danielfurman634

Hi from Leicestershire!

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Hey everyone! I've been a huge fan of Carnivorous Plants for 9 years or so (absolutely fascinating to me) and I've owned at least 15 plants over that time but they've all died... I really want to get back into growing them but I'm kinda worried they'll die again...

Would anyone be able to recommend me a good, hardy, fairly cheap plant for beginners for a North facing kitchen windowsill or South facing bedroom windowsill? I want to try and keep one in my bedroom for a year but I'm a bit worried about pests (aphids), the radiator right below the window, the lack of direct sunlight, when to repot, artificial lighting (bedroom lighting which I usually keep on until 10pm-11pm) Would anyone be able to give me some starting tips or suggestions?

Thanks in advance and I'll probably keep everyone updated over the next few months!

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Hi and welcome to the forum. You don't say which type of plants you'd like to grow, but an easy one for your South facing window would be Drosera capensis. This is easy to grow and can become a weed in established collections. I wouldn't recommended N. American pitcher plants (sarracenia) for windowsills for in my experience they never get enough light. You should have more luck with Nepenthes though, but they don't tend to be cheap to buy. Someone from the forum may be able to help you out there when you've been on a while. Just remember to use the correct compost and only water with rain/distilled/RO water. Feel free to ask questions, we're a pretty harmless lot :yes:

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Thanks! I actually just got back from a great garden centre (don't know if you've heard of somewhere called Staunton Harold) and got these amazing 2 plants for £11.99! Would you be able to help me identify what these are and maybe give me some tips on how to grow them?  http://imgur.com/a/nTv2E

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Yes I know Staunton Harold, I was there a few weeks ago. As for the plants you've bought the larger one is a hybrid involving Sarracenia purpurea, but difficult to with what. The other involves Sarracenia psittacina either as a pure species or as a hybrid, again it's difficult to tell. You can only really name plants when you're absolutely sure of their origin. It's probably safer just to call these Sarracenia hybrids.

I'm not sure of your knowledge of these plants so I'll give you some basic stuff to get you going. Apologies if you know all this already.

Sarracenia (ie US pitcher plants) are bog plants and like to sit in water during the summer growing period. Therefore put the pot in a tray or similar and fill the tray with rain, distilled or RO water. Never use tap water in the East Midlands. The plants also need plenty of light, as much as you can give them. So, as I mentioned before put the pot on your South facing windowsill and don't let the tray go dry. Come late October the plants need to go into cold dormancy, so you should put them outside (no good in a centrally heated house) to experience the cold over winter. Keep the compost just damp over this period. Round about the middle of February you can bring the plant back indoors and start watering again.

If you need to re-pot make sure you use the correct compost. For sarracenia I use a mixture of moss peat, perlite and sand in the ratio 4:2:1, but some people leave out the sand. Staunton Harold have a good supply of J Arthur Bower's peat at a reasonable price. Most brands of peat are OK - just don't use Westland peat! You can also buy pre-mixed compost but it is rather expensive if you have many plants - which I'm sure you will very soon!

Feel free to start a separate thread with questions you may have. Happy growing.

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Yes I know Staunton Harold, I was there a few weeks ago. As for the plants you've bought the larger one is a hybrid involving Sarracenia purpurea, but difficult to with what. The other involves Sarracenia psittacina either as a pure species or as a hybrid, again it's difficult to tell. You can only really name plants when you're absolutely sure of their origin. It's probably safer just to call these Sarracenia hybrids.

I'm not sure of your knowledge of these plants so I'll give you some basic stuff to get you going. Apologies if you know all this already.

Sarracenia (ie US pitcher plants) are bog plants and like to sit in water during the summer growing period. Therefore put the pot in a tray or similar and fill the tray with rain, distilled or RO water. Never use tap water in the East Midlands. The plants also need plenty of light, as much as you can give them. So, as I mentioned before put the pot on your South facing windowsill and don't let the tray go dry. Come late October the plants need to go into cold dormancy, so you should put them outside (no good in a centrally heated house) to experience the cold over winter. Keep the compost just damp over this period. Round about the middle of February you can bring the plant back indoors and start watering again.

If you need to re-pot make sure you use the correct compost. For sarracenia I use a mixture of moss peat, perlite and sand in the ratio 4:2:1, but some people leave out the sand. Staunton Harold have a good supply of J Arthur Bower's peat at a reasonable price. Most brands of peat are OK - just don't use Westland peat! You can also buy pre-mixed compost but it is rather expensive if you have many plants - which I'm sure you will very soon!

