FlytrapCare Carnivorous Plant Forums

Sponsored by FlytrapStore.com

Discuss water requirements, "soil" (growing media) and suitable planting containers

Moderator: Matt

User avatar
By Intheswamp
Location: 
Posts:  3126
Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#416028
Mostly to do with flytraps, sundews, and pitchers...the little CP world I live in. ;)

Water:
1. If at all possible, do purchase a TDS meter (~$15 on amazon). It makes life nice.
2. Use water that measures under 50ppm of TDS. (Some people's tap water is safe to use. Not mine, though. :( )
3. Use most any water for a short period of time if #2 isn't available. Flush later with good water.
4. Not following #3 can result in quick plant death. Think "bleached cow skull in Death Valley".
5. Use distilled water, reverse osmosis (RO) water, rainwater, dehumidifier water, possibly AC water.
6. Most of the above water can be used without testing with a TDS meter.
7. Rainwater is the least expensive, the TDS and the pH are usually good.
8. Rainwater TDS measurements will vary...rural lower, city higher, but either should be usable
9. I feel better using distilled water for seed-starting. No plant spores, fungus, etc.,.
10. I feel better using rainwater for growing/grown plants...cheaper, natural, it's cheaper.<g>
11. A 5-gallon bucket is great for catching/storing rainwater. They also are cheap ($5) or can be free.
12. Check bakeries for freebie buckets.
13. A 32-gallon Rubbermaid garbage can holds more, though, but they're $20...but they hold more!
14. Place containers beneath gutter spouts, roof drip lines, etc., to catch rain.
15. Do not catch the first few minutes of rainwater from the roof. It's dirty from roof debris.
16. A few minutes later much of the debris will be rinsed off the roof...then start catching the water.
17. A (very) small 10'x10' roof can produce around 30 gallons of water from a 1/2" rain.
18. No roof? Hang a tarp between supports with a dip in the middle creating a low point that empties into a bucket. Maybe a 10'x12' tarp?
19. The hard-plastic kiddie pools that people use for bog garden containers work well simply set in the yard to collect rain. Heavy rains you get a lot, light rains not so much.
20. There's doggie-pools, too. TSC.
21. Your rain catchment system will not catch rain if it isn't set up when it rains.
22. Plastic cat litter boxes, emptied milk/tea/oj/water/etc jugs, are all good for water storage, too.
23. Do not use empty Round-Up jugs for water storage. :roll:
24. Use mosquito bits or dunks if your water storage container is not completely sealed.
25. It might look a little murky, but your flytrap will love it! I prefer it to be clear, but...

Peat Moss:
1. Bales are much cheaper than small multi-quart packages but take up much more room for storage and can be a problem transporting if you don't have a vehicle that will carry them.
2. Small multi-quart packages "seem" to usually be good quality.
3. Quality seems to vary more with bales...it varies between brands and between batches of the same brands.
4. Never buy Greensmix peat moss from Tractor Supply (personal experience, YMMV).
5. I've had to sift the Greensmix, otherwise unusable. I don't know what other brands are like, yet.
6. I usually rinse my peat moss 2 or 3 times, letting it soak for a day or two in between a rinse and the next one. Squeeze the water out good each rinse. You'll never get it perfect.
7. A paint-strainer bag that fits inside a 5-gallon bucket helps keep things neat when rinsing peat moss. (Lowes/HomeDepot/Amazon)
8. Timing a good rain with a kiddie pool laid out to catch lots of water works great when it's peat moss washing time! Washing peat moss takes lots of low-TDS water!
9. It is recommended to wear gloves and a dust-mask when handling peat moss. It does carry some risks with it. Just sayin'....

Perlite:
1. Buy big bags if it is available that way, it's cheaper.
2. Rinse it!
3. Rinse it! I was shocked to see how milky the water became the first time I rinsed it. Very milky looking. The processing plants use whatever nasty water that they have on hand to wet it with during its production to keep dust down. It could be salty, alkaline, yucky water. Rinse it.
4. Wear a mask for this one, too, until you get it wet...it can be *really* dusty.

Sphagnum moss:
1. I don't know enough about it to say much. (I don't know that much about the other things, but that didn't stop me with them, did it! :lol: )
2. Some people swear by it, some people curse it. I haven't gained enough knowledge and confidence to use it in great amounts. Peat moss is a bit more "forgiving" in regards to water retention...from what I've seen.
3. There is dried sphagnum and live sphagnum. Both look good and can used for a top dressing. Live sphagnum looks really nice.
4. Live sphagnum can outgrow some CPs. It might need pruning back occasionally.
5. I wish I knew more than I do about sphagnum moss. I'll learn...slowly...maybe surely.

