Carnivorous Plant Gardens

Overview

Carnivorous plants are adapted to extreme conditions. They evolved in soggy areas with acidic soil that lacks most of the nutrients required by other plants. Because of the low nutrient levels in their native soil, carnivorous plants developed the ability to trap and digest insects to replace these nutrients. A carnivorous plant garden can add an interesting accent and conversation piece to your yard.

Site Selection

As long as you live in an area with humid summers and you are located in zone 6 or warmer on the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, you can plant and sustain an outdoor carnivorous plant garden. You should locate your garden in an area of the yard that receives at least five hours of full sun. You'll need to level the site to prepare for planting.

Preparing the Bog

You can either use a tub designed for use as a pond or dig your own pond and place a plastic liner used for water gardens in the hole. In either case, your carnivorous plant bog should be at least 18 inches deep. If you decide to use a pond tub, drill a series of holes 5 inches below the rim to allow for drainage so it doesn't hold a puddle of standing water.

Soil

The best growing medium for your carnivorous plants is sphagnum peat. You can mix perlite, expanded clay or play sand packaged for children's sandboxes into the sphagnum peat to improve the aeration. You should rinse play sand until the water runs clear to be sure it doesn't contain salts and minerals; these can harm your plants.

Care

Water quality is crucial for carnivorous plant care; tap water contains too many chemicals and minerals that can harm or kill your plants. Spring water also contains minerals. The best choice is rainwater; if this isn't possible, you can use distilled bottled water. You should keep the growing medium in your bog moist but not soggy at all times. The roots of carnivorous plants are very sensitive, and the plants receive the majority of their nutrition from the insects they trap, so do not give them fertilizer.

Winter

Most carnivorous plants have a dormant period and can be left outside for the winter with protection. Be sure to determine if this is the case for your species of carnivorous plant; if it does not have a dormant period, you will need to bring it inside and place it in a terrarium or sunny, humid area for the winter. You can protect the plants in your bog by covering them with straw and putting a piece of landscape cloth over the top. You can anchor your landscape cloth with stakes to keep it from blowing off. You should cover your plants when the nighttime temperature in your area dips below 32 degrees.

Keywords: carnivorous plant, carnivorous plant garden, outdoor carnivorous plant garden

About this Author

Angie Mansfield is a freelance writer living and working in Minnesota. She began freelancing in 2008. Mansfield's work has appeared in online sites and publications such as theWAHMmagazine, for parents who work at home, and eHow. She is an active member of Absolute Write and Writer's Village University.