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Jun 5, 2010
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907
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Fort Collins, CO
Since carnivorous availability changes with the seasons here, I figured I'd run into Lowe's to see if they'd started getting some things in since it's warming up a bit now. Lo and behold, they had a relatively fresh shipment of plants in. VFTs, VFTs... tons of VFTs. Until I spotted two cubes with Darlingtonia californica in them. First time I'd seen them available. I wasn't sure I should grab one, worried I'd kill it, but my wife convinced me to bring it home, along with 2 other rescues I spotted on the clearance cart: an obviously mislabeled Sarracenia (labeled as S. purpurea, but it most definitely is not; I'll need you Sarracenia experts to ID it for me in another thread), and an unnamed, pitcherless Nepenthes.

Anywho, I got it home and the gears started turning: "How am I going to keep this thing's roots cool...? Hmmm..." I'm sure you all know the feeling. Well, I came up with what I suspect will be a pretty successful contraption. Borrowing the concept of a recirculating, self-watering setup from my mini bog, I took an extra ice chest we had laying around and set to work. I cut a hole in the lid of the chest and put a Sterilite bin in the hole. The bin has holes drilled in the bottom so it ends up not sitting in water, which I assumed would be best given its (planned-to-be) frequent and reliable watering schedule. A pump sits in the ice chest, the chest full of water, and pumps that water up into the Sterilite bin. The water drains out through the holes, back into the reservoir ready to go for another round. I'm guessing the insulating properties of the ice chest will keep the water in the reservoir cool, but also keep the media equally cool. On days that the temperature gets pretty high, I can easily put a frozen water bottle (even a 2-liter bottle for prolonged cooling) in the reservoir. It's currently sitting under a 65w CFL fixture in my plant room, but as soon as the weather warms up, I'm sticking it outside to see how it does.

But enough with the alphabet, time for some pictures.


Full contraption, pre-plants.
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Closer up.
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Inside the ice chest.
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Enough of the "cheap" LFS to cover up the holes.
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Planted up in the "good stuff" (Chilean LFS): 2 parts LFS : 1 part Perlite
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One of the divisions.
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And the other.
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The plant was fairly sorry looking, but I'm optimistic. I'm planning on putting the pump on a timer for 2 or three 30-minute waterings a day. Oughta keep the media both moist and very cool, something I suspect should mimic their natural environment well. The ice chest holds a reservoir of about 4 gallons of water, too, so less refilling makes me happy. The 2/1 LFS/perlite mix is pretty airy and well-draining, so I don't think it's going to get soggy in there, just very moist and highly oxygenated.

We'll see!

EDIT: Also, since it was built with stuff I had laying around, the couple of pieces of PVC and the Sterilite bin being the exceptions, it cost me a whopping ~$3 to put together. ^.^
 

Smitty

Plant Ninja
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
616
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Plantropia N.Y.
She is purdy!

That is a clean DIY my friend! I wish my home store would restock Cp's!!
Looks like they should bounce back very rapidly given the paradise they will be living in. :)

I have the same kind of set up for my Darlingtonia Californica's that should be here soon. Except I am using a Old Milwaukee cooler.:D
 
Joined
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Messages
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Oregon, USA
This is truly a great set up for Darlingtonia! Even if your rescue plants dont make it, ask around on here for Darlingtonia. Is this set up going outside or do you have artificial lighting for them? Keep us updated!
 

amphirion

i dont do pots.
Joined
Oct 2, 2009
Messages
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SF Bay Area, US
holy crap that seems like overkill! (in a good way)
i hope they do well for you! throw in a gallon full of ice in the cooler too from time to time, especially during the killer summers.
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2010
Messages
907
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Fort Collins, CO
Thanks, guys. I know I tend to go a little overboard, but hey, if it makes them happy it's all worth it.

I plan on putting it outside once the weather warms up some. Right now they're under a 65w CFL fixture. And, yeah, I was planning on just sticking a frozen 2-liter bottle in there on the really hot days. I suspect a frozen solid 2 liters of water should melt pretty slowly, keeping the water and media cool and lasting a long time.

I'll definitely update as spring and summer go by. I just hope they do well; I've always loved the Cobras and was worried I couldn't keep them cool enough. But this, I feel, will work out.

Thanks again!
 
Joined
Jun 21, 2009
Messages
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Hope it turns out great for you. Wish I could say the same for my death cube Darlingtonia from last year. Think it made it 3 months til the pitchers dried up and the plant died completely. Good Luck!! Nice work.
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2010
Messages
907
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Fort Collins, CO
Haha, well, I hope all of you are right. Your comments are definitely reassuring! Maybe I'll keep them alive! Whee!


Edit: Just realized the forum auto-capitalized my "californica" in the title. Bah! Silly forum! Doesn't it know that binomial nomenclature does not call for the capitalization of the species epithet!? LOL, get'm, Joseph!
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Messages
1,030
HaHA ReApEr did you use a pump to make the water come out of the pipes?
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Messages
1,030
A pretty big one right. One more thing estimate how much did all of that cost and could you pm me on how you built it please. I would like to try that.
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2010
Messages
907
Location
Fort Collins, CO
The pump was the smallest, cheapest I saw at Home Depot. I think it was $18 when I bought it, but that was a while ago so my memory may be fuzzy. Regardless, you don't need a big pump to pump water up a foot. Any hobby/fountain pump you find at Home Depot or Lowes or whatnot will probably work fine.

That said, all the other info you requested is in the first post. I can't really describe in words how I built it better than the pictures will show. The hole I cut by drilling holes in each of the corners and putting a hacksaw blade through and using good ol' elbow grease to saw through it. If you take that route, do yourself a favor... well, two favors: 1) wear gloves, leather if possible. 2) position the blade so it cuts on the upstroke, not the downstroke.

As far as cost, as said in the OP, it only cost me a few dollars because I had most everything available at home. If I had to guess, if you were starting from total scratch, an ice chest could be had for around $20, the pump for around $20, some tubing for a couple bucks, some PVC for a couple bucks, and some PVC parts for yet another couple bucks... somewhere around $45, give or take. You can probably save a good amount by getting an ice chest at Good Will or something, used. None of this, of course, factors in lighting if you plan on growing indoors.

Hope that helps. Happy to answer any further questions.
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Messages
1,030
Looks real good i am going to try that of course as you can see i have already bought a pump so i pumped!
 

petmantis

ermahgerd
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Nov 2, 2008
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1,124
Oh, and I found it to be more effective if the water drip was evenly distributed throughout the container. I used aquarium tubing (blue tube in the photo) that had several holes in it, and so the water would come out at less pressure and evenly cool the entire pot and media.
 
Joined
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Messages
907
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Fort Collins, CO
@eou: Yeah, that oughta work fine.

@petmantis: Haha, that's awesome! And yeah, I was initially planning on using airline tubing to have at least four outputs, but I thought that was extravagant even for me. I'll keep an eye on the temps for sure. Right now, both the outputs pour out directly onto the base of each plant, so I'm hoping that'll keep things cool enough. If not, though, I think I'll go for something like a drip system, directly under the surface. Except, of course, it'll be more than a drip. XD
 
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