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Cobra Lily - Darlingtonia Californica

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1 Review

Plants Type: Carnivorous

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      08.08.2013 18:42
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      Difficukt but worth it as a very unique addition to our collection.

      My sons took up an interest in gardening this year, and as a home educating family I felt growing things would serve an educational purpose as well. But while most children grow vegetables or flowers, mine naturally wanted something different. One of our eco domes end up being used to house carnivorous plants. The cobra lily is one of the more rare and difficult to come by. Seeds are very difficult to grow, and you can expect to pay in the neighbourhood of £20 for a small specimen online with ebay or a specialist site. If you wish to propagate the plants yourself this is usually done by separating stolons which are a runner type root connection common in many types of grasses. I was lucky and found a fellow willing to part with one for much less as I had purchased other plants from him as well, and he a had a few of these unlisted.

      The cobra lily is a North American pitcher plant. It's native habitat of Northern California to Oregon is meant to be similar in temperature to Britain, so this is a plant which could possibly grow outdoors. It prefers a dormant winter period. Like all the carnivorous plants we grow, this likes a very damp environment and should never be given tap water. It can be given rain water, distilled water, or in a pinch well aged tap water. It is not as picky in regard to nitrates, so aquarium water may be used as well. In fact they may have some benefit as it takes some time for the trap to develop enough to catch its favourite food - wasps and flies, and unlike other carnivorous plants, you can not feed this one. it's unique trap design demands that the wasp fly into the trap. the plant may die down to its roots and appear completely dead over the winter, a feature common to this whole class of plants - so if it looks dead - do not throw it out until Spring has passed. My plants are green, but this plant can also be purchased in all red or red/ green cross.

      Our cobra lily was very small when it arrived, and I have not been able to get much growth from it. It is still surviving, but tiny. It is meant to be grown as a houseplant, but I would put tis outdoors if not for the slugs as I feel it would most likely do better there. I do take it out most days for some sun, always mindful that it does not overheat and stays very moist. Still, this is a fascinating plant and excellent addition to a carnivorous collection. My sons love it as it does look a bit like a strange snake rising from the ground.

      I do feel that this is one of the more difficult carnivorous plants to grow indoors, which couple with its high price means I would really only recommend this for indoor growth if you wish to have a large variety of carnivorous plants. The sundews, flytraps and saracenia are all easier plants to keep going. But if you really want to try something different, this certainly qualifies. I would also recommend this if you have the room outdoors and a place with moderate rather than direct sun which is not over run by slugs as my garden is. If you want a natural form of wasp and fly control this would be very useful, but it may take some bees as well. Now if only there was a carnivorous plant that ate slugs! this meant to have some resistance to them - but we have far too many.

      Despite being difficult to grow, we all love this plant. It is truly unique and for this alone I am giving this five stars. I also do like the fact that growing these different types of plants has really given my sons the chance to learn about different habitats and how this affects the evolution of different plants. We can compare these to the our cactus garden and see how completely different requirements have shaped these plants.

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