Make your own free website on Tripod.com


Basic Growing Instructions For All Carnivorous Plants

e-mail meemail icon
These growing instructions should give you a basic idea of the conditions you need to provide in order to successfully grow carnivorous plants.

Soil

Carnivorous plants eat insects for a reason - they live in extremely poor soil with little or no nitrogen or other nutrients. As a consequence, they have sensitive roots and should never be fertilised. Most people use some kind of fresh or dry sphagnum moss for their carnivorous plants. The plants also like a higher-than-normal acid content in their soil, and sphagnum or "peat" moss will provide this as it decays. Some people also add some sand to the soil mixture or a medium grade orchid bark. If you buy dry peat moss hold a clump of it in your hand and submerge it under water, then squeeze all of the air out of it. If you do not do this it will take a long time before the peat moss takes on and holds water.

Water

Carnivorous plants usually live in bogs where they are always moist and they only get natural rainwater. Therefore you should always keep their soil damp but not soaking and you should only use water with no minerals in it, because minerals can build up in the soil and damage the roots of your plant. The best water to use is distilled water. Alternatively, try setting out a bucket and collecting rainwater away from a place that gets roof run off (water coming off the roof picks up minerals ).

Humidity

Most carnivorous plants require a relatively high humidity of between 50 - 90 percent. This makes a terrarium an exeunt place to grow carnivorous plants. However it is not a good idea to seal up the terrarium, because most plants need some air circulation, except the nepenthes ( tropical pitcher plants ) which will thrive in stagnant air. Even when growing nepenthes, it is still not a good idea to seal the terrarium because high humidity and still air also make the perfect place for fungus to grow - and fungus can wipe out a colony of carnivorous plants with devastating speed. Some carnivorous plants will also do very good on a windowsill, like the American pitcher plants, which in my opinion are a great starter plant for a beginner.

Light

Most carnivorous plants require bright light or almost full sun. If you are keeping them on a window sill it should be one that faces South (or North in the Southern hemisphere). If you are keeping them in a terrarium you should use several cool white fluorescent bulbs - never use incandescent bulbs because they throw off way too much heat for your plants.

Dormancy

Some carnivorous plants need a period when they can go dormant. Most will just stop growing for several months, others will die back to nothing but underground tubers and roots. Some people make the mistake of throwing them out when this happens because they think their plants have died.

Temperature

Even though carnivorous plants require bright light and high humidity, this does not mean that they need extremely hot conditions in order to do well. Most are comfortable between 70 and 90 F (21 - 32 C). Tropicals can go up to 100 F (38 C) without being uncomfortable. In the winter most carnivorous plants can go down to 50 F (10 C) and not show any signs of damage.

Fertiliser

DON'T EVER USE FERTILIZER

Carnivorous Plants will quickly die if fertilized. However, I am convinced that a product known as SUPERthrive is ok. It is not a fertiliser but is a mixture of vitamins and hormones that are good for carnivorous plants. One drop of superthrive should be mixed to a gallon of water for normal watering and five drops to a gallon for watering right after re-potting. Also, when carnivorous plants flower it drains a lot of energy out of them and it is ok to use mild ORGANIC FERTILIZER such as:

Fish Emulsion

Bone Meal

Dried Blood

This should give you some idea of the conditions you have to provide to grow carnivorous plants.