First step with carnivorous plants is the container. True, many can be grown successfully as potted plants. But here's a warning. Because car nivorous plants require lots of water to satisfy their needs for secreting insect-attractant aromas, digestive fluids, and providing the pressures for their snapping or closing, wrapping or folding actions, adequate moisture is essential.
Luckily, terrariums have made a comeback. Carnivorous plants really enjoy life in terrariums. But as these plants need mobile food, we can't grow them in totally closed terrariums. How would the insects enter? So, we're limited a bit, but not much.
Several years back you may have been limited in your container choice to fish tanks and bowls, gallon jars, and other less-than-attractive planting containers. Today, with the boom in terrarium culture, you have a far-ranging selection of containers. They extend from beautiful brandy snifters that will hold several plants to complete glass-topped terrarium tables. You can choose small Tiny Terras and Gro Dome planters for individual plants or grow complete collections in Crystal Lite indoor greenhouses.
Which containers you select depends on your own personal preferences. You naturally want to match the type containers to your decorating scheme. Eye appeal is important.
Most important to your carnivorous pets, however, is a container that
A Crystal Lite Greenhouse unit with twin-tube fluorescent light fixture makes an ideal high-humidity terrarium for a collection of carnivorous plants.
When filled with moss, brandy snifters like these 32-ounce glasses make excellent planters for carnivorous plants. That's a Venus flytrap on the right; the other plant is a purple pitcher.
will insure the higher humidity they require. Glass planters usually prove best. They are easily cleaned, provide excellent viewing from all angles, and do hold that important humidity around the plants. New designs in plastic terrariums now provide even wider choices.
Many homes unfortunately are overheated, but as fuel costs go up, temperatures will undoubtedly be lowered, which is to the good for your carnivorous plants. Most of them prefer temperatures from 650 to 75° F. Some tolerate a greater range of temperatures.
The hotter you keep your home, the more moisture is drained for any plants. A hot-air furnace is the most drying type of heating system. That's why semi-enclosed terrariums are desired for growing these unique plants with their special humidity requirements.
For years we have used a variety of growing units. We have seen and photographed others. In all cases, the containers that assume that vital, sustained high humidity will prove the most successful.
You can obtain containers in most garden centers, hardware stores, florist shops, even in supermarkets and glassware stores. From gallon terrarium units to fifty-gallon fish tanks, from apothecary jars of various sizes to expensive plantariums, there is a wide selection of suitable containers.
For the economy-minded, here are some suggestions to keep container costs down so you can spend the savings for additional plants for your collection.
Consider those plastic water and cocktail glasses sold in 5 & 10^ stores. Upside down over a standard plastic pot they provide a handy and effective high humidity growing chamber.
Large photo cubes from the photo store are reasonable. With the top back in place, or moved slightly to let insects enter, you have a handsome smaller terrarium. Check your local restaurants. They usually purchase olives, cherries, mayonnaise in large-mouth gallon jars. They are excellent for several plants.
Look for tall containers. Many of the most striking pitcher plants grow 15 to 20 inches high. Add a few inches for your planting material and you need a container at least 24 inches tall. True, you can and should leave the top off containers periodically so that potential meals can reach the plants. That means, of course, you'll need to add water more frequently, especially with pitcher plants so they can draw up the liquid they need to digest insects inside their hollow pitchers.
We have seen many interesting and functional plus some quite attractive improvised growing units. One chap simply collected old wooden storm windows, repainted them, and then assembled them into a giant terrarium with hinged top. A variation on that was a teacher who took storm windows and nailed the tops together in A-frame style. The two sides were plastic for easier care.
Plastic sheets, from rigid Plexiglas to the flexible Mylar, or polyethylene bag material can be well used. Just make the size frame you wish, then staple or screw on the material and you have an adequate chamber.
Finding suitable containers is easy. For more extensive collections, you might even prefer a window greenhouse unit which attaches right to the house in place of a storm sash. Or, if you already have a greenhouse you can, with addition of a misting or automatic watering system, provide the desired growing conditions for your carnivorous plants.
Please don't get the idea that these plants are difficult to grow. They aren't. In fact, they are reasonably easy to grow from the bulbs, roots, small plants, and rhizomes which are offered by various suppliers who specialize in these oddities.
We emphasize the need for high humidity to help you realize that attention to this key factor will put you well along the road to success with these particular members of the green world.
This attractive, handy windowsill greenhouse measures only 5% inches long, 3% inches wide, and 5 inches high. It provides sufficient humidity for carnivorous plants like these flytraps, plus openings for insects to enter.
This decorative glass bowl is an attractive home to a family of blooming butterworts.
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