from the employee owners at Gardener's Supply Co.

Bog in a Bowl Update

Earlier this summer I potted up a miniature bog garden in a bowl and it thrived! Even the dried sphagnum peat moss grew.

Check Venus fly traps and pitcher plants for aphids before bringing indoors.

Planted in early June, the bog garden is lush and healthy in September.

North American pitcher plants (Sarracenia) stop growing during the winter. Pitchers may naturally turn brown.

Earlier this summer I potted up a miniature bog garden in a bowl and it thrived! Even the dried sphagnum peat moss grew. Some of the plants in it are not winter hardy here in Vermont, though, so I’m getting ready to bring it inside for the winter.

Following my own advice to thoroughly inspect plants before bringing them back indoors, I discovered aphids colonizing the Venus fly trap. These tiny insects aren’t large enough to trigger the traps and get caught. They do damage and ruin the traps, though, by sucking the juice out of them and injecting a substance that deforms the traps, making them useless. It’s a bit tedious, but I dipped a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and swiped every surface of the fly trap “leaves” to kill the aphids. I’ll check it again in a day or two to find any that I may have missed. As an added precaution, I’m spraying the pitcher plants with rubbing alcohol, too. Aphids love the tender new growth and are harder to see in the center of these plants.

Some of the plants in the bowl, such as the tropical sundews and papyrus, will grow all winter, but the temperate Venus fly traps and pitcher plants stop growing or become dormant until spring. To keep all the plants happy, I’ll put the bowl in a sunny south-facing window for a couple of months, then move it into the cool basement under grow lights from December through February. As the days lengthen in March, the plants can come back into the warm, sunny window, then outdoors by late April. At that point, I’ll cut back the old, yellowed stems in anticipation of a flush of new growth.

Carnivorous and other bog plants fascinate me and many are truly beautiful. As a bonus, they do help control flies, daddy-long-legs, and hornets on our deck in the summer. Inside, they feed on fruit flies in the kitchen and fungus gnats in my houseplants year round. Finally, houseplants that really earn their keep!

-Ann Whitman
Green Goods Supervisor, Gardener’s Supply

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous
    September 24, 2009    

    I thought your young gardeners would enjoy an gardening adventure, growing the TickleMe Plant (Mimosa pudica). Recently featured by the National Gardening Association, http://www.kidsgardeningstore.com/14-1030.html
    If you want to give your young gardeners an experience they will never forget, consider having them grow a TickleMe Plant. This is the plant that will close its leaves and lower its branches when you tickle it. They sprout in days and can be grown indoors any time of year. Just Google TickleMe Plants or go to http://www.TickleMePlant.com for information seeds and growing kits. This plant has turned many kids into plant and nature lovers. I know, because I grow TickleMe Plants in my classroom.
    Happy Growing

    Martha

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