Darlingtonia cultivation

From: Rogan Roth (roth@botany.unp.ac.za)
Date: Mon Mar 01 1999 - 22:33:33 PST

Date: Tue, 02 Mar 1999 08:33:33 +0200
From: "Rogan Roth" <roth@botany.unp.ac.za>
To: cp@opus.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <aabcdefg630$foo@default>
Subject: Darlingtonia cultivation

Dear Darren and others with Darlingtonia problems,

I have had success (so far!) with Darlingtonia against all the odds in
South Africa. Several years ago (three I think) I sowed approximately
30 seeds (thanks Clarke!) on a 50/50 mixture of sphagnum peat and sand
- they have done well since then with some of the larger plants
reaching nearly 100mm (4") in diameter. Some are still growing in the
peat/sand mixture and others are growing in pure living shagnum moss -
the plants in the moss are definitely stronger than the others.

The secret of my success seems to be cultivating them beside a wet
wall (evaporative cooling) in a greenhouse with high light levels (no
shading except in the afternoon). I water them once every two days
with distilled/rain water cooled in a domestic refrigerator. Our
summertime temperatures can climb above 35 C (106 F) coupled with high
relative humidity. The temperature inside the greenhouse is on
average 5-10 C or so lower than the ambient temperature. So why do I
have success? I have no idea!

Perhaps the answer is to erect a small greenhouse with an extractor
fan one end and a wet wall the other. Evaporative cooling pads can be
bought from many sources as well as a suitable water pump to circulate
water over the pad/s... it all depends on how seriously you want to
cultivate Darlingtonia!

Of course many other plants will also benefit from the constant
movement of cool moist air - Utricularia reniformis just loves these
conditions and flowers most profusely. A system such as this should
work very well in California where the relative humidity is not too

Best regards

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