Posts published on October 2014

Carnivorous Plants


Carnivorous Plants

As growers and humans we have always had an interest in nature’s extremes, and there is certainly no shortage of these extremes in the plant world. There is perhaps no better example in nature than carnivorous plants. Plants such as the Venus Fly Traps, Pitcher Plants and Sundews have evolved unique ways of supplementing poor soil nutrition by becoming predators. These plants feed off other living things using unique and deadly adaptations.

Venus Fly Traps (Dionaea muscipula)

These small herbs are possibly the most well known of the Carnivorous plants. They consist of a small base of leaves with shoots consisting of a hinged, toothed trap with small pink pads that open like a clam shell. A trigger on the pad acts as a sensor and when activated, shuts rapidly on the intended victim. A native to the eastern coast of the United States, these plants are adapted for harsh marshland soils and lots of sun. They’re normal “diet” consists of ants, small beetles, and of course, flies.

These plants can be notoriously hard to grow and require a daily flushing of distilled water, light or sun cues, and plenty of patience. A good base is recommended like sphagnum moss or sometimes a sandy medium. The plants are used to a summer/winter cue, so timing with sunlight or artificial light is key. These plants need lots of water, and distilled water has shown great results. Traps can take years to present themselves in a mature plant, so patience is key.

Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia purpurga)

A non-motile plant, pitcher plants rely on bait to trap their victims. Modified leaved form a pitcher like trap where digestive juices are produced. The sides of the pitcher are slick and some species have teeth lining their rims to prevent any escape. An irritable odor attracts creatures to its pitcher and they slip down into the pool. With no option for escape, the animal is slowly digested in the pool of juices and the plant is fed.

While some species have an “umbrella” to keep rain from the tropics out of the pitcher, some plants’ pools just become gradually more dilute. These diluted pools still serve a purpose, as they become ideal breeding grounds for many species of insects. Nutrients are also added to the pitcher by tree shrews who have found a convenient use for the pitchers as their preferred bathroom.

Growing them is easier than the Venus traps. Pitcher plants require a sandy, nutrient poor soil, and peat moss is a good medium to grow them in. These plants need full sun, and must not be overwatered. Keeping the tops dry and in full sun will produce the best pitchers in most species.

Sundews (Drosera capensis)

Sundews are small, sturdy plants that offer unique adaptation to their shoots. Small “tentacles” stick off of the shoot, capped with a sticky deposit that ensnares unlucky victims. When an insect makes contact, it is trapped in the sticky mess, as the arms begin to curl up and trap the insect even further. Digestive juices immediately begin to work, slowly breaking down the animal and providing nutrients to the plant. These plants are found in numerous families, and can be found on nearly every continent, quickly becoming one of the most popularly cultivated plants.

Sundews grow well in almost every medium, although a 1:1 sand/peat or LFS/perlite ratio works best. The plants prefer to stay moist and around 50% humidity. Feeding them 2 times per week will help ensure a good growth pattern for these plants. The plant itself is fairly tolerant of a wide-variety of environments, so they are a good choice for a low-maintenance carnivorous plant.

Carnivorous Plants

If you are interested in seeing any of these exotic plants, San Diego State University has a small public display in the Life Sciences North building on the first floor. San Diego

Hydroponics and Organics has kindly donated the lighting system for this display, and the plants have been thriving there for years. These plants are under the expert care of Bob Mangen, the greenhouse master at SDSU. Bob has kept this display for over 10 years, and had pioneered new techniques in caring for these unique plants. Greenhouse visiting hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-11am.

Hungry Caterpillar Vegan Veggie Wraps



  • Mission Garden Spinach Wrap (or flour tortilla)
  • Hummus
  • Spinach
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • ½ Cucumber
  • 1 Carrot
  • ½ Avocado
  • Tooth picks

*Feel free to add or subtract ingredients based on what’s in your garden!

1)     Begin by washing all your veggies.  This step is especially important if you are buying your produce and have not grown it yourself.  See notes at the bottom for more details on how to wash your veggies!

