"My seeds have arrived in the mail! Now what?"
The first step in being successful with your carnivorous plant
seeds is to determine if they are a variety that require a form
of pretreatment. Many warm temperate North American species
require cold stratification for several weeks in order to
germinate. This signals to these species that winter is over and
it's time to sprout. Some exotic varieties such as some
Byblis, Drosophyllum or Roridula species may
need to be treated with the plant hormone GA3 to induce
germination. Chances are that if you have purchased a tropical
Drosera species, Byblis liniflora, Venus flytrap or Nepenthes seeds,
they can be sown without any special treatment.
"I've determined whether or not my seeds require
cold stratification or GA3 and have treated them accordingly,
Time to select your soil. The most commonly used soil components
in carnivorous plant cultivation are long fibered sphagnum moss
(abbreviated as LFS), sphagnum peat moss and perlite.
From left to right; Long fibered sphagnum moss, sphagnum peat
moss, and perlite.
For beginners, the easiest way to get started is to buy a bag of
LFS which is commonly sold in garden centers. The convenient
thing about this soil component is that many species of
carnivorous plants can be grown in 100% LFS. Peat moss and
perlite are a cheaper alternative if you are dealing with a lot
of plants however some caution must be taken when purchasing
these soil components. Brands such as miracle grow peat moss and
perlite include fertilizer in their product. While this can be a
good thing for garden plants, most carnivores are sensitive to
chemical fertilizer in the soil and can be negatively impacted by
"I've selected my soil. Lets get started!"
Before you can sow your seeds you need to re hydrate the soil. If
you went with pure LFS soak it in a container of distilled or RO
purified water in order to re hydrate it. Peat moss is a bit more
difficult to work with because dry peat is extremely hydrophobic.
In order to re hydrate peat you will have hold it under water and
repeatedly squeeze and mix it until it is a muddy
Peat mix; still dry and unusable.
Once it is ready go ahead and mix in some of your perlite to help
keep the soil airy and light. Grab a handful of your soil and
give it a very light squeeze; if your soil is fully re hydrated
you should notice a small amount of water drain from it. Now take
your pot and break your handful of soil up into it. Remember, you
don't want to compress the soil; it is important that it
remains loose and airy, but you can firm down the surface so that
your seeds don't get lost in the crevices.
Surface firmed down and ready to use.
My preferred sowing mix; peat and perlite with a thin layer
of finely chopped LFS on top.
"All done! How deep should I bury the seeds?"
Never, ever bury carnivorous plant seeds. Most species' seeds
are very tiny and will never be able to sprout if you cover them
up. Just sprinkle your seeds on top of the soil.
Once you've sown them you can mist the pot a couple times to
ensure good surface contact. Now you just need to keep them damp
and in bright light and you should start seeing seedlings in two
to six weeks!
Sown, tagged and ready to grow!
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