Carnivorous Plant Love
I was always one of those girls…you know the type, I couldn’t help falling for the bad boy. I wasn’t terrible, mind you, but if a boy was a little bad ass, I was definitely more inclined to give him the time of day. Perhaps then this explains my new fascination with Carnivorous Plants.
Meet my new pet. From the sundew family, he’s a Drosera capensis ‘red.’ With sticky long fingers, my little “bad boy” waits patiently for an unsuspecting insect to land on one of his tantalizingly long fingers and then that’s it. It’s just a matter of time before the leaf curls up and slowly crushes the poor guy to a pulp (ok, maybe not quite as dramatically as I’ve just described, but you get the idea). Shout out to Fern Richardson from Life on the Balcony for helping me to identify him. You can find Pitcher Plants and Venus Fly traps all day but these guys are harder to identify. Thanks, Fern, it was fun hanging with you.
So because we’re Potted, how a plant is displayed is just as important as the plant. I wondered how I would display mine. All carnivorous plants are bog plants, meaning they like to be wet. But a closed terrarium is a problem since no bugs can get in and I’ll be damned if I’m buying bugs at a pet store for my plant. So open terrarium seemed the way to go but then I saw this Campo de Fiori Crucible Planter and I thought how wonderful it would look inside the glass and so voila!
I then started searching for other carnivorous terrariums and realized they weren’t so easy to find. Lots of amazing photos of plants (see The Pitcher Plant Project…very cool) but not so many actual terrariums. I wish I could credit the photo above but I have no idea.
The best book I found was Tovah Martin’s book “The New Terrarium” and she did a nice blog post last year about them here.
And here’s another one I don’t know the source for but you can see that Pitcher Plants (aka Sarracenias) are used a lot and for good reason. The only thing I would say about this is that most Pitcher Plants go dormant and so your terrarium will look a little sad during the winter…but it just gives you something to live for.
Here’s a good video on how carnivorous plants do their deed.
And here’s their basic care:
1. Only use distilled or reverse osmosis water. Using tap water is how most people kill their plants. Rainwater is best.
2. Resist the urge to fertilize. This will kill your plant.
3. Do not let your plants dry out. This will kill your plant.
4. Do not use potting soil. These guys are generally planted in a 50/50 mix of peat moss and sand.
5. Give them light. They can even live outdoors (unless you live in Joshua Tree in which case they may need some shade)
Every species and variety will have some particularity, so I suggest you research yours and make sure to give it what it wants…otherwise it may eat you.
Tags: campo de fiori, Carnivorous plants, carnivorous terrarium, crucible planter, drosera capensis, Pitcher Plants, Sarracenias, sundew, terrariums, The New Terrarium, The Pitcher Plant Project, Tovah Martin