Carnivorous plants like the Venus Fly Trap and Pitcher Plant are becoming popular for adults and kids alike! They’re a great learning tool, and so fun to watch. We carry a few varieties at our garden center in Marshfield, MO, and our horticulturist, Dave, has tips to help yours thrive.
Provide at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, or at least 8 hours of bright indirect light from a window or a grow light.
Keep your plant’s root system moist at all times. Use only rainwater, distilled water, or drinking water. Do NOT use well water as these plants do not like added minerals such as calcium. If you use chlorinated water, simply let the water sit out for 24 hours to allow the chorine to evaporate. An easy watering method is placing the plant in a saucer/tray of water to allow the pot to wick moisture and provide a moist environment. Be sure to spritz water inside the pitchers of Pitcher plants to help with the digestion of their food.
Use organic sphagnum peat moss mixed with perlite for soil. These plants do not like an alkaline environment. Ideally the pH range will be 3.5-5.5, which is the range sphagnum moss falls into naturally.
These plants naturally feed themselves by catching insects. You may feed them live or dead insects provided the insects are 1/3 the size of the trap, pitcher, or sundew stem. Do NOT feed them raw meat. You may foliar feed these plants by misting or using a dropper with a very diluted liquid fertilizer. Only use an ORGANIC fertilizer that is derived from fish, seaweed, or sea kelp. This will ensure you will not “burn” the plant. Feed them every 2-3 weeks.
Triggering the trap
The traps may be triggered naturally or manually between 3-5 times total before that stem dies. Try not to trigger them too often.
Only repot or increase pot size when the plant has fully filled the existing container. More traps and stems will increase as the plant receives regular feeding.
Most temperate carnivorous plants require a dormant period (rest) to flower and spur continued growth for many years. The simplest method is placing the plant in the refrigerator for 3-4 months during the winter (Nov.-Feb.).