Mexican Butterwort Care

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PitcherPlanter

 
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Mexican Butterwort Care

by PitcherPlanter » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:37 pm

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Pinguicula moctezumae
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Mexican butterworts are found in places were no one would even expect to find carnivorous plants. These plants make their home in the barren, desert like parts of Mexico and Central America alongside cacti or on rocky cliff walls. The Caribbean islands are home to several different species, some making their homes in the trees as epiphytes. Some of the Mexican and Central American species and hybrids can be the most interesting and forgiving carnivorous plants to add to one's collection.

Species and Classification List
Pinguicula acuminata -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula antarctica -- Argentina, Chile; Homophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula agnata -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula albida -- Cuba; Homophyllous; Annual (Perennial in Cultivation); Terrestrial
Pinguicula benedicta -- Cuba; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula bissei -- Cuba; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial/Lithophyte
Pinguicula calderoniae -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula calyptrata -- Columbia, Ecuador; Homophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula caryophyllacea -- Cuba; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula casabitoana -- Dominican Republic; Homophyllous; ?; Epiphyte
Pinguicula chilensis -- Argentina, Chile; Homophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula clivorum -- Mexico, Guatemala; Homophyllous; Annual (Perennial in Cultivation); Terrestrial
Pinguicula colimensis -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula conzattii -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula crassifolia -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula crenatiloba -- Mexico; Homophyllous; Annual (Perennial in Cultivation); Terrestrial
Pinguicula cubensis -- Cuba; Homophyllous; Annual or Biennial; Terrestrial/Lithophyte
Pinguicula cyclosecta -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula debbertiana -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula ehlersiae -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula elizabethiae -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula elongata -- Columbia, Venezuela; Homophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula emarginata -- Mexico; Homophyllous; Annual (Perennial in Cultivation); Terrestrial
Pinguicula esseriana -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula filifolia -- Cuba; Homophyllous; Annual (Perennial or Biennial in Cultivation); Terrestrial
Pinguicula gigantea -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial/Lithophyte
Pinguicula gracilis -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula greenwoodii -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula gypsicola -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula hemiepiphytica -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Epiphyte
Pinguicula heterophylla -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula ibarrae -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula imitatrix -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula immaculata -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula infundibuliformis -- Cuba; Homophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula involuta -- Bolivia, Peru; Homophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula jackii -- Cuba; ?; ?; Terrestrial/Lithophyte
Pinguicula jaraguana -- Cuba; Homophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial/Lithophyte?
Pinguicula jaumavensis -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula kondoi -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula laueana -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula laxifolia -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula lignicola -- Cuba; Homophyllous; Perennial; Epiphyte
Pinguicula lilacina -- Mexico, Belize, Guatemala; Homophyllous; Annual (Perennial in Cultivation); Terrestrial
Pinguicula lippoldii-- Cuba; Homophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula lithophytica-- Cuba; Homophyllous; Short-lived Perennial or Annual/Biennial; Lithophyte
Pinguicula macrophylla -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula martinezzi -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula mirandae -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula moctezumae -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula moranensis -- Mexico, Guatemala; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial/Lithophyte
Pinguicula nivalis -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula oblongiloba -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula parvifolia -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula pilosa -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula pumila -- United States, Bahamas; Homophyllous; Annual; Terrestrial
Pinguicula potosiensis -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula rectifolia -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial/
Pinguicula reticulata -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula rotundiflora -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula sharpii -- Mexico; Homophyllous; Annual (Perennial in Cultivation); Terrestrial
Pinguicula takakii -- Mexico; Homophyllous; Annual (Perennial in Cultivation); Terrestrial
Pinguicula toldensis-- Cuba; Homophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula utricularioides -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial
Pinguicula zecheri -- Mexico; Heterophyllous; Perennial; Terrestrial

