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How did you get into CP's?

I just wanted to ask how did you guys get into CP's?

For me, I came across a picture of some Nepenthes raffelsiana while researching for a project 5 years ago. I then HAD to try to grow some...
So, I read up some on CP's, and decided to grow some.
After getting a Drosera spatulata, Nepenthes ventricosa, and an "Akai Ryu" VFT from a large, general purpose online retailer.
They arrived in terrible shape, but after nursing them back to health, and seeing how awesome they looked, I was hooked!
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Basically I ordered some Utricularia graminifolia to grow and sell, way back when a few strands of the stuff was like $15. I'd read it was a weed and I'm always looking for nice easy to grow plants that can sell for a bit. So it just made sense to order some. One Utric, led to another Utric, and another, and just one more...ok I'll stop now...oh one more won't hurt...there is room right? As long as my wife doesn't see the package she won't notice the extra plant...I did have a problem for a few years.

Then I met Mr. Cephalotus...

I've been using my plants to pay for their electric and equipment for years, part of the reason I think my wife hasn't tossed them all out the window. I don't make a profit per say, and if you figured out my $ per hour wage...well I would be on par with a lot of sweat shops. But any hobby that can pay for itself is a win in my book.

The amount of terrariums/lights/plants graminifolia has paid for over the years would shock a lot of people.
Since I was a kid, I always had the odd vft or Nepenthes hanging around the house without giving them much thought aside from the novelty of their value as curiosities. I grew N.gracilis in several of my dart frog tanks but still thought relatively little of them. It wasn't until one autumn day about 15 years ago when I was visiting a friend who was working on a construction site in NH that the seeds of obsession really germinated.

They were leveling a swampy area on the side of a road to make way for a new drug store. I looked to the side and in a muddy pile of bulldozed muck and sludge was a semi crushed Sarracenia purpurea purpurea. I walked over to examine the plant since I'd only seen them one other time in a cranberry bog as a kid when I noticed several more. The pitchers were mostly smashed to bits but the roots and rhizomes were still intact. I asked my friend "Were these just growing right here ?". He told me that they were everywhere and most had already been loaded into dump trucks with the rest of the "debris" and hauled off. He said that if I wanted them I'd better grab them because they were about to be under a few tons of hot top. I scooped up a total of 8 plants along with a few handfuls of the sphagnum moss that was in the pile with them.

When I got home I quickly researched their care and got to work. The hardware store down the street had childrens wading pools on sale for $5.00 (since it was the end of the season). I picked one up along with a few bales of peat moss and headed home to dig a hole. An hour later I had my first "bog garden". I just hurriedly threw the peat in, hosed it down, covered it with the sphagnum and stuffed the plants in. The bog proved successful the following spring when all the plants flowered and started putting out new pitchers. I also noticed that many Drosera intermedia and rotundifolia were emerging from the moss. During that summer I added S. x'Judith Hindle', S. x'Dana's Delight' and 3 typical and 2 'Akai Ryu' Dionaea plants that I picked up from local garden centers.

I never expected these plants to survive a NH winter outside unprotected but the following spring, all plants were doing just fine. I decided to abandon the small wading pool and construct a larger bog at my mothers house using a flexible pond liner. After my success with the bogs I started reading more and more about carnivorous plants and started to branch out into other genera and expand the collection.

That first real bog while somewhat untended along with all 8 of those original Sarracenia plants is still intact and growing to this day.
From my CP webpage:

For me, it all began sometime in the 1970's..
I don't recall the exact year, but I was probably around 8 to 10 years old, so it was the late 70's.
One day I was at Tioga Gardens with my family, and I saw Venus Fly Traps for sale!
Like all 10 year olds, I thought it was the coolest thing ever and I had to have one!
and I got one!

I remember trying to feed it bugs that summer..it died after a few months..
which probably also happens to all 10-year olds with their first VFT..
I didnt have the slightest idea how to take care of it..
no books, no internet, no nothing..
"oh well..they must be really hard to take care of." I thought..
It was cool while it lasted..

Flash forward to 1994..when the CP adventure really begins!

Im now 25 and had just moved to Rochester, NY for my first "real" job after college.
I remember watching something on TV with my roomate Rob..
somehow, and I dont remember how, (it might have been WKRP in Cincinnati!)
the subject of Venus Fly Traps came up..

Rob said "I had one when I was kid, but it died.."
"me too.." I said.."It would be cool to have one again"..
"yeah, it would" said Rob.."I wonder where we can get them?"

