Growing Carnivorous Plants

Most temperate carnivorous plants have the same growing conditions.  This includes Pitcher Plants, Butterworts, Sundews, and Venus Flytraps.  They all do best with lots of sun and won’t thrive in the shade.  One of the most important things to remember is DO NOT FERTILIZE!  These plants get their nutrients from the insects they eat.

Soil: The growing medium should be one part part peat to one part sand; or one part peat to one part perlite; or two parts peat, one part perlite, and one part sand. Long fibered sphagnum moss is also works great. I buy the big square bales of peat. You really should rinse the sand well with clean water to remove any lime.  These plants require a nutrient free growing medium without minerals.

Containers: You really should use plastic pots or glazed ceramics. Do not use clay or unglazed ceramic pots as these absorb minerals that will release back into the soil and eventually cause problems. You can grow them in bogs, with a container or liner in the ground. These carnivorous plant bogs can be really beautiful.

Watering: Place containers in a tray in about an inch of water. Keep the soil damp to wet! Use rain water or distilled water. You can also use the drip water from an air conditioner. Many people think this is because of the chlorine in tap water but it’s really because of the minerals or salts.  You can use tap water occasionally but you will have better luck using rain water.

Light: Full to mostly full sun is necessary to grow Sarracenia.  Butteworts seem to prefer a little shade.  Venus Flytraps will develop more red color with lots of sun.

Climate: Most of these plants are native to the U.S. and are tolerant of light frost and brief freezes. I grow them in zone 7. They sit outside in containers in trays of water. Most are grown in a fairly wide range of climates but they do need a cool, dormant period.

GROWING INSTRUCTIONS: Keep plant in a container of distilled or rain water. Make sure the soil is kept very wet during the growing season, from May through October. Pitcher plants like warm humid conditions with summer temps between 70-100 degrees. They prefer lots of light, preferably direct sunlight. During the winter months keep the soil just damp and put in a cool area such as a garage, you may want to spray the plant with a fungicide such as benlate to prevent any winter time fungus growth. Winter temps should be between 35-45 degrees. Transplanting should be done in the spring before vigorous growth. Plant in a mix of peat moss and sand. The main pests for these plants are aphids and scale.