Far Out Flora

California Carnivores

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On Saturday Matti and I got out of the city (Outer Sunset fog) for a little plant day trip to sunny Sebastopol in Sonoma. First stop, California Carnivores the home of the largest collection of carnivorous plants in the world!  Chomp 2! Return of Carnivorous Plants is cool, but the nursery is AMAZING. Owner Peter D’Amato has been growing carnivores for almost 40 years.

Cobra Plant (Darlingtonia californica)

The sweet bog garden above is full of  Cobra Plant (Darlingtonia californica). This guy is native to Northern California and Southern Oregon. Apparently it’s not the easiest to grow.

Pitchers, and more pitchers

American Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia) are an easier option than the Cobra. Our very first carnivore was an American Pitcher. Matti found it on craigslist for free. He was a little disappointed to find a little plastic baggy with a root ball in it when we picked it up. I threw it in some wet peat moss not really knowing what to do, and it grew in to a happy, huge plant.

Swimming pools of pitchers

Some day we’ll have enough to warrant a kiddie pool out back. Our pitchers are recovering from some plant abuse. Hopefully they won’t call a hotline on us. I put the Sarracenias outside last the winter (they could live outside year long really). All was fine, until the rainy season stopped. We forgot to water them a few times… they’re not dead which is good, but they don’t look so hot right now. They’re inside now, where we can keep a better eye on them.

Flowering American Pitcher (Sarracenia)

I love the funky blooms on these guys.

Venus Fly Trap

Not only are there shelves and shelves of some of the coolest plants you’ve ever imagined, there are all kinds of crazy stuff hanging around the nursery.

Sundew scary skull

I’m pretty sure these are Cape Sundews (Drosera). These guys are native to South Africa. I’ve found them to be very easy to grow. They’ve given us tons of babies too. Every spring the aphids go after them, but a little spray of a pyrethrin based pesticide does the trick. Check out Matti’s earlier post about their blooms and more growing information.

'Fang' the double Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula)

This freak of nature has had double traps for two years in a row. Weirdo. There’s an entire photo album dedicated to mutations on California Carnivores cool facebook page.

Tropical Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes) and tillandsia

We’ve had a tougher time growing Nepenthes, but now have two that are really happy and shooting out pitchers for us. Our adopted plant now has three full pitchers. We blogged about it back when it bloomed.

Boxes of fabulous

Plastic lizards, tillandsia, nepenthes, and live sphagnum moss in a box. I love it!

Tub of fun

Check out the three little space dudes watching over the ‘biohazard’ container. Want to learn more? On July 15th Peter D’Amato will be at the Conservatory of Flowers for his lecture, The Savage Garden: An Introduction to Carnivorous Plants. Only fifteen bucks!

9 Comments

  1. Last August was my first trip there, and I hope to return again before too long. It was such a cool place and you’ve captured its quirkiness really well! One of the plants I purchased had a few “free” little plants growing in the pot, a couple of different sundews and a bladderwort. Peter was great and wrote out their names on a little label so I could research them when I got home. How I wish I could grow the darlingtonias–I’ve killed one already, not a plant from Cal Carnivores. That’d be a great addition to my native plants.

  2. Thanks lost! Summer is the best time to go. The darlingtonias sound tough, but they’re so cool. Hope you get back for a visit soon!

  3. Wow, what an incredible display! I’m completely envious. We do some flytrap growing over here in England, but nothing to that scale. This page is now bookmarked for inspiration :)

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