Carnivorous Plants from Seed
Our seeds are freshly harvested seasonally, by hand, directly from our plant collection. All seeds are the product of open pollination at the nursery. As a result, seed offspring will often express traits unlike the parent plant, as is the case with all natural offspring. If you're a patient grower the rewards can be great. You never know what unusual or interesting hybrids may arise from open pollination in a collection of plants as diverse as ours!
An important note on naming and cultivars: Seeds for sale list the mother plant species/variety for ease of identification. Cultivars can only be cloned to maintain their specific genetic characteristics, they will not breed true from seed. So for example, it is not possible to provide seeds of Venus Flytrap "B52" and expect them to produce more "B52" offspring. Seeds collected from a "B52" at the nursery will simply be sold as "Venus Flytrap". Seedings will show wide genetic variation among themselves, some with new and exciting possibilities for further cultivation!
Growing from seed:
Stratification: As a general rule, seeds that mature in the Spring are ready for immediate sowing. Seeds from temperate species that ripen in the Fall must undergo a period of damp cold treatment called stratification This is not necessary for tropical plants. Our seeds packs indicate individually whether or not stratification is required.
Seed stratification is a process of simulating the natural conditions seeds would experience when overwintering outdoors. This is required for many temperate carnivorous plants seeds to being germination. It is not necessary for outdoor plantings or most tropical plants. This is especially true of Sarracenia, Drosera, Dionaea, Darlingtonia, and other zone 6 or lower plants. Refrigeration alone is not enough. Contact with moist soil or peat moss is important. The target is a minimum of 45°F (7°C) for 45 days, but temperatures of 0°-45°F (-17°-7°C) are suitable. Keep in mind that the natural process takes all winter and your results may improve by increasing the duration of this treatment. Time when frozen does not count. You can refrigerate potted seeds, or seeds in a baggie mixed with damp peat. Keep an eye out during stratification so that the conditions remain cold, with special attention to preventing them from ever going dry. Temperature fluctuations are recommended. We typically stratify outdoors under cover for 28-35 days with temperatures fluctuating between 25°F and 45°F: freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw…just like Mother Nature.
Soil prep: The best medium for seedlings is finely milled peat moss mixed with an equal amount of clean, washed horticultural sand. You can use finely chopped, live green Sphagnum also mixed with washed horticultural sand. Mix and water thoroughly. The medium should be soaking wet.
Sowing: Sow the seeds directly on the surface. Seeds should be well spaced to avoid over-crowing after germination. They can be placed individually, but for larger quantities a salt shaker or similar can be useful. Do not bury or cover any carnivorous plant seeds with medium, as they need light to germinate. Cover the growing area with plastic to keep humidity extra high.
Care: Place the seeded pots in the same growing conditions that the mature plants require. Lighting should be slightly filtered, rather than direct. Artificial lighting is fine. Transparent plastic containers with small holes punched into the lid also make a good germination container.
Generally speaking, the seeds of carnivorous plants are quite small and very slow growing. It takes a typical Venus Flytrap and many other carnivorous plants 3 to 4 years to gain a size of over 2 inches. Sundews are the exception and generally reach mature flowering size by the end of the first year.