Interlude: Sarracenia Blooms

It’s been…interesting around the gallery this last week, mostly because the focus is on having everything ready for Texas Frightmare Weekend next week. (I’ve been joking that the response to the phrase “We’re a week away from Frightmare!” is enthusiastic cheering from the attendees, cries of “Once more into the breach, once more!” from the staff, and a sustained Brown Note from the vendors.) Everything is coming through so far, so here are a few photos of the blooms in the Sarracenia pools as they emerge from winter dormancy:

And a little extra in order to demonstrate that carnivorous plants aren’t a dependable form of insect control. This little corner of North Texas is becoming an enclave of the longhorn crazy ant, and they’re doing quite well in disturbed areas such as suburbs. The last two months have been a rush of insect controls such as orange oil drenches, to which they respond by moving their mounds a few meters away and starting fresh. Well, apparently they’ve discovered Sarracenia nectar, both in blooms and in traps, and it’s not turning out well for the little junkies:

The Sarracenia are benefiting for the moment: a percentage of the nectar-slurpers will fall in and feed the plant. However, each pitcher catching five or six per day does nothing for the hundreds of thousands or even millions back in the original nest, so about the only sure way to take out the nest involves art. And so it goes.

2 responses to “Interlude: Sarracenia Blooms

  1. Bought a pitcher plant from you of TFW a few years ago.. what kind of soil can i add to the plant? Thank you!

    • Normally, I’d recommend a 50/50 mix of sphagnum peat moss and sand, but I’ve been less than impressed with the quality of available sand in the Dallas area. (I used one brand of pool filter sand that was spectacular, until the manufacturer started getting it from a new source. The new source had so much limestone dust that it was lethal to carnivores.) If you can get pool filter sand that doesn’t fizz under acid, use that with milled sphagnum moss (watch out for the stuff with added fertilizers, because that’s also lethal to carnivores), add rainwater or distilled water to turn it into a thick mud, and repot away.