Monday, 24 April 2017

Triffid Nurseries Carnivorous Plants Unboxing and Review

There's something you don't know about me, I like to keep...

Carnivorous Plants

In the beginning there were Venus Fly Traps

I've owned carnivorous plants (on and off) since my teens, I seem to remember collecting margarine lids and sending them off for my first Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula).

It was tiny with three or four softly blushing traps. I wasn't great with it. I gave it tap water - very infrequently. I would try to make the traps close by poking it, try feeding it dead flies, you know how it is. Needless to say, the poor thing died very quickly - probably from tormented exhaustion!

Then there were Sundews

Later I got a gorgeous Sundew (Drosera), which was fantastic at catching fungus gnats, and other teeny tiny flies. The glistening, sticky 'dew' fascinated me, as did the unfurling leaves and graceful flower heads. My mother was very enthusiastic about keeping it on the kitchen windowsill.

I stuck with sundews over the years, though I thought I wasn't very successful with them. Now I realise they could just have been in their dormant phase...why didn't you tell me the go dormant?!

When we got the greenhouse I decided I wanted to step up my game a bit.

And then there were Pitcher Plants

Ohh yeah!
I currently have two Pitcher Plants...a tall one and a short one. The tall one is Sarracenia farnhamii, and the short one doesn't say. I bought them from a garden centre, so they didn't have very detailed labels. But what I do know is that they've come through two winters in the greenhouse, and they are throwing up new pitchers as I type.

Carnivorous plants Sarracenia Pitcher Plants
Carnivorous Pitcher Plants, Sarracenia var unknown
Photo by Pumpkin Becki
When I cut back the dead pitchers, I split a few open along their length, and noticed they'd been very successful hunters, trapping and digesting huge blue bottles and wasps among other things!

Carnivorous plants Pitcher Plants Sarracenia farnhamii
Carnivorous Pitcher Plants, Sarracenia farnhamii
Photo by Pumpkin Becki
I also have a Cape Sundew Dorsera capensis alba...the big question is - Is it dead or just dormant? I guess I'll have to wait and see...

Carnivorous Plants Sundew Drosera capensis alba
Carnivorous Plants, Sundew Drosera capensis alba
Photo by Pumpkin Becki

Buying from a Specialist Carnivorous Plant Nursery

Inspired by the new growth on my Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia), I decided to expand my collection. I looked around online, and settled on Triffid Nurseries, a UK based carnivorous plant specialist. Their website was easy to navigate, had good photographs and product descriptions, and the ordering process was very easy.

Please note, I paid for everything except for a free plant which was an offer on the website, and a packet of seeds. These gifts were genuinely available to all customers at time of ordering, I did not announce I was a blogger, or writing a review until after my order had despatched.

 I ordered:

Plants (supplied bare root)


  • Sarracenia purpurea ssp. purpurea x Open Pollinated
  • Drosera binata 'T' form 


  • A bag of multipurpose Carnivorous Plant Compost (UK)

I was also really tempted by the pygmy sundews, they're soooo cute! but I didn't want to get too carried away.

The delivery charge is £8.95, which at the time felt like quite a lot for bare root plants and some seed (the compost price already includes P&P), but the plant and seed prices were very competitive compared to garden centres, where you 're lucky if the labels tells you what varieties you're buying, plus the individual plant packaging is so intricate and careful, I soon realised the charge was totally justified

I picked varieties described as easy and/or hardy on the website, but they also ask you to give a few substitutes, just in case what you've chosen is unavailable. I just said that I was a 'mildly experienced owner of carnivorous plants, keeping them in an unheated greenhouse year round' so alternatives need to be 'hardy and easy to grow'.

I placed my order via the website on Wednesday 12th April. Normally their plants are selected and packed on the Monday after your order is placed, but as this Monday was a Bank Holiday, I fully expected to have to wait an extra week, which was completely fine with me. They also warn you that they do not send out order confirmation emails, so don't get anxious when you don't hear anything.