Clarifications
First off, I must clarify the terms I use when regarding the Mexican butterwort group. When I say "Mexican butterworts" or "Mexican Pinguicula" I am referring to the Pinguicula found primarily in Mexico but also in countries such as Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The Latin American species, excluding Mexico and Central America, will be split into 2 groups: the Caribbean species and the South American species. The Caribbean species are are spread across Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and the United States; while the South American species are found in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Another necessary distinction to be made is whether a Pinguicula is 'heterophyllous' or 'homophyllous'. The term heterophyllous is used to describe the change in leaves during dormancy from carnivorous to succulent, this group is the most common in cultivation. The term homophyllous describes the species that do not have a change in leaf characteristics, this group is much more scarce in cultivation. Because the heterophyllous species produce succulent-like leaves to survive the dry season (refer to Dormancy section), unlike the homophyllous species, they are perennials by nature while homophyllous species are more likely to be annuals (but perennials in cultivation). If you are unsure which type of Pinguicula you have, check the list above or post a question, it is almost guaranteed you own a heterophyllous species or hybrid.

Potting Mixes
Probably the most important thing about choosing a potting mix that it should be airy and possess good drainage qualities. Remember, no Miracle-Gro potting mixes, carnivorous plants always need mixtures that are poor in nutrients. Here is a list of common potting mixes:
3 Parts Sand and 1 Part Peat
1 Part Sand, 1 Part Perlite, 1 Part Peat
1 Part Volcanic Rock, 1 Part Sand and 1 Part Peat
1 Part Sand and 1 Part Peat

Containers
Plastic or glazed ceramic pots do well with butterworts. A shallow pot is fine because butterworts have shallow root systems. For alternative methods of growing, Peter D'Amato has grown Mexican Pinguicula on abalone shells with great success. Other growers have down well growing their plants on large volcanic rocks with crevices for the plants to attach to. Another interesting method is refereed to as a 'dripping wall' which consists of a wall of Sphagnum with a series of baffles. Water drips down the wall and the baffles retain some of the water to keep the soil medium saturated. A simple internet search can provide you with detailed information on building this project.

Pests and Diseases
Probably the most common issue for the grower would be Browning Heart Disease, more information can be found in the linked text. Besides that, there are few pests or diseases concerning Mexican Pinguicula. Slugs and Snails will occasionally snack on a Pinguicula but usually move on. Rarely aphids attack the undersides of new leaves, if they do use Orthene or Diazon. Flea collars in close proximity to plants also keep the pests away. In Europe, mites can attack Mexican Pinguicula, causing pale, deformed new leaves, Dicofol is a good remedy. Fungus can attack Pinguicula in dark, humid terrariums and greenhouses. Captan or a similar fungicide works well as well as changing their environment.

Fertilizing
Mexican Pinguicula benefit from foliar feeding of orchid fertilizer diluted to one quarter strength once or twice every month. Only apply to leaves.

Propagation
Seed
All Pinguicula species need to be hand pollinated. The Mexican Pinguicula usually flower in the spring. At the ceiling of the throat is the sticky female stigma and behind that, completely out of sight is male pollen anthers. First insert a brush or tooth pick into the "throat" of the flower and remove the pollinator by making a gentile upward swipe. There should be some pollen on the pollinator and so reinsert it and dab the pollen onto the stigma. The petals will drop and die away in a couple days after successful pollination. Over a few weeks the seed pod will swell. Once it turns brown and opens, collect the seed immediately. You can store them in the refrigerator for a couple months but for the best germination, sow them immediately. Place the seeds on your preferred soil medium, covering the container and place it under bright light. Germination usually occurs in several weeks. Seed is the preferred method of cultivation with the Caribbean and South American species due to their rarity.

Leaf Cuttings
All that is necessary is to take a couple leaves off the plant (depending on the size). One does not have to rip off part of the plant like when making leaf cuttings on a Venus Flytrap. Just place the cuttings on top of the preferred soil medium with the end of the leaf a little buried in the media. Cover the container and put the cuttings under bright light. In a few weeks one should see little plants. Once they are big enough (when the plants have root systems) they can be acclimated over a week by slowly removing the covering on the container day by day. Leaf cuttings are not too fussy and usually strike and survive in most conditions.

