Re: Water and Watering

Peter Cole (
Wed, 21 Jun 1995 01:18:22 GMT

Richard Marsden writes:

> Hi! I've been on this list for less than a week - I posted a couple of
> replies, but I don't know if they've worked.

Welcome to the list!

> I'm relatively knew to carnivorous plants - I've had a Venus Fly Trap for
> about 1yr, and I sowed some drosera, and some saracenia hybrids before
> leaving for the US. Emails from England suggest that the drosera are
> doing very well, and the saracenia are "growing".
> Water seems to be the main problem at the moment. I currently collect
> rainwater - but (possibly due to my own laziness) I never seem to collect
> enough. I believe you can get special purifiers, but a lot of "normal"
> purifiers will not do. What kind is suitable for carnivorous plants in
> general?

The problem with drinking water filters is that they use salt
to soften the water - hardly ideal for plants! However, carbon
filters are available which are suitable. I use a Britax
Aquaflor (available from Marstons,) and find it generally very
satisfactory (though our water is very soft here in Swansea
One tip though - the jug is quite pricey, and you'll find the
filter cartridges will fit most (cheaper,) drinking filter jugs
(though they don't have the traditional 'watering can' spout
of course.)
Some people don't like carbon filters - I suspect they don't
do a complete job if the water is very hard - but if you can't
get enough rainwater, it's probably the most practical option
(unless you've got a few hundred quid to spare for a reverse
osmosis unit :)
In an emergency, boiled and cooled tapwater is OK in the short

> Also, there is a fair chance that when I return to the UK, I'll get a job
> which will be 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off sort of thing. This is not very
> good for watering bog plants! I thought that I could build myself a
> simple self-waterer (I do a bit of hobby electronics). This shouldn't be a
> problem, but has anyone had any experience of this sort of thing that
> would be worth passing on? I was thinking of getting a small pump from a
> surplus shop, and device a simple conductivity level switch. A little bit
> of electronics would make the rest work.

If you're considering joining the ICPS, there's an article in
the latest newsletter about a chap in Dallas who's building
something very similar, with a few extra bells and whistles -
weather sensors, modem port (I kid ye not!) etc. - the plans
would probably be of interest to you.

> I'm over here in CA for 4 months - return at the end of August. I'm
> actually a postgrad student working on an earthquake from 1957, but I
> shall be touring around in August. What are good localities to visit in
> the Western US (I haven't decided exactly which States to visit) for
> various CP? I'm not going to take any samples or anything like that -
> I've no need (I've found a good supplier in Hereford),

Marstons - good quality, but a bit pricey, and they haven't got
as large a selection as they used to... still, it is a splendid
place to visit (especially when the Sarracenia are in bloom!)
You may find the seller/grow list in the archive of interest
for addresses and prices.

Again, welcome to the list, and happy growing,