Genlisea culture

Barry Meyers-Rice (
Wed, 2 Mar 94 16:06:19 MST

I got a few questions re: Genlisea culture, so here are some notes from
something I wrote about _G.hispidula_ and _G.violacea_, although
these rules seem equally applicable to _G.repens_ and _G.pygmaea_,
but I haven't gotten flowers from the latter, or seeds from
the former.


Despite its reputatation as a difficult plant, _Genlisea hispidula_ is
very accomodating. I grow mine in live or unmilled dead _Sphagnum_. A
more densely packed medium (such as a peat or sand mix) may not allow
tiny aquatic creatures to swim into the traps. I keep the water table
near or just below the moss surface. Of course, use only pure water for
these plants. I grow mine under 50% shade cloth. The spatulate or cuneiform
leaves (up to three cm long each) are arranged in a rosette. The plant
sometimes becomes covered by heads of growing _Sphagnum_. When this happens
I pull the strands back to keep the plant from becoming buried. Kept at
about 18---35 C (65---95 F) the plant will grow quickly. Cooler than this
and its growth slows. I suspect a frost, however light, would be the end
of your _Genlisea_. Fertilizer is not necessary so I have never used it.

These species, especially _G. hispidula_, are easy to propagate. For
vegetative propagation use cuttings from leaves or traps. Some even
report success using scapes! The cuttings should be partially buried in
live _Sphagnum_. For leaf cuttings, remove as much of the petiole base
as possible, and anticipate the new plantlets to develop anywhere on the
leaf. Leaves can be cut into pieces for more plantlets. If scape
cuttings actually work, I expect the new plants would develop from the
peduncle scales. This species will produce viable seed even if not
selfed. When the seed capsule matures and splits (see Taylor's figure
1--5, CPN 20:1, p34, for the remarkable details of capsule dehiscence),
sprinkle the seed immmediately on wet _Sphagnum_. Germination will
occur in a few weeks. Treat cuttings and seed as you would mature
plants. The species _G. violacea_ is a little more challenging.
Selfings don't produce seed, and leaf cuttings have never struck. I owe
a thanks to Gordon Snelling who first told me about the success of trap
cuttings. In fact when I have examined the traps still attached to a
plant I have noticed parts of the traps (especially the tips) may
develop adventitious leaves which grow to the soil surface and produce
new plants.