20 CP growers you should follow on Instagram
10 November 2017
There is a thriving carnivorous plant scene on Instagram. With thousands of growers sharing stunning pictures of their collections - not to mention sharing valuable tips in the comments - I’d encourage all CP enthusiasts to sign-up.
I spoke to the growers behind some of my favourite Instagram accounts. Limiting myself to 20 was next to impossible (in fact I went slightly over!), so I’ll probably do a follow-up next year. A mixture of hobbyists and nursery owners from around the world, each shared details of their collections, growing setups, preferred cameras, and favourite specimens at this time of year. I’ve sorted them A to Z below.
Enjoy, and be sure to share your favourite Instagrammers in the comments.
1. Aidan Vincent - @aidanvincent
“I’m a CP hobbyist located in the south of the UK in Cornwall. The bulk of my collection is mainly Nepenthes but I also grow some Ceropegia and Pinguicula. I grow all my highland Nepenthes in a modified grow-tent which cools using a chest freezer and an antifreeze liquid loop. To take my photos, I switch between my iPhone and Nikon D3300 with Sigma 105mm EX OS HSM macro lens.
Currently my favourite specimen is probably N. lowii Trusmadi. Although my favourite changes quite often.”
2. Alvin Liu - @alusplants
“I’m a high school senior and hobbyist from New Jersey, United States, and I started growing CPs when I was about 6 years old. I mostly grow Sarracenia (outdoors in my backyard), Nepenthes (either in my highland tank or on the windowsill), and (Drosera) (scattered wherever their needs dictate), although I do have odds and ends from other genera as well. When I take photos for my blog, I use the camera on my iPhone 4 and black bulletin as a backdrop - nothing high-tech here!
I guess the plant that I like looking at the most right now is my Drosera solaris - I’ve always loved South American tepui Dosera, and D. solaris in particular is somewhat temperamental and doesn’t always look its best for me, so it’s always more satisfying when it does.”
3. Damon Collingsworth - @damonleifc
“I’m Damon Collingsworth and I co-own California Carnivores with Peter D’Amato. I’ve grown the plants since I was 11 years old and I started with a Cape Sundew that I bought from Peter at a local flea market. Our nursery is in beautiful Sebastopol, California and we are open to the public. You can also learn more about us and order plants online at www.californiacarnivores.com.
It was my great honor to take most of the photos for the revised version of Peter’s book, “The Savage Garden”. I’m so grateful to get to run this nursery and steward this amazing collection every day with the entire CC team because I truly love the plants. I consider myself a steward of the earth in a very real way and I know how lucky I am to get to do exactly what the 11-year-old me wants to do everyday.
I grow all genera of carnivorous plants (except Philcoxia) and we strive to eventually have a complete collection of all the species. I’ve taken all my photos for Instagram with my IPhone 7+. It’s not the camera, it’s the photographer 😉.
Favorites are a toughey for me. My obsession kind of bounces around within the main obsession. Right now I’ve got Ping fever pretty bad and I’m really loving hybridizing with them. Heliamphora would be a close second at the moment too. We’ve probably made over 100 crosses with them in the last 2 or 3 years. If I had to chose a favorite, I guess it would be my big bowl of Cephalotus that I’ve had since I was 14, but honestly I like em all!”
Note: I’ve done a Q&A with Peter D’Amato, founder of California Carnivores - read more here!
4. Domonick Gravine - @redleafexotics
“I’m Domonick Gravine and I operate Redleaf Exotics in Brooklyn, New York. I specialize in seed grown tropical pitcher plants or Nepenthes, with a special interest for complex crosses!
I grow all of my plants in 14 x 24ft polytunnel, under intermediate/highland conditions. I use a Canon 5D mark III. My favorite specimen at present (almost always) is the gorgeous N. veitchii Bario ‘Candy Dreams’.”
Note: I’ve done a Q&A with Dom about his nursery, inspirations, and the upcoming Exotica Plants import - read more here!
5. Gavin - @gavins_sarracenia
“I am an addicted hobbyist of Carnivorous Plants, based in Southsea and became addicted when I was 10, and living in the Midlands! I am now based in Hampshire, and currently grow mainly Sarracenia! At home I have a total greenhouse space of 22ft by 6ft, and a couple of years ago invested in 2 Cedar greenhouses, which make up this space! I use commercial grade aluminium staging and trays, which hold my collection! You can see the set up in some of my Instagram pics.
