Friday, April 29, 2005

Triffids - Your questions, answered

Triffids, Q&A
Feedback from friendly Angry Chimp, not like other 'arrogant' bloggers

The Flatland Gardener certainly had quiet the healthy mailbag following the little piece on the joys of nurturing that most famous of carnivorous plants, the Triffid. (see original article here)

It seems fitting that I answer your questions in this public forum, because as I always say, good growing is a shared secret, not a grumpy old sod in the shed.

So first out of the pod bay door is edwaado;

I was thinking of crossing my Triffid with a Piranha Plant do you have any tips?

In your experience, are the results kid-friendly?

Well edwaado, that certainly is an interesting combination you are after there. The Triffid, when not ‘docked’ is already a formidable foe, so I am not certain what the added advantage of mixing in the Piranha Plant will be.

The good news however, is neither plant is kid friendly, with I believe the Piranha Plant able to devour a healthy six year old runt in little under 30 seconds. And that includes snotty noses.

Our next question comes from Blighty;

Blighty doesn't have much of a garden so we wonder if it would be possible to plant a Triffid in the top of our wall or in a pot?

Well, your Triffid does get a tad tetchy if pot bound, which is only possible if the soil has a strong mix of concrete in with it.

If you do plant your Triffid on the top of the wall, it will attempt to traverse the entire length of the wall, and surrounding gardens. Triffids are of course, very inquisitive beings. If this acceptable then yes, enjoy.

We have a question here from regular Flatland Gardener reader, Tina.

Do Triffids respond well to breast milk?

Triffids are not typically fussy about the liquids in their diet, although they do tend to turn their stems up at Dr Pepper. (Be warned, feeding a Triffid Sunny Delight will result in hyperactivity, not ideal in a 2.5metre Triffid). As for breast milk, I am certain the Triffid will find this a refreshing treat. I know I always do.

Of course always take the appropriate precautions when feeding, the stem has quite a suck on it and can leave a nasty welt.

Triffid with apple scab
Now that looks very nasty. Apple scabbed Triffid = Oh dear.

Further questions from that keen gardener edwaado;

One of my Triffids is suffering from Apple Scab. I've heard that frequently if a disease is obvious it's too late to treat, so I'm not hopeful, but is there anything you can suggest?

I am intrigued as to how your Triffid contracted Apple Scab, which can be quiet nasty. Fortunately, the Triffid has an advanced immune system (the result of generic engineering).

Take your Triffid to your local veterinary surgery, where they will administer a course of anti-biotic. The Apple Scab should clear up in no time at all.

One here from a new comer to our little community, Linsey B;

My Triffids have wilting leaves - they have enough room to roam, plenty of water and a sunny spot - any suggestions on how to treat the wilt? Mr Titchmarsh was of no help; I'm hoping you will do better.

a happy Triffid
Remember: Enjoy your Triffid, and your Triffid will enjoy you.

Are you giving your Triffid plenty of attention? And I don’t mean just gardening attention, I mean hands on cuddling and playing.

This is a common mistake made by newcomers to Triffid gardening, Triffids are very social plants, and if you are only able to care for one of these magnificent specimens then you will need to keep it entertained, otherwise it will become lonely and depressed.

As regards Mr Titchmarsh, be careful not to over feed your Triffid on a Titchmarsh, they will become bloated on him very quickly, so stick to small chunks often, as opposed to large chunks occasionally.

Maybe even throw one of his arms or legs around and see if you can get your Triffid to chase after it, I am certain that the Triffid will enjoy this enormously.

Our penultimate question is again from edwaado;

How effective have you found mulching? We've tried eggshells, but unfortunately dogs and other creatures tend to eat them. But we've had other successes. One is pumice, which is now coming on the market, it's a lava-type rock used as a mulch. The best thing though, we've found - and I really do rate it as a really good slug control - is pine needles.

There is a terrific chapter on the best course of mulching for these wonderful plants in the Triffid Bible – ‘Day of the Triffids’ by my old green house chum Johnny Wyndham. You may want to see if you can pick up an old copy through Amazon.

