carnivorous plants have similar needs. Bright light, high
humidity, and a proper mix of nutrient poor medium for them to
grow in. In nature, carnivorous plants evolved in bogs and
marshy areas that are very low in soil nutrients. They adapted
by developing ways for their leaves to trap and digest insects.
Therefore, any traditional fertilizing, or high nutrient potting
soil is very bad for these plants. We reccomend a mix of 60%
peat moss and 40% white pumice, or perlite. Washed sand can also
be added to the mix, but stay away from any decorative rocks or
bleached additives. Live sphagnum moss, or dry sphagnum moss
once re-hydrated, are also an excellent growing medium for
nearly all carnivorous plants. Do not use other types of moss,
such as 'spanish moss', as they are not suitable for carnivorous
plants. Generally speaking, any store bought potting soil will
not work, you really have to use the peat/sphagnum based
is a factor in succesfully raising carnivorous plants. They are
sensitive to chemicals and minerals in water, and hard water or
water treated with chlorine generally should not be used. Rain
water is excellent, and bottled water is second best, make sure
it contains no added minerals. If you must use city water or
hard well water, it is best to flush out your plants from time
to time to wash out excessive buildups of anything harmful. If
you have chlorine in your water, at least let it set for 24
hours so that some of the chlorine may evaporate. It really is
best, especially for beginners, to stick to bottled or rain
never a need to fertilize any carnivorous plants. This can be
especially stressful on them, and while they may show an initial
spike in growth, in the long run the fertilizers will most
likely prove to be too much for the plant to digest. Some
experienced growers will use fertilizers in diluted amounts, but
only at their own risk. As a general rule, beginners should
never fertilize their carnivorous plants.
Terrariums are great for growing carnivorous plants indoors,
though some species are better suited to it than others. A
terrarium can be as simple as a small fish tank with a plastic
lid. The idea is to keep the humidity high for your plants this
way. But, be careful that your terrarium doesn't get too warm,
especially if in sunlight. If you are concerned about having
enough light, flourescent lights work nicely when placed 6-12"
above the plants.
species, such as venus flytraps and sarracenia, require a
dormancy period each year. During this time they will stop
growing, and may appear to be browning and getting a bit ugly.
This is natural, as each year's growth dies off, and the plant
stores energy deep inside, waiting for the following spring to
resume growth. It is best to provide 3-5 months of dormancy for
Carnivorous plants will grow flowers like many other plants. You
might not expect some of the dazzling floral displays that
sarracenia are capable of, or the charming tiny pink and white
flowers common to sundews, but they do grow them. For beginning
growers it is best to remove flower stalks before they develop,
as they will focus alot of the plant's energy into growing the
bloom. By removing the bloom, more of that energy will go
towards general growth, increasing the chance of success for
your plant overall.
tempting as it is, you really shouldn't force feed your plants.
You do not need to feed them for them to survive, they do quite
well on their own, even without eating many insects. You may be
surprised by what they catch on their own.
These guys like lots and lots of bright light, and soil which is
always wet during their growing season. It is best to use a
saucer or tray to keep the plant in 1" or so of water. If kept
indoors, an east or southeast facing window should provide
enough light, but make sure your plant doesn't get too hot. If
kept outdoors, be very sure that your plant never dries out.
Keep your venus flytrap in nearly full bright sun all day if
possible. In late fall your plant will begin to go into
dormancy. Venus flytraps can survive freezing temperatures, but
not extreme temperatures. It is best to protect your plants from
freezing solid, or open exposure to frost for any prolonged
period of time. During dormancy, they do not need any light as
they are not growing, and they do not need alot of water. Don't
let them dry out completely, but don't keep them excessively
wet. You can bring them into a shed or garage to protect them
from freezing temps when necessary, but do not bring them into
warmth as it will throw off their dormancy clock. In the spring
they will be ready to grow again, at that time resume watering.
A plant kept through the winter may need to be in a larger pot
the following year, and venus flytraps will commonly split and
divide into several plants during the course of a year. They can
be divided and repotted each spring before active growth
resumes. Venus flytraps will produce flower stalks with clusters
of white blooms. While experienced growers can get them to
produce seeds, it is generally best for beginners to remove the
stalks before they bloom.
dormant venus flytraps are purchased off season, then it is best
to keep them in your refridgerator until you are ready to plant
them. Keep them in a baggie or something similar so they don't
dry out, but they shouldn't be wet either. If kept too wet they
can succumb to mildew, use a fungicide powder to protect them,
or check on them often to make sure they are not rotting. Venus
flytraps can be grown during off seasons in terrariums, but will
still need dormancy eventually. Many growers have flytraps that
they will keep in terrariums in the wintertime, and provide an
off season dormancy in the refridgerator.
planting bare root venus flytrap bulbs, it is best to prepare
and wet your soil mix, then add it to your pot. Tamp it down
slightly, then take a butter knife and make a hole in the center
in which to place the bulb. Do not plant it too deep, only the
roots and white lower portions of the bulb need to be beneath
soil, the growth point should not be buried. After placing the
bulb in it's place, tamp it down slightly again. Then place the
pot in it's saucer of water and put it where you want to keep
it, and leave it alone. It is so much fun to trigger those
little traps, but they really don't appreciate it. It is best to
let the traps be triggered naturally, where there is a chance of
a reward for their effort.
