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Carnivorous Plant Terrarium Planting Methods

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Jan 3, 2017
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I'm in the process of building my carnivorous plant terrarium (only my 2nd attempt, the 1st failed horribly) so I'd say I am very new working with cp's. After my first attempt and terrible failure I did quite a bit of research into building terrariums.

I have the planting medium which is New Zealand peat moss, silica sand, and perlite. I know many terrarium growers keep their plants in individual pots inside the terrarium; however, I plan to plant directly in the medium.

I realize different species require different care and I have taken a great deal of time designing my terrarium using acrylic and wood separators; a well for run off, flushing, and siphoning; three different levels to control moisture, etc. and I have incorporated a low speed fan as well.

I am wondering if anyone has tried similar options and if anyone here has any additional thoughts, ideas, or advice to share. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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How big of a terrarium are you planning? I have often thought of this. I would suggest leaving out temperate species so you dont have to worry about dormancy. Do you have any progress photos??

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Right now I'm only working on a 10 gallon terrarium as a second, far, far more "engineered" design that has taken me months to build. The first attempt was in the same terrarium with washed pea gravel with peat moss on top and clearly I didn't have a clue what I was doing.

At this point I'm planning on planting Drosera, a variety of pitchers and fly traps just to name a few. I'm using specially designed, high-power (24 volt, 6 amp) LED lighting strips in the 6250 Kelvin range, 110 volt 4" fan, and two non-typical products under my soil medium of New Zealand peat moss, silica sand, and organic perlite. I have cut 3 aluminum bars to go across the top to both support the fan and the LEDs, and I have used specially cut acrylic to provide different heights for drainage so that all water that goes into the tank ends up in a well toward the front which I can use a siphon to drain as needed. I used silicone to glue them to the sides of the tank.

I seem to be having issues attaching photos, but I will add some if I figure out how to give this app access. I appreciate your input and interest!
 
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Everything sounds good. Im eager to see it put together. Did you make your own led lights?

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Yes and no... I bought a kit in which the LED's come in self-adhesive strips that can be cut at every two inches. Then you can solder, or buy solderless connectors (my choice) to connect the length of strips you have cut. I bought a 5' reel (they come full-length on an old film type reel) which I will cut into (3) 18" strips which I will stick to the bottom of my aluminum bars. You can then connect the strips to the power supply, again soldered or solderless connectors. You can select kits by length, spectrum(s), lumens, CRI, etc.

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Sounds like you're familiar with artificial light... I've been reading a lot and many seem to think that 6700K is the sweet spot. I chose 6250K. To my interpretation that will suit all cp's. I've been looking at spectrum charts and trying to decipher the nanometers versus Kelvin temps. From my reading, I know that chlorophyll A and B require red and blue light, but you also want the bright white for a nice appearance to the human eye. From what I understand, 6250K covers the bases. Any thoughts?

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I dont like the look of the purple/red grow lights. That is just my personal preference. I am currently using 12v automotive HID lights at 6000k. I am in the experimental stages still so any info is usless at this point. I do believe that 6-6500k is sufficent for most plants and is also appealing to the eye.

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That seems to agree with my interpretation but I too am just experimenting at this point. In fact I don't have my fan or lights completely installed yet because I've been waiting to paint my aluminum bars and it's been raining here so I haven't had a chance to get that done. Therefore I haven't even begun to grow anything with my new lights and fan yet. For that matter I haven't even purchased any plants yet so I've been looking at the sources for buying live bare root plants. I've been talking by email with the folks at the ************.com and I'm considering making some purchases from them.

They have been quite emphatic about NOT growing flytraps in a terrarium. In fact they've been fairly insistent upon the fact that fly traps will not flourish in a terrarium although I'm very hard headed and I believe that I have taken all the necessary steps to design my terrarium to deal with all of the issues they have claimed will not allow the plants to flourish. I'm hoping my design skills will prove them wrong [emoji2]. I guess I will see. I plan on mixing my planting medium A.S.A.P. If you have any suggestions for online sources, please send me a message and let me know.

Years ago I was a member of several water gardening forums and folks would send you live plants to help you get started. Since I'm new to this forum it appears that anything other than trades are frowned upon and asking outright for freebies is a no no, so I'm trying not to post anything that will get me lectured! Thanks again.

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By reading my post I see that I have already been censored. I forgot that the links to resources were not allowed. My apologies to the admins. So, if you have any suggestions please private message me and if you'd like information on my source for LED lights you can message me for that as well.

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I think some of the best learing is by experimentation. Time will tell if things will work for you. Im sure they were persistant on their views in regards to fly traps in terrariums mostly due to moisture. I personally have lost flytraps due to root rot and have found that depth of medium is very important. That will be one reason why most people use containers in a terrarium setting. I wish you the best of luck and please post your findings and results. Afterall thats what these forums are all about ;)

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Dexenthes

Aristoloingulamata
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I just want to echo a sentiment that you have already received but that temperate plants are not a good idea for the long run in a terrarium setting. This includes all flytraps, all Sarracenia, Darlingtonia and many Drosera and Pinguicula as well.

If you can't provide these plants with a winter dormancy, they will die/suffer. For the first initial season, they may do great, and look amazing, but anything longer than one or two winters without a dormancy and they will certainly die.

Terrariums don't lend themselves to simulating a winter dormancy very well. Unless you have a well lit, unheated garage that it can be stored in or something like that.

Plants that do well in a terrarium situation in the long run due to their tropical nature and compact size would be - Cephalotus, Utricularia, mexican Pinguicula, Heliamphora, Tropical/neo tropical Drosera, and compact rosetting Nepenthes such as N. campanulata, N. argentii, etc.

If you choose to plant a mixture of tropical and temperate species then one or the other will invariable suffer when the dormancy requirements are either met or not met.
 
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Jan 3, 2017
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I appreciate your input, truly. I was planning on keeping the terrarium outside for a dormancy period but how cold is too cold for the fore mentioned varieties? I planned on growing some in an outdoor container (I live in an apartment) and I have very little full sun. It almost seems like I should give up hope of growing these plants.

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Just kidding. I never give up! Good input though.

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Carnivorous plants are not hard to care for. If the right plants are chosen. Many of them can thrive in room temp and humidity. Start simple with a couple plants and a small light. Then all u need is distilled/RO water. Ease into the hobby and before u know it your collection will be hurting your wallet ;)

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seedjar

Let's positive thinking!
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Just curious but... are you sure you need a terrarium at all? Is your home especially dry or cold? Most genera do fine in household conditions, with the exception of a few like Nepenthes and Heliamphora that come from genuinely humid biomes. You may think the terrarium will simplify the task of caring for your plants, but actually it is complicating things. In individual pots, you can give your plants care according to their individual needs. With them all in one container, you're going be bargaining with your plants, giving conditions liked by some and inappropriate for others. It only saves you the effort of watering while pretty much all other care requirements remain the same - except with the added problem that your healthy plants will be able to overgrow the neglected ones.

If you're really attached to the notion of growing in terrariums, why not try two? One for the tropicals and one for the temperates. That way you'll at least be in the neighborhood of the right conditions for each group of plants.

Cheers,
~Joe
 
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