Sand - Coarse, #12, pure silica:
1. This is like...a chicken with teeth, a unicorn, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, an honest politician. From my experience...these things and coarse #12 sand do not exist.

Sand - "Other"
1. The key is to use *SILICA" sand. Other non-silica, non-quartz sands can leach minerals into the grow-mix which can harm your plants.
2. Finer grained sand is much more available, not as good as the coarser grade but usuable.
3. Pool filter sand is often recommended. It is usually stated as #20 grade. I have heard mention of a "coarse" pool filter sand.
3. General "play sand" and "builders sand" are usually not recommended but sometimes they are found to be acceptable. It takes testing.
4. Put some sand in a glass and pour a depth (couple of inches?) of 5% vinegar over it. Let it sit for an amount of time (10 minutes?, a half hour?, 24 hours?) and then look for any fizzing, bubbling, foaming, big bubbles, little bubbles, etc., happening. The vinegar is reacting with non-silica grains in the sand being tested. If you see the fizzing and bubbling...don't use it.
5. Silica sand is quartz sand. The grains will be translucent to transparent...light will pass through them. They will not be opaque (no light passes through). The grains may be different colors, other than clear. But, mostly clear.
6. Sand helps increase drainage but really fine-grained sand can lead to soil compaction...not good.
7. Sand can be used as a top dressing to hinder algae growth, stop peat and perlite from getting splashed onto the plants from rain, etc.,. I haven't used sand much...but plan on using more in the future.

Pots:
1. Use *rigid* plastic pots. Soft-sided pots flex too much when handled, shifting the grow-mix and disturbing the plant roots.
2. Do not use regular clay pots...they leach minerals into your grow-mix. Bad.
3. Glazed, ceramic pots can be ok...but they need to be sealed very well.
4. Full-sized (grown) plants...5" deep minimum....7" and deeper are even better.
5. Seed germination and small seedlings...3" deep pots seem to be fine.
6. Pots need plenty of drainage holes. An electric drill is your friend.
7. Pots without holes can be transformed into a thing of beauty with the help from your "friend".
8. White pots are cooler than dark-colored pots.
9. Large Styrofoam cups are good pots...punch holes in the *sides* of the bottom. Flat-bottomed cups can have bottom-drilled drainage holes blocked by the surface they sit on.

Fertilizing:
1. I don't know enough to talk about it, but extreme caution is usually recommended.

Feeding:
1. Same as fertilizing. I've tried it once so far with re-hydrated bloodworms. Not a memorable experience. I don't think I killed anything, though.

Light and Temperature:
1. Plants need light and they enjoy temperatures that you enjoy...maybe a tad warmer for flytraps and pitchers.
2. Flytraps and pitcher plants need full sun and enjoy it on the warm side. Windowsills don't cut it for them.
3. Sundews enjoy a little relief from the blistering sun and heat. Lots of them are happy on windowsills.
4. The other CPs...I really don't have a clue.

Ok, that's my psychotic ramblings for this morning. Actually, I'm just tired of thinking and writing. :mrgreen:
All points are subject to change without notice. Vote early and vote often. Never miss an opportunity to visit the john. Things in your rear view mirror are closer than they appear. Side effects are: I *think* it's done. Check's in the mail. Etc.,.
Last edited by Intheswamp on Tue Jul 05, 2022 9:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.
lemon liked this
User avatar
By Bluefire
Location: 
Posts:  654
Joined:  Thu Jun 30, 2022 4:58 pm
#416049
If I may:
I, too, would like to ramble a little.
I agree with all prior points and:
Feeding: 3: If you have a smaller collection or want to see carnivores in action, millipedes are convenient. If you have potted plants sitting on the ground outside they might be hiding beneath. They are slow and good flytrap food. Plus, you can drop them into various pitchers. Ants also work for this purpose, find some carpenter ants and drop them into a bowl of water. Let them drown. Then drop them down a pitcher or onto a sticky leaf.

Notes on Nepenthes:
They don’t need all that much light, a windowsill is sufficient (or more than enough) light if you can get the humidity up for pickier plants. Common garden center varieties don’t even need that.

A clear plastic box on a window sill can satisfy plant humidity needs. The air conditioning could allow you to control the environment enough to grow some intermediates and even highlanders. For air circulation, you can have a computer fan inside the box.

