Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lighting for carnivorous plants

A while back I wrote a post about a project I did at putting together a carnivorous plant terrarium. It was fun, it looked great and it was a much bigger learning experience than I could have imagined. I learned about the plants, terrariums, the soil for those same plants that is certainly on the tricky side as is the water. It mostly just needs to be as "clean" as possible, meaning both chemical and nutrient free. Dissolved mineral content in soil and water will readily kill otherwise healthy carnivorous plants. This is probably why they are a seasonal or temporary curiosity for most people. A few months in and the plants mysteriously die or for other seemingly unpredictable reasons they do fine and keep on going. Even educated growers often experience difficulty rearing these finicky bug eating wonders.

Someone over at Instructables commented recently asking about lighting. I don't think I really addressed that issue in my how to or the subsequent how to on soil for carnivorous plants. Mine lived in a big jar in a sunny window where they had bright light most of the day. A lot of us don't have access to those conditions, including me now that I am no longer with Instructables.

Luckily, carnivorous plants do well with artificial lighting so even basement dwellers can put together a lovely hungry garden. There is even a fantastically detailed article on the International Carnivorous Plant Society website that explains the lumens, color temperature and hours per day the plants need. There are many commonly available lighting setups or you could just buy LEDs and build your own. With the ease of controlling LEDs with Arduinos and Raspberry Pie microcomputers you could automate the whole thing from lighting to temp and hydrometers. Though, a lot of people have great luck stuffing the plants in a jar and setting them on a handy window sill.

As always, it's hard to beat "doing" as the best way to learn.

1 comment:

  1. Do you have to feed the plants insects to keep them alive?