Tag: carnivorous plant nurseries

Venus flytrap cultivar Giant Clam.

Rare Cultivars & Fun Times at California Carnivores Nursery!

California Carnivores is just close enough to me, yet just far away that I have visited the nursery merely three times in nearly six years of growing carnivorous plants. My most recent visit (last Saturday) was special! I got to see Chi’en Lee speak and present his wildlife photography while living in and exploring remote areas of Borneo, The Philippines, Papua New Guinea and more!

Chi'en Lee presenting at California Carnivores

It was a truly entrancing and educational presentation! Even my not-super-enthusiastic-about-weird-plants husband really enjoyed it. Aside from the stunning photos and funny stories, the amount of biodiversity packed into such a small area was astonishing. You can essentially go for a leisurely stroll in the rain forest and it would unusual to not see any new species of something! Whether animal, mineral, or vegetable, there is still so much that is unknown. Chi’en showed several photos of a newly discovered, unnamed species of Nepenthes. Super exciting!

Unfortunately, I was late to the presentation due to bad traffic, and couldn’t get a decent seat until later. AND I didn’t bring my telephoto lens, doh. My one decent shot is above. Most of my shots came out like this:

Chi'en Lee presenting at California Carnivores

Nice shot of the Nepenthes pitcher though, right?

California Carnivores was also having a 20% off sale all day, so I had to shop around after the presentation and mingle with my fellow plant nerds. I met the awesome Sarracenia Dude, finally! We literally saw each other and were like “OMG, Hiiiiiiii!” 😀

I also got to finally meet the lovely Kate Halpin, who’s relocated to the west (best) coast to work at the nursery! So happy you’re here, Kate! 😀 I proudly rocked my butterwort tote bag that she created. 

Devon of Sundews Etc. and I caught up and shot the shit since the last meetup. We also got a private tour of California Carnivores’ propagation areas (thanks again, Daniela!) and saw some not-yet-available Venus flytrap cultivars!

Just one part of the propagation area. Gotta love the high-tech kiddie pools!

California Carnivores propagation area

 

Check out “Werewolf”! This is one I want SO BAD! As far as I know, it’s not available for sale in the US anywhere.

Venus flytrap werewolf cultivar

 

“Giant Clam” with a large, deeply red trap and fringed cilia. Super cool looking!

Venus flytrap cultivar Giant Clam.

 

I believe this one was unnamed, but check out those jagged cilia and red stripe on the side!

Venus flytrap cultivar.

 

It’s hard to get a sense of the size in this photo, but this is the one and only DC XL! Turns out sticking my fingers in the shot doesn’t help. But I never got a sense of the massive size of this cultivar until seeing it in person. This trap was probably as long as my index finger!

Venus Flytrap DC XL cultivar.

 

I imagine the California Carnivores’ staff wouldn’t be too happy with me if I stuck Werewolf or DC XL in my pocket, so here’s what I did come home with!

Pinguicula moranesis J, which I repotted into a Japanese-styled teacup.

Pinguicula moranensis J in a small, Japanese style tea cup.

 

Dionaea muscipula “Fused Tooth”. None of the cilia have fused yet, but I can’t wait to see that later in the season!

dionaea-muscipula-venus-flytrap-fused-tooth (1 of 1)

 

Sarracenia oreophila “Sand Mountain” x leucophylla “Schnell’s Ghost”. I was debating between various red hybrids and almost didn’t see this one. I really like how subtle it is, and looks like it has potentially for some funky lips too!

sarracenia-oreophila-leucophylla-schnells-ghost (1 of 1)

 

And finally Drosera capensis “narrow red leaf.” Two plants  in one pot, plus plenty of Utricularia bisquamata, score! Bonus plants are the best plants. I’ve also been wanting a red or albino capensis for a while to contrast with my typical forms!

sundew-drosera-capensis-narrow-red (1 of 1)

 

Thanks for reading! Saturday was a really great day, and I’m so glad I got to meet other plant folks in person that I previously only knew on the internet!

Were you there for presentation? What did you think and what plants did you get? Leave me your comments! And let’s meet at the next event if we didn’t get to this time! 😀

Carnivorous Plant Nursery Review: Cook’s Carnivores

Many people aren’t lucky enough to have a local carnivorous plant nursery nearby, so many nurseries sell online. There are some AMAZING online carnivorous plant nurseries out there, and many more that are bad or just okay. In order to help carnivorous plant enthusiasts make an educated decision, I’m doing a series of honest reviews of my personal experiences with online and in-person carnivorous plant nurseries.

In this post, I’ll be reviewing Cook’s Carnivorous Plants. From Cook’s, I have received:

  • 1 “Akai Ryu” (Red Dragon) Venus Flytrap
  • 1 “Pink Venus” Venus Flytrap
  • 1 Australian pitcher plant (Cephalotus follicularis)
  • 4 American pitcher plant (sarracenia) seedlings (mixed variety)
Sarracenia seedlings
My pot of Sarracenia seedlings from Cook’s Carnivores. Tallest pitcher are about 4″ tall.

