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Carnivorous Plants/Making a bog garden



I have two questions for you related to an in-ground bog that Iím building. I would appreciate your thoughts. I live in New Orleans, LA, but not in a swamp or a bog. I have numerous carnivorous plants that all do well in pots and now I'm moving them to a bog.

1 - I have a drainage question: I am digging my bog to 16 inches deep and Iím lining it with a heavy-duty pond liner, placing about 2 inches of sand in the bottom and then filling it with a sand/peat mixture. However, I canít decide where to cut drainage holes in the plastic.

Some plans call for slits in the bottom of the plastic to encourage drainage and keep the bottom from turning rancid.  Others say you should not cut slits in the bottom and cut the slits in the sides - about 8 inches from the bottom so there is a constant reservoir of water in the bottom and the roots always have water below, but still some drainage if bog fills up. Iíve read up extensively on making a bog and there seems to be these two schools of thought. Can you advise me. I do live in Louisiana, but my backyard is not a swamp or bog, but it is made of sandy river silt and clay.

2 Ė Can you recommend some bog grasses that I can add to landscape the bog but wonít take over?

Thank you.

Robert Wolf

Hi Robert,

On the first question, I'm going to say to put the holes in the bottom.  I've had a large bathtub bog garden for several years now, and I've found you get little breakdown of the peat when the water can flow through, and the media stays better aerated.  It will stay wet enough, and since you're in a humid area, it's even less of an issue than it is in drier climates.  As long as the ground water stays below the level of the bog garden you should be fine.  If you do get it flooded during heavy rain, flushing it with low mineral water would be good.  How rich is the soil in your area?  If it has a low fertility, that would make it less of an issue if you get a little backwash into the garden.

For the bog grasses I really can't recommend any.  Most grass will become invasive.  Bog orchids are your best bet.  Here's a couple along with some other plants:

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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