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Basic Terrestrial Utricularia Care Sheet

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#1 Daniel G

Daniel G
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Posted 29 June 2011 - 06:15 AM

Hello everyone.

I was looking through the various care sheets available and noticed one hasn’t been submitted yet regarding Utricularia, so I thought I’d have a go at submitting one myself. All information written below has been taken from personal experience or has been part of the research I’ve done into this interesting plant.

The Utricularia (or “bladderwort”) is the largest group of carnivorous plants with over 200 known varieties currently documented. They get their name from the way they trap their prey: their roots are packed out with tiny, microscopic “bladders” which activate when micro organisms (tiny creepy crawlies) brush against even tinier, more microscopic trigger hairs. This activation leads to the “door” of the bladder opening, creating a vacuum which then sucks in the Utricularia’s prey and ejects any water that may have entered; the “door” then closes and the trap resets.

Many varieties of Utricularia regularly produce delicate flowers of varying sizes and colours. Most are very easy to grow and terrestrial varieties are quite happy when placed in any pot, even a tea cup.

There are three main varieties of Utricularia: terrestrial (above ground), aquatic (found solely in water) and semi-aquatic (somewhere in-between). This care sheet relates to the care of terrestrial Utricularia.

Basic Care
Like most carnivorous plants, Terrestrial Utricularia are perfect partners with a potting media made of peat moss, sphagnum and perlite. Other aeration materials such as granite sand works as well. Mine grow in a mixture of peat moss and granite sand at a ratio of 4:1.

Terrestrial Utricularia are not as fussy when it comes to light as other carnivorous plants. I’d recommend treating their lighting conditions as you would a Dionaea Muscipula, but don’t worry if you find yourself unable to provide as much light. A bright, sunny windowsill will do nicely.

One of the great things about Terrestrial Utricularia is that they have a relatively relaxed opinion on humidity. As long as humidity doesn’t dip below 40% they are quite content.

Although not recommended for most carnivorous plants, an undrained container is your Terrestrial Utricularia’s best friend. Even something as simple as a tea cup can be an ideal home for this plant – as long as you repot once they fill their container! Utricularia can have long root systems, so make sure while repotting you check how long the roots are before accidently ripping off part of the root system. I would like to add I’ve lost half the root system on one of my Utricularia (due to other reasons) but the plant is doing very well and has recovered splendidly. Still, be cautious.

Like all carnivorous plants, pure water is a must. Distilled, deionized, demineralised, reverse osmosis or rain water are perfect for a Terrestrial Utricularia. Keep their soil relatively moist. Some species of Utricularia enjoy an occasional flooding.

Recommended beginner’s plants
I thought this would be a good section to add for those who wish to try Terrestrial Utricularia for the first time. You can have a look for the plants below at my list of carnivorous plant suppliers.

Utricularia Sandersonii
From South Africa, the Utricularia Sandersonii grows very vigorously. I have one of these and despite losing half its root system it is still thriving. They produce beautiful pale lilac flowers that look like bunnies. The flowers are usually only a few millimetres across, but are large enough to be seen and to be beautiful.

They flower freely throughout the year and look wonderful in any room of the house.

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Edited by Daniel G, 29 June 2011 - 06:15 AM.