Pros of Cook’s Carnivores

  • Excellent prices. There is essentially nowhere cheaper to buy plants online than from Cook’s Carnivores. Many full-sized adult plants are priced under $20 USD. Smaller plants are often $5 or even lower. Cook’s even has some amazing bulk plant deals, such as 10 Venus flytrap seedlings for $5. If you’re a grower on a tight budget, Cook’s Carnivores can’t be beat!
  • Good quality plants. When I received my order, I was quite happy with the quality of my plants. My pot of Sarracenia seedlings pictured above have been growing and thriving all throughout the season, as have my two red Venus flytraps, and my cephalotus See below!
Pink Venus Flytrap
Pink Venus Flytrap from Cook’s Carnivores
Akai Ryu Red Dragon Venus Flytrap
Akai Ryu Red Dragon Venus Flytrap
Cephalotus Follicularis
Cephalotus from Cook’s Carnivores. All new pitchers grown since I’ve had it!

Note: These are small plants and the prices reflected as such. I paid $1.99 for the Red Dragon and $4.99 for the Pink Venus. Both of these plants are young and traps are under 1″  long. I paid $35 for the Cephalotus. The larger Sarracenia seedlings were $1.09 each, and the smaller ones were $0.59. Yes, fifty-nine cents! 

  • Large inventory/wide variety. They seem to have a massive inventory of plants that is always in stock. For nearly every cultivar of every plant in stock, they have large, medium, and seedling sized plants available. I don’t know how many cephalotus they have, but $35 is a very reasonable price and it’s always been in stock when I’ve looked.
  • Unique hybrids and seed-grown plants. Aside from plant quality, this is probably my
    Sarracenia Purpurea unknown
    Closeup of one of my unique Sarracenia seedlings opening up!

    favorite thing about Cook’s. They sell many seed-grown Sarracenia of “mixed varieties” and seed-grown Venus flytraps. This means they are not clones or cultivars, but completely genetically unique. They have the potential to exhibit a gorgeous array of colors, size, and many more different traits. Some people like knowing exactly what the parentage of the plant is, but I’m a fan of the unknown. 😉 I like idea of having something special that doesn’t exist anywhere else. And you could potentially use seedlings to selectively breed with other plants and create more unique hybrids! The possibilities are endless.

  • Longtime seller. According to their website, Cook’s has been selling carnivorous plants since 1992. At the time of this post, that’s 22 years in the business. They’ve been an Ebay member since 1998. With such a long-established business, you can be confident that the owners have a good reputation and know their plant care very well.

Cons

  • Only ships on Tuesdays. Cook’s states on the front page of their website and in all of their Ebay listings that the owner (Dean Cook) is the sole staff member of the business and also works 50 hours a week at his main job. On their website, they also take up to five days to process the payment for an order right after you place it. So it could be well over a week before they ship your plants. Once they are shipped though, mine were quick to arrive.
  • Not always responsive/communicative. I have not had this experience personally, but I’ve seen it anecdotally enough that it deserves mention. Some customers have said their questions and emails never get answered, so this is a risk you take if you place an order. I assume this is also due to the owner working a demanding job aside from this business.
  •  Website is not customer-friendly. My biggest issue with the website is many of the plants listed do not have pictures. When I’m buying something online that is alive, I definitely want to see what I’m getting! Sometimes the same picture is also used for multiple listings, which is not awful but is also not always an accurate representation of the plant. Multiple pictures would also be helpful. The website is also fairly dated (I HATE the fly-buzzing intro!) and not very well organized. For example, all the flytraps are listed on one single page. If they were grouped into more specific sub-categories (red varieties, large traps, adult plants, young plants, etc.) it would be much easier for customers to find what they’re looking for.

(Fortunately, Cook’s has a well-stocked Ebay store with good photos on every listing. I highly recommend buying through Ebay over the Cook’s website.)

  • Antique coins? This isn’t necessarily a strike against Cook’s, but I do find it odd that also sells antique coins in the same place as carnivorous plants. It just doesn’t seem relevant and I feel those products would be better off on a different website.

Conclusion

Pink Venus Flytrap
Closeup of my Pink Venus.

Cook’s Carnivores is the most affordable online carnivorous plant nursery you’ll find, with a great selection and good quality plants. They’re an excellent choice if you want to start carnivorous plant collection on a budget. However, it may be over a week before your order ships, and you may not hear from the owner if you have questions or issues with your order.

Navigating the website is tedious, but the Ebay store is a much better alternative. Also it’s good to have Ebay as a middleman if you have an issue with your order. A 99.9% positive feedback on Ebay shows that the vast majority of those customers are satisfied with their orders.

I would recommend the Cook’s Carnivores Ebay store to friends and peers, and will likely order from them again myself. Visit the Ebay store here!

Thanks for reading this review! I hope you found it helpful. Do you have anything to add about Cook’s Carnivores? If so, please leave your comment below!