Netjer

My Darlingtonia Setup

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This Saturday I picked up my fourth CP - a rather lovely looking Darlingtonia Californica. :biggrin: Being relatively new I thought I'd share the setup I've gone for, in the hopes that I might get some feedback or someone may point out something I've overlooked.

I've got the plant growing in an orange plastic pot, which I've then put inside a light grey pot which I've filled with about 2 inches of water - picture below (apologies for the poor photgraphy skills). I'm hoping that this will provide a layer of protection for the roots to keep them cool.

ljuRiCP.jpg

This is then sat in a larger white pot which I've partially filled with perlite - this is mainly aesthetic as I had to trim down the smaller grey pot by hand, which is looking a little... rustic! This pot keeps it looking a little tidier from a distance; though the additional white layer should also provide further heat protection for the roots.

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I've then got this sat on a South-West facing windowsill which gets several hours of indirect sunlight each day, as well as about six hours of direct sunlight later in the day. I'm hoping this will prove to be sufficient sunlight for this gorgeous plant.

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Any thoughts on this? Any potential issues I've missed?

Also - before purchasing my darlingtonia I did a lot of reading up on these plants and something which really struck me was the wide range of advice I found regarding watering them. Whilst everything I've read has agreed on watering from the top to help flush the soil through and keep the top moist, I've read differing advice regarding the tray method. Some sources I've read say to keep the plant in several inches of water, whilst others say to avoid this to give the soil more of a chance to aerate. What methods do those of you more experienced than myself use for watering your darlingtonia plants?

Thank you very much for reading.

Edited by Netjer

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Hi, your set up is ok (the root cooling problem mostly applies to hotter countries than UK - think Australia, southern parts of USA, Asia...). A lot of people in the UK keep their plants in the same way as Sarracenias, VFTs etc. - in a pot (light coloured one) and a water tray or in bog gardens. Can you put the plant outside? The light levels on a windowsill won't be ideal, and in winter it will be too warm/air too dry (cobras are temperate plants and need dormancy just like Sarracenias and VFTs).

My cobra is standing in water at all times during the growing season (and just damp over winter in a cold frame),  if it's a particularly hot day (like this weekend) I top water it (on a cooler day I just pour the water into the tray directly). It seems to work and the temps in my greenhouse reached 42 C yesterday. Some people also grow them in pure sphagnum and flooded (in pots with no drainage) and it works for them, too.

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Thanks for the reply, Bluedog0628 - I had wondered if the root cooling issue would really be such a problem here in the UK, so thanks for reassuring me on that one. Unfortunately I can't put the plant outside - the garden is a shared one which can't have a cold frame, greenhouse etc put up and one of my neighbours put a plant out there last year and it was removed/stolen within a couple of days, so I'm reluctant to put any of my plants out there.

With regards to winter dormancy, the room I've got it in is a spare room which is rarely used, so my plan is just to keep the radiator off in there over winter and if need be keep the window open too. It's also often used for airing washing, which I'm hoping will help to keep the air a little less dry.

I'm glad to hear about drainage not necessarily being an issue too - I'll just keep watering directly into the secondary pot as I had planned to.

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I agree with Bluedog0628, it looks fine to me. Darlingtonia are definitely not as hard to keep as some make it out to be. I think most (mis)information on that comes from people who buy it as their first plant because it just looks really cool, don't really know what to do with it so it dies, then they want another one and look up which conditions it grows in, and convince themselves that the only way you could ever grow Darlingtonia is by mimicking their native growing conditions to a T. Then you end up with the classic, ludicrously complicated 'Darlingtonia setup', where people go so far as to get a constant waterflow by any means possible. Somehow not realising that all temperate plants like warm leaves and cool roots. The crazy setups aren't harmful, they're just pointless (and expensive).

One thing to note, however, is that it really needs intense, direct (not filtered through a window) sunlight to get the red colour in the leaves. You'll probably notice in a couple of weeks when more leaves start coming up, they'll be green.

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Thanks for the reply, carambola. I've read thoughts from a lot of people saying the same about darlingtonia not being as difficult to keep as they're often made out to be - hopefully with some common sense mine will do well.

With regards to getting intense, direct sunlight - this is something which I've just accepted about being a windowsill grower. Whilst my plants are unlikely to get the gorgeous red colour in the leaves, as long as they are healthy and growing well I'm happy. :smile:

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Agree with the other comments. These are easy to keep and I think failures are sometimes due to starting with small overdivided poor plants (I'll only sell full sized established plants). I have some in trays in the greenhouse and some planted around my pond outside. I've also a 15 inch pot full outside too. They spread easily! Some growing points die but they're always forming runners and sending up more.  However, I'm going to agree with previous comments that growing on a windowsill is not ideal for this plant and you may find it slowly pales and gets a bit weedy. If you have no options then enjoy it but maybe don't expect it to be the best of specimens.

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