Feeding a new pitcher helps it color up nicely. I feed every new pitcher that opens.

If you have a vining plant and want a basal, let the vine droop. The plant will try to grow upwards by sending a basal (or multiple) towards the sky.

Notes on Heliamphora:
I grow them on the windowsill with my highland Nepenthes and they do just fine. The light, temperature, and humidity have been enough to keep them happy for years so far, so I think it’s safe to say it works.

I use a pipet to put water in the pitchers when they dry out to prevent water from getting stuck in the crown of the plant. I top water and use a mix of LFS and bark (fir?), the plants explode in that (may have to divide the H. minor soon). A top dressing of live Sphagnum looks great with these and helps keep up the humidity.

If you top dress a CP’s soil with live Sphagnum, it can be a watering indicator. If the moss is dry, give the plant a little water.

Removed a pitcher while repotting or cleaning the dead growth? If there’s some white stuff at the base you can chuck that into some Sphagnum and get a tiny clone. Has happened accidentally to me.

Notes on Pinguicula:
I have successfully cross pollinated my butterworts using dried Nepenthes tendrils to mimic a pollinator’s tongue entering the flower. Flick inside the tube a little and pull out, the yellow pollen is very obvious if you’ve collected it. That can then be dabbed onto the flap in front of the tube of another flower to get seeds.

Sprouting those seeds is another thing entirely and I am HORRIBLE at that.

Notes on Aldrovanda:
If you split a plant, congrats. You now have multiple. They will also multiply themselves until you wish you could stop them. Just pouring rainwater into wherever you keep them is enough to feed these guys. I put them into a bowl of water in whatever empty space I have in my Nepenthes grow spaces, they don’t seem to care which environment they wind up in.

Hope this helps somebody.
Attachments:
Heliamphora minor
Heliamphora minor
1AFA62E1-BE7A-4A7C-8F77-CC76CDF42B60.jpeg (1.88 MiB) Viewed 5109 times
User avatar
By Bluefire
Location: 
Posts:  654
Joined:  Thu Jun 30, 2022 4:58 pm
#416638
redcurranssa1 wrote: Thu Jul 14, 2022 1:53 am Notes on Nepenthes: If you can get the humidity up for pickier plants, a windowsill is ample (or more than enough) light for Nepenthes. Common types from garden centers don't even require that.

Plants can have their humidity requirements met by a clear plastic container on a window sill. You might be able to manage the atmosphere well enough with the air conditioning to grow some intermediate and even highlander plants. You may put a computer fan inside the box to help with airflow.

A fresh pitcher gets a great color up by being fed. I fill up each fresh pitcher that appears.

Allow the vine to droop if you have a vining plant and desire a basal. The plant will attempt to ascend by directing a basal (or numerous basals) upward.

Notes about Heliamphora: I successfully grow them on the windowsill alongside my highland Nepenthes. I believe it is reasonable to claim that it works because the light, temperature, and humidity have been sufficient to keep them content for years so far. flagle
…these are my notes, just reworded… any reason why?
za419 liked this
User avatar
By Intheswamp
Location: 
Posts:  3126
Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#416650
Why? I wondered this myself. At first I thought it was simply a troll seeking responses or a spammer trying to build up post counts. I'm beginning to think it is someone testing out an app that rephrases or rewords already written documents to see if readers easily detect it as being a reworded recent post. Possibly someone is trying to use, or is creating an an app to plagiarize someone else's work so that a search algorithm won't turn up a match to an existing document. They're using forum members as guinea pigs for their testing. It seems many kids these days are walking away from universities and colleges with participation trophies.

