Interview with Leo
Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Leo, I am a Firefighter/Paramedic for the Orlando, FL area for over ten years. Born in Colombia (South America) and living in the US for over twenty-five years now.
What’s your favorite plant and why?
– Favorite temperate plant, I love Drosera for how easy they are to grow, how quick they multiply and how beautiful the dew looks in the mornings.
– Favorite Nepenthes, it has to be N. Bicalcarata for its unique look.
What first sparked your interest for carnivores?
I started growing carnivorous plants when the COVID-19 pandemic started. I needed a hobby to keep me entertained at home on my off duty days. My first plant was a small Dionaea I picked up from my local hardware store.
What’s your best tip for growing carnivores?
Be patient. Don’t give up if some of them do not survive, mistakes are learning lessons. Research online for care tips, or join a Carnivorous Plant group on social media. Also, learn about dormancy in temperate plants.
What if you don’t have a green thumb? What’s the hardest carnivorous plant to kill?
If you don’t have a green thumb, stick with easy to grow plants. Learn to create a mini bog garden with some temperate plants that requires low maintenance.
In my opinion, droseras are hard to kill, they are practically weeds, they grow in most conditions and require little to no care most of the time.
What has been your biggest failure/learning experience in your garden/greenhouse?
I live in zone 9B, so growing temperate plants here has been very easy… Nepenthes, however, have been a bit difficult to grow, especially the ones that require high temperatures and high humidity all year long… After a few Neps dying during the dry day.
Here in Florida, I ended up buying a small greenhouse where I can keep humidity and temps high… Also, I stick with lowlands and intermediates.
What challenges do you face in your specific area/country/climate? And have you found a “solution” or a way to work around or with those challenges?
I’m in zone 9B, so temperate plants do great in a bog outside, and the short winters and short sunlight days are enough to put them in dormancy.
Nepenthes, however, needed an all year long of high temps and high humidity, that is why a small greenhouse worked to keep them happy. I used a small oil heater inside the greenhouse during winters and a distilled water humidifier for dry days, with a small fan running low at all times.
What is your favourite task in the garden/greenhouse?
My favorite task is cutting the dead leaves/pitchers and keeping plants looking fresh and colorful.
What is your least favourite task in the garden/greenhouse?
My least favorite task would be repotting, it can get messy.
Who or what inspires you?
Mostly accounts on social media, I enjoy following and seeing all the Instagram posts from The Carnivorous Plant Club (@carnivorousplant_club), Jeremiah’s Plants (@jeremiahsplants), Daniela from California Carnivores (@danielaribbecke), among others.
How many plants do you have approximately?
I honestly lost count how many temperate plants I have in my bog, I estimate around 200+, my greenhouse has about 50 Nepenthes, all intermediate and lowlands.
Thanks for the Interview Leo!
Check out his Instagram page.