Archive for the ‘Carnivorous Plants’ Category

Aldrovanda vesiculosa

Common name: Waterwheel Plant

Family: Droseraceae

Synonymous: Aldrovanda generalis
Aldrovanda verticillata
Drosera aldrovanda

Aldrovanda vesiculosa

Aldrovanda vesiculosa

Distribution and habitat: Aldrovanda vesiculosa captures small aquatic invertebrates using traps similar to those of the Dionaea muscipula (Venus Flytrap). The traps are arranged in whorls around a central, free-floating stem, giving rise to the common name, the Waterwheel Plant. This is one of the few plant species capable of rapid movement.

While the species displays a degree of morphological plasticity between populations, Aldrovanda vesiculosa possesses a very low genetic diversity across its entire range.

Aldrovanda vesiculosa is the most widely distributed carnivorous plant species, native to Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Aldrovanda vesiculosa is spread mainly through the movement of waterfowl – plants sticking to the feet of a bird are transported to the next aquatic destination on the bird’s route. As a result, most Aldrovanda vesiculosa populations are located along avian migratory routes. Throughout the last century the species has become increasingly rare, listed as extinct in an increasingly large number of countries.

Aldrovanda vesiculosa prefers clean, shallow, warm standing water with bright light, low nutrient levels and a slightly acidic pH (around 6). It can be found floating amongst Juncus species, reeds and even rice.

Decsription: Aldrovanda vesiculosa is a rootless aquatic plant; seedlings develop a short proto-root, however this fails to develop further and senescence. The plant consists of floating stems reaching a length of 6–40cm (2-16 inch). The 2–3mm (0.08-0.1 inch) trap leaves grow in whorls of 5-9 in close succession along the plant’s central stem. The actual traps are held by petioles which hold air sacks that aid in flotation. One end of the stem continually grows while the other end dies off. Growth is quite rapid (4–9mm (0.15-0.35 inch)/day in Japanese populations), so that in optimal conditions one or more new whorls are produced each day.

The actual traps consist of two lobes which fold together to form a snap-trap similar to that of the Dionaea muscipula (Venus fly trap), except that they are smaller and underwater. These traps, which are twisted so that the trap openings point outward, are lined on the inside by a fine coating of trigger hairs, snapping shut in response to contact with aquatic invertebrates and trapping them. The closing of this trap takes 10-20milliseconds, making it one of the fastest examples of plant movement in the kingdom. This trapping is only possible in warm conditions, when water temperature is about 20°C (68°F). Each trap is surrounded by between four and six 6–8mm (0.23-0.31 inch) long bristles which prevent triggering of traps by debris in the water.

The small, solitary white flowers of Aldrovanda vesiculosa are supported above the water level by short peduncles which arise from whorl axes. The flower only opens for a few hours, after which the structure is brought back beneath the water level for seed production. The seeds are cryptocotylar, meaning that the cotyledons remain hidden within the seed coat and serve as energy storage for the seedlings. Flowering is however rare in temperate regions and poorly successful in terms of fruit and seed development.

Care: To raise Aldrovanda vesiculosa it needs to set up a growing area for them. Outdoor growing generally works better than indoors growing, but they can be grown in a 38 litres (10 gallon) aquarium indoors successfully. Even smaller containers will work but at least 19litres (5 gallon) aquarium is needed and they perform better in bigger aquariums. The smaller the volume of the container, the more difficult it will be to create and maintain stable conditions. Periodic water changes and correct setting up of the container used to grow this aquatic carnivorous plant is essential. Is recommended to use a relatively shallow container with a large surface area. A water depth of 20-30cm (8-12 inch) is sufficient.

Water: Most water is fine to use from moderately hard to softer water. When hard water is used, it is a must to grow companion plants with Aldrovanda vesiculosa to help take the excess nutrients out of the water.
If CO2 is used, then something with a decent alkalinity (KH) is needed to keep the PH from going wild. When CO2 is added Aldrovanda vesiculosa will live happy in about anything as the CO2 is the key element for photosynthesis. Most carbon dioxide in water is produced by bacteria which are responsible for the decay of organic substances. Therefore, the more comfortable this bacterias are, the more valuable gas they will produce.
PH of 4 – 7.8 is tolerated. 6.8 – 7.4 is ideal.

