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Darlingtonia on the Rocks

Darlingtonia on the Rocks

RobBlog

Darlingtonia rock planting in the mist – July 2021.

Planting in rocks? Radness. I’ve planted rocks in the past, but with succulents. So … it was finally time for a carnivorous one. Sometime ago (maybe late 2019 or early 2020?) I planted a small Darlingtonia in a pumice rock. I had an extra rock (thanks Nina!) and Darlingtonia would be perfect for this. I’ve observed them growing in a similar manner in their natural habitat. (See previous Darlingtonia posts in the archives.) At the end of last season the one in the rock seemed to grow stronger than the potted ones growing in waterlogged peat. This rock planting (right) is grown year round outdoors – photo from Jun 2020.
I never had any major issues growing Darlingtonia in peat, but I’d still occasionally get one or two rot out on me for whatever reason. The one in the rock was looking good, so late last season I did this to the Darlingtonia collection. (Update on those plants later…)

I had some extra pieces of pumice laying around. Those bonsai rock plantings reminded me of trips out to Darlingtonia country and thought it would be a cool way to grow seedlings. I had some seedling darlingtonia and threw some on the rocks. I placed the rocks on a nice looking drainage dish and added a little gravel and sand at the bottom.
Next up, I threw in some Darlingtonia seedlings. There were some seedlings that were a product of crossing various red forms together. I wrapped the seedling roots in sphagnum moss and that was able to cling pretty easily to the crevices in the pumice rock. I then took some live sphagnum and used that as a live top-dressing. The Darlingtonia adjusted well to the planting. Perhaps growing them in greenhouse conditions was helpful for their transition and continued growth on rock. There are still a few Darlingtonia in their ant-eater looking stage. They’ll grow out of that soon and develop those forked tongue on later growth.
Some Drosophyllum seedlings eventually found their way to one of the rocks too. There were some spare baby Darlingtonia at the time so tried a couple out there. I don’t think they liked the sudden transplant and didn’t last too long. I’ll try again though because the only Drosophyllum I’ve been able to grow to a larger size from seed was planted on another pumice rock. Go figure. Photos below from Dec 2020.

Fast forward a few months and the mini Darlingtonia mountain ecosystem has been settling in nicely! Below are a few photos of how the set up is doing. I surrounded the display with a few ferns for that nice aesthetic touch. In their natural habitat, I recalled seeing native Adiantum ferns growing along with the Darlingtonia. I surrounded this planting with a type of Adiantum raddianum (I think ultragracillimum …er sumfin’?) and it gives the entire thing this really cool look. The rocks look like their rising out out a misty cloud of fern fronds. Very Shan shui esque. There’s even a few ferns sprouting from spore on the rocks. I top water this set up and the water collects in the round dish to be soaked up by the pumice. I really love how this set up is evolving.

Tags:Darlingtonia, Pumice, Rock

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