Bugged.

The other day I went into one of those giant hardware stores to get some light bulbs. I was also trying to get in at least ten-thousand steps for the day and I once walked more than two and a half miles through one of those stores—not on purpose; I was trying to find someone who could get something off a high shelf, but that’s another story.

I always go through the garden section because I like to look at the plants and I noticed they had several varieties of carnivorous plants for sale in plastic boxes. Actually they had several varieties of dead carnivorous plants.

From the information on the side of the boxes it seems to be a pretty cool company, although I haven’t been able to find much about them online. The “Women owned” part intrigued me and made me think it’s a company that deserves some support. When I had a carnivorous plant collection most of the growers I knew–I’d guess around three-fourths–were men. But there were some things about the plants that bugged me.

First of all August is a terrible time of year to buy a Venus flytrap or any species of North American pitcher plant, which I think is what they were selling based on the pictures on the sides of the boxes. These plants go dormant in the winter so they should be planted and given a chance to acclimate in the spring so they have a nice long growing season. The “Never below 40°” is just flat out wrong for North American carnivorous plants. They shouldn’t be subjected to a hard freeze, although some North American pitcher plants to grow as far north as Canada, but they do need at least a light frost to go fully dormant. Tropical carnivorous plants, which are mostly easier to grow, need to be kept warm all the time because, well, you know–they’re tropical, although some of them don’t mind cooler weather.

The plants in the boxes had also been dead for so long I really couldn’t tell what they were but one picture shows what looks like a cobra lily or California pitcher plant, or Darlingtonia californica if you want to get scientific about it. It’s a cool looking plant but it’s also not one for a casual grower. It’s not one even most experienced growers want. It’s got very special needs and, while I have heard of people trying to grow it at home, the only way they could do it was to rig up a cooler and a pump to provide it the cold running water it likes to have running over its roots all the time.

Carnivorous plants are fun to grow and there are plenty of varieties that are easy to grow which is why I hate to see dead or dying plants in lousy packaging stuck in the back of a garden center where they won’t get any attention or, worse, will get picked up by someone who doesn’t know any better. I feel like the plants deserve better and I feel like this company that’s selling them deserves better too.

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11 Comments

  1. pinklightsabre

    Yeah that’s quite lame to be selling dead plants, to let the plants die is one thing but then to try and sell them is another. Lame!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I just hope people are looking at the plants before they buy them. In fact, now that I think about it, the reason the plants I saw were all dead was because everybody before me looked at them and said, “I’ll pass.”

      Reply
  2. M.L. James

    Chris,
    While I’ve never owned a carnivorous plant before (I have a phobia from watching Little Shop of Horrors), I hate when shops (large or small) don’t take care of the plants they’re selling. It’s a pet peeve of mine. These poor babies don’t stand a chance and end up in the dumpster. You’re right, they deserve better! People have rights. Animals have rights. Who’s looking out for the plants? Ack! Mona

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Mona,
      Please specify which Little Shop Of Horrors gave you a phobia of carnivorous plants. And if it was the one with Rick Moranis was it the theatrical ending where Seymour and Audrey live happily ever after or the original director’s cut where the plant wins in the end? Or the Roger Corman film that was famously shot in twenty-four hours.
      Anyway you’re right, plants do have rights, but, as Little Shop Of Horrors told us, the meek shall inherit, and who’s more meek than the plants?

      Reply
  3. BarbaraM

    As a side thought – you could write/call the company and tell them the condition you found their products in, where in the store, and how neglected. The company absolutely SHOULD be informed that their estimated income is going to be drastically reduced if they continue selling to the store and their reputation will also be damaged. Then it’s up to them if they want to continue doing business with them.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s a very good thought and I did try and find contact information for the company but it was a bit sketchy. I’d like to find some way to contact them but I also think to some extent this is just the nature of plant selling. A certain amount of loss goes with the territory.

      Reply
  4. M.L. James

    FREE AUDREY II! By the way, who was the first Audrey? Sorry. Got a little carrier away! Mona
    M.L. James recently posted…Hot Gossip and QuestionsMy Profile

    Reply
  5. mydangblog

    What do you feed a carnivorous plant? I just water my regular plants—do they need puréed worms or something? Maybe there weren’t enough flies in the store to sustain them? Either way, it’s too bad they were dead.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      If you have a carnivorous plant feed it bugs. When I was a kid and would sometimes see Venus flytraps in the stores there were little instruction booklets that said things like “Feed it raw hamburger.” That’s what you feed it if you want it to die. Mostly, though, carnivorous plants are good at feeding themselves even when grown at home. They don’t need much, really, and I hope it doesn’t freak you out too much when I say there are probably enough bugs in your home to sustain some of the easy-to-grow carnivorous plants like certain kinds of sundew.

      Reply
  6. ANN J KOPLOW

    Fish stuck in little bags in pet stores have always bugged me, Chris, and I appreciate you expanding the empathy here.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I hate to see fish stuck in little bags too, or even little bowls, as too often happens with betas. I like the way we bring nature into our homes sometimes but, yes, it must be done with respect and care.

      Reply

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