Friday, December 14, 2007

New Project!! Many of you know how much this really excites me, especially this time of year. After last winter's "bonsai debacle", I wanted a project for indoors that I can actually handle as a rookie, and I think I found one: carnivorous plants! It came to me while surfing somebody's blog awhile back, when I was frustrated with all the ladybugs in my house and I discovered the concept of plants as indoor exterminators. Even though the ladybugs have mostly disappeared (into my vaccum!), I get a small group of fruit flies from time to time, so why not?! After some research, I decided that Houston Herpetological Supply had a nice selection and good prices, so I placed my order online....and this is what I got! One Butterwort (Pinguicula primuliflora), and one Sundew (Drosera capensis). Along with the plants, I got a small can of freeze dried crickets (small ones) to feed the plants on the rare occasion they don't catch a bug for a month or more. Heh...kinda makes me want to leave some fruit out to ripen so I can attract fruit flies on purpose. (Almost!)

As you can see, they did a great job packaging the plants. In fact, the box was rather dented up but the contents completely unharmed.
Here's the had a dried flower on the stalk (too bad I missed that)...
.....and the sundew (sorry for the blurry picture-I took a bunch, but my hands weren't too steady at the time)...I think these are very cute little plants! Tried to get a close-up of the sticky, fuzzy texture of the sundew....funky!
Since they both prefer humid conditions and my house is extra dry in winter, I decided to put them in this little tabletop greenhouse. Using a bonsai humidity tray and some stones, I fixed it so they can get some extra humidity without staying too wet... ...put the lid on slightly askew so the bugs can get in, and they're all set!
Now if I manage not to kill them, these little exterminators can get rid of the occasional bug chemical-free!


snappy said...

What a lovely winter project.At all the Flower shows I went to they had carniverous plants on display.I love the Sundew one as the sticky stuff really looks like dew! In there little greenhouse they should be as snug as bugs in rugs!
I will watch to see how your project goes!I killed two bonsai off and have gone off them for the moment :)

lisa said...

Heh, I'm a bonsai killer too! I will absolutely keep you posted on these (I hope they fare better).

Rurality said...

Love that little mini-greenhouse!

I'd have to have a whole swamp full of those plants to take care of the number of faux-ladybugs we had this year though.

lisa said...

Karen-RIGHT?! The ladybugs were my inspiration, but I'll have some fat swamp plants if they eat them all next fall! BTW-I got the greenhouse at a "Big Lots" store for $12! Sure, it's not leaded glass and metal like the ones in Smith and Hawken, but I don't want to spend $75 or more, either.

chuck b. said...

Oh, good--maybe they'll eat the spiders.


I was reading about Nepenthes hamata recently... check out this dude:

Marvin said...

I've been interested in carnivorous plants for a long time, but have never gotten around to pursuing my interest. Keep us posted about how things go with your collection of fly-eaters.

Stephen said...

Lisa, Glad you have found such a great hobby! CP are a blast and really pretty. Some suggestions for you. Let the plants sit in the water. They grow in bogs and need to be that wet. Make sure you use reverse osmosis or distilled water. The build up of salts you often see as that white stuff in your flower pots will kill them fast. I hope you didn't use potting soil. They will do best in 1 part peat moss (without fertilizers like the miracle grow peat moss they are selling at a lot of stores these days)and one part washed sand. They love the sun, but don't bake them in the terrarium. They might do just fine in a windowsill without it, even with the dryer winter air, but it all depends on just how dry it is. It's a great idea to have them in thee as they get through the tranplanting stage though. Buy "The Savage Garden" or Growing Carnivorous Plants by Barry Rice. Both great beginners books that will tell you all about how to grow them!

Stephen Davis

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Cute little greenhouse and I like your idea of getting rid of the bugs chemical-free. I hope it works well!

MrBrownThumb said...

Congrats on the carni purchases. I just bought myself a nepenthes to add to my indoor pest control army.

vonne said...

This is something I've never tried and know nothing about! I'll be very interested in how you fare with these. They are so cool looking!

BTW - did you get the Cleisto pics?

Lana Gramlich said...

Enjoy the "indoor exterminators!" We're fortunate enough to live within a mile of a nature center that's home to thousands of various carnivorous plants. I'm also lucky enough to count one of the world's top bonsai artists as a friend.

lisa said...

Whoa! I've been away from the computer for a few days!
Chuck-Thank you for that link! That hamata is the shit, and I like how they are just hanging plants in the house...I feel another acquisition coming on! ;-)

Marvin-I absolutely will keep you posted!

Stephen-Thanks for all the great advice! I did go buy some distilled water, and left them in the pots they came in.

Yolanda-Thanks! Me too!

Mr. Brownthumb-Thanks! I was looking toward a nepenthes for my next purchase.

Vonne-Yes, I finally got the pic...I have been offline awhile and missed a lot!

Lana-You certainly ARE lucky!

Rurality said...

Everybody is always telling me that they get good stuff at Big Lots but I never can seem to find anything there!

BTW, thanks so much for letting me know about that spam comment. For some reason it didn't email that one to me.

lisa said...

Yea, Big Lots is really fact, I wrestled with buying this thing when I should have grabbed more than one! I figured you'd want to get rid of that bizarre, spammy tirade...apparently some folks have lots of time on their hands.