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Thread: Should I be afraid of Cephalotus?

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    Natalie's Avatar
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    Should I be afraid of Cephalotus?

    Not literally of course, but to insects those traps must be pretty frightening! I mean should I stay away from trying to grow them or finally take the plunge and get one of those little guys? I've been eying them since I first read The Savage Garden, they seem like the "holy grail" of carnivorous plants.

    One part of my brain tells me they would do really well here, since the climate here in the Bay Area is very similar to that of their native one... It's a bit hotter and drier in the summer here (no rain vs. some rain in Perth), and maybe a few degrees colder in the winter, but basically the same. What seems to be the key to growing this species though is the low nighttime temps, which we have basically the entire year... Even the hottest summer days drop to the mid/upper-50s at night, and only a few nights per year does the nighttime temperature stay above 65 or so. The fog that rolls in off the ocean most nights cools things off quickly and brings the humidity up to 100% (lots of dew on everything in the morning), though by the afternoon it can be 90+ degrees with 30% humidity. I'm guessing their native habitat would have similar temperature/humidity swings, albeit possibly less extreme

    But on the other hand, I look on here and other sites on the internet (and I have been reading up on them a lot), and I see people growing them like tropical plants! You know, in terrariums with 95% humidity 24 hours a day, under grow lights, no dormancy in the winter, no significant temperature drops at night, etc. When I see that, it seems almost blasphemous that I would want to get one and put it outside with my sarracenias? I wouldn't be setting it in the tray though, it would be sitting on something above the water line so I could water it at the same time I water my sarrs (usually 1-2 times a week). Is growing them outside year-round in that manner a death sentence? Personally, I'm not a big fan of the way they look when grown inside... I prefer the colorful, more compact traps instead of big green ones.

    If I do end up getting one, what size would be best? My intuition tells me that a larger plant would be hardier since that's the way it is with most plants, but they are also a lot more expensive and I would feel worse if I killed it. I saw some clumps about the size of a quarter for sale yesterday for just under $60. Ouch. I've seen smaller specimens go for half that price, but the plants were also half the size or less. Which size would be better for a beginner? Is anyone here in the Bay Area (or another location with a Mediterranean climate) growing their Cephalotus outdoors?

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    Natalie,

    Much of the "tribal knowledge" you hear is incorrect. They are much easier and faster growing then rumored to be... that being said they do require certain conditions to be successful. Given that, you shoudl have no problems.

    I even grow some in regular Miracle Gro potting soil

    FWIW, I believe Trichoderma to be of great benefit

    Suggested reading: http://www.foxoles.dsl.pipex.com/index.html

    Last edited by Av8tor1; 07-26-2011 at 08:59 AM.

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    If they get this big, if not fear, perhaps caution:

    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...22&postcount=1
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    sarracenia lover dionae's Avatar
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    Should I be afraid of Cephalotus?
    No. Get one and you'll be surprised at how easy they are.

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    mass's Avatar
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    Agreed. Quite easy.. one of the first CP's I grew. That first one did very well, and a year later one turned into 13. By far my favorite of the carnivorous plants.

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    Devon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dionae View Post
    No. Get one and you'll be surprised at how easy they are.
    I disagree. For some people, like myself, Cephalotus are very challenging. Sometimes mine will grow very well, but then die off and revert to immature pitchers.

    The one thing I do find very easy about Cephalotus is propagating it.

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    Natalie's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info and links everyone - that model ceph is really cool! Are any of you guys growing your plants outside? Does my plan of keeping it with my sarrs but elevated above the water line sound like it could work? Would it be best to get a smaller, cheaper plant or a larger, more expensive one?

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    SDCPs's Avatar
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    I'm growing my ceph outdoors in San Diego. I received it as small in fair condition without any roots, but now it is starting to take off. I grow it with VFTs, all on the drier side.

    I'm still missing 2...I planned to have more in my ceph bowl.

    Get a smaller one. Cheaper...and more fun if you get it to grow--less worries!

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