Outside Growing

Many fanciers of carnivorous plants prefer to set their pets outside during warm weather. Some even plant complete bog gardens featuring carnivorous plants.

As long as you provide semi-shade so the sun does not bake your charges, the plants should do quite well. We have found that plants placed pot and all into the soil in a bog or moist woodland location will thrive all summer. You can, by using sufficient sphagnum moss, plant most sundews, pitchers, butterworts, and flytraps right into the ground. Bladderworts can be placed into a slow-moving pond or beneath a decorative fountain.

Keep in mind that humidity may be less outdoors on long hot days and in times of drought. Remember to water your plants periodically. A daily sprinkling doesn't hurt.

Come fall, only a few of the carnivorous plants can tolerate northern winters. The northern pitcher plant, some sundews and the northern butterwort varieties can overwinter.

Most other pitcher plants are natives originally to much more south-em areas, the Carolinas and central California down to the Gulf coast. They must be returned to the cozy climate you provide them indoors if you want their pleasant company in years to come.

Once back indoors remember that the winter may be the time of needed rest for some of your plants. However, if you plan to keep them growing, the question always arises: what will they eat?

I realize you have a tidy home and flies just aren't available indoors. Maybe a few slip in each summer, but come winter they are all completely gone.

An outdoor planting of sundews, which require moist, sandy, acidic soil.

Don't kid yourself. Check an attic window any warm fall, even winter afternoon after a brief period of several sunny days. You're likely to find a fly or two that had hidden in some tiny crevice, nook, or cranny. He mistook that warm spell for a signal to wake up from his long winter's nap.

Use a little pill bottle or jar to scoop him up. Then just pop him into a terrarium or feed him to a deserving plant.

Another little trick works well. Bananas, apples, and other fruits are available all year long in stores. Just cut a few slices of banana or apple and leave them in your open terrarium. I assure you it is not spontaneous generation. There is no such thing. But even on the coldest days of winter, some fruit flies mysteriously may appear.

I've been told they hatch from eggs laid in banana skins and in turn lay more eggs in well-ripened fruit around the house. In schools, of course, you probably have access to those handy little fruit flies for science study.

We've talked to carnivorous cultivators who have fed meal worm bits to plants they thought deserved a winter treat. Meal worms and other natural insect foods are readily available at pet and tropical fish stores.

As you apply some of these cultural tips to your plants, you'll get the feel for tending them more helpfully week by week. rITiey certainly deserve your best efforts. What other plants do you know that perform such amazing, inspired feats?

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