Aldrovanda vesiculosa likes growing in ‘Brown Water’, named like this because the water is a brownish color  from tannins released in water by  the peat. This carnivorous like growing in water that has decomposing plant mater in it, in other words, peat. Fresh plant parts dying and decomposing is bad as this encourages fungus. Old plant parts partially decomposed decomposing is good and that is exactly what peat is. Generally a 1/4 cup of peat per 4 litres (1 gallon) of water is good enough. Boil the peat and let cool, stirring occasionally as it cools to help release the air. Once the peat is cool it will sink well if keep covered in water after boiling.
Also can be added some clay. Red, black or gray clay are all good. It gives the plants something to hang onto, it also helps the micro fauna and introduces some helpful bacteria.

However, water conditions should become suitable and stable before introducing Aldrovanda vesiculosa safely. Healthy water should be clear, straw coloured, contain a variety of small living microorganisms and be as free from algae as possible.

Light: If grown outside, place them in shaded ponds to keep water from over heating. When grown indoors, give them as much light possible.

Temperature: In its natural environment, -15 to 30°C (5- 86°F) is tolerated. The water temperature during the growing season must be at least 16°C (61°F) with 32°C (90°F) as a maximum, but ideal temperatures are 23-30°C (73-86°F). Prolonged water temperatures of 29-31°C (84-88°F) cause the Aldrovanda vesiculosa to flower. Prevent overheating by shading; in overheated water algae might become a serious problem. The water temperature should be cooler at night time then during the day, but this is naturally happening to some degree.

Winter dormancy is occurring as day length and temperature drops, the plant will slow its growth and develop winter buds or turions at the plant tips.  These will drop off, sink and over-winter in the bottom of the pool.  The top of the pool may be ice covered, but the bottom should be deep enough so that the water does not freeze solid.  The mature plants that are freezing will die, but in early spring as the water warms, the turions will begin growth and the new plants will float to the surface, often before other plants begin spring growth.  For indoor culture, the turions may be kept in a peat slurry in the refrigerator at 3-5°C (37-41°F).

Feeding: Aldrovanda vesiculosa is a carnivorous and like to eat! Make sure to supply them with a food source: Trumpet Snails are generally available at any pet shop that sells fish. They reproduce like mad and Aldrovanda can eat the young ones. These snails only eat dead plant parts, not live plant parts. Daphnia, copods, small fry, small tadpoles (tadpoles eat plants so do not add to many), mosquito larva and the like are all good. Be careful not to add something that will eat the Aldrovanda vesiculosa, as some snails that eat plants.

Never add fertilisers (nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium) to the water.

Propagation: Aldrovanda vesiculosa reproduces most often through vegetative reproduction. In favourable conditions, adult plants will produce an offshoot every 3–4cm (1-1.5 inch), resulting in new plants as the tips continue to grow and the old ends die off and separate. Due to the rapid growth rate of this species, countless new plants can be produced in a short period of time in this fashion.

In winter hardy Aldrovanda vesiculosa form so-called ‘turions’ as a frost survival strategy. At the onset of winter, the growth tip starts producing highly reduced non-carnivorous leaves on a severely shortened stem. This results in a tight bud of protective leaves which, being heavier and having released flotational gases, breaks off of the mother plant and sinks to the water bottom, where temperatures are stable and warmer. Here it can withstand temperatures as low as −15°C (5°F). In the wild, Aldrovanda turions have been observed to have a relatively low rate of successful sinking. Those nutritious turions that fail to sink are then grazed by waterfowl or are killed by the onset of frost. In spring when water temperatures rise above 12-15°C (54-59°F), turions reduce their density and float to the top of the water, where they germinate and resume growth. Non-dormant turion-like organs can also form in response to summer drought.

Problems: Good indicators of the plant’s health are the thickness of its apex (thick, onion-shaped-good; thin-bad), the length of the adult plant (more than lcm (0.4 inch)-good) and the number of branches (few-good; none-bad).

The big killer of Aldrovanda vesiculosa are Algae growth.
Treatment: Addition of chemicals (alum, copper sulphate) only solve the algae problem temporarily and are not appreciated by Aldrovanda vesiculosa. If CO2 is used it will help prevent algae growth.
It should not be much of a problem for indoor tanks once the tank has aged. Add daphnia or snails to help keep it cleaned up as these are in the same time food for Aldrovanda vesiculosa. Change every other week 10% of water or as needed on indoor setups.
Outside setups can be a little harder to keep under control. Change the water as needed and keep the CO2 levels up if applicable.

