Monday, May 24, 2010

Adventures in Carnivorous Planting

Over the past few months something in me has been craving the companionship of a carnivorous plant. Following this powerful and probably fleeting whim I purchased a Bug Biting® Plant Terrarium Set. The set included one dormant Venus Flytrap, one dormant pitcher plant, a bag of soil, a bag of moss, a smaller bag of soil, and a terrarium.

A Venus Flytrap is a leafy green mouth with sharp pointy teeth that lures insects in with a sweet fragrance and promises of sexual favors. Sometimes they sing songs that are so irresistible to a fly’s discerning tympanic membrane that the fly willingly submits to its own consumption. When the delicious insect rustles the sensitive hairs inside the mouth, the jaws snap shut like a bear trap. The fly is chewed, swallowed, and digested to produce second and third heads for this hydra-like creature.

The pitcher plant is a photosynthesizing pelican of death. It looks innocent on the outside. A passing insect cannot help but imagine it going to church and sitting in a pew full of calla lilies and daffodils (except for cobra lilies, which look something like the Loch Ness monster rearing her head from your garden.) Insects are attracted to its succulent puckering lips. Once a fly enters the mouth, the trapdoor closes and the fly whizzes down a waterslide into a pool of quicksand from which they can never escape.

The terrarium provides the plants with enough humidity to replicate the swampy conditions they have come to love, while simultaneously preventing the consumption of nearby houseplants.

Now that I had learned a bit about the plants, I felt ready to fill my terrarium with carnivorous flora. Step one of the planting process brought with it many confusion questions like Where are the plants? and Which side of the terrarium do I plant into? The directions indicated that the carnivorous plants were hibernating in the smaller bag of soil. In the smaller bag I found two clumps of dirt. Upon closer inspection, one clump of dirt had leaves and the other had roots. I could not tell which one was the pitcher and which one was the flytrap, but if I patiently wait long enough I suppose one will grow teeth. The plants looked nothing like the diagrams, nor did they resemble the familiar images provided by Crash Bandicoot.

I woke up my mother with a dormant carnivorous plant in either hand asking her which side was up. Thanks to the deterioration of her visual capacities, I was forced to make an educated guess. After filling what I thought was the base of the terrarium with a layer of soil and a layer of moss, I inserted the dormant beasts into the moss.

See the two dark clumps in the moss? Aren't they adorable?

After a long day of 90 degree weather and fierce sunshine there is little to indicate if I planted my babies upside-down.

No comments:

Post a Comment