GOOD GROWING: WHY I LOVE MY CP By Michael Reif

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GOOD GROWING: WHY I LOVE MY CP


Besides working and watching TV, most people have interests and hobbies that fill up what spare time they may have. Some collect stamps or coins or (yawn) baseball cards. Some collect rocks or seashells. Some talented individuals may play an instrument or even compose music. My girlfriend has a thing for old bottles (particularly the unusually shaped or colored types) and loves taking photos. Her mom collects recipes (some of which are quite tasty). And of course lots of people spend every spare minute playing video games (sorry, but I just personally don’t find it that interesting).

As you know (or guessed), I grow CP. And I sure love spending time with my plants. My girlfriend initially considered the interest to be somehow “grisly,” until she began to appreciate their many forms and colors. While they do capture insects, I’d love them even if they didn’t. People who grow orchids are lucky if a plant blooms once or twice a year, but otherwise (to my eye at least) all Cattleyas or Vandas or Oncidiums pretty much look alike. The same cannot be said for Sarracenia or Drosera or Nepenthes—each is so unique. I just can’t imagine growing a plant all year in hopes it will put out a flower if conditions are perfect. And most orchid flowers don’t last very long; they’re really just there hoping some insect will come along and pollinate them.

Thankfully my Drosera capensis looks great all year and tends to put out new plants from the roots. When I lived in California, a small container of Drosera adelae soon took over an entire corner of my greenhouse—it was practically a weed! I had to keep putting it in larger containers. Actually, most CP tend to grow and spread throughout the year. And while some do go through a dormancy period, it’s really rewarding when you suddenly see new growth and (in most cases) a flower spike in the spring. Where I live now, the winters are short and I usually have new growth by the end of February.

But the best part of growing these amazing plants—for me at least—is connecting with growers all over the United States and even other countries. I’ve traded with lots of really terrific people. My newfound interest in Pinguicula species has recently connected me with growers all over the country. And taking care of my modest (but growing fast) collection of CP gets me off my butt and outside instead of inside binging on some popular new TV show or watching movies (though I’ll admit I am somewhat of an audio geek and take pride in my sound system).

I cannot imagine ever growing tired of CP. I can easily picture myself at 70 out in the greenhouse repotting Sarracenias or propagating Drosera. Considering how many species of carnivorous plants there are (and new crosses being made all the time), I cannot for the life of me imagine losing interest. Thank goodness there are now CP-centric companies like Carnivore Culture that cater to those of us that can’t seem to be satisfied with the plants we already have. Between trading with other growers and buying a few plants here and there (luckily CP are not particularly expensive), there will always be something new to look forward to. And to me, that’s really the best news imaginable.