Boron Deficiency will cause a steady decline in the plants until they die.
Treatment: Most plant stores sell a product to treat it with. This is a rare disease or macro vitamin deficiency.

Companion plants: Aldrovanda vesiculosa should be grown with other water and/or marsh plants as they helps to lower the nutrient levels in the water by direct uptake and by stimulation of the decomposition process. Companion include Utricularia inflata and other Utricularia species will consume extra nutrients from the water. It is important to include other submergent plants in pots such as Typha species (Cattail), Pontederia species (Pickerel Weed), Nymphaea species (Water Lilies) or Sagittaria species Arrowhead Plant. The leaf litter generated by these companion plants is essential to promote the growth of daphnia, protozoa and other aquatic “food.”  In addition these companion plants keep algae growth to a minimum during the warm growing summer months.

Notes: Aldrovanda vesiculosa is one of the strangest plants around. It is more widespread than any other carnivorous plant, being also a rare and endangered species. Do not  introduce these plants in bodies of water they do not already inhabit.

Use: Consider growing Aldrovanda vesiculosa outdoors. They can tolerate frost or a light freeze. They grow exceeding well in a bog pools in the yard. Also they can be grown in an aquarium indoors successfully.

Aldrovanda vesiculosaAldrovanda vesiculosaAldrovanda vesiculosa - flowerAldrovanda vesiculosa - snap-trapAldrovanda vesiculosa - turionAldrovanda vesiculosa - shootAldrovanda vesiculosa - branchingAldrovanda vesiculosa - seed germinationAldrovanda vesiculosa - Australian form

Aquarium Plants, Carnivorous Plants, Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants , , , ,

Sarracenia psittacina

Common name: Parrot Pitcher Plant, Hooked Pitcher Plant

Family: Sarraceniaceae

Synonymous: Sarracenia calceolata
Sarracenia pulchella
Sarracenia rubra

Sarracenia psittacina

Sarracenia psittacina

Distribution and habitat: Sarracenia psittacina is a carnivorous plant native to North America. It  is found in the wetter parts of boggy areas in the coastal plain from southern Georgia and northern Florida to southern Mississippi. Quite often the plants can be found near the waterline. They may occasionally be submerged. While submerged, it will capture water arthropods and tadpoles.

Sarracenia psittacina employs an unusual trapping mechanism using a small entrance in the pitcher mouth which prey goes through in search of more nectar that was produced by the plant on the rim of the pitcher mouth. The prey is then confused by light shining through what appear to be false exits and crawls toward the brighter area down into the pitcher. Crisscrossed downward-facing hairs densely line the interior of the pitcher, forcing the prey further into the pitcher to an area where digestive enzymes such as proteases are prevalent in the liquid.

Description: Sarracenia psittacina is a small plant that usually keeps its pitchers (the plant’s leaves) tightly against the ground in a flat, prostrate rosette with semi-erect habit. The leaves are like narrow tubes with a prominent wing on the side facing the center of the plant. A mature leaf of Sarracenia psittacina often has a conspicuously red-purple hood with the tubular part of the leaf greener closer to the ground. The opening of the hood faces downward. The younger leaves show that the wing develops early, but the hood increases in size later, as the leaf matures. Therefore, the younger leaves cannot trap insects.

The entire plant is brightly pigmented to attract prey, but not all leaves of Sarracenia psittacina are bright red-purple. Some of them are somewhat greener and show the mouth of the hood close to the top of the wing. The veining on the hood is purple and green. There are numerous patches that are translucent, transmitting the sunlight into the interior of the hood.

The tubular part of the pitcher gets narrower and crisscrossed with dense downwardly-pointing hairs. This means that if the prey tries to fly upward in the narrow tube, it is more and more likely to hit the side, rather that get back up into the hood. The hairs keep pointing it farther and farther down, to the pool of liquid at the bottom, where it drowns and is digested by the plant.

