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.