Saturday, November 17, 2007

Darlingtonia Rescue

Any northern California bog garden wouldn't be complete without that peculiar plant, the Cobra Lily or Darlingtonia californica. Last year I bought and planted one in my bog, on a slight mound so that the crown wouldn't rot. It seemed to have done well, with some new leaves and even a flower this spring, but I found out today that all was NOT well. While weeding around the bog, I noticed white moldy stuff on some of the inner leaves, so I thinned them out to increase air flow. The whole plant rocked back and forth and, sure enough, with the lightest of tugs, I picked up the entire clump. The root system had just been sitting on the mound. Hardly any roots!

I looked more closely at the white moldy stuff. Wasn't sure what that was, but I did find tons of scale.

There's something so repulsing about scale. I dabbed a bit of Ecover dishwashing soap onto an old toothbrush and brushed/washed away what I could.

Then replanted it, all shiny and new, a little deeper. Hopefully that will help it settle in for good. We'll see.

The bog is a bit sparse. I'm still figuring out what to grow with the Darlingtionia. I have some yellow eyed grass, but it's not doing much. If I find a good sward of moss I may lay that down. Smaller plants like bog violets and lady's tresses and maybe a few sundews might be nice, but I don't know how to obtain any local ones, at least not ethically. I may try to collect seed one of these days.

But there's more...

Of course I cut open some of the leaves to see what they had caught.

Lot's of rotting bugs in there. I could recognize beetles, a fly, and even a larva of somekind (Below). The anterior end of the larva fell off as I was opening up the leaf. Nice.

Despite the hassels, it's a cool plant. Eventually, it may be as tall as my knee, may fill the entire bog, and may bloom and seed itself. One can only hope.


Ellen said...

I often have scale on the Sarracenia leucophylla I grow indoors (greenhouse) but I've never seen that white mold. Wonder if it's growing on the scale excretion, like sooty mold, only white.

I applaud your efforts.

Gardener of La Mancha said...

Thanks, Ellen. I think you might be right about the moldy stuff being associated with the scale.