Sarracenia psittacina are long-lived plants. When the plant reaches maturity—about three or four years of age—a very beautiful, strange reddish pink bloom on a tall stalk will erupt from the rosette of pitchers in early summer. The display is quite spectacular. The flowers of this Sarracencia psittacina are red and have a very special structure. They open downward. Very likely, an insect would be attracted by the big white center area (the back side of the stigma) surrounded by the red-purple petals. There is white, which an insect would tend to follow, at the base of each petal. To get in, an insect has to crawl around the down-turning edge of the stigma, which it does by pushing back the re-curving portion of the petal (white zigzag part of the petal, at right). This trap-like mechanism tends to keep it inside the flower for a longer time, to increase the chances that it will pick up the pollen grains from the stamens (yellow) or deposit some of the pollen grains on the umbrella-shaped stigma.

Sarracenia psittacina flowera are not only among the most beautiful in nature, but cleverly designed to enhance cross-pollination. Insects carrying pollen from a previous flower can enter only over the female stigmas between the petals, where the pollen is deposited. Once inside, they becomes dusted with fresh pollen. To exit, they push through the petals, thus avoiding the stigmas and self-pollination.
When the flower open, they will remain in petal for seven to ten days on average.

Houseplant care: Prune dead stalks at any time. While Sarracenia psittacina go dormant its pitchers will look pretty decomposed by late winter and can be removed to make room for the early spring’s growth.

Light: The Sarracencia psittacina enjoys being in a bright light spot. Sunny south-facing decks, porches or windowsills are perfect for them.

Temperature: The temperature for this species should be between 5°C (41°F) and 30°C (86°F). For lower temperature the plant must be taken inside in winter.
So not mist spray this plants. Sarracenia psittacina pot will always stand in water, therefor the high humidity around plant will be given by water evaporation.

Sarracenia psittacina require a period of dormancy in order to stay healthy. It requires 3-4 months of winter dormancy triggered by cold temperatures (below 10°C (50°F) ) and shorter daylight hours.

Water: Sarracenia psittacina likes a moist potting mix. Indoors the container of the Sarracencia psittacina should therefore always be placed on a bed of water. Use distilled water, rainwater or water collected from condensation, like from an air conditioner.

Even while dormant, the plant will still need to stand in water to prevent its soil from drying out.

Feeding: No feeding is necessary for Sarracenia psittacina. Also, it is not necessary to feed insects to the plant for its growth. However, where the insects are scarce, such as in a greenhouse, a foliar fertiliser applied once or twice monthly during the growing season will help accelerating the growth.

Potting and repotting: The soil for the Sarracencia psittacina, just as for all the other carnivorous plants, should be poor in nutrients. Uses a mix of peat, sand and perlite. Repotting is needed every two years. Use a tall non-draining container: plastic and glazed ceramic are excellent, not cement, concrete nor terracotta pots as the minerals will kill the plants. By using a tall pot will easily accommodate the rhizome and its long root system. Sarracenia psittacina tend to grow faster and larger when their roots have room to grow. Large pots will also give your plants added protection during the winter. If necessary, move the plant in one size larger pot. Repot during late winter and early spring for a robust plants in summer.

Changing the potting mixture restores soil acidity, improves root aeration and strengthens the health of your plants.

Gardening: Sarracenia psittacina are among the best plants for bog gardens.

Older Sarracenia psittacina turn brown from the top down; trim off the dead parts, but insect filled leaves that are still healthy will continue to feed the plant. Usually all remaining pitchers will look pretty decomposed by late winter and can be removed before or during early spring’s growth.

Position: In the garden a spot on the edge of a pond is ideal for Sarracenia psittacina. Make sure the bog garden is situated in a sunny area. Bog plants need lots of sun. Place Sarracenia psittacina in an area that will get at least six to eight hours of direct summer sunlight each day in summer.

The colouration of this plant can be mostly green when shaded by low-growing vegetation or with much red venation when grown in full sun.

Soil: Use one-to-one mix of peat and sand to prepare the right soil for planting Sarracenia psittacina.

Placing a layer of long-grain sphagnum moss over the soil mix is optional but will help to retain the moisture of soil, which is crucial for the wellbeing.

Irrigation: Sarracenia psittacina likes boggy, humid environments, so make sure their soil remains constantly moist.

Plants are able to spend their winter dormancy in an outdoor bog garden. In freezing climates this plant should be mulched to add some protection.

Fertilising: No fertilizer is necessary for Sarracenia psittacina; in fact, doing so might kill them, as they are accustomed to nutrient-poor soil. Carnivorous plants have adapted to capturing insects on their own and insects will naturally be attracted to this plant. If you choose to feed your plant, use recently killed insects. Do not feed your plant meat. Feeding is not at all required during the winter months when the plant is dormant.

