Easy Tropical Carnivorous Plants

Carnivorous plants lure and catch insect prey in order to make up for the lack of nutrients found in their native habitats. Despite their exotic appearances, many tropical carnivorous plants can be easy to take care of if the initial set up for the plant is well prepared. Tropical carnivorous plants are usually able to catch their own food, and they make great conversation starters.

Pitcher Plants

Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes), also called Trumpet Pitchers or Monkey Cups, are carnivorous plants that use a slippery deep cavity, known as a pitfall trap, to snatch and digest flying or foraging insects. These tropical plants are native to Southeast Asia, Australia, India and Madagascar and require the high humidity of a terrarium or greenhouse to thrive. One of the easy types of Pitcher Plants to grow is the Pink Pitcher (Nepenthes sanguinea), a hardy rose colored plant that grows quickly. These plants require frequent watering.


About 80 known species of Butterwort (Pinguicula) exist, and they are a carnivorous plant that uses its sticky leaves to trap and digest insects. Butterworts grow throughout the Americas, Asia and Europe in both temperate and tropical climates. Temperate Butterworts require a period of dormancy in the winter, while tropical butterworts do not. Pinguicula Moranensis is a common nursery tropical Butterwort native to Mexico. The low maintenance plant will thrive in a terrarium with bright (not blistering) sunlight and an inch of clear water to sit in. These plants are more than capable of feeding themselves, and just need their water changed every two weeks. As an added bonus, Butterworts produce pink blossoms in the spring.


Sundews (Drosera) is one of the largest genera of carnivorous plants, and species vary widely in appearance from one to the next. Sundews have a similar method of catching prey as Butterworts, using sticky sap like substance to trap and digest insects. The Drosera intermedia is a tropical sundew found in Cuba, South America, Eastern Canada, Europe and the Southeastern United States. The intermedia sundew does well in a terrarium, requiring an inch of water April--November, but otherwise remaining self sufficient.

Keywords: easy plants, tropical plants, carnivorous plants

About this Author

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based out of Astoria, Ore. She has been writing professionally for five years, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for an alternative weekly paper in Santa Cruz. She has a B.A. in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz and a minor in English literature.