Although most of my CP are Venus Flytraps, I have one Sarracenia purpurea, two Drosera capensis, a Drosera adelae and a single pot of Cephalotus that has turned, in the two-and-a-half years I have had it, into a small colony (see photo below).
I am not familiar at all with Cepalotus. I obtained two small divisions through a donation to the Meadowview Biological Research Station in Woodford, Virginia, US and planted them both in an 8-inch (~21.5 centimeters) pot with 6.5 inches (~16.5 cm) soil depth. I like to give all my plants plenty of room for expansion and deep root growth.
I have wondered about these little plants for quite some time. The pitchers don't fill with rain water, and seem to purposely avoid rain by closing the hoods over the pitchers.
Do these plants exude a liquid only when stimulated by captured prey? Or do they keep at least a small amount of the digestive fluid in their traps most of the time?
I have cut open old Cephalotus pitchers that have dried, and found what look like two oval patches near the bottom of the pitcher, one to either side, that I speculated might be the areas that produce and exude the digestive fluid.
These are strange little plants. Very conservative in a way, slow and deliberate with their above-ground growth, prone to stop growing for a few to many weeks at a time for no apparent reason, interspersed with growth spurts at equally odd times, with a tough substance, more woody in their root system and leathery in their leaves than most other CP I have experience with. Mine are planted, as Peter D'Amato suggests, in a mix that is heavy in sand (2 parts by volume of silica sand to 1 part sphagnum peat moss) in order to be well drained and help guard the woody roots against rot from being too wet too long.
At one time I opened the individual hoods of the pitchers a little and sprayed some distilled water into the pitchers, thinking they needed at least some fluid to drown their prey. But then when I noticed that the trap hoods seem to close when rain seems impending, I stopped that practice.
I catch small ants on a piece of waxed paper that I have dotted with sugar water, then bring them in from outside and shake them onto the Cephalotus. Many ants escape, but many go right for the lip of the pitchers. I have also fed flies to the pitchers, but often our large flies are able to escape from the small pitchers.
I still have a lot to learn about Cephalotus, but it is a very interesting plant.
Photo of my Cephalotus plants taken Sunday, May 14, 2006--