Basic Carnivorous Plant Instructions’s Basic Carnivorous Plant Instructions 


Media: Most carnivorous plants need a moist, airy, nutrient-poor potting medium. Generally 50% peat moss/50% silica sand works well. Other acceptable media include perlite, long-fiber sphagnum moss and vermiculite. There are many combinations of media but peat/sand or peat/perlite are generally “fail safe” mixes. NEVER use any media that has fertilizer in it.

Water: Carnivorous plants require pure water. Rainwater, RO (reverse osmosis) water, and distilled water are all acceptable. Tap, spring and mineral waters should not be used as they can contain trace minerals and salts that could harm your plant over time. Do not put fertilizer in your water. Many "CPs" appreciate sitting in a saucer with 1/4 to 1/2 of pure water to keep the media moist.

Humidity: Many carnivorous plants thrive in higher humidity--typically 50%-90% but many plants can grow well in normal household humidity (this might not apply in very arid regions). Different species have different ideal ranges. A higher humidity is generally needed for most tropical pitcher plants (Nepenthes) to form healthy pitchers and for some sundews (Drosera) to have good "dew" production. You also need to make sure there is adequate air circulation to prevent fungus growth due to warm, stagnant air.

Temperature: The majority of carnivorous plants grow well in a wide range of temperatures.   Daytime temps between 60-90F are generally ideal. Temperate carnivorous plants such as Venus flytraps, Sarracenia and some sundews need a dormant period of approximately 3-4 months during the winter. This dormant period will require reduced photoperiod and cooler temperatures. Some carnivorous plants, such as certain species of Pinguicula, need a dry resting period where they will form a small "bud" called hibernacula. Tropical plants, such as Nepenthes, Byblis and some sundews need to stay warm all year around. Some plants are known as highland and need to stay a bit cooler, but are still tropical.

Feeding: Although carnivorous plants do eat insects they do not need to do so to live. Just like any other plant, chlorophyll in the green parts of the plant makes the "food" it needs. Do not feed your carnivorous plant pet food or human food such as hamburger; you might damage or kill your plant. The traps on Venus flytraps will typically open/close approximately 3 times. Then the trap will blacken and die but new traps will grow from the center crown of the plant. Do not trigger or trick the traps into closing; this can exhaust your plant.

Light: Most carnivorous plants enjoy a filtered but bright light source. Generally a sunny window is fine, but some plants achieve better color with many hours of bright light. An outdoor environment is best for your plants if your temperature and humidity levels allow for it. Indoors, a light substitute such as fluorescent lighting or metal halide lights are also acceptable. Many growers successfully use a shop light fixtures commonly found at hardware stores.

Note: This care sheet is intended as a general guideline and does not apply to every genus/species of carnivorous plant. We encourage you to research the care for your particular plant to provide the best environment. It can be very helpful to learn about a plant's native environment and closely match those conditions.

A note on shipping: We try our best to get the plant to you in good, healthy condition, but some triggered/black traps on Venus flytraps are almost a certainty. Packing materials and vibrations in shipping might trigger the traps shut and stress on older traps may finish them off. Generally the traps will reopen over the next few days to a week unless the trap is ready to die off naturally. This is not an indication of a unhealthy plant. More traps will soon grow to replace them. Feel free to use sharp scissors to cut off black traps. Feel free to join us at our discussion forums for much more detailed information on growing carnivorous plants all types. There are many experienced growers just waiting to meet you and help you grow beautiful plants! Our discussion forum has been established for many years and using the search feature will likely find the answer to your questions! If not, feel free to ask in the appropriate forum for each genus of plant.