2)     Peel carrot and cut into strips length-wise, put to the side. Cut one side of the Bell Pepper, this will be your caterpillar’s face, then cut the reminder into long strips. Cut Cucumber, and Avocado into thin segments as well.

3)     Generously spread Hummus on the Tortilla. I use Mission Garden Spinach Wraps and an Artichoke Spinach Hummus so the caterpillar is green but you can substitute any flour tortilla.

4)     Layer a handful of Spinach on top of the Hummus.

5)     Lay Bell Pepper, Cucumber, Carrot and Avocado in parallel down the center or the Tortilla.

6)     Roll the Tortilla over its self and secure with a tooth pick.

7)     Space four more toothpicks evenly apart down the center of the roll. Cut in between each toothpick.

8)     Place the segments next to each other on a plate and to the endmost one with your saved portion of Bell Pepper.

9)     Using whatever remaining ingredients you have, make a face, feet and antennas for your caterpillar.


How to Wash Store Bought Veggies

1)     Mix ½ cup white vinegar with 3 cups water in a spray bottle.

2)     Spray veggies thoroughly.

3)     Rinse well.

Product Spotlight: Trim Stations


San Diego Hydroponics & Organics is happy to now offer Trim Stations.

Trimming made easy! The most efficient and cost effective platform to process a grow. Trim Station is designed to increase trimming efficiency through ergonomic design resulting in greater yield. Designed by growers for growers, made in California, using recycled materials.


The most efficient platform to process a grow. Trim Station is designed to increase trimming efficiency through ergonomic design resulting in greater yield. The Fully Loaded package is a next generation, all-in-one, trimming platform. The Stand has an adjustable neck allowing for multiple posture settings, while Bud Beam affixes to the Stands mounting tab and is a specially designed 5W LED light that floods the trim zone with brilliant illumination. Everything a trimmer needs is now at arms reach within a self contained unit.

For more information on these and other Trim Station products visit

2014 Customer Appreciation Sale


Join San Diego Hydroponics & Organics Nov. 7th & 8th for our two day Customer Appreciation Sale. The best way to say ‘thank you’ to our customers is with free raffles, free samples and discounts up to 50% off storewide at all five of our San Diego locations.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to meet representatives from your favorite brands at our San Marcos, Bay Park and Lakeside locations.

Enter to win awesome prizes, like a trip for 2 to Las Vegas, Bulb/Ballast/Hood package, House & Garden premium nutrients, Mad Farmer additives, your favorite Bio Bizz products and more!

Saturday lunch is on us! Enjoy a feast from Tacos & Gorditas from 12-3.

Soil 30% off
Vermifire/Vermisoil 50% off
Hydroton/Hydrocorn $20+ tax (44% off)
Grodan up to 35% off
Bulbs 40% off
Hortilux 1000w HPS 50% off
Ballasts 30% off
Digital Ballasts 40% off
Harvest Pro 1000w Ballasts 40% off
Hoods 30% off
Nutrients 30% off
General Hydroponics 35% off
Mad Farmer 35% off
H&G 30% off
Botanicare 35% off
Cutting Edge Solutions 35% off
Fans 30% off
Pesticides 30% off
Cloning Gear (Cloning Gels, Powders and Liquid, Domes, Propagation Trays, Scalpels, Mad Root Trays) 30% off
Pots/Saucers 30% off
Water Filters 30% off
Trayhuggers 30% off
Reservoirs 25% off
Pumps 25% off
Grow Tents 25% off
Atmosphere Controllers 25% off
Can Original 25% off
Can Lite 30% off
Phresh Filters (only filters, not silencers or inline filters or 12″ filter) 30% off
Blue Lab 25% off
Green Trees 25% off
Timers 30% off
Ducting & assesories 25% off
CO2 tanks 20lb-$115
Method 7 25% off (except RX)
Pumps 20-25% off
Sprayers 20% off
Turbo Klone 25% off
Indoor Garden Guide 50% off
Books 30% off

*Some exclusions may apply. Ask a clerk for details. Sale prices may be subject to change.