This extent of greenhouse takes up half of my garden and is crammed full, so I’m looking for extra space. It’s filled with moorei’s, flava’s, leucophylla’s and mixed hybrids. I’m also growing many Sarracenia seedlings, with some very interesting crosses! Back in the midlands I have a small 6ft x 8ft greenhouse at my parents house, filled with alata’s, rubra’s and minor’s, etc! I am keen to meet other growers to swap plants, and continue to grow my collection! In terms of camera, I simply use my iPhone 6S, as it’s always on me!
My favorite specimen right now is Sarracenia x moorei ‘Leelou’s’, which I obtained from Azais Cedric in France… one of his own crosses! This is because I love the colour change as it intensifies! There are a few photos of it on my Instagram and it’s a cross between S. x moorei ‘Wilkerson’s White Knight’ X S. x moorei ‘Wilkerson’s Red’. This may change by next year, as I have purchased some rhyzome cuttings this Autumn, the pitchers of which I’m yet to see!”
6. Hackingnepenthes - @hackingnepenthes
“I am a CP hobbyist in the Bay Area (my day job is in biotech). I have been growing CPs off and on for around 20 years. Recently, I’ve been focusing mostly on Nepenthes and dabble in the rest. My plants are all grown in an air conditioned corporate office… either in the entryway display (fairly intermediate conditions) or in the back propagation room (slightly warmer). I also have a small highland chamber I am experimenting with.
I was inspired by “nepenthesaroundthehouse” who just threw Nepenthes out into full sun to see if they could adapt. Most did it seemed. So, when I had success in my first office with Nepenthes hamata I realized I could probably grow almost anything in here. Humidity usually varies from 40-50% so I keep them wetter with autodrip twice a day and essentially use the tray method with plants grown in netpots and a gradient of looser media to emulate a self-watering pot.
Camera: I use HD mode on my iPhone 6S combined with my past photography experience. Used to do a lot of manual photography in high school.
My favorite specimen is always my 10-year-old N. truncata ‘Pasian’ which has a special place in the office lobby. I grew it from a 2-year-old plug and it is an absolute tank. Very adaptable… has grown in all sorts of conditions, dried out a half dozen times, and keeps going.”
7. Jacob Farin - @growcarnivorousplants
“My name is Jacob Farin of Sarracenia Northwest, a carnivorous plant nursery in Portland, Oregon. I use Nikon D90 primarily for photos published on the website and an iPhone for spontaneous photos (for Facebook and Instagram).
Different plants excite me at different times of the year. But, if I had only one plant to keep with me for the rest of my life, I’d go with Sarracenia ‘Judith Hindle’, which might surprise a lot of growers. This plant is an all-around good grower and is ideal for first-time growers. It’s colorful and uniformly shaped, grows quickly, produces nice pitchers in early and late season, and retains some of its pitchers in winter. As a nursery owner, I have to get people excited about growing carnivorous plants. ‘Judith Hindle’ has proven to be the best plant for that job.”
8. James - @carnivorous_jim
“My name’s James, I’m owner of Insektenfang nursery based in Dorset, southern England. I’m a keen highland Nepenthes grower and have now been growing them for 6 years. My Instagram is primarily for my personal collection, and all photos are done using my Samsung galaxy 6 edge.
I’ve done several expeditions to see Nepenthes growing in their natural habitat. Seeing Nepenthes in the wild really opens your eyes to how they truly grow and what conditions they have to deal with. After seeing them growing naturally I adapted my growing conditions and continue to do so all the time to try and replicate their natural growing conditions as closely as possible.
I find Neps very adaptable to different environments and encourage others to give it a go! They are fascinating plants and well worth the effort of getting the set up right :)”
9. Dr Jeff Shafer - @nepenthesgod
“My name’s Jeff, and I’m a scientist and grower of carnivorous plants based in the United States. I first became interested in CPs back in 1971, and over the years I’ve probably grown almost every known species of Nepenthes, with the possible exception of a few of the most newly discovered ones. Additionally, I’ve cultivated probably over 100 different kinds of Drosera, most of the Heliamphora, Cephalotus, Darlingtonia, Drosophyllum, and Roridula.