Propagation: Sarracenia psittacina can be propagated by seed. The seedpod will turn brown and  gradually crack open by autumn. The seed, up to several hundred, can be collected at this time. Each seed is brown to reddish tan and about the size of a large pinhead. Separate the seeds from the ovary and store dry seed.  Always store seed in the refrigerator. To germinate, the seed needs several weeks of chilly, damp stratification. It is usually best to sow the seeds in the middle of the winter. Do not bury the seed. Sow sparsely and treat with fungicide if any hint of damping-off or botrytis disease. Light frost is helpful during stratification.
After stratification, with warmer, pertly sunny conditions, the seed will germinate. At the end of the growing season, the seedlings will have pitchers 2.5 to 5cm (1-2 inch) tall. The plants will take, on average, about five years to reach maturity. Baby plants can achieve maturity in as short time as three or four years with fertilisation.

Sarracenia psittacina are slow at producing  offshoots and new growing points or they will never multiply.  However, sometimes potted specimens should be divided and transplanted every three to five years or when the growing points become crammed along the edge of the pot. This should be done only during dormancy or early spring growth. Rermove the plant from its pot and wash away as much soil as possible. The growing points from which the pitchers emerge are clearly separated. The rhizome is often gnarled and branching, the roots tough and wiry. Separate the growing points making sure that each growing point has roots  and plant them in different pots. After dividing a mature rhizomes it is best to be cut off any emerging flower buds so the plant can put its energy into healing and plant growth.

Primary pests of Sarracenia psittacina are aphids, scale, thrips and mealybugs.
Treatment: Use an appropriate insecticide. Treatment may need to be repeated with annoying pests like mealybug, which can be spread by ants. After treatment, cut off any badly deformed emerging pitchers so the plant can put its energy into growing new, healthy leaves.

Seeds can be attacked by damping-off fungus.
Treatment: Treat the plant with an appropriate fungicide.

Uses: Sarracenia psittacina make excellent windowsill plants and are also able to live outdoors year-round in bog gardens.


Foliage – coloured
Shape – bushy
Height: 15-20cm (6-8 inch)
Width: 15-20cm (6-8 inch)

Watering in rest period – plentifully
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 15°C (50-59°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 20°C max 30°C (68-86°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zones: 5a-9b

Sarracenia psittacina - flowerSarracenia psittacina - flowersSarracenia psittacina - flower

Bog Plants, Carnivorous Plants, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , ,

Dionaea muscipula

Common Names: Venus Fly Trap, Fang

Dionaea muscipula is remarkable plant as it can feed on living insects as well as from peat moss. Dionaea muscipula should be kept in hot sunny position indoor or outdoor. Dionaea muscipula must be kept moist or wet at all times. In summer months the pot may be left sitting in water or on wet sponge. Place pot under a dripping tap for 2-3 hours every three moths. In winter Dionaea muscipula will lose most of his leaves but will regrow these in spring. Remove flower spikes as they start to grow and do not fertilize. Dionaea muscipula can only be fed living insects like small flies but does not need to have them to grow.

Dionaea muscipula

Dionaea muscipula

Carnivorous Plants , ,

Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata

Common Names: Climbing Pitcher Plant, King of Spades, Monkey Cups

Family: Nepenthaceae

Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata

Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata

Distribution and habitat: Nepenthes genus comprises roughly 140 species and numerous natural and many cultivated hybrids. They are mostly liana-forming plants native to Indochina and Malay Archipelago. Some of them can climb more than 10m (33feet) up the trees. The tendril of their leaves helps them to get hold on trees and bushes they use as support. They are generally divided into 2 groups: lowlander (found below 1000m (3280 feet) altitude) and highland (found above 1000m (3280 feet) altitude) species. Some species grow in both areas and are referred to as intermediates.
Lowlanders generally experience warm, humid days with a mild night time temperature drop. Average temperatures for lowlanders range from the 27 to 35°C (80-95°F) during the day to 16-21°C (60-69°F) at night.
Highlanders do not experience temperatures as hot as lowlanders during the day and tolerate lower night time temperature drops. Highlanders range from the 21 to 30°C (70-86°F) during the day and 10 to 20°C (50-68°F) at night.

