Artificial bog Colorado report

Date: Fri Jun 04 1999 - 10:23:54 PDT

Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 11:23:54 -0600
Message-Id: <aabcdefg1995$foo@default>
Subject: Artificial bog Colorado report

Greetings all,

Some of may know that I have been attempting to grow Sarracenia, Dionaea,
and Drosera in an outside bog in Colorado. There are several challenges
to overcome in order to grow carnivores outside in Colorado.

- we frequently have periods of very low humidity.
- this part of the country is naturally very arid and will typically have
periods of 6 weeks in the summer with little or no rain.
- my tap water is exceedingly hard.
- winters can be very erratic. It is not unusual to have a week in mid
winter with temperatures in the low 70's, followed by a snow storm and
highs in the 30's. Occasionally we have low temps in the -20f range
- day/night temperature fluctuations can be extreme, typically around 20
degrees f but sometimes as much as 40 degrees f.

I decided to try an outside bog because I can't afford to build a
greenhouse at the moment and after seeing that Dave Evans in New Jersey
could grow Sarracenia leucophylla outside. I have been growing
Sarracenia indoors under lights for many years, but the plants always
looked rather straggly, I would lose 10% over the winter and plants rarly

My bog consists of a $10 child's wading pool buried in the ground with a
10" wall of landscaping bricks around it. I collect rainwater from my
roof into 3 70 gallon drums. These are piped into the bog which has a
float valve that keeps the bottom 8" waterlogged. Soil is 50:50 peat

About this time last year, I planted a mixture of Sarracenia species and
hybrids (plants that were about 2-5 years old), Drosera capensis, Drosera
binata, Dionaea (normal and a fused tooth form that I bought at the
grocery store).

The plants grew quite well all summer. Around Nov 1 I covered them with
about 10" of straw from the local feed store and disconnected the water
supply. This winter was fairly mild but we did have a week before
Christmas where the nighttime lows were in the -20f range. After a week
or so of weather in the 60-70f range in April, I removed the straw
covering on May 1. This was followed by a few snow storms and temps in
the 20f range, so I covered the plants every night for a few weeks.

All the Sarracenia survived though some of them are just starting to
produce leaves. The S. flava was trying to send up a flower stalk in
that week in May with all the snow. The flower aborted but the plant is
now producing pitchers. S. rubra, S. rubra x leuco and S. purp x leuco
are flowering. The S. oreophila is producing particularly robust

I thought the D. binata had died but it recently came up and looks great.
 No sign of life from the D. capensis.

The typical VFTs survived and are producing nice traps. The fused tooth
VFT appears to have died.

We will see what happens after a few more years. I predict that the more
southern types of Pitcher plants like S. leuco, minor, psitt may have a
hard time adapting to the short growing season, but so far they have
proved more robust than I thought.

If anyone is interested in trying to grow plants outside in a such an
environment, let me know and I will be glad to share more detail.

Boulder, Colorado, USA

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