The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 11.5
- courtesy of -
The International Carnivorous Plant Society

Q: What is slack-potting?

A: Slack-potting is a phrase of my own coinage (I think) that seems to be catching on in the carnivorous plant community. Of course, it derives from that great figure in carnivorous plant horticulture, the UK's Adrian Slack, and indicates a horticultural technique that he promoted in his books.

Slack reported having difficulty growing Drosophyllum because of root rot, and the problems of maintaining an even soil moisture throughout the pot. So he devised (or at least popularized) the method of using nested pots.

In its strictest form, slack-potting involves growing a plant in a well-drained medium in a clay pot, which is nested inside a larger plastic pot, also filled with planting medium. This double-potted arrangement is kept sitting in a little bit of water. The outer pot acts as a wick and bathes all side of the inner pot with moisture. The porous clay pot transmits that moisture to the interior.

Since I live in a Mediterranean climate, I have found that slack-potting is not necessary. Growers who do not live in similar arid climates might find it to be a useful strategy. Apparently it worked for Slack in moist England. Plants that might benefit from slack-potting include Drosophyllum and the perennial species of Byblis, such as B. gigantea or B. lamellata.

Page citations: Rice, B.A. 2006a; Slack, A. 1979, 1986; personal observation

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Revised: September 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005