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Carnivorous Plants/D. Capensis Lighting


I was wondering if I could grow a Capensis with a 26 watt and 13 watt bulb, please tell me how much watts are required for it. I am trying to grow it freom seed, and here it is 40-60 humidity, 60-75 F, 1/2 sphagnum, 1/2 peat, and going to grow it indoors with boiled water {cooled of course.} Texas is the place i live. Please send me a reply.
         From Yoshi

Hello Yoshi,

I assume the wattage your using is from a florescent bulb.

26 watt florescent bulbs are the equivalent of 100 watt incandescent bulbs. This will be sufficient for one or two plants, but make sure they do not overheat. Florescent bulbs are slightly cooler than incandescent lights, but still build up more heat then regular florescent tubes of the 40 watt variety. The light will need to be about 8 inches to a foot from the plants and should be on for 12-16 hours a day.

Humidity is not much of a concern as D. capensis is adaptable to most humidity levels.

The temperature is good, D. capensis is adaptable, but does prefer cool temperatures around 60-75 degrees.

The sphagnum peat is fine, but if you can get some perlite, mix 1/2 sphagnum peat to 1/2 perlite (ensuring that neither has any fertilizer of course) as that provides better drainage and aeration for the plant's roots.

The boiled water is problematic. By boiled water, I take it you are using tap water? Tap water, if it is too hard, carries particles of mineral solids that boiling cannot remove. It is not the chlorine so much as the minerals that kill carnivorous plants when they are watered with tap water over 50 parts per million of mineral solids. I would suggest that you obtain a simple water quality test kit, found in fish shops and pet stores to test Ph, ammonia and hardness of water, and test your tap water first before using it on your D. capensis. Best bet is to use distilled, reverse osmosis, or rain water if your tap water is too hard. The minerals in tap water or spring water may be too concentrated which will alter the Ph of your soil, which of course will kill your D. capensis after a few weeks.  

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Christopher Littrell


I am capable of answering questions about the most common carnivorous plants found in cultivation. I have no personal experience with Byblis, Drosophyllum, Aldrovanda, and Heliamphora. I have not cultivated gemmae forming pygmy sundews nor tuberous sundews. For information regarding those aforementioned species, I would suggest contacting other experts. I can answer questions regarding most species of Nepenthes, tropical and temperate Drosera, Mexican Pinguicula, Sarracenias, and Dionaea. I have some limited experience with growing Utricularia, Cephalotus, and Darlingtonia.


I have grown carnivorous plants off and on for about 27 years. I have made the same mistakes and suffered the same mishaps that many growers make as they attempt to separate the myths from the realities of growing these plants. Currently, I am successfully growing a variety of tropical sundews, a Nepenthes, several Venus Flytraps of varying ages, and Sarracenias. I have been successful in stratifying Sarracenia seeds and providing artificial dormancy requirements for my temperate plants when needed.

I hold a Master's degree in Educational Psychology. Over my lifetime, I have constantly read books involving the growing conditions of carnivorous plants. I hope to incorporate the educational aspects involved in psychology with teaching other people how to cultivate carnivorous plants.

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