Back in the mid-70s I started this hobby, then left it. Back now, and via "snail mail" even! I was able to buy a few Cobras, about 7-8" tall. Stunning! Now that I'm quite recently back in the hobby and trying to build a collection, Darlingtonia are not to be found. Even on the internet the only places I can find them for sale are in the UK. I'm in the US. Darlingtonia don't take kindly to transplant, let alone trans-Atlantic jostle I'm sure.
Best choice I've found here has been seeds. I had ordered 25, they sent 25 more as a lagniappe. The tiny seeds have been stratifying in my crisper for 2 weeks now, in bag, in peat, yada yada. Come May we'll see who's heard the call. I've learned a lot from the seed thread earlier in this forum.
I guess my big question is why can't I find any here and only in the UK and a couple eastern european countries? Is there now some restriction on sending them? Random, inexplicable bans do pop up sometimes. They do have a wee habitat, like the VFT.
If anyone would like to shed any light on any of that I'd be greatly obliged.
So, pun intended, I've gone to seed.
I'm new at this. Please be patient with me!
"Outside of a dog, a book a is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx
Growlist: Pinguicula P. moranensis "J", P. laueana Nepenthes N. Muluensis x Lowii, N. Sanguinea, N. ventricosa (maybe) Drosera D. Capensis, D. nitidula x pulchella, D. roseana, D. adelae, D. filiformis ssp. filiformis, D. aliciae Utricularia U. sandersonii, U. longifolia Sarracenia S. flava, S. purpurea ssp. venosa, S. purpurea ssp. purpurea, Dionaea muscipula
I can help shed a little light on this. Fortunately, Darlingtonia are not particularly rare in the wild. In their California and Oregon habitats they tend to be quite abundant, and can recover from damage/poaching etc... rather quickly as long as their habitat isn't disturbed.
Years ago you used to see Darlingtonia for sale all over the place in bags in stores, cutesie terrariums and in lots of magazines. That has largely come to an end since most of those plants were wild collected. Back in the 70's there was enough people who had property with Darlingtonia growing on it that they could harvest plants, bag 'em, tag 'em and send them out. Also, the state did little to discourage wild collection. Not so now, fortunately.
Here's the problem today. They are still a difficult plant to maintain long-term. We are in Oregon, we've tried numerous growing techniques, such as different soil media, drip systems, you name it, yet we still loose plants for mysterious reasons. My personal theory is that they have some pathogen that is kept at bay in nature (perhaps by the toxic serpentine they are so fond of growing in or cool moving water) but becomes a problem in cultivation. They do very well in live sphagnum moss, but in a nursery it's hard to cultivate lots of them that way. As a result most growers have some, but producing them the way you might Sarracenia becomes very problematic. They also have a hard time in places with very warm summers. We sent a batch to Meadowview in Virginia a couple of years ago, they lost every one of them.
Seed growing is probably the best technique for getting a crop started since that way you will have seedlings selected for that survive your particular growing situation better. It's just very, very slow.
Here's a link to a video we did a couple years ago. The following season after doing that podcast we did a transplant on those beds you see at the end of the movie and lost close to 75% of those plants. There seemed to be little rhyme or reason as to which ones survived and which ones didn’t.
We keep trying, hoping to have some breakthrough in a technique that allows better survival, and makes them simpler for the average person to grow.
Since I originally posted my question a week or so ago, I wrote to Hortus Botanicus in Fort Bragg, CA and asked about availability/wait lists for D. californica. The next day I received a reply, stating that they would start offering plants on their web site the next day. And yes, I ordered promptly! ;-) So, if anyone is trying to source this plant, you might want to try them. Since I have not received my plant yet, I cannot comment on plant quality or packaging/shipping. However, I was pleased to know that I had the option of shipping in the pot it was grown in, rather than bare root.
Paul PS: Peter d'Amato's nursery www.californiacarnivores.com/thecobraplant.aspxnow has plants in stock as well. PPS: I hope you won't interpret this followup as spam; I am in no way trying to advertise for either of these companies, I am simply posting news about my search for this particular plant.
Last Edit: Jun 14, 2011 19:30:15 GMT by paulbarden