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Carnivorous Plants/Darlingtonia Hungry?


Hi Jeff,
Our Darlingtonia seem to be doing super well this year, putting out lots of hoods, starting new plants, etc.  We have them in full sun almost all day.  And my husband has rigged up a system that has cooled water running over their soil 15 minutes ever hour in the heat.  But I do have two concerns.

1) The new hoods are huge and look healthy, but they seem not to have many bugs in them.  To be fair, the old hoods don't seem to have many bugs either.  But our sundews, flytraps, and S. alata X leucophylla seem to be about to denude the neighborhood of all insects! Is it normal for Darlingtonias to be "small eaters"?  I worry because with all that water running through a confined environment I worry about stripping out nutrients. If, and only if, the hoods start to look stressed like they are showing nutrient deficiency, what should we do?  And...

2) A few of the baby Darlingtonia hoods, and some of the baby hoods of other hardy carnivorous plants, are getting "nipped off" before they get more than about 1/4" to 1/2" tall.  Any idea what's doing that and how we can prevent it?  It's not wiping any plant out, but it is a little heart-breaking.

Thanks for the help as always, Jeff!

Hi Dresden,

1.)  Darlingtonia are not as voracious a bug catcher as many other carnivores, especially Sarracenia.  Usually this isn't something to worry about since late summer when there are more bugs, especially yellow jackets, they start catching some.  You you want to feed them some that is simple enough to do.  I use a cleaning bottle such as this:  Fill it with a 1/4 strength orchid fertilizer, or Maxsea, and shoot some in the pitchers.  I did this last year, and growth this year has been very brisk.  You can also put Blood worms in them or just catch some bugs and toss them in.

2.)  This can either be birds or insects doing this.  If it's insects you can spray the plants with one of the Bayer products such as the Rose and Flower insect killer that is systemic and should stop the damage.  I've had a moth lay eggs in a a couple this year that destroyed a pitcher or two. (Erxy?), I'm needing to treat because of that.  Spray in the evening when it's cool.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

Carnivorous Plants

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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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