If you are one of those who are fans of carnivorous plants, you would surely want to propagate some for your collection. Carnivorous plants not only look exotic but if you get into details of their digestive mechanism and other details, you would be astonished. However, carnivorous plant propagation is not as hard as it may sound at first.
Propagation of Carnivorous Plants
Let’s say you want to propagate a pitcher plant. There are several ways to do this but seed plantation and root cuttings are two of the best methods to propagate this plant, especially for home growers. Let’s discuss how you can increase your carnivorous plant collection.
Here, we will be discussing the propagation of a pitcher plant, but most carnivorous plants can be propagated the same way.
Propagation of Carnivorous Plants by Seeds
To plant seeds, you would first need to collect seeds. Collect the seeds of the pitcher plant in late fall from their dry capsules. Pinch open the capsules over a paper towel or in an envelope.
Drop these seeds into a sandwich bag with a fungicide and shake the bag gently to completely coat the seeds. Now empty the bag over another paper towel and blow off the excess powder.
Take a dampened paper towel and spread seeds on it. Roll up this paper, put it in a zip-top bag, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 months.
After these months, sprout the seeds. Spread them over a mixture of peat moss and sand, water it, and place your planter under grow lights (for best results) for up to 18 hours a day.
The process of germination may take up to weeks. You need to put the seedlings under grow lights for four months before transplanting them.
Propagation of Carnivorous Plants by Cuttings
Propagating a pitcher plant or a carnivorous plant, in general, is a quicker way. This is an easy process, and usually, new gardeners can also use this to propagate their own pitcher plant.
The best cuttings you can get for propagation are taken from a mature plant with actively growing stems. When a pitcher plant starts producing vining stems, harvest a stalk with a basal rosette. Using a sharp razor, choose a stem just below a lower leaf with a growing bud, count three nodes, and make a cut.
Propagation of Carnivorous Plants by Rooting in Water
One way to propagate the cutting is to root it in water or any soilless medium. Take rainwater or distilled water in a glass container and immerse your cutting and its first nod in the water.
Within two weeks, the stem will split and start producing small rootlets. When the cutting has 6 rootlets, it is time to plant it in sphagnum moss. You need to keep the cutting moist moderately.
In a period of almost 6 months, the cutting will develop a classic pitcher form. This is an easy way to propagate a pitcher plant but you need to keep an eye on the cutting for any possible fungus or rot signs.
Propagation of Carnivorous Plants by Rooting in Moss
The pitcher plant you get by rooting a cutting in moss would be the same as the one you get by rooting in water. Usually, professional growers use rooting hormone on the end of cutting and also a fungicide. If you are using a sterile medium to grow the cutting, fungicide is not necessary, however, the rooting hormone enhances the cutting’s ability to produce rootlets.
To provide an ideal growing condition to a pitcher plant from a cutting, use sphagnum moss or a mixture of 50/50 perlite and coir.
Remove the bottom leaf of the cutting and settle the stem into the medium ensuring the other two leaves remain above the soil. Remember, one bud should be below the surface.
Moist the medium lightly, place the container in a plastic bag and keep the bag in an area that is brightly lit. It may take 6 months to 1 year to observe new growth. Do not try to repot the plant or disturb it until new growths appear.
It seems a long period to wait but it’s worth it. You will be happy to see the plant’s characteristic hood soon.
Tips to Grow Healthy Carnivorous Plants
Overall, carnivorous plants are easy to grow. The following tips will help you keep your propagated plants healthy.
- Carnivorous plants love to grow in warm conditions under a lot of bright sunlight in spring and summer. Therefore, to grow them at their best, keep them near a bright window, on a patio that receives direct sunlight, or in a conservatory.
- Usually, carnivorous plants are temperate and need a cool spot in winter, otherwise, they may die. It is ideal to place them in a cool greenhouse or an unheated room with a temperature around 7 degrees. Keep your plant’s compost moist.
- Naturally, carnivorous plants grow in boggy ground. Therefore, their compost needs to remain moist during warmer months.
- Watering these amazing natural creatures with tap water can harm them. Rainwater is ideal for these plants. You can also use boiled water from a kettle once it is cooled down.
- Do not think that you need to pamper your plant and feed it with insects. Your plant can catch whatever they like to eat whether you have placed it indoors or outdoor.
- An important tip is not to fertilize your carnivorous plants. These plants grow in nutrient-poor soil and derive their all nutrients from insects. In fact, fertilizing these plants can be harmful to them and kill them as well.
- Don’t tease carnivorous plants. If the flytrap of your Venus plant is not closing, the main reason could be some curious fingers have poked it many times. A flytrap on a Venus plant only closes five times in a lifetime. Therefore, do not tease and poke your plant.
Carnivorous plants are fascinating creatures that are appealing and educate you on a unique way of feeding. Propagating these plants is no rocket science, and even new gardeners can also do this with some care. You can grow unlimited plants with the techniques shared above and increase your collection.
More about Carnivorous Plants
- Peat moss
- Grow lights
- Distilled water
- Glass container
- Sphagnum moss
- Rooting hormone
- Perlite and coir