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1st Bog planter - advice on size etc needed

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so I'm thinking about getting more CPs and growing them outside in a planter (proper garden bog is not an option for me).

I've done some research on construction but need a bit of help with deciding how big it needs to be. I don't want to get it all set up only to take it apart in one year's time because the plants got too big for it...

The only requirement is that it needs to be relatively portable (I live in a rented property so may have to move in a year or two and want to be able to take the planter with me without having to dismantle it first) so I'm thinking a plastic planter would be the best solution.

The plants I'd like to grow are:

1x darlingtonia

2x sarracenia purpurea (1x ssp purpurea and 1x ssp venosa)

2x venus flytrap (1x typical and 1x red - not sure which one yet, possibly red dragon or royal red?)

I've uploaded an image of what I'd like the bog to look like.


How big does the planter need to be to accommodate all of these plants? 

Any idea how much water it will need per day (apart from the initial set up)?

Will these plants be happy to share the same planter?

I'm in South Yorkshire. The planter will be on a south facing patio, the side where the VFTs will grow will be facing south, the darlingtonia end will be facing north (hopefully that should keep it's roots cool). To start with I'll be keeping all of the plants in their little pots until I'm happy with the whole layout but want to plant them out permanently later on.

Thanks for reading. Any advice is appreciated.


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Hi Bluedog and welcome to the wonderful world of bog growing.


Yes your plants can all go together but you will need to control the dormancy requirements in accordance with the VFT needs as the Darlingtonia and Purpurea will take a lot colder and harsher conditions.


Mature Purpurea  clumps can get very large and of course Darlingtonia stolons go everywhere, so in theory any small container will get overgrown in a couple of years. I would go for the largest container you can. Given that you want to be able to move it a 600 diameter plastic container with no base holes would seem not ideal, but about right. You will need to split the plants every couple of years or so once they are mature as they will crowd each other out, which isn’t a bad thing as it will give you chance to change/revitalise the medium to keep them growing well.


Water – it’s a bit like how long is a piece of string I’m afraid, it depends on sunlight, wind, humidity levels, foliage etc etc, but I water my planters once every three days or so if it hasn’t rained with varying amounts of water generally to about half way or a little more up the pot. If you peer down your watering tube that should tell you what sort of level you have, or put a cork with a wooden skewer stuck in the top down the pipe, then you will be able to see the level rise and fall. It is a good idea to have a series of plugged holes at varying levels down the back of the planter to allow you to vary the water levels through the season, as in winter you want moist only so one at low level is a must and in other seasons, after rain you can have a complete inundation, which isn’t a bad thing unless it goes on for a long time and excludes oxygen from the roots, so one about a third up is also good, as is one third down.


Varying the water level introduces oxygen to the mix which is good for the plants, stops the substrate from going anaerobic and reduces the decomposition of the mix which of course releases nutrients into the substrate which you don’t want, but having a low drain point allows you a periodic drain to get rid of any nutrient build up.


I think that a lot of planters fail because of nutrient build up that cant be reduced.


It looks like you have researched it well, once you have this one up and running you will want another, they soon take over the sunny parts of the garden.:biggrin:





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Hi Steve,

thanks for your reply.

I'm going to start with young plants so it will be a while before they form clumps big enough to cause problems with overcrowding. I'm hoping this planter will be ok for a few years. Depending on how that goes I might create 2 or more planters at that point. Re-potting every few years isn't a problem, I do that with my house plants and patio plants already so another container or two won't make that much difference.

I was going to have 1 drainage hole near the bottom and another half way down the planter but I guess having more holes makes it easier to control water level so will probably go for 3 holes in total. That should be enough to keep the plants happy (I hope).

Dormancy isn't an issue, winters here are usually quite mild so the hardy plants can stay outside all year round and the VFTs can be brought in if it gets too cold. I'm planning on keeping the plants in their individual pots at first anyway so I just leave the VFTs in them permanently and take them out of the bog planter when needed. I have an unheated outbuilding with winter temps somewhere between 3 C and 10 C, my VFT's been there since November and it's doing alright.  If there is a period of extremely bad weather the whole bog planter could go there too...

Now I just need to buy a suitable planter... 

Thanks for all your advice and happy growing!

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