Carnivorous Plants

Learn to identify, propagate, grow and use carnivorous plants - work with them, or follow your passion.

Course Code: VHT107
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Become a Carnivorous Plant Expert

For some, they are a passion, and for others they can become a part time or full time occupation. They might not appeal to everyone; but carnivorous plants often capture the imagination of people who are not necessarily interested in other types of plants. 

Anyone who chooses to undertake this course is obviously interested in carnivorous plants; perhaps as an amateur collector, a commercial grower or a naturalist.

Carnivorous plants are plants that derive some or all of their nutrients by capturing and digesting small animals, such as insects.

Other terms used for carnivorous plants are a “carnivory” or a “carnivore”.

The mechanisms used to capture and digest animals are generally subtle; but not always.

Characteristics that are unique to carnivorous plants include:

  • Attraction Mechanisms  eg. Lures, odours, directional guides
  • Trapping Mechanisms  eg. Sticky secretions that hold animals like fly paper, trap door like openings to digestive chambers.
  • Digestive Mechanisms  eg. Secreted enzymes and absorption of digested material.

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Introduction to carnivorous plants
    • Recognising differences around the worls
    • Plant names
    • Monocotyledons and dicotyledons
    • Plant families
    • Classification of carnivorous plants
    • Review of plant families that carnivorous plants belong to
    • Types of trapping mechanisms
    • Resources and networking
    • Using a botanical key
    • Glossary
  2. Culture
    • Introduction
    • Planting
    • Soils
    • Plant nutrition
    • Watering
    • Plant health
    • Compost making
  3. Propagation and Container Growing.
    • Propagating carnivorous plants
    • Collecting from the wild
    • Methods of propagation
    • Tissue culture
  4. Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes) and Sundews (Drosera)
  5. Other important Groups.
  6. The Lesser Grown Varieties
  7. Australian Droseras
  8. Making the Best Use of these Plants. In containers, in the ground, as indoor plants, etc.
  9. Special Assignment. On one selected plant or group.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Identify different carnivorous plants.
  • Describe the cultural requirements for a range of different carnivorous plants
  • Propagate a range of different carnivorous plants
  • Discuss the identifying characteristics and cultural requirements of several species of both Sundews and Pitcher plants.
  • Discuss the identifying characteristics and cultural requirements of several species of both Bladderworts and at least one other genus of Carnivorous plant.
  • Describe the identifying characteristics and cultural requirements of several species of less commonly cultivated carnivorous plants.
  • Describe the identification and culture of Australian Droseras in depth.
  • Determine and describe appropriate ways of cultivating and displaying cultured carnivorous plants.
  • Describe one group of carnivorous plants in depth.

They are Not all the same!  

You may be surprised how much diversity there is among carnivorous plants. Many may well grow as epiphytes or bog plants in hotter and wetter places; but others can be found in colder and drier climates through many temperate parts of the world.

The shapes, colours, and ways in which they catch and digest small animals (eg. insects) can vary a lot too.

You can grow them as pot plants, in hanging baskets; or in the ground. People from the tropics to temperate climates grow them both inside and out. 

When you get to understand the many different genera and species; and the places they come from; your capacity to grow them becomes greatly improved.


How to Grow Cobra Lilies
 
Suggested Cultivation for the carnivorous plant, Darlingtonia californica (ie. Cobra Lily)
  • Grow in a 15 to 20cm diameter, deep container
  • Place a layer of freely draining material (crocks, stones or charcoal) at the bottom of the pot.
  • Fill the pot with live sphagnum moss; then water until the moss is thoroughly moist. If the moss is dry, this can be best achieved by submersing it in water.
  • Plant the cobra lily with the crown sitting right at the surface of the moss; then scatter a thin layer of living moss over the surface.
  • Keep humid by covering the pot with a bell jar or plastic bag (with some ventilation (eg. A gap at the bottom or hole in the top.
  • Provide good light but not direct sunlight
  • Stand in a tray or saucer of water to provide capillary watering (ie. Water soaks up through the moss to the surface).
  • After a week or two, once the plant is growing, remove the bell jar or plastic
  • Do not repot very often. This plant does not like to have roots disturbed
  • It can tolerate cold temperatures over winter, to minus 10 degrees celsius.
  • Propagate by either taking offshoots from the rhizome; or by seed (sown and raised the same as Sarracenia)

 

WHY STUDY THIS COURSE?

You need to be quite passionate about carnivorous plants to undertake 100 hours of formal study into the subject; but if that describes you, this is a rare opportunity to do just that, being guided by a team of professional horticulturists and botanists who have a significant level of knowledge and expertise with these plants.

The principal John Mason assisted by other staff, are the authors of an e book on Carnivorous plants (you will receive a copy of this book as part of this course).  Mr Mason has grown carnivorous plants as well as observing and photographing them across the world from Australia to England and Asia to North America.

If carnivores are your passion; perhaps it is time to take your interest to the next level through a systematic study of the subject, filling in all of the important gaps in your understanding of these plants, and setting down a foundation to grow your knowledge further in the future.

 

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

ACS is a Preferred Member Training Provider with the Australian Institute of Horticulture. ACS students meeting AIH criteria can join AIH as a Category 2 student member.


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
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More information is here

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Yvonne Sharpe

RHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)

Leading horticultural expert in Australia.
Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (c

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Rosemary Davies

Originally from Melbourne, Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Burnley, a campus of Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer.

She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe.

Parita Shah

Parita has a Masters Degree in Horticulture specializing in Plantation, Spices, Medicinal and Aromatic crops and Organic farming. She has worked as a freelance consultant, and in an Avocado nursery in NSW as grafting and preparing avocado clones.

Timothy Walker

Timothy is a Botanist, Horticulturist and Gardener. He is an Author, and also a lecturer at Somerville College, Oxford. After training at a number of gardens including Windsor Great Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Timothy commenced work at Oxford Botanic Gardens in 1986. Appointed as "Horti Praefectus" (Superintendent/Director) there in 1988, he held that position until 2014. Under Timothy's watch, the garden won four gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show, and developed 67 acres of MG5 wild flower meadow at the Harcourt Arboretum; a UK threatened habitat. Timothy remains an active practical gardener as well as a highly respected international academic in the fields of horticulture and plant botany.

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