Growing Tips

Bladderworts (Utricularia) Growing Tips

Utricularia gibba

Sun:  Full to part sun.  Most bladderworts prefer a shady nook in the outside bog garden.

Water:  Use the tray method for terrestrial and tropical bladderworts, keeping the soil wet.

Utricularia cornigeraTemperature:  There are 226 species of Bladderworts and they grow virtually worldwide, thus they come from varied climates. Our tropical species do best in warm greenhouses and terrariums.  The terrestrial bladderworts make wonderful, miniature, flowering ground covers in the spaces around your other carnivores and can take temperature from 40-90 degrees.

Dormancy:  No dormancy period required.

Soil:  Utricularia pubescens

  • Aquatic species: One cup of peat, well-mixed, into each gallon of water.
  • Tropical species: Equal parts fine orchid bark, New Zealand long-fibered sphagnum, peat and perlite.
  • Terrestrial Species: Two parts peat to one part sand or perlite.

Containers: Plastic containers with drainage holes work best for terrestrial and epiphytic species.  Most terrestrials also do well in un-drained containers.  If you wish to view the bladders on terrestrials, grow them in glass containers with removable black plastic sheeting of construction paper wrapped along the outside of the glass below the soil level.

Fertilizer/Feeding:  MaxSea fertilizer can also be applied, once per month on the foliage of the plants and try to avoid pouring too much of the MaxSea through the soil.

Read more

Butterworts (Pinguicula) Growing Tips

Pinguicula flowerSun:  Partly sunny growing conditions. Great for sunny windowsills. When grown under high intensity fluorescent grow lights many of them will blush so that the entire plant is glowing pink or red!

Water:  All temperate and warm temperate species should be grown permanently wet on the tray system, with frequent overhead watering.  Use chilly water for your temperate pings.  The Mexican varieties can be kept on the tray system with overhead watering while they have carnivorous foliage in summer and autumn.  When the rosettes change to their small succulents in winter, keep the soil on the dry side, dampening them only slightly and occasionally.  You can usually tell how dry a species enjoys its winter by the size of its succulent leaves.  The tighter, smaller leafed rosettes such a Pinguicula gypsicola or the bulb-like heterophylla and macrophylla require bone-dry conditions.  Species with larger winter leaves, like a few of the moranensis varieties or agnata, enjoy winters soils just slightly damp.  Cuban species should be kept wet year-round, with only slight winter drying.

Temperature:  As butterworts grow worldwide, they come from varied climates.  Temperate Pinguicula need cold winters while they are dormant to thrive.  The warm temperate species from the U.S. tolerate light frost and brief freezes. They do best outdoors in areas with mild winters.  Mexican Butterworts do well in terrariums, greenhouses and windowsills

Dormancy:  Mexican or Tropical butterworts have a winter dormancy that is marked by a change in the leaves from their carnivorous type to a tighter, more succulent leaf.  When the Pinguicula has formed these tight, succulent leaves you can withhold water as described above for the dormancy period.  We wait for the butterworts to go dormant before we stop watering.  And when they begin growing their carnivorous leaves we begin the tray method of watering again.

Soil:  Temperate species: Use a mix of two parts peat, one part sand, and one part perlite. Warm temperate varieties do well in a soil of one part peat to one part sand.  Mexican and tropical species enjoy a more open mix of equal parts sand, perlite, vermiculite, and peat.  Some growers add dolomite or gypsum to this, although we have not found it necessary. But when it's handy, add an additional part of lava rock or pumice.  They may also be grown in a Nepenthes mix.

Fertilizer/Feeding:  Temperate species grown outdoors will catch their own food.  We use Schultz cactus fertilizer on our Mexican and Tropical Pinguicula, applying to the leaves only and following the instructions on the packaging for dilution.

Containers:  Plastic or glazed ceramics with drainage holes suit most varieties. Warm temperate species can also do well in undrained containers, but you should let the water level fluctuate without drying out the soil.  Mexican species do best in well-drained containers, but they can also be grown in shallow, undrained ceramics with very careful watering.  Abalone shells (they enjoy the calcium) and chunks of lava rock that have large nooks and crannies make very interesting planters as well.

Pinguicula gigantea

Read more

Sundews (Drosera) Growing Tips

Drosera capensis

Sun:  Full to part sun.

Water:  Most sundews thrive on the tray method, which keeps the soil permanently wet.  A few prefer to be waterlogged. 

Winter growing species require periods of complete summer dormancy, at which time the soil has to be dried out.  As summer approaches wait for the plant to quickly go brown. Then reduce watering so that it slowly goes dry over the course of a month.  Keep in a cool, dry place during summer dormancy and sprinkle them with water once every couple of weeks.

Temperature:  As sundews grow worldwide, they come from varied climates. Temperate sundews require cold winters. Warm-temperate and sub-tropical sundews do well on windowsills, in cool greenhouses, or terrariums and appreciate cool nights. Winter growing sundews from Australia and South Africa could be grown outdoors in a Mediterranean climate without frost or in a cool greenhouse.

Dormancy:  Temperate sundews will go dormant in winter.  This is triggered by exposure to a combination of shorter photo periods and colder temperatures from October to February.  Many of their leaves will die back and growth will slow during this time.  They will resume vigorous growth in spring.  Winter growing sundews are summer dormant.

Soil: Our Peat and Perlite Mix is four parts fertilizer free peat moss to one part perlite.  Never pot them into regular potting soil as the nutrients and fertilizers will kill them over time.  Tuberous sundews and most other Australian species prefer a sandier mix.  Drosera regia, adelae, schizandra, and prolifera do best in long fibered sphagnum moss.