Most Nepenthes species grow in environments that provide high humidity and precipitation and moderate to high light levels. Most species thrive on the margins of tree or shrub forests or clearings. All Nepenthes grow in extreme habitats of poor nutrients. Peat swamp and mountain rainforests or degraded, eroded areas are typical habitats for pitcher plants.

Description: Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata is a hybrid between a lowlander (Nepenthes truncata) and a highlander (Nepenthes ventricosa), both endemic to the Philippines. The Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata inherit the pitcher form of the epiphytic Nepenthes truncata and the pitcher colours and leaves form of Nepenthes ventricosa.

Nepenthes are named after for their unusual pitchers or traps. The pitcher is actually a swelling of the mid-vein in the leaf and are used by the plant to trap prey that falls inside it and digest the organic matter. Insects are attracted to this because of nectar odor secretions and its coloration. The slippery rim (peristome) and inner walls of the pitcher encourage insects to fall into the digestive fluid at the bottom of the trap. Nepenthes, like other carnivorous plants, have evolved their pitchers to get nourishment from the insects they catch because of the nutrient lacking soils in which they grow. The enzymes in the pitcher dissolve and digest their prey to aid in growth. It is not necessary to “feed” Nepenthes on a daily basis for good growth. If grown outside, Nepenthes will catch mainly ants and other insects with ease. Nepenthes that do not have access to insects can be supplemented with flies, mealworms or crickets from pet stores to encourage good growth. However, they do not need much. Stuffing a pitcher with prey that is too big will most certainly cause the pitcher to turn brown and die much sooner than if let alone. A little goes a long way with them. Remember, they are plants and can photosynthesize light like other plants to make food for themselves. In other words, Nepenthes wold not “starve” to death if they do not have insect matter for periods of time. At worst, they may slow down on growth.

Flowers appear throughout the year and have little aesthetic appeal.

Houseplant care: Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata are versatile and adaptable to many different growing conditions. They are relatively easy to care for and will thrive on their own.

Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata are not real fast growers and they can live for many years with proper care.

Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata older leaves will gradually die back from the trap to the seam. These should be pruned back to the stem regularly to keep the plant tidy. Also cutting off the growing tip of the plant will keep it more compact.
Since many Nepenthes are vines, pruning the green stems back will encourage side shoots and a fuller plant. The vines can also be trained up a stake or left to hang low in an elevated container such as a hanging basket. Allowing the vines to descend often encourages the plant to put up new basal shoots, resulting in a prettier plant. It is best not to prune more than 30% of the foliage off the plant at any one time. Plants which are cut back completely to the soil will often die.

Light: Can be grown indoors or outdoors in a sheltered positions receiving 50-80% shade or morning sun.

Provide the Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata hybrids with bright light (not full sun). In order to give them enough sun energy to produce pitchers they need around 3 hours of direct sun when the sun is out.

They can be grown in a greenhouse, sun room, partly sunny window or under lights.

Temperature: Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata is frost tender and never go dormant. This hybrid will thrive within a temperature ranging from 16 to 35°C (60-95°F).

While Nepenthes often tolerate low humidity, but they usually stop making pitchers. Humid environments such as greenhouses, terrariums or even tents made from sticks and clear plastic bags can provide the needed humidity. Be sure to provide some ventilation to prevent overheating and stagnant air.

Additional humidity can be provided by frequent spraying the plant with pure water. When grown indoors, keep the pots on trays with moist pebbles to increase the air humidity around the plant.

Water: Keep the Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata moist at all times but not sitting in water. If possible, water the plant with rain water; tap water is acceptable as long as it is flushed with rainwater or soft water monthly.

Do not allow Nepenthes to dry out completely. They benefit from moist media and occasional flooding to wash away any accumulated salts. Use relatively clean water such as rain, distilled or purified water.

Adding air to the water can help growth by reducing the chance of stagnation. Simply put the water in a clean tightly-covered container, half-filled, and shake it vigorously to aerate it before watering. Avoid dripping cold water on the leaves.

Fertiliser: Chemical fertilisers are best used at low strength (at 1/4 strength). Occasional feeding with frozen (thawed before use) crickets may be beneficial.

Potting and repotting: Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata need a porous, low-fertility potting mixes. This potting mixture may contain tree fern fiber, chopped fir bark, long fiber sphagnum moss or peat moss with an addition of coarse sand or perlite. A well drained  Orchid potting mix will work well for these carnivorous plants. Repot if the pot breaks down, the plant dries out too quickly or plant size indicates the need of a bigger pot. Preferably, do not use clay pots, as salts tend to build up in them. The best time to repot is Spring or Summer.

Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata will do well in a 18-20cm (7-8 inch) pot, but some of the larger specimens require containers of 30cm (12 inch) to reach full size. Young plants can be grown in 10-15cm (4-6 inch) pots. Baskets and pots are an excellent way to display larger specimens. This plant is suitable for trailing vines and tendrils to grow.

Garden Culture: Depending upon local climate conditions, Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata can make suitable plants for the patio or outdoor garden seasonally or year-round. In temperate areas with regular cool or foggy weather (often coastal areas) these carnivorous plants can be grown with special care. The plants should be kept in a moderately sheltered (50% shaded) area, sprayed frequently and protected from frost. In tropical climates they can be cultivate outdoors year-round.

Propagate: Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata can be propagated by cuttings taken at any time of the year, but the cuttings taken when the parent plant is actively growing seem to have greater success rate. Active growing tip of the stem with about 2 to 3 leaves is the absolute best cutting material, but it is not compulsory for the cutting to have the growing tip. Cut off the lower leaf and plant the stem vertically in a pot containing damp Sphagnum moss.  The lower node (the point where the leaf was growing) should be under the potting mixture level and the upper node and leaf about the potting mixture level. Place the pot for rooting in a plastic bag or propagating case in conditions of high humidity and moderate light. The cuttings will start root in one to two months and begin to form new pitchers in about six months. When new growth is visible is a sign that rooting was occurred. Once the plants have rooted and started to grow, pot them up in a one size bigger container using standard potting mixture and put them in a terrarium (or partially opened plastic bag) to adapt the new plant to the lower humidity conditions.

Problems: Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata are naturally quite pest-free, though there are a few insects which will sometimes present problems in collections.

If the plant fails to make pitchers, increase humidity and make sure that the plant has enough light.

Most fungal infections on Nepenthes such as sooty mold are easily removed by manual cleaning or treatment with a mild fungicide.

Leaf-spot fungus, which is a common problem especially when grown in bright sunlight.
Treatment: Treat the plant with a fungicide immediately, remove the affected leaves if possible without destroying the plant and replace the soil with new potting medium.

Thrips are a common pest in many cool greenhouses and will occasionally attack Nepenthes.
Treatment: They seldom occur in sufficient numbers to present a serious threat. They can be found most often on the undersides of the leaves near the midrib and can easily be removed by regularly wiping the leaves clean.

Scale, which are often introduced to the plants by ants, can present a much more severe problem than thrips.
Treatment: Though scale can sometimes be kept in check by diligent hand-picking, infested plants may need to be treated with an pesticide. Use mild doses of pesticide to not harm the plants.

Uses: Nepenthes ventricosa x truncata are efficiently grown in greenhouses, grow chambers or terrariums where humidity, temperature and lighting can all be controlled. They can be used as windowsill plants or outdoors in hanging baskets or on tables under shade cloth. Nepenthes should thrive with the orchids, needing similar conditions.

Hardiness zone: 10-11

Carnivorous Plants, Indoor Plants , , , ,

Sarracenia x mitchelliana

Common Names: Gobble Guts Plants, Trumpet Pitcher Plants

Sarracenia x mitchelliana

Sarracenia x mitchelliana

Sarracenia x mitchelliana, these amazing plant collect insects in their tall pitchers and slowly dissolve the nutrients over many months. Their favorite food is European wasps, often filling a pitcher in days. Sarracenia x mitchelliana do not need insects but due to the food served swamps they are used to their native American habitat they have learned to supplement their diet with highly nutritious bugs. Sarracenia x mitchelliana are from a cold climate similar to the southern parts of Australia and can tolerate severe frosts and short periods of snow. All growth is from spring to summer and in late autumn the plants go into dormancy; over the winter months the previous year’s leaves will die  and should be removed by August to allow new growths to appear.

Best grown in full sunlight to partial shade; indoors Sarracenia x mitchelliana will form but without sunlight will not colour and stand up well. Plants should not be fed with any plant food and should be kept moist to wet at all times; they can be sat in a saucer of water in warmer weather to prevent drying out. Potting mix should be peat moss or sphagnum moss and coarse sand. Dead or alive insects can be placed in the pitchers.

Sarracenia x mitchelliana







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