PetFlyTrap.com's Commitment to Carnivorous Plant Cultivation and Conservation
A well-known quote from Senegalese conservationist Baba Dioum in 1968 does a pretty good job of summarizing our philosophy about carnivorous plant cultivation and conservation:
"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught"
Teaching people about these wonderful plants that turn the tables on the animal world is the most important aspect of what we do; and this is how we do our part to instill this wonder in others, as our legacy to the carnivorous plant community. Sure, selling plants is great; and this is all that some online sellers are interested in doing. But in our opinion, selling plants is meaningless if the customer doesn't have the knowledge to properly care for their new plants, or doesn't have a factual resource to use to get more information or to answer their questions. This is why our philosophy has always been to treat our customers (and anyone who contacts us with questions) the way that WE would want to be treated! We do our best to answer the phone whenever someone calls or emails us, and we spend as much time as necessary to ensure they get the answers to their questions.
Here at PetFlyTrap.com, we have spent literally decades learning about, researching, and studying these miraculous plants, and the diverse habitats in which they are found. And the work continues every day. To try and broaden the ways in which growers grow their plants, we experiment with different and unique growing methods on a regular basis. We believe that the best way to grow ANY plant (carnivorous or otherwise) is to consider where it grows inthe wild, and the specific conditions (soil, light level and duration, temperature range, water level/purity, humidity, etc.) that cause the plant to flourish; and then do your best to mimic these conditions. We have traveled extensively to see and study these plants in the wild to accomplish just that...Sarracenia throughout the U. S. Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast; Nepenthes in the wilds of central Sulawesi (Indonesia); quaking bogs in the Alps and the northeastern U.S.; Cobra plants (Darlingtonia) in the PAcific Northwest; and sundews (Drosera), butterworts (Pinguicula), bladderworts (Utricularia), etc. throughout! We believe it is through this study and appreciation of the natural habitats that these different plants occupy that you begin to understand the best ways to mimic those habitats in cultivation. You can try to get 'information' from social media; but it is likely to just be a well-meaning individual parroting the 'information' they received from someone else, and does nothing to address your specific growing conditions! Our Plant Care pages are the result of our study and experience, and are there to help you be successful. This in turn makes happier, healthier plants!
To share the knowledge we have gained and help others develop the same appreciation for carnivorous plants and their habitats, and for growing carnivorous plants, we routinely conduct educational lectures for anyone who wants to listen...the general public, school groups, scout groups, garden groups, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, the International Carnivorous Plant Society, and our customers too! We try to interact one-on-one with each and every customer who contacts us. Many of our customers are first-time carnivorous plant enthusiasts, and we want them to be successful with their plants, and to have a positive, rewarding experience in the process.
The PetFlyTrap greenhouse
In our opinion (and as Baba Dioum's message above states so well), the ultimate goal of helping people to appreciate carnivorous plants is not to gain more customers (although we do appreciate that aspect!); rather, it is to help people have a better appreciation for carnivorous plant habitat, the extremely fragile nature of their habitat, and the issues that are causing their ranges to decline. Of course, the biggest issue facing ALL flora and fauna worldwide is habitat destruction. While most people may think of habitat destruction as a new business or housing subdivision here in the U.S., it is just as much of a problem in Indonesia and other tropical areas, where the habitat is being destroyed to make room for more palm and/or cacao plantations, or subsistence farming, for example.
Because habitat destruction appears to have no end, we feel that other alternatives need to be realized. Ex situ conservation, or conservation of something OUTSIDE of its normal habitat, is a common occurrence in the animal kingdom. Zoos keep records of the animals under their care, and a global network allows for zoos to transfer animals between facilities for breeding purposes, and to diversify the genetics of each zoo's animals. The same is done for rare and endangered plants through the Center for Plant Conservation, and for carnivorous plants specifically through the International Carnivorous Plant Society, for example. While there is no such specific organization for carnivorous plants just yet, we welcome the idea of a national (or even worldwide) database of institutions who are dedicated to creating a similar mechanism for the conservation of carnivorous plants.
In the meantime, PetFlyTrap.com continues to support or has supported a number of non-profit conservation initiatives, either financially, through in-kind donations of materials and/or labor, or by serving on the boards of these esteemed organizations. We are regular donors and volunteers at the Watson Rare Native Plants Preserve (WRNPP) in Warren, Texas - a cornucopia of native Big Thicket flowering plants, and one of the few places where you can see all four major types of carnivorous plants that are native to Texas in their natural environment. We have just recently assisted WRNPP with the replacement of 120 feet of boardwalk ($2000 cash donation, plus volunteer work), and the donation of a gas-powered post driver to facilitate the project.
Work crew and volunteers help to replace the (VERY) old boardwalk at the Watson Rare Native Plants Preserve
There is still plenty to do! The old boardwalk is not even two feet wide at some points, and is well over 30 years old. Contact the WRNPP or us here at PetFlyTrap if you are interested in helping/donating!
We also routinely donate to Friends of Mercer Botanic Gardens, a non-profit support organization for Mercer Botanic Gardens in Humble, Texas, as well as other local, national, and international level non-profit groups such as the North American Sarracenia Conservancy and the International Carnivorous Plant Society, among others. We proudly sponsor and help to maintain an educational raised-bog carnivorous plant exhibit at the Houston Zoological Gardens, near the Texas Wetlands section of the zoo. Stop by and take a look sometime...you might just catch us there, doing an impromptu 'keeper talk'!
Our raised-bed carnivorous plant exhibit at the Houston Zoo, and some specimens set up for an educational talk at the Zoo.
But the work is more personal as well, and can include both cultivation AND conservation at the same time. We are working with a number of projects at our facility that have the potential for immense conservation value. We are currently working with legally-collected location-specific seeds of Nepenthes madagascariensis, a Tropical Pitcher Plant that is endemic to Madagascar. The seeds have been placed into sterile vessels (tissue culture), and when grown out will represent individual seed-grown clones of a unique location halfway around the globe, which we will share with other conservation groups and private growers. Similar work is underway with a number of location-specific groups of North American Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia). While the project is in its infancy, we are hopeful that increased availability of these mass-produced plants will help to reduce the threats to native populations from over-collecting (where collecting may be legal) and/or poaching (where collecting is against the law). While poaching here in the U.S. is enforced with severe penalties (each Venus Flytrap poached from the wild is a separate felony offense!), many other countries either don't have the resources to have the same level of enforcement, or choose to turn a blind eye to the problem. The key in our opinion is to make these wonderful plants so easily available that taking them from the wild is no longer of any value. It may be a long way off, but we will continue to support initiatives to cultivate and conserve these wonderful plants, which rival the beauty of the most spectacular orchids in our opinion.
Of course, please feel free to contact us via e-mail at [email protected] or call us at 281-433-3290 if you have any specific questions. Learn...understand...love...conserve. We're happy to assist you with resources or ideas that can help you find your own ways to help!