Cobra Lily ( Darlingtonia Californica ) Introduction:

It is ever so apparent where this plant has received its name.  Even though this is a relative of Sarracenia, there are some things that are different enough to allow for its own classification.  These plants inhabit Northern California and Southern Oregon.  Some have been reported to extend upwards through Oregon, and with new species emerging, it is only a matter of time, before they are found in more places in the upper Northwest part of the United States.

Watering The Cobra Lily :

Realizing that these plants in the wild live in the upper Northwest where it snows in the winter and is cool all year round up is important on how you take care of this plant.

Like all CP’s, it is recommended that you water with Distilled, Rain, or Reverse Osmosis Water.  Cool water is required and preferred by the plant.  Many have had great success with placing ice cubes on the soil and allowing them to melt.  Use the tray method to water the plant, but pour cool water over the top.

Humidity:

Humidity doesn’t seem to be a factor in with this plant.  It is recommended that the humidity though stay above 50%.  This will not allow the pitchers to dry out and will be beneficial for the plant.

Light Requirements For Darlingtonia californica:

Cobra Lily plants can grow in Full sun to partial shade. HOWEVER – These plants grow in the upper part of the US.  This means no hot temperatures!  If growing these plants outside of their natural environment, I would suggest that you grow them indoors on a windowsill.  

Temperatures:

This is a crucial part of the plant.  The day time temps shouldn’t get too high. Mid 80’s would be pushing it.  If it gets too hot in your area, place some ice cubes ( distilled water ice cubes ) on the soil surface to allow cooling.

At night the temps need to get into the mid 50’s to 60’s. This plant requires cool nights.

Also, this plant is winter hardy and frost tolerant.  

Food:

These plants produce no enzymes, so bugs that fall in the traps are dissolved in water secreted by the plant then reabsorbed.  Anything that is small enough to get into the pitcher is dinner.

Fertilizers:

This plant can take a monthly fertilizing of Miracid ( Orchid Fertilizer ) or Epiphytic fertilizers.  Dilute to ¼ strength.  Fertilizing carnivorous plants is generally a bad idea and debated among many growers.  It’s advised to test with a VERY small amount.

Soil:

This is another tricky part for the plant.  Understanding that it needs to remain cool and the roots have some air to breath is important.  With this in mind, it is recommended that you rovide the following soil mixture:

1 part peat moss

1 part perlite

1 part lava rock or pumice

This will allow for an open and media.  So if the temperatures get a little warm, the open soil mixture should allow for some cooling (or at least not over heating ) of the root system.

Dormancy:

This plant is required to go dormant in the winter ( as with most CP’s in the US ).  This plant is frost/freeze tolerant.  It is sometimes noted that these plants are seen with pitchers in the winter covered in/under snow!!   The rule of thumb for plants that require dormancy is to allow them to go dormant around Thanksgiving ( Novemeber 25 ) and bring them out around Easter ( March 25 ). 

There is more information on dormancy and carnivorous plants at www.petflytrap.com .

Notes When Buying Online:

  1. It is not uncommon to receive a plant with dead or dying pitchers ( 1 or 2 ).  These plants take a great deal of shock in being shipped.
  2. Remove all covers and lids from your plant.  Place in light according to instructions and water right away!

Links of interest:

Darlingtonia californica Info by CP Resource

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