About Us: What's in a Plant?
Carson Trexler IG @americanpitcherplant & @eltrexler & Facebook
American Pitcher Plant ("APP" will do in a pinch) is a one-man startup, run by myself, a 20-something college student with naive ambitions of success. I'd call it a "specialty micronursery" in urban Portland, Oregon, perhaps a bit hipster, but the point is there. I began selling Sarracenia on Facebook a few years ago, and after that initial success I've totally poured my soul into building a system substantial and sustainable enough to make a living off of. I spend nearly every waking hour working on or thinking about this business and the plants. It has totally consumed me and I am enriched by it; we are made for each other. This is almost all I do.
There are seasonal ebbs and flows to all this. In fall and winter I harvest seeds, catalogue them, and stratify them. I then sow them, tending to them under artificial lights, until they are salable. In spring I sell and propagate. I perform many of my own crosses, a procedure which takes many cumulative hours and much planning, and which is rife with problems and opportunities alike. Not all crosses produce seed, and not all seedsets are what I hope for. But I live for growing plants and talking to people, not the rare joy of a masterpiece (though I bet that's nice too!).
Along with all that, I maintain a collection of breeder plants spread across the city in several different locations. It is my job to make sure things are healthy, watered, and necessary. I keep notes on most aspects of the business from clonal ID through to seasonal tasks.
Sleep or build the dream? The answer is clear. This is not a stress-free job. Lots of my time is spent working well into the early morning hours to finish a seasonal task on-time. I don't mean 1 or 2AM. I mean the long haul to 5, 6, 7. This nursery was built on 18 hour days and it continues to run that way. Despite it all, APP is yet self-managed, and I admit that I am happy (but never fully satisfied) with how things are working out so far, even if they sometimes wear me out (at 25 I guess that's saying something). I don't have regular working hours. My entire day, every day, is a work day, until I choose to sleep.
The amount of infrastructure I put into this business is significant. It takes many kilowatt hours, many gallons of water, many vigilant days of trimming and fertilizing, to ensure the quality of the product I grow for you. I am very careful, and the plants ought to show that. This is why my prices here are high - the plants, preferably of good pedigree, are pampered and grown to a necessarily discriminating standard of health and presentation, which is the benefit of this setup and the time I invest for it.
I've been growing CPs since first grade, when I met Jeff Dallas of Sarracenia Northwest at the Portland Saturday Market. I still have my first plant and I've been obsessed ever since. Most of my life is now dedicated to collaborative projects in the CP community, especially within Oregon.
Working with Sarracenia Northwest for nearly 4 growing seasons was an experience that utterly devoted me to carnivorous plants, and totally immersed me in the horticulture of Sarracenia. I currently serve as the Director of Conservation and Research on the board of the International Carnivorous Plant Society.
The American Pitcher Plant website will be regularly updated throughout the year, and I look forward to expanding APP's scope beyond sales. Stay tuned by keeping track of APP on Instagram @americanpitcherplant or on APP's Facebook page.
Although the commercial aspect of it is managed solely by myself, APP exists because of the generous help and friendship of many people who share my passion for these wonderful plants. Such friends who have helped APP develop and grow include Howard Bramble, Jeff Greene @cobragreene, Jeremiah Harris @jeremiahsplants, Javier Meyer, and Jason Herritz @CopperstateCarnivores, among others. Hats off to all of you.