My primary focus today is Nepenthes, and on my Instagram I share photos taken in my tropical greenhouse. My moniker is ‘nepenthesgod’ - I suppose that I should have been more careful in selecting it, for I think that some folks interpret it as meaning that I’m the ‘god’ of Nepenthes. Actually, what I meant to imply is that that I worship the Nepenthes god, FWIW!”
Note: I’ve published a Q&A with Jeff which includes many more photos of his stunning collection - read more here.
10. Jeremiah Harris - @jeremiahsplants
“I’m Jeremiah Harris of Colorado Springs, CO. I’m a crazy hobbyist that sells off extra plants from time to time. I grow nearly everything but specialize in Nepenthes. I have 3 greenhouses full of carnivorous plants my largest being 1000sf along with grow chambers and terrariums. I shoot mostly with my iPhone but have a Nikon d750 with a 60mm 1.8 macro I use as well.
My favorite carnivorous plant is Nepenthes rajah. I first saw a photo of one when I was 7 years old and dreamt of seeing it in the wild someday. That dream came true in 2007 when I was 19.”
11. Josh Brown - @predatoryplants
“My name is Josh Brown, and I am the owner of Predatory Plants. We are an exotic plant nursery based in California specializing in carnivorous plants. We cultivate and mass-produce any type of carnivorous plant we can get our hands on, but my personal specialty is producing Nepenthes species and hybrids from seed. I use a plain-old Samsung Galaxy S6 for taking pictures.
My current favorite specimen is the Nepenthes muluensis x lowii that I posted on Instagram on November 3, 2017. The compact growth habit, richly-colored pitchers, and unique parentage fit my aesthetic perfectly.”
Note: Earlier this year I spoke to Josh about the Nepenthes hybridisation program at Predatory Plants - read more here.
12. Kinjie Coe - @ocpaddict
“My name is Kinjie Coe and I am a hobbyist based in Portland, Oregon. I have been growing these plants for about 10 years. The bulk of my collection is in Sarracenia, Nepenthes, Heliamphora and venus flytraps. But I grow a little of everything when it comes to CPs.
I grow plants anywhere the sun will shine around my place…. as well as a few places it doesn’t with artificial lights :) - indoors, outdoors, and in GH’s. I shoot all my photos with a Nikon D3500 camera or iPhone. S.(Leucophylla x purpurea) F2 bulbous is my favorite growing right now.”
13. Laurent Taerwe - @taerwetropicals
“I’m Laurent Taerwe, a biologist and a hobby-botanist. I live near Ghent, Belgium. I’ve been growing every genus of CPs since I was 9 years old. I specialise in Nepenthes and Heliamphora. I’ve got 4 greenhouses: a temperate greenhouse, a subtropical greenhouse, a highland/intermediate tropical greenhouse and a lowland tropical greenhouse.
I’ve been travelling all over the world to observe CPs in situ and have seen half of species of the genus Nepenthes in the wild by now. I use a Canon 5D mark III and my smartphone Samsung S6 to make photos. My favourite species are Nepenthes veitchii and Heliamphora macdonaldae.”
14. Matthew Soper - @hampshirecarnivorousplants
“Owner of Hampshire Carnivorous Plants. Have been growing these fascinating plants for the last 38 years, we are currently the UK’s largest CP nursery with a huge range of plants inc Sarracenia, Dionaea, Drosera, Nepenthes, Darlingtonia, Cephalotus, Utricularia and many others. We have temperate and tropical growing areas at the nursery housed in a half acre venlo glass house so plenty to see, open by appointment or our open weekends through the growing season.
Camera: Nikon d5000 with Nikon d60 macro in the past but now (last 3 years) all on iPhone 7 at the moment. Favourite plants on the nursery at the moment are the Cephalotus, they are looking great!”
15. Michael Kevin Smith - @michaelkevinsmith
“I am a hobbyist residing in San Diego, California and have been growing carnivorous plants for 24 years. I started by growing Venus flytraps when I was living in North Carolina, but quickly transitioned to more exotic carnivorous plants after seeing photos of Nepenthes in National Geographic and various botanical books at my local library.
I focus my efforts on growing Nepenthes species and their natural hybrids, which I grow outdoors in San Diego using a bunch of shade cloth and an automated misting system. I pretty much grow or have grown every Nepenthes species at this point and never seem to get bored with the plants or the great communities and groups around the plants. Here in San Diego we have a very active, organized, and engaging San Diego Carnivorous Plant Society.