Most All Carnivorous Plants:
You can reproduce most carnivorous plant species through leaf
cuttings or growth point division, just as with most house
plants. If kept wet and in proper medium, most leaf cuttings
will take root and grow into mature plants. When taking leaf
cuttings, try to cut it right down to the growth point,
including a 'basal portion' or 'rhizome portion' if possible.
Keep light bright and be careful of mold.
Seed Germination :
Carnivorous Plant seeds can be a slow process. Some species
require cold stratification, meaning that they need an extended
period of cold temperatures before they will sprout. Sarracenia
and Darlingtonia seed will both require a minimum 2 months
stratification in between 33 and 40 degrees temperature. One
good way to do this is to sprinkle the seed across a moist paper
towel, fold it up and put it in a plastic bag, and place it in
your refridgerator for the required amount of time. Check on
them from time to time to be sure they aren't getting any mold,
you might also want to use a light dusting of fungicide powder.
species will require no cold stratification, such as Drosera and
Venus Flytrap seeds.
seeds when they are ready by spreading them evenly on the
preferred medium, do not bury them, keep them damp and in high
humidity and bright light. It can still take some time for them
to sprout, and they will grow very slowly. In seedling stage,
many CP can be overtaken by mold, or may be outgrown by the peat
moss they are planted on. Be careful to keep the seedlings
growing free of any such conditions. Fungicide powder can be
used to combat the mold, and growing peat moss can be trimmed
ALERT- Please be aware, if you purchased your plants out of
season, they will need to complete dormancy before you can
expect them to grow for you. Dormancy is typically from late
fall to early spring each year.
TROUBLESHOOTING: Is my plant growing OK?
Time of year will mean everything when considering how much your
plant is or isn't growing. If purchased in the spring near the
end of dormancy, it should begin to grow as soon as it observes
warmer temperatures. Growth will be strong and steady through
mid summer, when some species of perennial carnivores will begin
to slow down. If a plant is purchased in mid-late summer, it may
not grow much more before going dormant. Plants purchased during
dormancy will typically have leaves trimmed, and will appear as
a healthy rooted bulb or rhizome. Failure to observe dormancy
for plants that require it will certainly kill them, this is the
leading cause of venus flytrap death in captivity.
Also, venus flytrap plants purchased mid growing season will
probably do best in a bright window or a well lit terrarium for
the remainder of that growing season, even if you live in a
humid (50%+) climate where they can be kept outdoors. Outdoor
sun during re-acclimation can burn the leaves, although it may
not kill the plant. If you do plan to keep them outdoors,
introduce them to full sun slowly, over the course of 2 weeks or
TROUBLESHOOTING: Is my plant happy?
If your plant appears to be struggling, there are a few things
to consider. Most concerns can be addressed by increasing
humidity, which is a crucial element in raising
carnivorous plants. Some growers will mist their plants daily.
Strong light is also essential. While these plants will
grow for you, they may need to acclimate to your growing
conditions. This is common when transporting exotic plants
between different growing zones.
Flytrap Planting Instructions:
Flytrap: If received in a domed pot, carefully remove all of the
plastic packaging. The dome will not be necessary in most cases,
but if you live where there are very dry conditions, the dome
may be necessary as humidity is crucial. It is best to move the
plant into a terrarium on those cases, then the dome will not be
necessary if humidity is high enough. If received bare root,
first fill your pot with wet growing medium(peat moss based),
tamp the mix down slightly, then take a butter knife and make a
divit in the soil wide enough for your plant to fit down into,
roots and all. VFT Only grow 4 or 5 wirey roots each year, and
they will always grow straight down. Do not bury the bulb, make
sure that the growing point is exposed, while the white lower
portions of the bulb are under planting medium. Tamp the soil in
around the bulbs and put them in good light.
transplanting, leave your plants alone. They will need time to
adjust and root in. Most all CP will appreciate tray watering,
and Not top watering, especially when rooting in.
Carnivorous Plants DO NOT like to be top watered. This disturbs
their roots and they hate that. Use the tray method, and keep up
to 1" of water in it at all times during growing season.