Feel free to start a separate thread with questions you may have. Happy growing.

Thanks for this! I've just made a post on the Sarracenia thread right before I saw this actually. I saw on the CPFAQs this message but I'm not sure if it's 100% correct: "The prostrate species---Sarracenia purpurea, S. psittacina, and S. rosea---can survive and even thrive in lower lighting conditions such as you might expect in a terrarium or windowsill. It is pretty obvious these shorter plants are adapted to the decreased sunlight they experience in the wild because of competing, taller vegetation. "

I'm guessing I'll be putting it in the kitchen windowsill then (my bedroom never gets direct sunlight, the kitchen window is directly in front of it midday) and during dormancy, should I put it in the shed (unheated) and water it every few days? Final question: I asked someone at Staunton Harold for some tips and they told me I can use boiled water that's then cooled down to room temperature. Is this any good/accurate information? Thanks in advance!

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I think boiled water still has a high level of minerals in them. I would only use rain water. When i started with these plants I used 100% peat. They were growing happily as ever. After  a year it started to become too solid, so then i changed all the mixes with peat:perlite. good lucck!

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I think boiled water still has a high level of minerals in them. I would only use rain water. When i started with these plants I used 100% peat. They were growing happily as ever. After  a year it started to become too solid, so then i changed all the mixes with peat:perlite. good lucck!

Thanks! Actually, I just realised my plants came in a growing medium of (I think) live Sphagnum moss and only just realised there aren't any drainage holes! Will this be alright or should I attempt to drill some holes in or perhaps repot them?

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8 hours ago, danielfurman634 said:

Thanks! Actually, I just realised my plants came in a growing medium of (I think) live Sphagnum moss and only just realised there aren't any drainage holes! Will this be alright or should I attempt to drill some holes in or perhaps repot them?

Repotting may be difficult because of the live moss. If possible make some holes in the base otherwise you'll have to top water and guess when it's wet enough.

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2 hours ago, linuxman said:

Repotting may be difficult because of the live moss. If possible make some holes in the base otherwise you'll have to top water and guess when it's wet enough.

Thanks for this. Should I just drill holes straight through (kinda worried I'll damage the roots) or take the whole plant/moss out then drill. Also, do you think these would grow well outdoors on a small uncovered shelf in the East Midlands? I'm thinking about doing that to give them more sunlight, but I'm kinda worried they'll become over saturated, be knocked over by the rain or wind (20 mph right now) or get killed by the frost in winter (with below -3 degrees most likely) One final question (sorry I'm throwing these at you, but I seriously don't want them to die on me...) which is would you know what hybrid of Sarracenia Purpurea it is? I feel like it's a Purpurea subsp. Venosa but I'm not sure to be honest

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Welcome to the forum. good advice given above

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Best to take the plants out first if you want to drill holes in the bottom, but if you don't mind weighing the pot (it doesn't look too heavy for that to be bothersome anyway), you could just keep the pot without drainage holes, and pick it up once in a while to see if it's heavy or light, then water it accordingly. They naturally grow in bogs, not exactly the kind of place where they would dry out in between rainfall.

By the way, 'subsp. venosa' is not a hybrid, but a subspecies. In a nutshell this simply means it's a Sarracenia purpurea that looks a bit different to other purpurea and usually has been growing in a different place for a long time. A hybrid would be a cross between Sarracenia purpurea and a different Sarracenia such as psittacina, or even between two different subspecies like purpurea subsp. purpurea and purpurea subsp. venosa, or really anything (the hybrids cross and their offspring crosses, maybe with their parents, and so on), as long as it's between two plants with different characteristics. In this case it's likely your purpurea is a cross, many generations in, between lots of different kinds of purpurea subspecies and varieties, and maybe a different species of Sarracenia sneakily snuck in the family tree at one point as well. Because you don't know the parents of the plant, or their parents, or theirs, ..., the most you can really say about it is that it's a Sarracenia purpurea hybrid, because it certainly looks like one.

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1 hour ago, carambola said:

Best to take the plants out first if you want to drill holes in the bottom, but if you don't mind weighing the pot (it doesn't look too heavy for that to be bothersome anyway), you could just keep the pot without drainage holes, and pick it up once in a while to see if it's heavy or light, then water it accordingly. They naturally grow in bogs, not exactly the kind of place where they would dry out in between rainfall.