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Mexican Pinguicula Species

Climate
Mexican Pinguicula prefer warmer climates and do not rely on high humidity to produce mucus, but do enjoy higher humidity with good air circulation. Ideal temperature ranges are 68-77°F (20-25°C) in the summer and 41-50°F (5-10°C) in the winter, although they are quite tolerant of their growing conditions. One species, Pinguicula esseriana has survived dry freezes of recorded lows in the 20°F range (-7°C) for several nights unharmed.

Light
Mexican Pinguicula enjoy filtered light or partly sunny locations. This makes them a perfect candidate for sunny or partly sunny window. They also thrive under grow lights which makes them good candidates for terrariums. Although be wary, bright light can scorch these plants. Light is also important for the heterophyllous species as it signals when the plants should begin their dormancy period, for more information refer to the Dormancy section.

Watering
Distilled water, rain water or water that has underwent reverse osmosis should be used when watering, just like other carnivorous plants, yet Mexican Pinguicula tend to be more accepting of total dissolved solids (TDS) than other species. The heterophyllous species can be watered overhead to keep the medium moist, although I like to let the medium dry before watering again. I use this method as protection against Browning Heart Disease which has killed several of my plants (refer to Pests and Diseases section). That being said, a lot of other growers have had no troubles keeping their plants moist year round but as a rule of thumb I keep my plants on the drier side to be safe. The heterophyllous Mexican Pinguicula are quite drought tolerant, there was one instance in cultivation were several plants were neglected any water for four years and survived. Long periods of dry weather are common in their habitats so it is no wonder the plants survived. When the plants begin to go dormant and produce succulent leaves in the winter, the amount of water should be reduced; regardless, some keep their Mexican Pinguicula moist year round. You can usually tell how dry a species likes to be kept by the size of the succulent leaves. The tight small leaves of the Pinguicula gypsicola or the "bulb" of Pinguicula heterophylla and Pinguicula macrophylla prefer bone dry conditions. The species with larger winter leaves like some Pinguicula moranensis or Pinguicula agnate like slightly damp soils. The homophyllous species should be kept moist year-round.

Dormancy
The heterophyllous species undergo a "dormant phase" during the year, disregard this section if you are growing a homophyllous species. In Mexico and Central America, the seasons cycle between a summer wet season and a winter dry season. In order to survive the dry spell, the heterophyllous Pinguicula produce succulent leaves instead of carnivorous leaves to store water. Just as previously stated, the heterophyllous species should have a decrease in water but that is not entirely necessary, shortening daylight hours is recommended as it is more effective and helps simulate natural seasons. A decrease in prey as well as a good drop in temperature of about 10°F (12°C) will also add in signaling the plants.

Transplanting
Butterworts tend not to be as fragile as they appear. The heterophyllous species can be transplanted and divided at the end of their dormancy period. Sometimes their leaves uplift them out of the ground in a mass of several plants (usually a mother plant surrounded with many divisions) with the leaves the only things protecting the roots. If this happens, pull off the dead leaves and break apart the divisions to plant them back in the soil. Potted butterworts should have their soil changed every 2 to 3 years.


Epiphytic Species

Pinguicula hemiepiphytica
Of the known epiphytic Pinguicula, Pinguicula hemiepiphytica appears to be the only species endemic to Mexico. Here is a detailed link on the cultivation of this particular species.


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Caribbean and South American Pinguicula Species

Not much is know about the species Caribbean and South American Species, specifically the Caribbean species. In order to cultivate these species, one must carefully research the particular species they are interested in as some require special conditions necessary for their survival. For the most part both species should be treated similar to the homophyllous Mexican Pinguicula, with the Cuban species being kept on the wet side year round with high humidity. South American Species should be treated like the temperate species of Pinguicula.
Species written in red as of now do not exist in cultivation (or there is uncertainty of its existence).

Caribbean Pinguicula Species
This is a wonderful .PDF full of detailed information on the habitat of several Cuban Pinguicula species.

