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The next air plant? Carnivorous plants bloom in popularity

by Timber Press on October 13, 2016

in Design, Gardening

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The New England Carnivorous Plant Society‘s most successful conference to date and Portland Center Stage’s 2016 “Little Shop of Horrors” aren’t the only signs people are ravenously curious to know more about venus fly traps and other carnivorous plant species.

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Rich with potential for everything from elegant container arrangements and outdoor landscaping to tiny desk decor, carnivorous plants are trending. Here, Nigel Hewitt-Cooper tells us more about the moment these alien-looking blooms are having, and what inspired him to write Carnivorous Plants:

It seems there remains a gap in the market, however—a lack of information in print as to the general cultivation of carnivorous plants. I still hear this from people, as well as the problem that the huge amount of information available online is bewildering and often contradictory.

There are a number of myths and misconceptions that surround carnivorous plants, in fact probably more than any other horticultural grouping, which does little to endear them to potential growers. I hope to dispel many of these erroneous assumptions. To many, the mention of carnivorous plants evokes images of hot, tropical conditions. There are species that thrive in such environments, but most that you are likely to encounter and grow successfully are in fact temperate.

Though few people contemplate growing these plants in the confines of an average house, let alone cultivating them outside, I want to challenge such views and attitudes. Some dismiss carnivorous plants as novelties; many pass my displays at flower shows, declaring, “Oh, I don’t like those things.” When introduced to the intrinsic beauty and wide-ranging diversity of these plants, however, I find that most people can appreciate their grace and elegance. I will also challenge the outdated opinion that carnivorous plants are strictly greenhouse inhabitants. Indeed, a good many are candidates for the garden, and hence deserving of a place alongside today’s favourite ornamental plants.


Nigel Hewitt-Cooper‘s fascination with plants that trap animals began at a young age, and his botanical journey of over 30 years has taken him from growing his first Venus fly trap at the age of seven to winning seven gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show. He started his nursery, Hewitt-Cooper Carnivorous Plants, in 1997. He is also the National Plant Collection holder for the genus Drosera, the sundews.


Click the image below for a look inside this book.


“Carnivorous plants aren’t mere novelties; they have ‘grace and elegance.’—the beginning of a garden trend.” —The New York Times Book Review

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