Hardy Carnivorous Plants

Hardy Carnivorous Plants
If you live in zones 6 through 10 and have a sunny location you can easily grow these colorful and unusual North American insectivorous plants! They will even grow in zone 5 with some winter protection. The more hours of sunshine, the more colorful the amazing, insect trapping leaves become, so a site with at least 6 hours of direct sunshine is best, and all day long is even better. The species in the genus Sarracenia are native to wet savannas, bogs and fens in eastern North America from Labrador to Texas, with most species occurring from Virginia southward. While they are becoming rare in the wild due to habitat destruction caused mainly by commercial timber production and development, they are easy to grow if provided with wet feet at all times. While we waited to find time to build our elaborate spring fed bog garden, our collection lived for 8 years in simple 5 gallon plastic buckets through winter lows as cold as 8 degrees Fahrenheit with no damage whatsoever. A single growing crown will multiply over several years into an impressive clump. While the colorful insect trapping pitcher-like leaves can last in good condition well into winter, most varieties are not fully evergreen, so the old leaves can be cut away just before new growth commences in spring to keep the plants looking neat. Mature plants start the season with flowers that are equally bizarre as their leaves, and once the petals fall, the interesting calyx will persist through the remainder of the season. Some species put up their most spectacular leaves in spring and early summer, while others wait until late summer to frost to show their best, while yet others produce good leaves consistently throughout the growing season, so read the descriptions to have a better idea of the behavior of the plant you are interested in. The species hybridized freely so there are many interesting and unusual hybrids, and you will see more of them offered here in the future as our breeding program ramps up.

Grow these beauties in an acidic substrate. We use a mix of granite dust purchased economically from a local quarry and peat moss, but a mix of washed silica sand and peat moss is just as good, and some growers use straight peat moss. The roots should always have access to moisture, so a container that has no bottom drain is best. Holes can be added just at or below the soil line to keep the container from flooding when it rains. If you live in an area with high calcium or other dissolved minerals in your tap water, rain water is the better choice for these plants. If the mineral content is low, then chlorinated tap water is fine to supplement natural rainfall. There are many great ways to create a bog garden using a kiddie pool, pre-formed pond, or pond liner, as long as you avoid a situation where runoff from heavily fertilized lawns or gardens can occur. Our bog garden is fed by a small but constant stream of water siphoned off a nearby spring branch. These plants also look great in a pond or water feature as long as the soil level is raised several inches above the water line. They appreciate deep containers as the plants grow larger. If you have any questions, please email us at: infor@marblebranchfarms.com

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