GARDEN CENTRES AND NURSERIES
As carnivorous plants gain in popularity, they can be found at an increasing number of garden centres. For the beginner, a garden centre could be a good starting point, giving an opportunity to see the plants available and to examine them before purchasing.
Specialist nurseries stock a much greater range of carnivorous plants, including both the easy and popular ones and the rarer species and hybrids sought by keen collectors. Most of these nurseries cater for visitors, either individuals or groups, although it is always best to make an appointment. Most of them also offer a mail order service, which is a convenient and reliable method of obtaining plants. Reputable suppliers will always avoid sending plants that would be damaged in the post and will replace any that arrive in unsatisfactory condition.
When choosing carnivorous plants, look for strong healthy specimens. The leaves should show no sign of wilting and should be free from pests and fungus. Pitchers should be upright, while fly-paper traps should appear sticky. Many carnivorous plants, including Dionaea and tropical Pinguicula, will normally have one or two dead or dying leaves, but these should never predominate. Seedlings and very young plants are easily damaged by underwatering or sudden changes in temperature and are best avoided when starting a collection. Any plants purchased from garden centres should be repotted as soon as possible in the recommended potting compost (see table 3, p.13).
Carnivorous plants may also be obtained by joining a specialist society. There are several carnivorous plant societies throughout the world and one in Britain, which provides a seed and plant exchange scheme for members. In addition, the society gives advice, publishes a newsletter and journal, exhibits at flower shows, holds lectures and meetings and arranges field trips. A SPECIALIST SOCIETY LIST is available from: The Horticultural Adviser, RHS Garden, Wisley, Woking, Surrey GU23 6QB.
Above: Pinguicula x mola, a hybrid of P. moranensisand P. gypsicola
Below: The sinuous leaves of Pinguicula alfredae give it a bizarre appearance; unfortunately, it is not easy to obtain
Above: The umbrella-like flowers of Sarracenia purpurea purpurea Below: An enlargement of the diminutive Drosera rotundi/olia, a British native
Opposite: In cultivation, the totally hardy and easily grown Pinguicu/a grandi/lora flowers reliably each spring
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