Consultation & Plants
for Public Displays
Because of their strange habit of luring and capturing prey, carnivorous plants possess an unfamiliar beauty and hypnotic charisma that inevitably
ensnares the fascination of virtually everyone. More and more institutions have noticed this mass appeal and have chosen to take advantage of
this by installing a carnivorous plant exhibit.
For over 20 years we have maintained the worlds largest collection of carnivorous plants on public display, while selling and shipping
only the highest quality plants across the entire US.
Major botanical gardens, conservatories, universities, and zoos have heard of our
reputation and sought us out for our expertise and fine plants. With our help, their exhibits have all been terrific successes, despite our plants
unfair reputation for being difficult to work with. Including:
The San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers has hosted two major five month exhibits "Chomp" and "Chomp 2" in 2007 and 2010. We provided
all of the plants and they were both the most popular exhibits in the conservatory's 100 year history.
“The San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers has been lucky enough to partner with California Carnivores for two highly successful exhibits. In both
cases working with the California Carnivores team has been a true delight! Not only do they supply the most stunning selection of carnivorous plants in
the world but they have been incredibly generous in sharing their knowledge and catering the bogs to meet our specific needs. Just listening
to Peter and Damon’s heartfelt, educational and often hilarious explanations about how these truly wondrous plants lure, trap and kill their prey
is enough to turn just about anyone into a carnivorous plant enthusiast.”
Director of Operations and Exhibitions
The Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus,OH put on a huge carnivore display in 2010 too! We
shipped them boxes and boxes of plants which arrived on time and in perfect condition ready for public display.
The California Academy of Sciences got all of their carnivorous plants from us for their "Rainforests of the World" biosphere exhibit. Peter and Damon were invited
before they opened for consultation on installing their wall of Nepenthes and orchids.
The San Diego Zoo has a permanent carnivorous plant bog tucked along their monkey walk and of
course got all their plants from us.
Also, it has been our pleasure to display our plants for many years in the Sonoma County Fair's "Hall of Flowers", the largest themed flower show in America.
Why put in a carnivorous plant exhibit?
Carnivorous plants have mass appeal! Everyone loves the Venus Flytrap.
No longer a world of poorly-grown, misunderstood oddities kept only by a very few, today growing
CP is a booming hobby.
A carnivorous plant exhibit will bring in lots of people who wouldn't normally go to a botanical garden or conservatory.
The promise of witnessing the biological miracle of a plant that moves will get them in the door and once they are, use our
plants to teach them all kinds of fun facts and valuable lessons like:
There's a lot more than flytraps. Sundews, pitcher plants, butterworts and bladderworts, just to name a few;
there are over 700 species of carnivorous plants and they grow on every
continent in the world except for Antarctica. There are 17 genera within 10 families and
the United States has the largest diversity of them in the world.
In fact, the Venus flytrap does not come form Venus, but is an endangered species from North Carolina.
Wetland Conservation: Carnivorous plants almost all come from wetlands. After centuries of destroying what was thought to be worthless
bogs and fetid mires that swarmed with mosquitoes, it is estimated in the US that only 5% of wild carnivorous plants remain since the arrival of
Europeans. As your patrons fall in love with our plants, teach them to respect this misunderstood and essential habitat.
Evolution: Carnivory is a miracle of evolution. In order to conquer habitats too poor in nutrients for normal plants, CP
evolved the ability to lure, trap, digest, and consume insects that they have no way of knowing even exist. This trick
has evolved at least 10 times to form many different traps.
There are amazing examples of
convergent evolution, such as dewy pines, rainbow plants, sundews, and butterworts which all use sticky mucilage-tipped glands
to ensnare their unsuspecting prey, but are not closely related. Their common goal of catching insects has caused them to
look more and more alike over millennia despite starting out from different ancestors.
Also, they themselves have created
new niches which have been filled by many species which live in close symbiosis with carnivores. The smallest frog in the old world
lives only in the pitchers of a tropical pitcher plant, N. ampullaria, and a large green spider in the Southern US perches on the top
of pitcher plants hunting the drugged insects.
Charles Darwin: Although,made famous for his theory of evolution, Darwin was also the first
carnivorous plant enthusiast. He spent twenty years writing his book "Insectivorous Plants", in which he conclusively proved to a world of
skeptics that these plants were indeed carnivorous! At the time, belief dictated that animals ate plants
and the thought that plants might sometimes eat animals was called blasphemy by Carolus Linnaeus. Darwin, however, preformed painfully exacting
experiments with CP to establish once and for all that these plants did indeed eat animals.
In a letter to a friend he once wrote, "I care more about sundews than
the origins of all the species on earth".
How should we display Carnivorous Plants?
Temporary exhibits should not be planted. Over the years we have developed an easy method for faking temporary bog gardens. In fact both the displays
photographed on this page are not planted. The pots of our plants may be tucked within plastic bags full of water and nestled into a display. Then
just cover the pots with Oregon sheet moss and you've got an instant bog. A planted bog garden will take at least three months under optimal conditions
to moss over completely, until then it will look a little sloppy and muddy. Using our method, small bog gardens may be put together in a day and large exhibits built
in under a week. Contact us for more information on this method; we will send you a copy of Peter's article on the subject.
Permanent displays can be any size. Beautiful "Bog Gardens" can be made in a container as small as 24" shallow bowl or may be a large outdoor
installation. Venus Flytraps, Sundews, American pitcher plants, some butterworts and bladderworts can all be grown together in harmony within these
bog gardens. Carnivores require nutrient-free media and water, so we use a mix of 2 parts peat to 1 part washed horticultural sand. For in-ground bog
gardens you will have to dig out the native soil, then put down a layer of sand followed by a thick pond-liner to contain the peat and sand mix. The depth
only needs to be about 18 inches. It should be placed in full sun and you should be prepared to have enough purified or rain water on hand to keep it sopping
wet all year. The water must be below 150 ppm dissolved salts and slightly acidic. See our "Growing Tips" page or get our
book "The Savage Garden" for more detailed cultural information.
When should we display Carnivorous Plants?
If you're considering putting in a temporary exhibit with our plants be sure and consider
winter dormancy first. The Venus flytrap, American pitcher plants, forked and thread-leaved sundews are
temperate and all go dormant from
around Halloween until late March. Ideal exhibition months are from May 1st until November 1st, at the absolute latest. Because
we have so many plants, we always have some that look good, so we have helped exhibit some plants during off months, but the selection will be
very limited. Permanent displays will experience dormancy too, but if you plant a good selection, some plants will keep enough presence to stay
presentable until Spring when growth resumes. Permanent Bog Gardens are best built in late Winter to early Spring.
Tropical pitcher plants and South African sundews look good year-round when grown in heated greenhouses.
Call 707-824-0433 and ask for Damon or Peter and get your carnivorous plant exhibit started today!