What's new
TerraForums Venus Flytrap, Nepenthes, Drosera and more talk

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Total newcomer to the hobby

Hello there. This forum appears to be a great resource. I am COMPLETELY new to this hobby with zero experience with bog plants and carnivorous plants of any kind. I am, however, an avid hobbyist in the aquarium world for many years and seasoned forum user.

Wanted to drop by and say hello before I start posting. I reside about 3 hours from the gulf coast in Texas, right on the border between zone 8 and 9. I am a keeper of both saltwater and freshwater aquaria, specializing in the finer points of stony coral keeping, and plants for the fw tank. My goal has been to keep a colorful sps dominant tank and a dense Dutch style planted tank. Both are works in progress and I'll post my build threads on here later. I didn't expect to see sections on here for those hobbies so that is a pleasant surprise

I became fascinated with this hobby by observing the massive pitcher plants on display at the moody gardens rainforest exhibit in Galveston Texas. They are so different and really stood out, appealing to my oddball hobbyist nature. After a little reading here and there I saw that they typically can only be acquired by mail order for me.

I'm a busy dad of a new baby and work a lot of hours so I haven't jumped on building up a wish list of gear and plants, just looked up pictures mostly, but stumbled across a tiny Sarracenia purpurea at the hardware store down the road and figured why not. Did a quick google search of required substrate and picked up some LFS and horticulture sand and now it sits on my front porch.

After finding this site I've been introduced to an overwhelming amount of amazing looking CP that really remind me of the FW plant choices and coral varieties I like to keep in my tanks. The similarities are so strong I'm immediately bit by the bug and want to start collecting.

I'm at a crossroads and researching, debating whether to only focus on zone 9 species that can tolerate being outdoors, and build a large tray based bog garden, or build a terrarium (or shelf) bog garden in my garage for more temperature sensitive genus. I'll probably end up doing both. I've spent so much on aquarium lighting, I like the idea of actually just using sunlight if I can. Anyhow. Good to meet you all and look forward to learning.

Lastly. Anyone have any good thread recommendations of some essential gear or supplies I should consider stocking up on or some of the better online vendors if it can't be purchased locally at the co-op or hardware store? Unfortunately after browsing the sticky threads I haven't found a lot of basic terrarium or bog setup advice for newbies. Just a ton of beautiful pictures

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Welcome welcome. While I can't direct you to any of the CP stores online because of the rules here, rest assured that they are many. Just look up Carnivorous Plant stores, and you can find them specializing in Nepenthes, Venus Flytraps, Sarracenia, Drosera... Just about any genus of Carnivorous plant is attainable online. There is FlyTrapShop, the store run by the Admin of this forum, so you can go check that out first.

Essential gear and supplies... Hmm. I'd say about the only "essential" gear and supplies would be media (Long Fibred Sphagnum, Peat moss, silica sand, perlite) and pots. A Reverse Osmosis system will make your life a lot easier, and I assume you have one considering you keep saltwater aquariums.

So, water, media, pots, and light. That's it, basically, for the temperate Drosera, Sarracenia, and Venus Flytraps. If you go into tropical such as Nepenthes, then depending on what type of Nepenthes you get, you could add a fully outfitted greenhouse.

The fun about this hobby is that you can spend a lot of money, or you can spend practically nothing on supplies, and you'll still be able to keep hundreds of plants in your space. Enjoy!
Welcome to the addiction :welcome:
Welcome to TF!
Beware, once you collect a couple, you can't stop! :lol:
Welcome to TF. If you're talking about growing Sarracenia, Sundews, Venus Fly Traps and such, forget the zone 9 worries. I grow all those outdoors year round in 7a, and until last year did so in unprotected above ground half barrels. There are several members here who grow them in ground in zone 5. I think that getting them sufficient quantities of suitable water will be the main obstacle in your location.
Once you get above zone 7b, most temperate species tend to disregard whatever zone you're growing in (unless you live in the tropics). There shouldn't be an issue in keeping your plants outside in your climate. I grow my plants outside all year round on the border between zones 6b and 6a, and I haven't yet met a problem that pine needles can't fix. :-D Welcome to the forums!
:welcome: from a fellow Texan
I've lived down in south TX for about a year or so & enjoy visiting galveston & corpus on occasion to see my cousin.
What types of carnivorous plants interest you & what do you currently grow?
I also started with saltwater tanks many many years ago after already being involved with CPs & freshwater tanks. Corals were also my main interests & I incorporate what know & use in reefkeeping with how I grow Nepenthes in many aspects. If you plan on going the terrarium route then it shouldn't be too difficult with your salty skills.
Thanks for the replies folks. Good to hear the climate won't be too much of an enemy. I think my worry was the heat mores than the winters. Right now I currently have a sarracenia purpurea and a vft growing in a mixture of LFS and horticultural sand, both on the front porch getting about 5-6 hours of full sun per day. We do get an awful lot of insects on our porch at night and the vft seems to catch something in all traps quite often. They look ok but they're both still fairly new. They were the cheap specimens you can find in the plastic cubes at the hardware store. I had developed an interest before buying these but had never seen any CP available locally so I grabbed these as testers when I saw them.

As far as what kind of CP REALLY interest me... It's actually all of the tropical sundew plants to be honest. Having a display style or nature style terrarium in a 40b or even maybe a 75 gallon with a bunch of Drosera of varying color and shape with a couple vft and smaller pitchers thrown in would be my ideal end game. But...I realize that would require a lot of specialized equipment to flourish and I'm not ready to be that spendy just yet being so new. That's why I'd like to start with a heat tolerant outdoor bog first. I would LOVE to be able to keep some Darlingtonia alongside some sarracenia in the outdoor arrangement eventually.

And yes I do run an rodi filter and have a decent water making and storage station in my garage. I go through about 50 gallons per week between my saltwater and freshwater tank. Our tap water is even unsuitable for having freshwater plants really thrive. The aquifer our area pulls from is peculiar and has almost zero GH, calcium and magnesium content being below 0.5 ppm, but the KH value is sky high up at about 25 ppm from so much sodium bicarbonate in the aquifer. This also brings the ph way up to about 8.5. SUPER soft water but insanely high ph and salt content. A big no no for a reef tank with KH that high, and plants seem to hate it as well. I use strictly RODI for both tanks, and the freshwater tank gets 4 tbsp of GH booster per week with my 50% water changes. Believe it or not the freshwater tank is infinitely more needy with routine maintenance than the saltwater. I digress.

Thanks for the suggestions folks. I'll keep my eyes peeled for a large container with character.

Another question. I don't see it mentioned much. In a large bog garden arrangement, with a reservoir for water retention at the bottom...does that water start to fester and become anaerobic/undesirable over time?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • #10
The reason you don't see it mentioned is because it's a non-issue. Any water exposed to biological activity without access to oxygen is going to become anaerobic over time, as say a deep sand bed in an aquarium does. However unlike in an aquarium, the only harm likely to come from disturbing anaerobic areas in a bog is to your aesthetic sensibilities regarding odors.
  • #11
Good point makes sense.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • #12