter mix?

I found this really neat little link to clay-

These were interesting also-

Cincinnati, OH

Are you an organ or piano donor? I specified poetic license as pianic is not a word. The license number was Junior Samples phone number from Hee Haw.
Clay is not suitable unless it is sintered. As clay dries it shrinks greatly leaving big gaps. The sintered holds it form as it dries the spaces are filled with air. Most Micas are not suitable until they are expanded with steam, i.e. Vermiculite.
I am growing 3 Wintergreens (Pyrola, Chimaphila and Sarracenia) I have Darlingtonia seeds which haven't been planted.
PS Years ago the great poet Jesse Jackson, like all politicians, denied the allegations and went one step further and denied the alligators (Allegators?).

Now your comments about poetic license are even funnier.

Good luck with your Darlingtonia. I gave mine away because they needed to go to a more loving and doting home than mine. I still germinate Darlingtonia seed, but I give it away as fast as I can so I don't have to care for it. Our ice cube trays became somewhat confusing... were they rain water for the Darlingtonia or tap water for the people? We never could keep the trays straight and my husband was not too happy about getting rain water ice cubes in his Coke. He claimed he could taste the difference.

Lucedale, MS(Zone 8b)

I'm laughing so hard.

"We never could keep the trays straight and my husband was not too happy about getting rain water ice cubes in his Coke. He claimed he could taste the difference."

If I done that my husband would say the same thing and I'd probably swear he couldn't taste the difference. LOL

Actually, it was a little bit more than just the ice cube confusion. That plant allegedly needs an eastern exposure. Only one spot for that and it was right in front of where the kids went in and out to the back yard. It also happened to be a favorite of one of our dogs. Our Great Dane was pulling the plant out of its LFS on a regular basis and taking off with it ike it was a game. She's soft mouthed but I figured it was time to toss in the chips on that species while it was still healthy and growing as sooner or later it would end up dead.

We done got ourselves our first "Sticky" thread in Carnivorous Plants!

Thank you Terry!

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

Right on! We've hit the big time!

Morgan Hill, CA(Zone 10a)

That's Great! We should have several more covering different topics.

Sherwood, MI(Zone 5b)

If we could get a sticky outlining the best possible way for Lauren to send me a N. jaq, that should be the next sticky!

Morgan Hill, CA(Zone 10a)


Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

Wolf do you learn these sneaky tricks in copschool? Keep it up and one day Lauren will fail to catch on and your find your dream plant in your mailbox! LOLLLLL

Sherwood, MI(Zone 5b)

I do my best to be sneaky, sometimes you have to. I hope it doesnt come in the mailbox until spring or summer, to cold now. Lauren, just hang on to it until May ok?

Just realized that these comments were made in a "Sticky" thread and are going to appear at the top of this forum forever so I'm editing and will go back in and re-edit when I can think of something substantive to add to this thread that is "on track". Eeek, I can't believe I forgot this was our first "Sticky" thread.

This message was edited Mar 9, 2006 10:12 AM

Sherwood, MI(Zone 5b)

Ok Ok jokes on me, I will stop making such inferences. I do not want you sending me such a plant, so I will stop joking around. If I recieve a N. jaq from you I will then have to promptly order a S. "Green Monster" from MVBRS and send it your way!

I'll add something else here sooner or later.

This message was edited Mar 9, 2006 10:16 AM

Sherwood, MI(Zone 5b)

Haha, I knew you would like the "Green Monster" statement. Sure is a lovely plant though, all I would need is a antho-free S. minor and I could make the cross myself. Maybe in the future.

You drive a hard bargin Lauren, but I honestly do not know where Andie has registered it is kinda like she is in some lil group that I am not allowed in when she goes 'wedding shopping' I have no idea what she does nor do I want to know. I will ask her where she has registered but she my not have registered anywhere we arent really present people, although I do appreciate the thought it really is not neccessary.

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

LOL!! Oh Wolf! You babe in the woods you!!!

I just took out all the stuff that didn't pertain to the 'sticky'.

This message was edited Mar 26, 2006 8:41 AM

Now all I need to do is work on adding back something to these void spots that goes along with the "Stickyness" of this thread.

This message was edited Mar 9, 2006 4:48 PM

Sherwood, MI(Zone 5b)

Thanks for the hints Pixy and Lauren, it sure is a learning experience. I as Lauren will go back and edit my non-plant talk in this sticky thread to something more plantish.


Portugal Cove-St. Ph, NL(Zone 5a)

Yah Yah..... Love your pics, here , folks....... I will surf the tropics to decode the N. jaq sometime. Meanwhile, the snow is deep enough to act as a refridgerator for some Sarr's.. One night out was enough - too stormy; my old (below the house) garage is around 50 Fahr so they get 'chilled' there for a night......... I don't dare use the FOOD fridge............ Next, planning for Sarr. leuco culture - pot size? I will find peat and Sphagnum moss not far away........ under a ton of snow at the moment. I am planning one for a pot, one for MY marsh, and any more for a 'secret garden' in the wild. Too many vandals in parks, and you would not believe ..... there is theft of plants! I figure a southern exposure for heat, in a spot likely to get buried in snow ... will give the plants a chance at surviving a cold winter.
BTW, Garden Sulphur from a box store is elemental Sulphur...... that I dust Dahlias with on storage. I did laugh at the Vermiculite/Perlite fun - I think of it as light-weight sand........... to let soil breathe some. I gather the Sarr's like porous medium with the moss keeping the scorching sun from toasting the roots/rhizomes. I am recycling the clear plastic cookie containers from the supermarket for sowing seeds........ 5 different Penstemons today (!) - I gotta be NUTS.
Bill in SE Nfld., Canada zone 5a

Jamshedpur, India(Zone 10a)

Hi! I want to buy a venus fly trapper for my garden .Ready to also pay for the postage pl LMK if any one can help me.
I have alot of intresting plants for trade also.

north coast nsw, Australia

Gskinner-doesn't that tray of water evaporate or get sucked up by the plant with in a few hours? I use deeper trays for my sarras,like kitty litter trays and even then have to re fill them every few days,birds use mine as there drinking water. hehe! I fill them less in winter.

zone 6a, KY

Has anyone tried turface or diatomacous earth bits instead of sand for bog soil? The turface and de both hold up better than kitty litter, but have great water/air exchange properties.

north coast nsw, Australia

3jsmom- Whats the Ph of it? You use kitty litter in your bog garden?

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