Darlingtonia - a predatory cobra
The predatory plant Darlingtonia, the leaves of which resemble a cobra with an open hood prepared for attack, is considered a rare genus of the Sarracenian family and is carefully protected according to the Washington Convention. Wildlife is very limited in the wild — a relatively small area between the US states of Oregon and California. Depending on the preference of external factors, the leaves of darlingtonia grow up to a meter in length, and the nondescript flowers of this plant can reach a diameter of 6 cm.
Description of Darlingtonia
Sarracinia family - Sarraceniaceae.
Very rare houseplant. Requires a florist great experience and care. This only species in the genus, called Darlingtonia Californian - Darlingtonia californica, grows in the marshes of North America from California to Oregon.
The leaves of darlingtonia transformed into traps resemble a cobra with a swollen neck that was made to attack. He catches his victims, attracting them with a distinguished smell. On the inner surface of the leaf are glands that secrete nectar, which attracts insects. The walls of leaf traps are covered with hairs that allow insects to move only inward.
Insects fall into storage traps from which they can no longer escape. They dissolve in the digestive juices, and the plant receives the necessary nutrients. But this is like an additional dish, the main nutrients come through the root system.
Very beautiful yellowish-orange or red-brown flowers on long stems appear in mid-June, similar to water lilies with bowed heads. Adapting darlingtonia to room conditions is very difficult. Best of all, it takes root in special greenhouse boxes protected from low temperatures with moss or leaves. Staying in the dark during the rest period does not harm them. Since the plant is marsh, the best substrate for them is ordinary peat, which can be mixed with sand and coniferous land.
Features of Darlingtonia cultivation
Location: from light to sunny, in the summer it is necessary to protect from direct sunlight. In winter, they are kept at low temperatures, but not in the cold.
Lighting: Darlingtonia prefers bright lighting.
Watering: since this plant is a marsh, it must be watered very abundantly, and it is best to dig the pot into wet peat or put it on a stand in a bowl of water and often irrigate. Use only settled, soft water. During dormancy, they hardly water it.
Air humidity: preferably moderate.
Reproduction: crush with seeds, which is very difficult at home. Better - in the spring, division.
Darlingtonia prefers a moist, semi-shaded area. The direct rays of the sun harm her more than a lack of light. For watering, it is necessary to use only soft, not containing calcium and magnesium salts water. It is best not to feed the plant with fertilizers. For transplantation, it is necessary to use special soil designed for growing azaleas.
High humidity is also important. Darlingtonia needs a not very warm content, the best is a temperature of about 18 ° C. For old plants in winter, a dormant period is required, during which they are kept in a bright place with a temperature of 6-10 ° C and very moderately watered.
The best substrate is living sphagnum, but more often they use a mixture of peat, sheet land, sand and charcoal in a ratio of 2: 0.5: 0.5.
The plant is transplanted once every 3 years.
If insect pests are detected, it is better to use treatment with infusions and decoctions of insecticidal plants, since darlingtonia is very sensitive to chemicals, or, in extreme cases, reduce their dose by half against the recommended one.
Reproduction of Darlingtonia
Darlingtonia is propagated by seeds, which require light to germinate, so they are not sprinkled on top of the ground. Young plants do not have a dormant period, and they must be kept all year round at a temperature of 16-18 ° C.
Types of Darlingtonia
Darlington California (Darlingtonia californica)
This spectacular plant of the Sarraceniaceae family is the only representative of its kind and has an extremely unusual appearance. Under the Washington Convention, Darlington California (Darlingtonia californica) refers to strictly protected species.
Origin: Darlingtonia California (Darlingtonia californica) has a small area of distribution in North America between the states of California and Oregon.
Appearance: This insectivorous plant is found in humid meadows, where under especially favorable conditions its trapping leaves collected in a small rosette and similar to jugs reach a length of almost 1 m. The upper helmet-like part of jugs with an entrance is always directed outward. The entrance to the jug hole is decorated with a two-winged bright petal-shaped outgrowth - a helmet.
The interior of the jug is sometimes devoid of chlorophyll, resulting in the effect of light-transmitting “windows”. Attracted by light spots, insects fly under the helmet and inevitably fall into the jug, which is covered from the inside with long, sharp, downward-directed hairs, which prevents them from coming out. Darlingtonia flowers are inconspicuous, although they often reach a diameter of 6 cm.
Darlingtonia is a very showy, exotic plant! Her unusual appearance is striking in its beauty. This plant may be whimsical, but growing it is worth it.