"yeah..me too..hmmmmm"

and that was it!
the seed was re-planted in my head, and I got my first Sarracenia and my second VFT that spring..
and I have been obsessed with them ever since.

I checked the Rochester library, and they actually had a few books about Carnivorous Plants!
I was honestly amazed..those books taught me how to actually cultivate CPs properly!
Information that was unavailable to me when I was ten years old..

So one Summer circa 1979, when I was 10 years old.
then 1994 to 2014 continuously..20 years this Spring! :)
Great thread. I've always wondered how members got into these plants.

I was breeding orchid mantis about 3 years ago and someone posted that they wanted to trade for sarracenia purpurea seeds. I got some seed and quickly got them to germinate to my suprise. There was a decent supplier for cps in SoCal and I was able to find some good plants at lowes the following months. I started trying to collect everything but found that I really enjoy purps and cephs. I do still have a handful of the purps that got me hooked in the hobby!
With the massive amount of orchids I've grown and had passed through my hands over my life how have I never know there was an orchid mantis!

Must read up on these guys!
They are pretty cool looking. I'd probably keep them if I had enough space to. They are really beautiful insects.
One of the baby orchids


Male - super tiny!

I have some better glamor shots of the females somewhere. I'll have to dig them up. They are very beautiful bugs. I don't miss the hassle of caring for them though!
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I bought a VFT from a plant sale in grade school. After, my mother bought me one of those carnivorous plant kits from one of her garden catalogs (I think it was Michigan Bulb). And then I murdered all of them with fertilizer sticks. My interest for carnivorous plants declined after that. I still grew other plants but it wasn't until last spring that my interest came back. I was watching tv and one of the characters was watering a pitcher plant. I was curious what kind it was so I went online and everything kinda snowballed.
  • #10
Awesome thread idea, definitely gonna enjoy following this one to see how everyone got interested.

Oh and those orchid mantis look awesome.

For me, I started off with some fish tanks, then the focus of the tanks turned largely over to planting them and keeping aquatic plants, both submersed and emersed. There was a member on basically all the tank related forums I frequented (he's also a member here, jpappy) who periodically posted pictures of his CPs. The sundews were what really piqued my interest at first. About 3 years ago I tried my hand at a pygmy sundew and a VFT with not enough research. They didn't quite survive. After that I just stuck with my tanks until this past September when I found another one of jpappy's threads. I did a lot more research and now I have a rapidly growing collection and plans only to make it bigger, with an interest in just about every type of CP out there.
  • #11
My parents bought a Venus flytrap from Lowes many, many years ago, and it promptly died. Couple years later I convinced my mom to get me one of those Carnivorous Creations kits, and she did because she thought it would fail......the rest is history.
  • #12
I remember being fascinated by all the odd venus flytraps from the grocery store that I had ever seen growing up. But the true spark where I realized how extensive and amazing carnivorous plants could be was when I picked up a book in the second grade and it was about carnivorous plants and it had a picture of Nepenthes hamata. When I saw Nepenthes hamata, I knew that it was over.
  • #13
I bought a starter kit from Meadowview Biological Research Station for one of my old friends about 12 years ago and he appreciated it but the plants died after 6 months or so. So for whatever reason he brought it up to me many years later and after doing some reading on the MANY varieties of CP's eventually I got interested enough to buy a "starter kit" for myself which got me into it but what kept me into it was the generosity of members of online communities such as this one as well as an overall easy going member base. Imo what keeps a passion like this going is just as important or even moreso than what ignites it.
  • #14
Me next, me next!

About five years ago my wife and I were at -- you guessed it -- Lowe's. The carnivorous plant section was just restocked, so I figured $5 for a flytrap couldn't hurt, right? Little did I or my wife know what an obsession these plants would become.

Believe it or not, I didn't kill that first Dionaea, and my wife supplemented my collection with a S. purpurea and D. adelae also from Lowe's about six months after my first VFT. I would always check out that same section in every Lowe's we went by, and thanks to the clearance rack I acquired a stout collection of Dionaea and Sarracenia before too long. It is still fun to look back at my pictures of my first plants. I still have many of them, most notably a S. x 'Judith Hindle.' She's quite the honker now!

Ah, memories...
  • #15
I had a lecture on the evolutionary advantages/disadvantages of plant carnivoury at university and was super interested in them ever since. I started with a Ceph and VT - both of which are still alive.

