Now his passion has evolved into a profession that has grown into the largest nursery for carnivorous plants in the United States.
Peter D’Amato shared his hobby and carnivorous plant expertise in his bestselling book, The wild garden.
âOne of the other things that is unique is that we literally built this hobby,â said Damon Collingswoth, co-owner of California Carnivores. âThere weren’t a lot of people growing carnivorous plants in 1989 when my business partner started this place. Almost nobody. “
Collingsworth rooted his passion for carnivorous plants when D’Amato sold him his very first Cape Drosera when he was 11 years old.
âIt literally changed both of our lives,â Collingsworth said. “I still have this plant here. This is all just an 11-year-old dream come true.”
Since 2006, Collingsworth has helped D’Amato transform the nursery into a flowering plant business.
âI would describe carnivorous plants as this fascinating world where Mother Nature took this strange turn,â said Daniela Ribbecke, California Carnivores assistant. “Plants are useful, beautiful, deadly to insects, really beautiful to humans. Just an interesting evolutionary process to see.”
There are nearly a thousand carnivorous species in the wild.
Carnivorous plants can be found on all continents except Antarctica and are native to peatlands and swamps.
âNormal plants get their fertilizer and nutrients from the soil they grow in and that’s where carnivorous plants are different,â Collingsworth said. “They have developed the incredible ability to catch their own fertilizer in the air.”
Carnivorous plants consume different insects depending on the species and genus of the plant.
California Carnivores hybridize plants to create more variations of a plant species.
âWe literally create everything we make,â Collingsworth said. “We can ship carnivorous plants in pots to beginners anywhere in the United States.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, California carnivores had their busiest year as people stayed at home and home gardens bloomed during the lockdown.
California Carnivores don’t plan on reopening to the public anytime soon, but they have a strong online presence on most social media platforms to provide plant enthusiasts with education and tutorials.
âIt’s really special to have a profession where we can send carnivorous plants all over the United States,â Ribbecke said. “One of the great things about it is that when I send each box, it spreads the love, the knowledge and the passion for the thing that fascinates me so much.”
For more information visit California Carnivores’ website.