Carnivorous plants by Paul Temple

By Paul Temple

This revised "Wisley guide" covers carnivorous - or insect-eating - crops

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Compost: A. T e m p e r a t u r e : 3 2 ° F (0°C) winter m i n i m u m ; 50°F (10°C) m i n i m u m enables D. binata multifida to remain in growth all year. South African s u n d e w s These include the most easily g r o w n c a r n i v o r o u s plants and fortunately s o m e of the most beautiful, both rosette- and stemforming. Most rosetted plants will be up to 2 in. (5 cm) in diameter, the other types g r o w i n g b e t w e e n 6 and 12 in. (15-30 cm) tall. They have attractive leaves a n d colourful or large flowers.

An outbreak is easy to spot, the fungus appearing as a grey fuzz of very slim hairs and, if mature, creating a cloud of grey dust w h e n disturbed. T h e dust consists of spores, w h i c h will spread the infection to other plants, so disturbance must be kept to a m i n i m u m a n d t r e a t m e n t should involve the entire growing area w h e n a major attack occurs. T h e fungus enjoys cool h u m i d c o n d i t i o n s a n d quickly colonizes dead plant tissue, providing t h e r e is sufficient humidity.

Most p r o p r i e t a r y p e s t i c i d e s i n t e n d e d for scale insects are very strong, b e c a u s e of t h e i r r e s i s t a n c e to m a n y chemicals. It is therefore r e c o m m e n d e d that the pests are r e m o v e d w i t h t w e e z e r s - a t i m e - c o n s u m i n g job unless d o n e at the first sign of infestation. Alternatively, they c a n be p u s h e d off with d a m p e n e d cotton wool, on t h e e n d of an o r a n g e stick. Sarracenia a n d Nepenthes s h o u l d be able to w i t h s t a n d t r e a t m e n t with 58 PESTS AND DISEASES malathion, but c a r e should be t a k e n to avoid large a m o u n t s of chemical e n t e r i n g the t r a p s .

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