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Thread: Cobra Lilly questions

  1. #1

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    Ok, I just got a cobra Lily from lowes. I only know the basics about it. Here are my questions

    1: Can it live without bugs? just water.
    2: How many bugs do feed it and when? How long will it be content without no food?
    3: When does it go into dormancy
    4: How do you know its in dormancy
    5: How do you know its healthy.
    6: How do you know if its eating something? Will the food be all the way on the bottom?
    7: what temperature should it be in?
    8: Could I hand feed it dead bugs because I ussually don't get them in my room or really around the house. I've had a few venus fly traps and a pitcher plant and NO BUG was ever really attracted to them.


    Thanks for your replies.

  2. #2
    VFT and Drosera lover vft guy in SJ's Avatar
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    Hello Cobraboy, Welcome to the forums

    I am not really a Darlingtonia expert, but I will take a stab at this for you...

    1. Yes. Darlingtonia, like all plants, produce food primarily through photosynthesis. Bugs are simply a nutritional supplament.

    2. If it's possible, place the plant outside, it will catch bugs on its own.

    3. Temperate plants like Darlingtonia go into dormancy when the photoperiod begins to lessen (read fall/winter) Exceptions being tissue culture plants and cuttings/seedlings that are grown under artificial lighting. (They have no clue what season it is.)

    4. I can not answer as I do not have any direct experience with Darlingtonia in dormancy. (mine are seedlings and will not get dormancy this season.)

    5. As long as its green and you see new growth from the rhizome (bulb of the plant) you are in good shape.

    6. In direct light you will see the darker spot of the prey inside the pitchers.

    7. Darlingtonia like cool roots, idealy temperatures not higher than 80-85F and not cooler than about 30. Although these are "ideal" temps, these numbers are not cast in stone, plants can often survive extremes as long as they are not prolonged.

    8. Same answer as question 2. Put the plant outside if you can, then it will take care of itself.


    Good luck,
    Steve
    There are only 2 infinite things... the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not too sure about the universe.

  3. #3
    goldtrap2690's Avatar
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    hello cobraboy and welcome to the forums , first off your going to need to describe what conditions you are putting your plant in now and describe the plant as well .
    1. yes it can live without bugs , it is not nessecerry to feed them for them to grow although the occasional insect is a beneifit , they are'nt animals . they can't live with just water
    2. 1-2 bugs a month is good enough alothugh as mentioned feeding is not nessecerry . it can alst quite a while with nofood at all
    3. it goes into dormancy around thanksgiving and ends at around valentines day
    4. hard to say , some plants may look the same as they did before , usually the plant stops growing for a while and the new growth is usually smaller
    5. if the plant is a nice green color with some red its healthy , if its schrveling or rotting with yellowing leaves then its not healthy
    6. usually if it was fed you can put a flashlight behind the pitcher and see the shadow of the insect in its pitcher , they are'nt like venus flytraps , they don't move , the way the catch bugs is the bugs goes in the pitcher and drowns in its digestive juices . if you feed your plant something alive it might crawl to the bottom but as bugs keep going in the pile of bugs might build up .
    7. the plant should be kept cool , temperature around 86-70 are good at night temps should be cooler , during dormancy the temperature should be even cooler . this plant need cool roots to survive so watering it alot helps .
    8. its better to feed live bugs to your plants because if you feed dead and if the bug does'nt go all the way down the pitcher to the digiestive juices then necrosis will start to develop at the side of the pitcher and unless you can try to trigger the venus flytrap whle the bug is inside then you gotta feed live .

    i'm not sure if your plant is a cobra lily , if your plant is in a pot and the pitcher are shaped like snakes with red fangs then you got a cobra lily ( darlingtonia californica ) but if your plant came in a avse or does not look like what i desribed then you got a pitcher plant ( sarracenia ) cobra l;ilies are quite hard to care for even for an advanced grower , you must keep the roots cool , depending on where you live , if it gets hot then you need to water it and probably put ice cubes of purified water on the pot . give it plenty of light without overheating the plant , water with purified water and don't use tap , rmeber its not nesscery to feed the plant either .

    good luck

  4. #4

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    Thanks for all your replies.

    goldtrap2690: First off, I LOVE your avatar. It's hilarious.

