The Little Family Grows!

I thought I’d surprised you and let you know that the garden has grown to host 5 different species of carnivorous plant.

Previously, I’ve brought up my progress with the Venus Fly Trap, the Drosera Capensis Alba and lastly, Nepenthes Bloody Mary but now we have 2 additions.

Sarracenia, Velvet


On the left, with the tall shoots, I am particularly fond of this new addition given its size. The wind blows it around in a mental fashion, a bit like those giant inflatable men you see sometimes!

Darlingtonia, Californica


Very young by the looks of it and also very crowded. They’ll be fine as they are for now.

Mostly I’ve seen flies, spiders and even a ladybug visit the plants and most fall victim to one of these carnivores if they hang around long enough. Who can blame them, I’ve essentially put out a deadly buffet for them.

I’m wrapping my head around creating a miniature bog for them all to live in, this will probably have to be done when the plants are dorment during winter so it’s just a planning phase for the time being.

Health and growth seem to be steady for all the plants, it’s been very, very wet this past month or so, so really keeping my fingers crossed for some sun! Here’s the gang all together for a group selfie.

Sarracenia Velvet and Darlingtonia will get their own individual pages wrote up about them as I study them over the next week or so, so expect to see some in depth analysis there. The strawberries I planted haven’t grown at all so I expect the crowns were dead when I brought them. Not to fret, I will be coming into some trims from another strawberry plant so I can continue with that as my little side project soon enough!

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Nepenthes, Bloody Mary

I couldn’t resist jumping straight in with Nepenthes, Bloody Mary (who I named Henrietta to make things even more complicated) and taking a further in depth look at this beautiful carnivorous plant.

Each leaf is accompanied by a sac/pod of liquid

Nepenthes appears to grow these sacs from each leaf, creating a sort of backwards raindrop affect where the sac reaches for the sky instead of hanging low.

Nepenthes ranges into 150 different species coming from all over the globe, such as; China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Phillippines, Madagascar, Australia, India AND Sri Lanka!

Making its own fluid, the trap creates a syrupy goo that drowns any prey who dares wonder inside. This fluid contacts ‘viscoelastic biopolymers’ that could be vital to trapping insects, especially the flying variety. Much like the Venus Fly Trap, Henrietta will use this carnivorous advantage to obtain crucial nutrients that it is unable to get through the soil around it. The inside of the pod also is walled with a wax coating that makes escape near impossible!

The lip of the plant is a structure called ‘peristome’ which creates a slippery surface that any curious insects could slip on – it appears Henrietta is really keen on ensuring she gets her visitors.

Fully grown mature Nepenthes (image taken from Google search)

They do not require too much or too harsh sunlight, instead I will leave mine on the windowsill where the double glazing on my windows will reduce a lot of the glare. They do however, require damp soil but I have been informed not to let them sit in water.

I believe my species in particular to be of the ‘vieillardii‘ which actually descend from New Caladonia. It will be interesting to see how this plant grows into its intricate design. 

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Urban Issues

It’s been quite a week as I’ve managed to not only solve the distilled water issue, but also brought another addition to the family.

Introducing Nepenthes, Bloody Mary.

The water issue has been solved as I previously thought boiling water would kill chemicals in the water. It appears that I was wrong and this in fact can make the chemicals more concentrated. Yikes!
Instead, I have a tumble dryer at home which collects water vapour from my clothes and deposits this as distilled water, in a plastic compartment in the bottom. Then, I can remove this and pour the water into a small glass/cup for my plants!

A second issue I have is that the windows in my apartment are double glazed and greatly reduce sunlight to the plants – an issue I had not anticipated in the beginning. I’ve now hung up a pot out the front and will need to purchase some more pots for the west side too.

I’ve cut the flower from Hector (Venus Fly Trap) as the plant will spend all its energy trying to produce a flower and I want it to use that energy to thrive into the heads, instead. Even from the above image you can see how much that head on the right hand side is thriving, now I’m hoping it will turn more of a red colour in the coming weeks.

I’d like to look more into the nature of the Nepenthes, whom I shall call Henrietta, and the sacs that it uses to catch prey so I’ll elaborate on that perhaps in the next day or two. I hope these past few weeks have taught you a thing or two, as they have for me, so please do share your own thoughts and experiences if you wish!

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Water Care – Venus Fly Trap

I thought I’d dive straight in with an update of my Venus Fly Trap, or Hector as you may know him if you have seen the previous post on this blog.

This week, I plan on covering the topic of water care. I’ll go into grooming, pest control and other topics as we go further into Hector’s growth and development.

He’s been living with me for roughly a week and is living a steady life. Kept on the west side of the house so he can fully benefit from the evening sunset and photosynthesize late into the day. I will occasionally keep him in my bedroom, facing east, so he can also benefit from the morning sun. As I live on the first floor and there is little around me blocking light, Hector is able to fully benefit from both morning and evening sun.

I have not seen any dramatic changes in growth and the biggest challenge is ensuring your plants are receiving the correct water. Tap water is not the best choice for a Venus Fly Trap as they are quite demanding, despite Britain having one of the highest qualities of water in the world.

Unfortunately, this means that the water is often high in Chlorine (Cl) and Fluorine (F) components which are not beneficial to your plants health. However, this doesn’t mean you have to spend high amounts of money on distilled or bottled water, there are a few tricks to the trade if you don’t wish to part with your hard-earned money.

I did some research and the obvious choice of water for your plant is rain water. North and South Carolina have somewhat similar conditions to Britain but if you have means to pot your Venus outside then do so. Although if there is the occasional dry spell, or your like me and not always around to collect rain water – fear not, tap water can actually turn into drinkable water for your plants.

I’d recommend filling up whatever sized bottle (or means of holding water) and leaving this on the side for 24-48 hours, under room temperature. This will allow time for any chemicals to evaporate and disperse and will prevent bacteria growth. Your Venus should never have dry soil but try not to water them too much, as you see in mine there is a lot of moss so this should soak up and encourage the Venus to thrive but being overzealous here could cause your Venus to grow thin leaves making them more vulnerable to insect or fungal attack.

I noticed the above damage was only slight when I first got Hector but as you can see this has gotten a little worse. This could be due to my over-eagerness of watering the plant admittedly but remember I’m a novice so go lightly on me! If you have recommendations on how often or how much to feed your Venus please do leave a comment, you could save dear Hector!

When watering your Venus it is always best to remember what conditions to keep him in. If you can allow lots of warm, direct sunlight you may only need to water your plant every 2-4 days (depending on how hot the conditions are and how quickly the soil dries). However, in colder more shaded conditions water your Venus every 8-14 days particularly during the freezing winter conditions.

If you’re really unsure of how often to water your Venus, just keep a watchful eye on the soil and when this starts to become dry at the top you can water your Venus and find a suitable pattern.

“So do I water from the top or the bottom?”

This is a question I asked myself in the beginning and thought it best wise to water from the top.

Water from the top will help disperse the feed better and can help wash the soil through of anything foreign that could be potentially harmful if left to sit inside the soil. However, water from the bottom will work and is easier but always remember to occasionally feed from the top too.

As for the head of the leaf that is deteriorating, I will cut this with scissors (see below) gently and allow the green leaf to continue to photosynthesize as there are many health benefits still from this.


If you’re growing a Venus yourself leave a comment, let me know how your growth is going it would be great to see other peoples techniques and share together!

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