I take photos of my collection just using my mobile phone, mostly as a reference for tracking growth and documenting them when they are at their best. My favorite plant at the moment is Nepenthes undulatifolia. I have never seen a species more beautifully encapsulate the features of all Nepenthes from a geographic region. This species is the epitome of Nepenthes from Sulawesii; blending the infundibular upper pitchers of N. eymae, the ovate lower pitcher of N. glabrata/N. pitopangii, the wavy lamina of some rarer forms of N. maxima, the dark completion of N. nigra, and the overall enigmatic and savage beauty of N. hamata.”
16. Rob Co - @rco911
“Name: Rob Co, hobbyist grower in Portland, OR. I grow mostly Sarracenia, with an outdoor setup. Cameras used: for IG, iPhone 6. I also use a Canon 7d for the blog. I don’t really have one favorite specimen. It varies depending on my mood on a given day, I guess 😊🌿.”
17. Siru - @snownyy
“I’ve been a hobbyist for 10 years now in Lahti, Finland. I grow mainly Nepenthes and Sarracenia but also sundews, flytraps, cobra lily. My growing setup is a 420L Lowland terrarium in my room, custom highland setup in our ground basement. Temperate plants are outside. I use an iPhone 5s, and my favourite specimen right now is Nepenthes hamata :-)”
18. Steve Galic - @callmemisterred
“I’m Steve Galic, a hobbyist grower located outside of Seattle Washington. 10 years ago I saw a Sarracenia for sale at a local grocery store, and an obsession began after doing some research and seeing photos of wild fields of red tube flavas.
I grow Sarracenia, and mostly Sarracenia flava at that, although I do have a few hybrid Nepenthes in my orchid greenhouse. I’m growing my Sarracenia in two 400 sqft full polycarbonate greenhouses on my farm where they get full sun from sunup to sundown.
I’m using an iPhone 7+. Right now, my favorite specimen is a batch of pure Carolina genetics red tube flava seedlings that I made a few years ago. I’m focused on growing out and resurrecting the lost red tube flavas from the Carolinas.”
19. Sunya Nuanlaong - @ton.sunya
“My name is Sunya Nuanlaong. Plant scientist from Walailak University, Thailand. Nepenthes culture is my hobby and research. Nepenthes is a special plant and different from other plants. I took all my pictures from my own plants. My photos are taken from iPhone 6 Plus. My favorite specimen : Nepenthes mirabilis var. globosa (viking).”
20. Tom Skinner - @tskinner89
“My name’s Tom Skinner, I’m 28 and I’ve been growing carnivorous plants since I was 11. I’m a hobbyist trying to make a nursery in my free time which is harder than it sounds. I’m based in Edenbridge Kent and I grow the temperate carnivores. I’ve got a full time job, so I’ve built an automated system to keep them watered. I use a Samsung S8 for my photos.
My favourite plant right now because everything else is going dormant is Drosera regia. But when it’s summer, it’s the Sarracenia.”
21. Tyler - @carnivorouskeep
“My name is Tyler and I’m from Surrey, British Columbia on the south west coast of Canada. I’m a carnivorous plant hobbyist that has focussed primarily on Nepenthes, and over the last few years have gone from growing in terrarium-style setups to a larger Highland grow chamber built inside the garage. Using air conditioning and heaters to maintain consistent temps, respectively, throughout the seasons.
I photograph the plants I grow with my iPhone camera mostly. With special pitchers or plants that I feel deserve the best quality photos I use a Nikon Coolpix B700. It’s never easy to have a steady favourite Nepenthes because there are many times of year where some grow better than others. One that has always done well for me though would have to be the large N. QoHxKoS [Nepenthes robcantleyi ‘Queen of Hearts’ x ‘King of Spades’]. This plant has so much to offer between leaves, pitcher shape, and colours. It will always hold a special place in my heart.”
22. (bonus) Me! - @tomscarnivores
On my own Instagram feed, I share photos from my visits to the nurseries, private collections, and botanic gardens that I get to explore while authoring this website. I mostly take photos using my iPhone 7 Plus, but sometimes use a Nikon D3100.
I love all genera of carnivorous plants, but my two favourite are Nepenthes and Sarracenia. Next year I’ll be building my first greenhouse for highland Nepenthes. I’ll be documenting my progress on Instagram - follow me to keep up to date, and subscribe to my blog using the widget below to be notified of new posts via email.
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