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Carnivorous Plants/Cold hardy sundews and butterworts?


Just had a question, I have been seeing most of your videos on youtube. Since your in a very cold area I wanted to ask for some advice. Which variety of sundew would do best in high elevations with very cold winters? Also would any butterwort be able to take below freezing temperatures? We have a bad nat problem at the ranch especially in the garden and wanted to introduce some carnivorous plants since we want to keep everything organic and are looking for natural ways to reduce the pests. If needed we would place them in a greenhouse or indoors for winter but would like to know which ones would do best.

Thank you very much,

Jaime Marquez

Hi Jaime,

There are quite a few sundew and butterwort species that come from areas with cold winters.  Examples are Drosera rotundifolia, D. anglica, D. intermedia, D. linearis, and D. filiformis ssp. filiformis.  All of these form winter winter resting buds, and are used to being frozen at times during the winter.  D. anglica, and D. rotundifolia are found in sub-alpine bogs in Oregon and California along with most of the Northern Hemisphere.  Temperate butterworts don't tend to be sold very often, but the most common and easy to grow varieties would be Pinguicula grandiflora, P. vulgaris and P. corsica.  Of those P. grandiflora is by far the simplest to grow, and has stunning early spring flowers.  None of these plants need to be, or should be, in a greenhouse during the winter.  They need the cold winter.

That's the good news.  Now I have to be killjoy and give you the bad news about what you would like to do.  Carnivorous plants are used to growing in very nutrient poor soil conditions, and cannot be in regular soil of any kind.  The higher nutrient content kills them.  They grow in peat moss mixes in cultivation with no plant food of any kind.  Their soil is acidic with little to no nitrogen.  That's why they catch bugs.  Bottom line, you can't plant them in the ground next to regular plants.  Also, carnivorous plants are not practical for bug control.  We have thousands here at our nursery in Western Oregon, and we have plenty of flies, gnats, mosquitoes and other bugs in the summer.  The best reason to grow carnivorous plants is because you like to grow plants and these are some of the most unusual and amazing plants you could grow.

If you wanted to have some plants in your greenhouse for some gnat control in there, you have many more options that might offer some help with fungus gnats, particularly with sundews.  If you heat the greenhouse many of the tropical/subtropical sundews are easy to grow in such an environment.

Here's a link to our growing instruction pages:  This information will give you more specific information on what is involved in growing carnivorous plants.  Our podcasts are a supplement to our DVD series which are designed to be a hands-on guide to growing carnivorous plants.  They are designed to help the new grower to avoid the pitfalls so common to new growers.  Here's information on those:

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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If your carnivorous plant is showing poor growth, discoloration, abnormal leaves or possible infestation, the expert growers at Sarracenia Northwest can help! They have a great depth of experience dealing with diseases, pathogens, and abnormal growth in carnivorous plants.

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