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Beginner questions/recommendations

Joined
Mar 31, 2020
Messages
7
Hi everyone!
I’m very interested in getting started with some carnivorous plants. I’ve had various nepenthes in the past but still feel like a beginner even so!

I live in an apartment and don’t have a lot of space to work with. I’m also in a colder climate. So for both of those reasons, I’m looking for suggestions on what types of plants may work at room temperature for at least part of the year. (I do have a small balcony I can use when it’s warm enough.)

My biggest concern is that I have a very hard time understanding potting mixtures. I seem to rarely get it right and have unfortunately killed off a lot of plants I’ve tried growing that weren’t quite established yet. There’s just something I can’t grasp about soil and perlite.

So the short version of my post is:
1. Which types of carnivorous plants will do okay at room temperature for at least part of the year? (I was recommended a few already but just want to be sure I have a good solid list of options to work with!)
2. Are there any resources I can check out to help me better understand the potting mixture needs of the plants I will get?
3. Additionally, how do these plants handle compost? Should I stay away from using it on them?

Thanks for all your help—and sorry I’m such a newbie!
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2013
Messages
1,204
Location
USA, GA
Hey there!

For an apartment dweller in a cold climate, there are many choices. I'll suggest my favorite to start out with, and that is the Cape Sundew (Drosera capensis). It needs no rest period and can be grown inside all year. It is a large (for a sundew) but does not take up much space. Here is a link to a wonderful sundew care page called Grow Sundews: GrowSundews.com and here is a the link to the care page for the Cape Sundew: http://www.growsundews.com/sundews/Drosera_capensis.html

Notice the mention of grow media for the Cape Sundew- 1 peat: 1 sand, pure Long-fibered sphagnum (LFS) 1 LFS: 1 perlite. So he mentions 3 different ways to grow them. The first being one part peat to one part sand. That would mean taking one cup of peat and mixing it with one cup of sand (or one gallon jug of peat mixed with one gallon jug of sand, etc.), however much would be needed to fill a pot for the sundew. The next he mentions, is pure long-fibered sphagnum. Simple. The last is one part Long fibered sphagnum to one part perlite. And it's the same idea, one cup of LFS to one cup of perlite (or jug or whatever measurement tool you have to scoop media with) mixed and filled into a pot. But the Cape Sundew is so easy, I know many people have grown it in other mixes too. Like 1 part sand to 1 part coconut coir. Let me know if that makes sense, or if I can clear any of that up.

As for compost, most carnivorous plants have adapted to live in places that lack high levels of nutrients and they get their nutrients from bugs. Compost has huge amounts of nutrients and it will burn the roots of most (if not all) carnivorous plants. So yes, stay away from using any compost with carnivorous plants!

Hope this helps! :D
 
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Joined
Mar 31, 2020
Messages
7
Thank you so much Acro! Your recommendations and help have been so useful already, and this information is even more helpful!

I am definitely planning to add a sundew to my plant roster--I will likely keep looking around for a few other options too, but as I've always wanted sundews anyway, this seems like a good time to try it!
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2013
Messages
1,204
Location
USA, GA
You're welcome! I'm glad I could help.

And just so you know, we are having the yearly auction in May, right here on the forum. It'll be a great way to win some new plants for a great cause! Check out the details here: Auction rules

If you are looking for something to bid on, post what you'd like here: So - what are you hoping to buy in the auction?

Happy Bidding! :D
 
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Joined
Mar 31, 2020
Messages
7
One more newbie question: I know that distilled water is best for these plants, but currently getting to the market is difficult and so is finding bottled water at all. Is it possible to use filtered but not distilled? Or is it possible to treat water with a dechlorinator and use that?

If neither of those options work, I’ll wait til things calm down and I can buy distilled water more easily again. But figured I’d ask about my options! Thanks so much again to those who are helping me out!
 
Joined
Mar 9, 2020
Messages
99
Filtered of dechlorinated water is not distilled. Search up DIY water distillation and you can get some ideas there.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2012
Messages
4,464
Location
Greeley, CO, USA
Carnivorous Plant FAQ : sarracenia.com/faq.html
Covers just about every question a new grower might possibly ask, per soils, appropriate plants for various conditions, things you need to know before growing anything and things that vary depending on your particular setting, etc.
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2013
Messages
1,204
Location
USA, GA
One more newbie question: I know that distilled water is best for these plants, but currently getting to the market is difficult and so is finding bottled water at all. Is it possible to use filtered but not distilled? Or is it possible to treat water with a dechlorinator and use that?

If neither of those options work, I’ll wait til things calm down and I can buy distilled water more easily again. But figured I’d ask about my options! Thanks so much again to those who are helping me out!

Typical filtered water won't work, dechlorinated water won't work. You can collect Rain Water and use it for your plants. I believe water from a dehumidifier will work too, but I haven't tried it.
 
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Joined
Mar 31, 2020
Messages
7
Thanks again everyone! I’ve learned a lot from the info and resources you’ve all shared with me. I feel a lot more prepared to bring home some new plants soon!
 

Shadowtski

Supporter
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
232
Location
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Typical filtered water won't work, dechlorinated water won't work. You can collect Rain Water and use it for your plants. I believe water from a dehumidifier will work too, but I haven't tried it.

I have a basement dehumidifier.
The water discharged from it is very pure.
I checked the Total Dissolved Solids, TDS, and the condensate water from the dehumidifier measure 5 - 10.
Distilled water measures 0 - 1.
Carnivorous plants prefer water with a TDS lower than 50.
I've used dehumidifier water on my CP for several years with no ill effects or signs of slow deterioration.

Good growing,
Mike
 
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