Slug control is always very important, and I have found pine needles to be most effective.

Our final question is from one of our transatlantic cousins; Millicent;

I'd love to put one on my neighbour’s (a.k.a. Slag Man) balcony - I don't know that Los Angeles weather would welcome one however. I saw absolutely breathtaking footage of this plant in action in a botany lecture. Amazing.

It is true; Triffids are quite breathtaking when viewed in the wild. I do have a number of contacts in the States who keep Triffids in rude health, despite the proportionately dry and sunny weather.

Obviously, the biggest challenge for a Triffid in Los Angeles will be all the walking it is required to do. Although a healthy Triffid relishes a good old-fashioned hike, a lot of ‘side walking’ can leave the boles rather sore. I have a colleague out in Texas who recently got her Triffid a Segway. Apparently, the Triffid is getting along with it famously.

Transport for the modern Triffid
Transport for the modern 'about town' Triffid

Unfortunately that is all the time we have for Triffids, I hope this has helped, and if you do have any further questions please do go ahead and post your queries below.

Until next time, remember: whether it is down hill, flatland, or uphill gardening, it is all good fun.


Sniffy said...

Dear Dr Herge,

When referring to "giving your triffid plenty of attention", is there any scope for a hand job or even fellatio? I'm talking giving and/or receiving here.

Herge Smith said...


If you can find the reproductive organs then some Triffid husdandry may be in order.

Let us know how you get on.

Sniffy said...

Sorry for the delay, I've had my hands full!

Sniffy said...

I think I'm going to start a Yahoo or MSN community thing with a message board where all people with decent blogs can interact and advertise their stuff. There doesn't seem to be any real forum for that sort of thing at the moment and it's much better than searching the blog directories.

Toque said...

A friend bought me a bonsai triffid for my birthday but I've lost it. Is there anything that I can use to tempt it out of hiding?

Herge Smith said...

Gareth - that's a good friend you have there, Bonsai Triffids are very rare and expensive.

Although the Bonsai T is significantly smaller than the regular T, they still have a taste for the meat. Of course it's all about scale though.

Bonsai T's are particularly fond of kittens. (also small babies, but they tend to be tricker to get hold of). Full sized cats can be a challenge for a Bonsai T, so if you do use a cat, remember to chop it in half before feeding. Hope that helps.

Tina - sounds like a great idea - get the forum rolling - will we have a strict admission policy?

Sniffy said...

Anybody could join the forum, but I'd recommend that they used an alias e-mail account to preseve anonymity and confidentiality.

Member could share all sorts of resources to improve their blogs and it'd be a good place for people to recommend theirs or their mates' sites - you could set up a message board for this. Perhaps, you never know until you try this sort of thing.

Blighty said...

If I do plant my Triffid on the top of my wall is there any chance of it traversing across the road to strangle the annoying neighbour?

Toque said...

Thanks Herge, as luck would have it I discovered the whereabouts of my missing bonsai triffid this morning, whilst I was turning the compost. There he was, covered in mulch, with his tongue stuck to a hibernating hedgehog.

Linsey B said...

Thanks for getting back to me. I've been outside 'playing' with my Triffid - balls games (not a good catch); stories and playing music. It has responded well. Planning to take it to a car boot with me tomorrow and also the fun fair. I think this will make up for months of apparent neglect.

A Blogger said...

Dear Dr Herge, T.R.I.F.Expt.

A docked Triffid, now you're talking!

Can you get tiny versions of Triffids? I would love to have a 'Pocket sized Triff' to use in emergencies! You never know, but he/she could come in very handy.

Don't forget to come round and play with my new tag board! I'll be waiting....(Tapping fingers on laptop impatiently).


Tim Worstall said...

Not a forum, but a roundup exists for UK blogs. This post is part of this weeks as Gareth recommended it. I would hope that people would, when they have a good post like this, send them in to britblogATgmailDOTcom for inclusion in the weekly roundup. Hosted at
OK, enough advertising. Very good piece BTW

frstlymil said...

Since this *IS* L.A. - how do you think a Vegan Triffid would do? Once the transportation thing was worked out of course.