I did send them a message via their website, to see if they could advise me what the chances were of my sundew coming back to life. Not only did they confirm shipment of my order (which was sooner than I expected, and I hadn't directly asked about), but Andy also gently broke it to me that poor old 'Alba' was very probably dead *sadface* It apparently should have lots of new leaves by now. I'll do a post mortem once I have the new compost...maybe the roots will be clinging to life...maybe.

Triffid Nurseries Haul, Unboxing and Review

My parcel arrived by courier on Friday 21st April.
The box was an appropriate size and strength for the contents, and the filler was shedded paper, which I can recycle - yay!!

In the top of the box was a personalised letter from Andy and Alison of Triffid Nurseries, and clipped to the top was a ziplock bag with my two packets of seed and an additional free packet. The website stated 10 or 20 seeds of each, but there were definitely more than that in each packet. There wasn't a packing note though, and as you don't get an order confirmation, I'd kinda forgotten what I'd actually ordered (oops).
Triffid Nurseries Carnivorous Plants unboxing letter
A personalised letter, with the seeds stapled to the front in a ziplock bag
Photo by Pumpkin Becki
Triffid Nurseries Carnivorous Plants unboxing, letter
Opening the box from Triffid Nurseries
Photo by Pumpkin Becki

Each plant was beautifully and creatively packed to protect as much of the leaf and dew as possible. The letter said the plants were just coming out of dormancy, but I think they were a bit further along than that, with lots of fully formed leaves. Each came wrapped in soaking wet paper towel (remember they are bog plants), and with a proper plastic plant label, so it was easy to identify each plant. I was really pleased with them all. Below are photos of every plant I bought and how it looked on arrival
Triffid Nurseries Carnivorous Plants unboxing Drosera capensis
Two lovely Drosera capensis plants
Photo by Pumpkin Becki
Triffid Nurseries Carnivorous Plants unboxing Drosera hybrida filiformis intermedia
This pot should be Drosera hybrida filiformis x intermedia but look at the tiny spatulata (my guess) round the edge - so adorable!
Phot by Pumpkin Becki
Triffid Nurseries Carnivorous Plants unboxing Drosera spatulata
Drosera spatulata
Photo by Pumpkin Becki

Triffid Nurseries Carnivorous Plants unboxing Drosera filiformis ssp filiformis
My freebie! Drosera filiformis ssp filiformis
Photo by Pumpkin Becki
The Pumpkin Becki Award for Most Ingenious Packaging goes to Triffid Nurseries
The Pumpkin Becki Award for Most Ingenious Packaging - I love the sticky tape roll to give extra height!
Photo by Pumpkin Becki
Carnivorous Plant seeds Drosera binata T Form Drosera binata Otaki Forks NZ Sarracenia purpurea ssp purpurea
All the seeds are sown, Drosera binata T-Form, Drosera binata 'Otaki Forks NZ' and Sarracenia purpurea ssp purpurea
Photo by Pumpkin Becki
 And finally...
'Alba' made it through after all!! Yay!!! I started pulling away the rosettes of dead leaves and discovered all this lovely growth. I am so bloomin' happy :D

Carnivorous Plant Drosera capensis alba emerges from dormancy
Drosera capensis alba emerges from dormancy at long last
Photo by Pumpkin Becki
And when I unpotted it to upgrade it to a bigger one, I discovered strong shoots coming from the root ball as well!
Shoot root ball Drosera capensis alba
The arrow points to a shoot coming off the root ball on Drosera capensis alba
Photo by Pumpkin Becki

Huge thank yous to Andy and Alison at Triffid Nurseries for sending me such fantastic quality plants, seeds and compost, and providing additional support via email. I would highly recommend buying from them, and I'm sure I'll be ordering again soon...I'm still hankering after the pygmy sundews afterall!

Let me know if you're interested in Carnivorous Plants in the comments,
Pumpkin Becki

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