    Yes, I'm positive its a Cobra Lily. It does look like that. It's mainly green. Pieces of red on it. And its fangs are red. But they look a little bit shriveled is that ok. Also, on its head there are patches that form like a spider web of green. The non-web is just its shell. Almost see-through. Is that ok?

    Well, it's on my window sill. It can get some sun light.

    I have a small pitcher of rain water but that's about to run out. I have purified water from the refrigerator, how purified does it need to be?

    During this season there aren't many bugs around.

    Its in spaghnum and/or peat moss (says the label it's acidic soil). So let me make sure, all I have to do is give it some rain water or purified water all the time and it should grow nice and healthy? The bugs are just an added food thing to make it grow faster?

  5. #5
    goldtrap2690's Avatar
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    thank you for your compliment about my avatar , i can't take all the credit though , i got it from a website thats makes free icons for aim users . those patched are normal , the thing about cobra lilies is that they have small tiny windows on top of their pitcher so that they can confuse insects for an excape which actually lead them more to death . i don't know wether water from the refrigerator is good , if your running out of watwer then collect some rain or go to your store and buy a jug of distilled water . you don't have to worry about bugs being around , its winter , its time for them to go dormant and also they don't need to be fed ,a s vft guy said , its just an added benifit . your plant probably came in sphagnum , by the way , what company did it come from , i'm guessing gublers .

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    Hello Cobraboy -

    I have had success with Cobra Lilies both from seed and rescued from Lowes.



    2 year old Cobra Lily from seed, Spring 2003.


    They are very sensitive until the shock wears off and they have a grown a new pitcher or two which are usually smaller than the ones it had when you bought it. Sometimes they just seem to die anyway very quickly. Good luck with it and here are some of my particular techniques. I hope they will help.

    I would say since you just got it, you could skip dormancy this year. I am in zone 5 in Connecticut, and I can keep the larger plants outside here in the spring and fall, but the summers get too hot. I grow most of them indoors under flourescent lights that are on timers. The lights are on 17 hours a day.

    When I have rescued plants, I very carefully unwrap the dried up sphagnum from the plant, then soak the rhizome/rootball in a bowl of rainwater mixed with a drop of Superthrive for about a half hour. Then I repot into a 6 or 8 inch pot with a mix of 1/3 perlite and as much live sphagnum as I can scrap up from my other cps and the rest is moistened long fiber sphagnum moss. After I repot the plant I pour the remaining Superthrive water into the top of the soil around the plant. My Cobra lily pots always sit in at least 1 inch of rainwater. I only use rain or distilled water. I keep one of those old fashioned diner ketchup bottles in the fridge filled with rainwater and I use this to water the larger plants from the top maybe every two days or so, more often in the summer when it gets hot. I have had seedlings croak in one day after doing this, that's why I said on the larger plants. If all goes well, after a month or so the sphagnum will start to grow and that's a very good sign. I fed the pitchers live bugs in the spring and summer - a fly, large ant, or mealworm once every week or so, always to a different pitcher than the last.

    Another thing I do is once every week or two, mist the pitchers (not the soil) until they are wet with a VERY WEAK acid fertilizer soulution. The one I use is a powder, and on the small box it says "Acid Fertilizer for Azaleas and Rhododendrons". I figure the box will last 10 years or so, since I mix up 1/8th of a teaspoon to 1/2 gallon of rainwater. I use it in one of those 4 inch tall pump spray/spritz bottles (washed out beforehand).

    I hope this helps you grow a big healthy plant.

    WildBill

  7. #7

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    wildBill: Thanks, although I don't have the availability for those extra materials (I'm not allowed to by anything till after Christmas). But I will try some of those ideas ASAP. Now, does a plant light act as good as the sun for a plant? Does a LIGHT BULB work? Because I cant get a plant light right now but I DO have a light bulb. If so, how close does it need to be? That looks like a very healthy cobra lilly, bravo on the work you've done![img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img] Oh, how can you skip Dormancy? Isn't it needed for the plant?


    goldtrap2690: I got my plant (I'm almost positive) I'll have to check with that?

    Any other suggestions?

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    goldtrap2690's Avatar
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    you can just get a regular shop light fixture then get florescent light tubes and that should work , regular light bulbs are not good for any plants so they should not be used .

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