Drosera filiformis tracyiFertilizer/Feeding:  If grown outdoors they will catch their own food.  You can also sprinkle goldfish flakes on sundew leaves.  MaxSea fertilizer can also be applied, once per month, to the leaves and traps of the plant.  Dilute 1/4 teaspoon to 1 gallon of water.  Avoid pouring through the soil.  Avoid fertilizing Drosera regia.

Read more

Australian Pitcher Plants (Cephalotus follicularis) Growing Tips

CephalotusSun:  Full to part sun.  They can be grown in terrariums under bright fluorescent light, we recommend a fixture with four T5 bulbs. 

Water:  Use the tray method.  Cephalotus dislike long periods of being waterlogged, so it is best to allow the water in the tray to evaporate before adding more.  Plastic containers are best, but they also do well in terracotta or glazed clay.  Always use drained containers; shallow un-drained containers will rot their roots.

Temperature: Cephalotus does best with moderately warm summers and cool to chilly winters.  The plants may die in long periods of very hot weather and they enjoy cool summer nights.  They are tolerant of brief, light frost down to twenty-two degrees, but may be killed in lower temperatures.  They are best grown in cool highland greenhouse or terrariums.  They can be grown outdoors year-round in extremely coastal Central-Southern California.


Dormancy:  No dormancy needed.

Soil:  Cephalotus thrive in a mix if two parts sand and/or perlite to one part peat.

Fertilizer/Feeding:  MaxSea fertilizer can also be applied, once per month, to the leaves and pitchers of the plant.

Read more

Cobra Plants (Darlingtonia californica) Growing Tips

Cobra PlantsSun:  They appreciate lots of sun, like Sarracenia, but in order to avoid overheating in cultivation you may have more success growing it in morning sun only or filtered all day sun.  Shade the pots if possible to keep the solar heat at a minimum.

Water:  Use the tray method, keeping the soil damp to wet year round.  Keep the soil cool by watering with cold water, (refrigerated water is quite helpful on warm summer days).

Temperature:  Very winter hardy and can take temperatures down to 15 degrees they are, however, very sensitive to heat especially in the roots.  Ideal root temperature would be 40-55 degrees.  Warm roots can kill them quite rapidly.

Dormancy:  All Darlingtonia require a winter dormancy starting in October and ending in February.  Many of the pitchers will turn brown and die back during this time.  Leave them outdoors in full sun, sitting in distilled water during this period.  If you live in an area that snows; over winter them indoors on a sunny windowsill in an unheated room or garage.  Still sitting in full sun and distilled water.

DarlingtoniaSoil:  The best mix for Cobra plants is three parts New Zealand long-fibered sphagnum moss to one part pumice or lava rock.  Another good mix is two parts lava rock, and or pumice to one part peat.  Basically the mix should be airy and the rock ingredients will help cool the roots.  Live sphagnum makes an ideal media as well.

Fertilizer/Feeding:  If grown outdoors, they will catch all of their own food.  MaxSea fertilizer can also be applied, once per month, to the leaves and pitchers of the plant.  Avoid pouring through the soil.

Read more

Sun Pitchers (Heliamphora) Growing Tips

Heliamphora and frog

Sun:  Heliamphora like bright light.  They may be grown with less light, but they will remain much greener.  In a terrarium, high powered fluorescent light should be used and we recommend a fixture with four T-5 bulbs.

Water:  Use the tray method, keeping the soil damp to wet year round.  Keep the soil cool by watering with cold water, (refrigerated water is quite helpful on warm summer days).

Heliamphora heterodoxaTemperature:  With the exception of the lowland form of Heliamphora heterodoxa, all Heliamphora come from high plateaus called the Tepuis, in Venezuela.  It is cool and misty all year, so they require bright light, without ever heating up.  Even cooler nights are ideal.  They may be grown on cool, sunny windowsills sometimes, but the best plants are grown in climate controlled greenhouses or terrariums where day temps remain in the 70's and night time temps in the 40's to 50's.

Heliamphora heterodoxaBecause of their need for temperature control we recommend specific containers.  Best in light-colored, preferably white, plastic or glazed ceramic pots.  Single plants grow well in six- to eight-inch pots.  The bigger the pot the better, as their mass will resist warming

Dormancy:  No dormancy is required.

Soil:  Use a mix comprised of mostly New Zealand long-fibered sphagnum moss with some pumice or lava rock mixed in.  The mix should be airy and the rock ingredients will help keep the mix open and cool.  They may be grown in live sphagnum also, but take care that it doesn't overwhelm the Heliamphora.

Fertilizer/Feeding:  MaxSea fertilizer can also be applied, once per month, to the leaves and pitchers of the plant.  Avoid pouring through the soil.

Read more

Rainbow Plants (Byblis) Growing Tips

Sun:  Full to part sun.

Water:  Use the tray method.  Keep the soil damp but not permanently waterlogged.

Temperature:  The rainbow plant does best best in tropical climates, but its annual nature allows you to grow it during any span of several months of warm weather.  They are great little terrarium plants.

Dormancy:  Dry summer dormancy is not necessary in cultivation.

Soil:  Rainbow plants thrive in a mix of two parts sand and one part peat.  You can also add an additional part of perlite, lava rock or pumice.  Do not substitute the sand for perlite in this case.  Always use drained containers.

Fertilizer/Feeding:  MaxSea fertilizer can also be applied, once per month, to the leaves and pitchers of the plant.  Avoid pouring through the soil.



Read more
19 results