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Thread: Darlingtonia from Lowes-is dormancy worth it this year?

  1. #17
    eou812's Avatar
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    I put my Cobra Plant in a soil mix of one part peat moss one part perlite and one part orchid mix.
    And yeah my lowes always put the plants in a hiding place for some reason? So yeah i bought two from my Lowe's and i wish my Lowe's would carry Neps. So far my Lowe's have carried Cobras, Venus flytraps, Sundews, Pitcher plants, Butterworts and so far that's about it.
    Last edited by eou812; 01-20-2011 at 11:19 AM.

  2. #18
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Swords - use APS or hydroton to open up the peat/LFS. If you can provide it, something like lava rock or hydroton, with APS or perlite to fill the gaps, is ideal for a humid environment where the soil temperatures never get too high and there's no real chance of drying out. Live Sphagnum growing on the upper layer will help a lot. Basically they should have a good chance in any pot that Sphagnum finds acceptable.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    swords's Avatar
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    Thanks Joe, I can do that Hydroton & APS mix but I think I'll put in some extra LFS throughout too just so it doesn't accidentally get too dry if I miss watering it. But a fired clay substrate should definitely stay cooler than peat. Can Darlingtonias be on a shallow water tray like Sarrs and Dews or should it get good drainage at all times like a HL Nep?

  4. #20
    eou812's Avatar
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    Acctual swords Darlingtons need to be in between the good drainage and the shallow tray it should be in a 1/4 of water or less or water it everyday in the Summer sometimes two times a day and here is how you take care of a Cobra Plant (Darlington Californica).
    USDA Zone of Native Habitat: Zone 8
    Darlingtonia occurs naturally in zone 8 where temperatures in winter can sometimes reach as low as 10F (-12C) for brief periods of time. In cultivation you should always follow proper winter care when growing this species in zones 8 or colder.

    WHERE TO GROW
    Darlingtonia grows best outdoors as a container or potted plant. It makes an excellent addition to any sunny deck or patio. You may also grow it in a pond or fountain with flowing water, but keep the crown of the plant above water. Because of its specific soil requirements, avoid planting it directly into the ground, unless you have created a specific type of bog garden.

    SUNLIGHT
    recommendations on sunlight are based the variety of Darlingtonia that you’re growing, as well as the soil and watering system. If you’re growing the mountain variety, you can give your plant full to partial sun, even on warm summer days. If you’re growing the coastal variety, provide only partial sun and shade your plant from the scorching afternoon sun.


    Many Darlingtonia growing in the mountains are accustomed to full sun.

    HEAT TOLERENCE
    The mountain variety is quite tolerant of the summer heat. It originates from areas where the average daytime highs are 90F during July and August. However, it’s essential that you provide cool nights (below 65F). Otherwise, constantly warm temperatures both day and night will exhaust the plant.

    The coastal variety is less tolerant of the summer heat. It originates from areas where the average daytime highs are 67F during July and August. The plant will tolerate occasional spikes into the 90s, but it needs very cool nights to recover properly. Otherwise, it will succumb to heat exhaustion.

    With either variety, Darlingtonia requires cool nights. If your nights are fairly warm (above 75F), your plant might not grow as large or reach its full potential. In extremely prolonged warm conditions, the plant may collapse suddenly.

    WATER
    Soil aeration is extremely important for this plant. For this reason, highly recommend watering your plant daily rather than setting it in standing water, like you would for Sarracenia. Have found that more plants thrived with daily watering than those that were kept in standing water. Daily watering mimics what the Darlingtonia experiences in the wild with a constant slow seepage of water washing over its roots.

    On very warm summer days, recommend watering your plant in the morning and in the evening. If you have trouble remembering to water your plant daily, consider investing in a faucet timer and a drip system.

    If daily watering is simply not feasible, then use the tray method and keep your plant in very small amounts of water. However, you may need to adjust the soil mix that recommend below so that the soil can wick up water to the roots.

    Use relatively pure water for optimal leaf growth. The water should contain no more than 50 parts per million of dissolved minerals. With the mountain variety, you can use water with mineral levels as high as 150 parts per million. However, you will have better leaf growth if the mineral levels were much lower.

    SOIL
    As mentioned before, soil aeration is extremely important. For this reason, avoid using the standard carnivorous plant mix. This mix retains too much moisture and overheats very readily on hot sunny days. Also avoid using dried sphagnum moss as the soil base. It compacts too much and overheats very readily.

    The recommended soil mix contains:

    •1 part peat moss
    •1-2 parts perlite (or pumice)
    •1 part orchid bark
    This soil mix outperformed other soil mixes we've tried. It retains moisture, but allows for maximum aeration. It also allows water to evaporate quickly, so it keeps the soil cool.

    When making this mix, start with 1 part perlite. When moistened, the soil should fall apart after you squeeze it in your hand. If it retains it shape after you squeeze it, add more perlite to the mix until it falls apart.

    As a word of caution, this soil mix dries out very quickly, so you will need to water your plant daily on warm dry days. If you plan to use the tray method to water your plant, use only equal parts of each soil ingredient listed above.

    Never use potting soil or fertilizer. Potting soil and fertilizer will kill your plant.

