The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 12

Q: What is slack-potting?

A: Slack-potting is a phrase of my own coinage (I think) that kind of caught 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.

(Actually, I know Peter D'Amato was using the term Slack-potting by around 2000, too, so I don't know who came up with it!)

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.

All that said, I'm not sure if anyone still slack-pots. I think it is a fad that has come and gone.

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

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Revised: 2018
©Barry Rice, 2018