Green Thumbs

Passion for growing plants

   Jan 04

The Peculiar Pinguicula

The story of the Pinguicula began when I had lived on my own for a mere six months. Being new to doing all the work myself I had more than once found a blackened banana in the fruit bowl, and I think everyone knows what black bananas bring. Fruit flies, in hordes.

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See the flies?
As the plant geek I am, I found this situation to be an excellent excuse to try my hand at carnivorous plants (even though experiments I made as a child never lasted for more than just a few months as the plant inevitably didn’t get enough water.) So one afternoon spent at a plant crazy friend’s house (now with a degree in biology) I was presented to a few curious clumps of bright green rosettes with diminutive roots. My friend also promised me plants of my own if I could supply a pot or two. Of course I could.
It turned out that the rosettes were some kind of tropical Pinguicula, the name of the sub species being long lost. In essence it is a carnivorous plant that catches its prey with a sticky substance that is produced in the leaves. Once stuck the flies cannot escape and will slowly be digested by the plant.
The species exists in many parts of the world, but the one I grow indoors is a tropical one that thrives in swampy conditions. It can take drought but stops producing the sticky coating of the leaves if it gets to dry. The best thing to do is to place a deep saucer under the pot to keep it wet at all times.

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The plant itself is not very flashy but deserves the place on my windowsill anyway. At best it can be described as cute with its bright green leaves. If you take good care of it and are lucky, you might be rewarded with simple bright pink flowers in spring and summer. Flowering will be encouraged if the plant is placed in a bright to sunny location. The rosettes divide themselves freely and can quickly cover the entire surface of the pot and even start to fall out. The plant prefers a shallow pot since the roots are almost non-existent. A deep pot would dry out far too fast. Even though it is not a great idea to do this very often, the plant can be placed in the shower and gently washed with lukewarm water to remove the unsightly dead flies.
All in all, this plant is easy to care for and soon you could find yourself giving away plants because the pot is becoming crowded. This is a must for everyone who from time to time finds themselves with overripe fruit.

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5 Comments

  1. Thomas says:

    How does the plant do to attract the flies?

    • admin says:

      Den är klistrig på bladen och så fastnar flugorna på dem. Men jag har också läst att den förmodligen utsöndrar något lockande också.

  2. lene starander says:

    Nice plant, perhaps I need a couple of them too.

  3. Sussi says:

    Sounds interesting, I would like one too.

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