    POTS
    The ideal pot for a Darlingtonia is short and wide. Darlingtonia has very short thin roots, so the pot doesn’t have to be tall. However, because the soil needs maximum aeration, the pot should be wide.

    In experiments, discovered that cat litter pans worked very well. Used BRAND NEW pans from a local discount store. Along the sides of the pan, drilled several holes about inch from the bottom. Technically there will be standing water at the bottom of the pan, but because the surface are is much larger, water will evaporate much quicker and keep the soil cool. grow the majority of mother plants in these pans.

    If cat litter pans are too unsightly, consider using large garden bowls.

    WINTER CARE
    As winter approaches, your Darlingtonia will slow down in growth and eventually stop growing. It’ll retain its leaves throughout the winter months, but the leaves will turn brown around the edges. This is perfectly normal. Pitcher plants require 3-4 months of winter dormancy triggered by cold temperatures (below 50F or 10C) and shorter daylight hours.

    While dormant let your plant sit in a small amount of standing water to prevent its soil from drying out.

    Don’t worry about overnight temperature dips as low as 20F (-7). While dormant, your plant can certainly tolerate overnight frosts with minimal winter protection.

    However, plants are very susceptible to freeze damage when grown in containers. You will need to protect your pitcher plant when the temperature falls below 20F (-7C) or whenever there is a combination of freezing temperatures and wind. Both types of winter conditions can certainly cause serious frost burn. To prevent frost burn, cover it with black plastic or a tarp, or move it into an unheated garage or shed.

    As soon as the freeze is over and the temperature climbs above 35F (2 C), uncover your plant and allow it to continue its dormancy outdoors.

    If you live an area where the temperature routinely goes below 32F (0C) for more than a week at a time, such as in zones 7 or less, you will need to winterize your container plants. Container plants can certainly tolerate brief freezes. But with prolonged freezes, your plants are at risk for frost burn.

    EARLY SPRING CARE
    When the temperature slowly creeps up and daylight hours become longer, your plants will gradually emerge from dormancy. Clip off only those leaves that have turned brown or have excessive brown spots. Unlike its Sarracenia cousins whose leaves may last for only a season, Darlingtonia leaves will normally last for 18 months. Look for flowers in mid spring.

    REPOTTING
    If your Darlingtonia is doing well, you won’t need to repot every spring. Unlike other carnivorous plants, Darlingtonia doesn’t mind being root bound. Just make sure that the soil provides optimal aeration and drainage. However, if you notice that the orchid bark is breaking down, change the soil.

    Repot your plant in March and April, right before it comes out of dormancy. Avoid repotting it during the growing season.

    INDOOR CARE
    Because Darlingtonia require a lot of sunlight during the growing season and cold temperatures for winter dormancy, they do not grow well indoors, especially in terrariums. They grow best outdoors as container plants or in bog gardens.

    So that's about it hope it will help anyone who needs help with there Cobra's or there new Cobra's!

    By Sarracnia Northwest.
    Last edited by eou812; 01-16-2011 at 12:03 PM.

  5. #21
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swords View Post
    Can Darlingtonias be on a shallow water tray like Sarrs and Dews or should it get good drainage at all times like a HL Nep?
    I grow mine partially submerged this time of year (pot height: 6" - water level: 5.5") - they don't mind water at all.
    I suspect they're also quite tolerant in the heat; I let some seedlings bake to a crisp one summer and although I thought they were totally dead (pot was feather-light, leaves had gone past sunburned to a scary bleached white appearance) I put them in water about an inch deeper than the crown and in a few days they perked right back up.
    In the wild they grow in seeps and streams, so I suspect as long as the water is aerated and changed regularly you could treat them like any other shallow-water/transitional pond plant.
    ~Joe

    PS - I guess the answer depends on what you think of as "drainage." The media should drain well - but the pots don't have to be kept out of the water. Contrary to the folks down at SNW, I use big, tall pots for my specimen plants, just so I can leave them in trays of water without having to worry about the roots getting too soggy. (Big pots are also a good provision against freezing and drying.) The ones in shorter pots don't seem to mind though.
    Last edited by seedjar; 12-20-2010 at 09:59 AM.
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

  6. #22
    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    I've used the so-called double Slack method. One pot rests on another and you water from overhead. The water drains through but the plant doesn't sit in water.

  7. #23
    swords's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. My potted plant terrariums are kinda "slack method" cos the pots all sit on a bed of moist LFS with live sphag growing ontop. Seems to keep the soil at a good moisture level. Pots don't ever seem to totally dry out in these tanks. When I set them on egg crate the pots can get bone dry if I get busy and forget to water for a week or so. I forgot about my potted plant terrariums for a couple weeks after my dad passed away and I was real busy, but I watered them all the other day and they're still fine, not crispy and some are making new pitchers (including N. jacquelinae finally). I attribute their survival to sitting on that wet moss bed, if they had been on egg crate they'd likely have been toast. Hopefully the Darlingtonia will go for that.

  8. #24
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    You'll do fine I'm sure. If highland Neps like it you should be gold. Darlingtonia are apparently one of the temperates that can be adapted to indoor culture so long as cool nights are provided - I haven't tried it myself though. (Leaving them on my porch is some much more convenient. )
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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