By the way, 'subsp. venosa' is not a hybrid, but a subspecies. In a nutshell this simply means it's a Sarracenia purpurea that looks a bit different to other purpurea and usually has been growing in a different place for a long time. A hybrid would be a cross between Sarracenia purpurea and a different Sarracenia such as psittacina, or even between two different subspecies like purpurea subsp. purpurea and purpurea subsp. venosa, or really anything (the hybrids cross and their offspring crosses, maybe with their parents, and so on), as long as it's between two plants with different characteristics. In this case it's likely your purpurea is a cross, many generations in, between lots of different kinds of purpurea subspecies and varieties, and maybe a different species of Sarracenia sneakily snuck in the family tree at one point as well. Because you don't know the parents of the plant, or their parents, or theirs, ..., the most you can really say about it is that it's a Sarracenia purpurea hybrid, because it certainly looks like one.

Thanks! I just weighed the pot and it's a 1.275kg pot including medium and the 2 plants if that helps. If I did drill holes in, would they be alright to grow outdoors on a shelf/table?

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I think it is better to grow sarracenia outdoors. I have them stand in water at all times, they never dry out with me. So if you really cant drill holes, i dont think that is a problem. Weighing the pot becomes a matter of experience. If you just watered it, its heavy. If they dry out, they become lighter. So when you just watered it, lift it up and see how heavy it feels. You can use that as a reference in the future.

They can also take a light frost, so I wouldn't worry too much about leaving them outside.

We have strong winds here as well. I took a big stone pot (more like a stone box) and put my plants in there when the wind blows a lot, so they aren't knocked over. Or place them close to the house, so they are somewhat protected.

Other than that, I have a shed with a light roof, that could function a little bit like a greenhouse. If your shed is closed and dark, I wouldn't grow them in there because they dont get enough light, but if they get light through a window or a light roof, that might be a good alternative as well.

Edited by Tropicat

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13 hours ago, danielfurman634 said:

Thanks! I just weighed the pot and it's a 1.275kg pot including medium and the 2 plants if that helps. If I did drill holes in, would they be alright to grow outdoors on a shelf/table?

Haha, sorry for the confusion, I didn't mean you should accurately weigh the pot (but it doesn't hurt). If you pick it up a few days after watering and it feels heavy, there's enough water left. If it feels light, it's time to water again. This is a very easy technique for growing plants indoors, where the medium often isn't really visible or the top of the soil is dry (because of the lower humidity) even though the rest is still wet. Of course, if it's a huge plant in a 50l pot, I don't recommend picking it up every other day, but for smaller plants and pots, it works wonders. If you're an obsessive gardener like me, you won't have any problems doing this procedure over and over.

The Sarracenia will grow best outdoors in a temperate climate because that's where they grow naturally.

While typing and reading the previous posts again, I realised Tropicat already wrote all of this, so I'll just post this to show that I completely agree with Tropicat.

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9 hours ago, Tropicat said:

I think it is better to grow sarracenia outdoors. I have them stand in water at all times, they never dry out with me. So if you really cant drill holes, i dont think that is a problem. Weighing the pot becomes a matter of experience. If you just watered it, its heavy. If they dry out, they become lighter. So when you just watered it, lift it up and see how heavy it feels. You can use that as a reference in the future.

They can also take a light frost, so I wouldn't worry too much about leaving them outside.

We have strong winds here as well. I took a big stone pot (more like a stone box) and put my plants in there when the wind blows a lot, so they aren't knocked over. Or place them close to the house, so they are somewhat protected.

Other than that, I have a shed with a light roof, that could function a little bit like a greenhouse. If your shed is closed and dark, I wouldn't grow them in there because they dont get enough light, but if they get light through a window or a light roof, that might be a good alternative as well.

Thanks! So oversaturation isn't a problem then?? I've put the pot on a small table where they'll get quite a few hours of sunlight (10-11am to sunset) and I'm just a bit concerned about them being too full with water, the pitchers flipping due to too much water. Apparently in the Midlands we're meant to be getting 10mm of rain tonight (10 litres of rain per metre squared) so I don't know if they'll alright... And basically, if I wanted, could I just leave them there and go to see them every couple days? Thanks in advance!

Edited by danielfurman634

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Yes. A dry sarracenia is a dead sarracenia. I would be more concerned with them not getting enough water than with them getting too much. In nature they grow in swamp areas, so they are in water most of the time. Same goes for VFTs and some types of drosera. Some plants do need more drainage such as Nepenthes and certain types of drosera. You can find a lot of information on google the name to learn about the specific needs for each plant. Or try youtube, there is a lot of helpful information out there for each plant.

I leave my sarracenia's outside, and i check them regularly. Whenever they dont have water in the dish, i add rainwater.

Edited by Tropicat

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