The lecturer had recently had his entire pygmy drosera collection wiped out by a careless student moving them to a low shelf in one of the university's glasshouses and using tap water to water fertilizer into the plants above.

I can't even conceive how upsetting that was.
  • #16
I saw a few books about them at the school and public libraries. The first was Killer Plants, but it was really getting The Savage Garden that made me want to grow them. My first was a Sarracenia purpurea which actually flowered, but then died. My success rate was horrid for a long time, and I kind of lost interest, but a few months ago my brother got some Utricularia gibba and that made me regain interest again. It's been thirteen years on and off.
  • #17
My uncle gave me a fly trap that he had purchased at Wal-mart. He paid $4.00 for it. That was 17 years ago. I've been at it since then....
  • #18
When I was 9 I saw a healthy green delicate Venus Flytrap potted in a rectangular stone pot inside at a Target superstore for the first time in my life, I thought it was the most amazing plant ever although i was shocked at how small it was in person!, I had read about it in books and looked bigger before but never knew it existed in cultivation and if it did it I thought it would be very expensive. I begged my mom to buy it but she said no, I got so mad/sad that night that i
thought my 'once in a lifetime opportunity to own one had slipped away forever into the unkown impossible to find world of a child. I never looked back until I was 12 and visited my local Home Depot with my mom. We were looking at plants and i saw a lady slipper orchid, for some wierd reason I starred at it with deep question as if it was carnivorous then at that moment I got that 'carnivorous plant search' sensation and wondered if carnivorous plants were sold in the nursery at that store. To my surprise and irony of the situtation i was standing 10 feet away from a stand of humid boxes that read "watch this plant catch an insect" i was thrilled and for the first time in my life met the famous nepenthes, they also had sundews and butterworts but I didnt find them as apealing as venus flytraps ( which they didnt carry ) or this mysterious nepenthes carnivorous plant with one dry undeveloped pitcher. I didnt know what the pitcher looked like. I assumed it opened and swallowed the bug like a venus flytrap. i got really into it and returned to buy it but it died from stress, then i read alot about carnivorius plants and from that point on i got hooked on CPs only to find out the local walmart sold VFTs I bought one every summer ( which i always ended up killing)

later on as I became more familiar with other CPs through books and the internet i opened up to the idea of owning other kinds. I purchased a sarracenia pupurea from my local walgreens and also died. then I tried to grow VFTs longer and looked into owning drosera then butterworts then Utricularia, All you need is money in the bank and a debit card so as soon as i had one when i entered college, my CP collection began making my mom more upset about me spending money wastefully in plants till this day, I try to control myself and get caught with an order at the door here and there .... and go ooops! **this is the last order i promise, its just that this time its a rare must have, from the deep jungle mountains of cerro watchamacallit** hahaha
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  • #19
Back in 2003 I made a spontaneous purchase - a Venus Flytrap. I had tried
them on and off since I was a kid and always killed them within months.
This time I was determined to do what I could to keep them alive. Well
it turned out that I, and just about everyone one else who has ever had
them, were treating them incorrectly, in a variety of ways. First off, they
are NOT houseplants. They needed direct sunlight. Secondly, we all gave
them tap water. Tap water has minerals, whereas rain water is almost pure.
Thirdly, they are temperate plants, which means that they experience all all
four seasons, to include a winter dormancy. Anyways, After buying a VFT I
bought a couple sundews, a butterwort, an Asian pitcher plant, and an
American pitcher plant. I also wanted to know their genus & species name
and the pots they came in were too general. So I went to Borders and Barnes
& Noble and found a couple books on carnivorous plants. I looked at the
pictures and figured a few plants but the the rest were just too difficult
to discern one from another. So I turned to the Internet and accidentally
stumbled upon discussion forums that were geared toward carnivorous plants.
There I learned a lot more about them and through them I accumulated even
more plants, via the trading post. I received plants and seeds and learned
how to cultivate them.
  • #20
I think my interests stems from a fascination with plant oddities. I'd always been intrigued by plants when growing up but I think when I started high school I really started to get into them. I was really amazed by bizarre and unusual plants, plants that had weird flowers, or even interesting uses. Believe it or not, carnivorous plants were kind of slow to get on that list. I can't exactly pin point the day I started really getting into the carnivores but when it happened it started like a wild fire. I was buying plants here and there, scouring vendors' sites and ebay for more. I'm not strictly into plants that are carnivorous but they are definitely at the number one spot. I've got the usual oddities, orchids, ferns, ethnobotanicals, cactus and of course, the glorious group of carnivorous plants.