Just my redneck thoughts. :mrgreen:
thepitchergrower liked this
User avatar
By ChefDean
Location: 
Posts:  9085
Joined:  Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:44 am
#416652
It was a spammer, we get a few, and sometimes we can get them soon after they post, boot them while they're still online, and y'all are blissfully unaware that they were here. However, when we don't catch them in the act, but members promptly report them, they get booted quickly. They usually don't come back for a number of reasons, but the quicker they get reported and booted, the better we can keep this forum.
I actually just got booted from a FB page because I called out the fact that one in five posts daily was spam. I asked why this was allowed (perhaps a bit more sarcastic than that), got into a debate with an Admin about why more isn't being done about it, and he basically told me that he was taking his ball and going home; then booted and blocked me from the page.
One shining point was, during the debate, he suggested that, if I didn't like how the page was run, I should find another place and suggested flytrapcare.com forums. I thought that was funny as all get out.
Bottom line, we try to keep this as friendly and as inclusive as we can, but the spam is an unneeded distraction. Please continue to report crap when you see it, and we'll do our best to keep these forums the best in all the lands.
Intheswamp, Bluefire, za419 and 1 others liked this
User avatar
By Bluefire
Location: 
Posts:  654
Joined:  Thu Jun 30, 2022 4:58 pm
#416656
Intheswamp wrote: Thu Jul 14, 2022 11:41 am Why? I wondered this myself. At first I thought it was simply a troll seeking responses or a spammer trying to build up post counts. I'm beginning to think it is someone testing out an app that rephrases or rewords already written documents to see if readers easily detect it as being a reworded recent post. Possibly someone is trying to use, or is creating an an app to plagiarize someone else's work so that a search algorithm won't turn up a match to an existing document. They're using forum members as guinea pigs for their testing. It seems many kids these days are walking away from universities and colleges with participation trophies.

Just my redneck thoughts. :mrgreen:
That’s just shady. People: go to university if you can handle it without cheating, go to actually learn, and do know- plagiarism can get you into really hot water, so just… don’t. It isn’t worth it.
thepitchergrower liked this
User avatar
By Intheswamp
Location: 
Posts:  3126
Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#416658
I agree, but we're living in a changing world that some of the change isn't for the best. But, that was just a thought I had after doing a google search for rewording posts, etc.,. I didn't even know those apps were out there. Uncharted waters civilization is heading into...
User avatar
By Bluefire
Location: 
Posts:  654
Joined:  Thu Jun 30, 2022 4:58 pm
#416660
Intheswamp wrote: Thu Jul 14, 2022 12:33 pm I agree, but we're living in a changing world that some of the change isn't for the best. But, that was just a thought I had after doing a google search for rewording posts, etc.,. I didn't even know those apps were out there. Uncharted waters civilization is heading into...
Sometimes I think to myself, the more I know people, the less I want to. At least I can talk to my plants…

Honestly, your theory about the post being a test of rewording software doesn’t seem too far-fetched to me, as writing original essays that don’t suck is genuinely hard. I could imagine someone having difficulty and turning to an easy solution, since I’m really lazy, I’m surprised I haven’t. It still isn’t a good thing to do, but knowing it exists is good preparation for the gross world out there (in my humble opinion).
User avatar
By Panman
Location: 
Posts:  6249
Joined:  Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:41 pm
#416663
I've seen several bot posts recently that just slightly changed a previous post.
User avatar
By Bluefire
Location: 
Posts:  654
Joined:  Thu Jun 30, 2022 4:58 pm
#416664
Panman wrote: Thu Jul 14, 2022 2:29 pm I've seen several bot posts recently that just slightly changed a previous post.
I’ve been here less than a month and the amount of spammers booted from the forum is more than I expected.
User avatar
By ChefDean
Location: 
Posts:  9085
Joined:  Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:44 am
#416669
Bluefire wrote: Thu Jul 14, 2022 2:32 pm
Panman wrote: Thu Jul 14, 2022 2:29 pm I've seen several bot posts recently that just slightly changed a previous post.
I’ve been here less than a month and the amount of spammers booted from the forum is more than I expected.
They come in cycles, and you came in at a time that they're more annoying, like a mosquito. Maybe due to the heat they're staying in more, have more time on their hands, and are being more active. But then there are times that we go a month and only see one.
User avatar
By Bluefire
Location: 
Posts:  654
Joined:  Thu Jun 30, 2022 4:58 pm
#416673
Intheswamp wrote: Thu Jul 14, 2022 4:51 pm It does seem like bots come in swarms, and just not here. Maybe Musk flushed the mosquitoes out of the Facebook bush and they needed somewhere to land. :lol:
In that case, prepare the plants. We have some mosquitoes for them to eat!
Intheswamp liked this
Better-Gro LFSM

Here is the response from Better-Gro: “Both[…]

Natalensis that wont stop growing

I grew these from seed but now they are growing c[…]

A simple request presented by Intheswamp: D. "[…]

I have the same thing happening my two typical ca[…]

Last fall I harvested some of my own flower stalk[…]

When to cut flower stems?

Two of my sundew drosera (albo probably) are flowe[…]

Questions about Mexican pings

ICPS web site has very good info on pings, and all[…]

Support the community - Shop at FlytrapStore.com!