Archive for the ‘Terrariums and Dish Gardens’ Category
I’ve been lusting after an Australian carnivorous pitcher plant for a long time and today my first one arrived. This post will likely change as I gain experience with Cephalotus (aka, Albany pitcher plant, Western Australian pitcher plant, fly catcher plant, moccasin plant).
Spring brings non-carnivorous leaves, followed by the pitcher leaves in the fall.
In bright light pitchers turn red but will be smaller, pitchers will remain green under lower light but grow larger. The plant grows the pitchers in a rosette. Each loop around the circle giving larger pitchers until full size is obtained ~2″ but can reach 3″. Best pitcher size is reached with high humidity and light, but not water logged peat.
The spikes on the mouth of the pitcher allow insects in but not out, as does the slippery surface of the inside of the pitcher. The nectar glands near the mouth attract insects.
There is a digestive enzyme in the pitcher which the lids keep rain from diluting. The digestive juices are released into the pitcher through glands along the bottom of the pitcher.
The lid of the pitcher plant does not move to trap prey but does move to maintain humidity in the pitcher, closing over the pitcher on drier days, pulling back on humid days.
Like most carnivorous plants, they go dormant during the winter months, and prefer to grow in wet peat moss.
Botanist Robert Brown first collected them in 1801.
Terrariums are excellent for growing these at home, they need high humidity (65%-90%).
They grow along with grasses in the swamp so they are a bit sheltered from direct sunlight. Light should be bright, too much red on the pitchers means too much light.
Unlike other carnivorous plants these ones can be over watered and will die from root rot. The crowns also need to be protected from rot.
If grown outside they can handle an occasional light frost. Preferred temperatures are 38′F-95′F
Once the plants begin to maintain fluid in their pitchers a light dose of high nitrogen fertilizer a few times a year can be beneficial, put the diluted fertilizer in the pitchers, do not apply it to the roots.
Things to watch for:
Subject to sudden death from root rot or high heat
I missed my carnivorous plant terrariums and started a new batch this week. The plants haven’t had time to settle in yet, they’ll look even better in a few months.
I haven’t the time or place to put a full terrarium. The micro sized ones I saw at the flower show have me experimenting with little ones this month.
I have three containers here of carnivorous plants. One is just an open round container about 8″-10″ at its widest, one is a cylinder with a glass cover and one is a small terrarium.
No lights, fans or other equipment is needed.
I was looking for unusual plants that would stay compact for these gardens and decided it was time to grow some carnivorous plants again. It’s been a while since I have done so.
The first two batches died much to my dismay. I had one potted in soil with gravel on top, and one with gravel on the bottom with soil on top. It turns out most potting soil you purchase now has fertilizers in it. Carnivorous plants can’t handle fertilizer.
So I dug around on the net and found out some people were using the same sphagnum moss I use for orchids as a base for carnivorous plants. I’ve also found peat moss works really well.
I soaked the moss and wrung out the excess water. The moss then went into the bottom of each container followed by the plants. Pitcher plants can get tall so use an open container for the taller growing plants. And be sure to plant them under the opening.
Carnivorous plants can sometimes be found in the house plant sections of stores and always be found on line. I’ve had good luck with both. Lately I’ve found eBay to have an excellent selection of plants at great prices.
The Houston Garden Club flower show in 2007 had some great underwater designs, yesterday I attended a Woodland’s Garden Club talk on underwater designs, the photos are from both of these.
There were several versions of small water gardens. I’m not sure if its a new trend or something local to this area? I haven’t been living down here long.
These would be great little gardens for a desk or counter top. You might even add a fish.
You can buy these large glass containers cheap now. I see them at Walmart all the time. You can get water plants at any store that sells fish and fish tank supplies.
Things I learned:
- Round clear glass is best
- A design takes a complete thought and moves your eyes through it, while an arrangement is just pretty
- The water line is part of the design
- Oranges from Florida are dyed and will leak the dye into your water, California oranges are not dyed.
- Water magnifies every thing, use that to enhance your design