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Secret #4: Season your plants.
One day while I was at Farmers’ Market selling my carnivorous plants, a customer stopped by and said that she had good fortune to see a type of carnivorous plant growing in wild while visiting friends in Canada.
I immediately knew which plant she had seen, so I held up a Purple Pitcher Plant and she exclaimed, “Yes, that is plant I saw!”
I then told her how easy it was to grow that plant outdoors all year round, to which she replied, “But during winter, you have to bring them indoors, right?”
“Why would you need to do that?”
“Because it will get too cold for them,” she stated with authority.
At that point, I was very puzzled. So, I said to her, “If you saw them growing in wild in Canada, surely they can live outdoors in Oregon. It gets much colder in Canada than it does in Oregon.”
It amazes me how often some people assume that just because a plant is carnivorous it is: 1) tropical, 2) delicate, and 3) difficult to grow. This is precisely why people kill their carnivorous plants. They treat them as a tropical, delicate carnivorous plant that is difficult to grow without knowing if they actually have a tropical, delicate carnivorous plant that is difficult to grow. This is definitely a recipe for disaster.
All carnivorous plants native to United States and Canada are considered temperate plants, meaning they go dormant during winter months, and come right back to life in spring and summer. Other non-carnivorous plants that do this are roses, daisies, daffodils and thousands upon thousands of other types of plants grown all around world.
This is why Secret #1 is a very important secret. You need to know what type of plant you have to determine whether it requires winter dormancy or if it needs to be indoors during those cold winter months.
Temperate plants need to rest up for spring. Without their winter rest, they get very cranky and may fail to grow in spring. Think of how you feel when you do not get enough sleep. So, if you want healthy vibrant plants in spring, give them a winter rest. They might even reward you with flowers!
Secret #5: Hold fertilizer, please.
If you want gorgeous looking carnivorous plants during growing season, repot your plants right before they come out of dormancy. In most cases, this would be in March. Repotting your plants serves two purposes.
Firstly, carnivorous plants need room to grow. Depending on species, some rhizomes can get quite large. Other species have long deep taproots. So, it is important that you give these guys enough root space.
Secondly, changing soil yearly aerates roots. With fresh oxygen, roots will grow more robustly, producing healthier plants.
Springtime is also a time when you should cut off dead leaves or any leaves that have turned brown. This will prevent fungal infections and increase sunlight to base of plant.
When repotting your plants, a standard soil mix to use is 1 part peat moss and 1 part perlite. Peat moss adds acidity and retains moisture, while perlite provides drainage.
This soil recipe is sufficient for 80% of all carnivorous plants. You can adjust recipe by adding more perlite or other inert matter to increase drainage. Just make sure soil is void of nutrients and fertilizer.
Fertilizer is toxic to carnivorous plants and will burn their roots. (Very painful.) Carnivorous plants will get all of their nutrients from insects caught in their leaves.
There you have it! You have just read TOP 5 SECRETS TO KEEPING YOUR CARNIVOROUS PLANTS ALIVE, HEALTHY AND BEAUTIFUL.
Secret #1: Correctly identify type of carnivorous plant you have. Remember, not all carnivorous plants are created equal. Some grow in temperate bogs, while others grow in hot humid jungles.
Secret #2: Brighten their days with full sun.
Secret #3: Soak their feet.
Secret #4: Season your plants.
Secret #5: Repot yearly and hold fertilizer.
Each secret is an important part of foundation on which you can grow beautiful carnivorous plants all year round.
Believe it or not, you now know more about growing carnivorous plants than you local nursery. Really, when was last time you saw Venus Flytraps being sold in outdoor plant section? In nearly all cases, you will find them in indoor plant section, amongst tropical plants.
When you follow these simple steps, your carnivorous plants will have no choice but grow into healthy and beautiful plants that you can be proud of!
BONUS SECRET! Always start with healthy and beautiful carnivorous plants. Make sure seller is growing them correctly; otherwise you will have an uphill battle trying to keep your plants alive.
For healthy and beautiful carnivorous plants direct from experienced growers, visit Sarracenia Northwest at http://www.cobraplant.com.
Jacob Farin is co-owner of Sarracenia Northwest, a nursery specializing in the cultivation of beautiful carnivorous plants. Visit him at http://www.cobraplant.com.