Pinguicula albida
Cultivation of this species is not too difficult if grown in conditions that mimic its wild habitat. Pinguicula albida requires a sandy potting mix just like Pinguicula filifolia as they are found together in nature. Pinguicula albida also requires very high humidity accompanied by high temperatures and indirect sunlight.

Pinguicula benedicta
This species also requires high humidity and damp soil. In its natural habitat it thrives in soil almost entirely composed of laterite which would kill most plants.

Pinguicula bissei
Closely related to Pinguicula benedicta

Pinguicula caryophyllacea
Closely related to Pinguicula benedicta

Pinguicula casabitoana
This species is very similar to that of Pinguicula lignicola. They both grow as epiphytes on relatively smooth trees compared to most ordinary epiphytic plants. Pinguicula casabitoana produces specialized roots that affixes itself to its host tree. Their habitat sustains hot tropical temperatures with 100% humidity, but the humidity drops as it becomes midday. It appears important that the plant dries out for a period of the day as constant moisture can be detrimental to its health. Here is a detailed report of the Pinguicula casabitoana habitat.

Pinguicula cubensis
This species can be treated similar to Pinguicula filifolia.

Pinguicula filifolia
Pinguicula filifolia does well in sandy media such as ordinary Mexican Pinguicula mixes. The most important and difficult thing about caring for this species is maintaining a temperature above 70°F (20°C) as anything bellow will this temperature will lead to a downfall of the plant's health over the span of a few weeks until death. Humidity at 70% or more is perfect, as this is important for the plant to produce healthy leaves. The humidity should only surround the leaves and not above as this can pose problems when the plant flowers. When flowering, the flower remain drier than the leaves of the plant otherwise the plant will be unable to produce seeds. Plants should be watered overhead about once a month to for Pinguicula filifolia appears to produce some kind of toxin through its roots and if left to build up, the plant will eventually die. Doing this allows for the toxin to drain out, otherwise the tray method is preferred to keep the soil wet.

Pinguicula infundibuliformis

Pinguicula jackii
It was believed that Pinguicula jackii went extinct but a new site has been discovered. Little is known about its cultivation.

Pinguicula jaraguana

Pinguicula lignicola
Refer to Pinguicula casabitoana

Pinguicula lippoldii
Relatively new to science, discovered in 2007.

Pinguicula pumila
Treat this species just as you would treat a warm-temperate Pinguicula. A 1:1 soil mix ratio of Peat:Perlite/Sand accompanied lots of sunlight and warmth works well. It be grown permanently wet using the tray system with overhead watering. This plant makes also makes a good addition to a terrarium. Remember to collect seeds as this species can be short-lived.

Pinguicula toldensis
Relatively new to science, discovered in 2007.

South American Pinguicula Species

Pinguicula antarctica
Pinguicula antarctica grows well in a 1:2 ratio of Peat:Perlite/Sand with higher humidity levels and cooler temperatures. These plants grow well in direct sunlight. If you can successfully grow Pinguicula lusitanica, then you can grow this species. Is is surprisingly tolerant to frost and can withstand temperatures down to about 18°F (-8°C).

Pinguicula calyptrata

Pinguicula chilensis
Here is a link regarding some tips on cultivating Pinguicula chilensis, otherwise this species seems pretty rare in cultivation.

Pinguicula elongata
Refer to this link for information on cultivation.

Pinguicula involuta
This plant should be grown similarly to Pinguicula lusitanica.

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-Other Useful Resources-
Grey's Website
Pinguicula.org
Growing Mexican Pinguicula
General Growing Guide by Species


© Flytrapcare.com
© Andrew (PitcherPlanter)
Some Helpful Text From:
The Savage Garden
&
Growing Carnivorous Plants
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Re: Mexican Butterwort Care

by tgplp » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:36 am

I had never heard of a Butterwort until I joined this sight a couple months ago... You say they are carnivorious- do they eat flies like other carnivorous plants? if so, how do they? Do the insects get stuck to their leaves or something?
Thanks for the info! Its really interesting.

