I have recently purchased four 15" hanging baskets, the sort with twelve push in net plugs for planting things into the side of the basket, ready for the spring. As I don't really need the four, and only purchased that many as it worked out cheaper, I had the idea of creating a hanging basket of binata and Darlingtonia, filled with sphagnum moss with binata planted into the net plugs. In order to retain enough water I had to create a well within the basket to provide some water storage. To achieve this I cut up some liner, large enough to cover the base and rise up to about half way up the basket, creating a measured half gallon reservoir. I silicone sealed the liner to the basket, vertically between the lower four net plugs so that I can get sphagnum to the net pockets still connected to the reservoir and hide the liner when viewed from without. I gathered a couple of gallons of Sphagnum from the greenhouse and bogs, filled the planter with sphagnum, Darlingtonia and binata plants and broke some pieces of binata root onto the top layer so it should fill up and drape over the edges to create a ball. I notice that there is some pillwort in there too from the moss from the greenhouse so that will probably help fill in the gaps. I'm not sure I'll be able to control it the wicking effect of the Sphagnum from emptying the reservoir, but I thought it worth a try. It doesn't look too bad, if it doesn't work I have time to move the plants before spring.
A small update, currently the basket is in my porch for some protection. The conditions are far from ideal as the porch only gets direct light from about 1.00, but where the basket is situated from about 2.00, so earlier in the season the photo period was even less, plus, for good measure, as you can see it is sitting under an over wintering banana plant leaf. currently the basket is taking two watering of four pints (ish) per week. i wasn't expecting anything exciting, rather that the plants get thier feet in so to speak and establish themselves this year, but as you can see I have a small inflorescence a number of stolons and new pitchers. The binata are establishing and producing leaves, unfortunately just the T form. I had four trays of binata root cuttings, two T form and two multifida and guessed wrongly when selecting the ones for the basket, an object lesson in labelling everything! The pillwort is growing well too.
Although the light and temperatures are far for ideal in the porch where the basket Darlingtonia has been kept, it has worked well in the hanging basket and if the number of stolons is anything to go by, enjoys the environment but lacks sufficient light to thrive. However I will release it into one of the bogs in the spring, not just because of the lack of light, but keeping it watered (as Fred alluded to) has been a bit of a faf, the storage capacity of the basket just isn’t sufficient to keep up with the evaporation rate from the Sphagnum, so more frequent watering on a daily or bi-daily basis is necessary, which could be one of the reasons that it has grown reasonably well. It has also projected its stolons literally all around the basket and who’d have thought it [apart from everyone on the forum] past the liner and through the holes in the side of the basket that the Sphagnum has overgrown. The binata also did extremely well but have died back for winter so there’s not much to see, but will also do well in the outside bog. The pictures below, when compared to the newly planted basket above show the growth created in essentially two seasons. As I have a number of clones doing well in semi drained buckets, (drainage holes 100 mm from the top of the bucket and all buckets Sphagnum filled) when I reorganise some areas of the bogs in spring, will dig a pit at the outflow end of the bog, fill it with Sphagnum and put the plant in the hole. The hole being for water storage capacity rather than depth of substrate requirements. Cheers Steve