~Tgplp :)
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Re: Mexican Butterwort Care

by Daniel_G » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:27 am

butterworts usually only catch small flys and bugs becuase they're leaves are coated with a slippery substance, not sticky. basically when a small fly lands on it its the same kind of effect of when you put a fly in water it can fly so it starts struggling tthen the butterwort leaf gets stimulated so it excretes the digestive juices and eats the small unrary bug :D the size of bugs they eat is small gnats and stuff like that... i think :lol: i dont actually own one :lol:
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Re: Mexican Butterwort Care

by PitcherPlanter » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:09 pm

squirtoman wrote:butterworts usually only catch small flys and bugs becuase they're leaves are coated with a slippery substance, not sticky.

Actually no, Pinguicula are similar to Drosera in that they are flypaper traps. The leaves are covered in fine glandular hairs that secrete a sticky mucus.The insects land on the leaves and immediately begin to struggle which covers them in mucus, eventually they perish. Digestive enzymes diffuse through the mucus and the plant absorbs the nutrients.

pinguiculaillustration.jpg
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Re: Mexican Butterwort Care

by Oblivion » Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:58 am

ive got ping setho's and noticed mine tend to turn the leaf into a slight concave dish shape, its like the edges of the leaves tighten a little bit causing the slight curl.

i believe mine are potted in peat perlite and lime (according to the tag snapperhead gave me with it)

leaf cutting is as simple as snapping off a healthy leaf and poking in the soil, a little plant will sprout in no time.

my "ping sethos" lives under twin 4ft T8 fluro's, about 14hr day and ive noticed them getting a pinkish colour to the leaves over the past month as we entered warmer spring weather (maybe a coincidence, just my observation)

the first few i got died within a day or two of getting too much direct sunlight.
the leaves get a transparent, dry look and its done for :(

they seem to do well at demolishing fungus gnat populations, so if you have a gnat problem think about getting some pings for companion planting.
within a few days the leaves will be absolutely covered in little tiny gnats.

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Re: Mexican Butterwort Care

by Grey » Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:45 am

I would simply like to thank you everso much for this thread, PitcherPlanter! Although my butterworts are thriving, anything new I can do for them to help them grow even more is fantastic!

I have 6 weser and 4 of an unknown species (my camera is still broken so I can't upload pictures), and have fairly recently replanted my weser in a reasonably shallow dish -- I'm now looking into the species more and seeing what interesting alternative growing methods are available.

I'll be printing off this thread and keeping it handy at all times -- thank you again!

Edit: I'm fascinated by the concept of growing them in alabone shells.. I'm from the UK, and so I'm wondering (if I may ask here), where on earth can I acquire these stunning natural containers?

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Re: Mexican Butterwort Care

by Oblivion » Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:00 am

any fish market should sell them.

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Re: Mexican Butterwort Care

by PitcherPlanter » Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:12 pm

You're right Oblivion, I used to have a lot of problems with gnats but now not so much! They make very good companion plants.
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Re: Mexican Butterwort Care

by woowoo » Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:10 pm

Thanks for a great post i have 3 small mexican pings that have not flowered yet so any info on then is great.

Fiona :)

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Re: Mexican Butterwort Care

by Daniel_G » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:35 am

oh yeah is P.sethos one of te plants that can grow on rocks or gravel and the such?
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Re: Mexican Butterwort Care

by Oblivion » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:10 am

it''ll grow in almost anything as long as it has moisture in the rocks or whatever.

john (snapper head) has a full climate control greenhouse for his mind blowing nep and heli collection, so something like a ping will grow with the greatest of ease.

ping sethos is actually a p.moranensiss x ehlersi.

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Re: Mexican Butterwort Care

by Daniel_G » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:56 am

oh ok :D
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Re: Mexican Butterwort Care

by Oblivion » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:56 am

i grow mine in regular peat silica mix.
its got little baby plants everywhere right now and it flowered a month ago so it must be happy

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Re: Mexican Butterwort Care

by Daniel_G » Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:06 pm

ok that's what i'll do then. :D
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Re: Mexican Butterwort Care

by wiki234 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:17 pm

Lol cool. You guys made me interested in them lol do you think they have them at lows or home depot lol I have 2 VFT a d I repotted both of them and now they look awesome

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