How to Care for a Cobra Lily Plant


The cobra lily (Darlingtonia californica) is a carnivorous plant that's native to southwestern Oregon and northern California. The cobra lily plant lures insects into its leaf opening with sweet nectar and traps the insect in a tube-like structure, digesting it in a pool of enzymes at the bottom. If you live in a climate with mild winters, such as USDA Hardiness Zones 7 through 10, where minimum temperatures stay above 0 degrees Fahrenheit, you can grow the cobra lily plant outdoors in a bog-like area. For most regions, however, you'll need to grow your cobra lily in a container indoors to provide the right growing conditions.

Step 1

Position your cobra lily plant in bright, indirect light, but not in direct sunlight. Keep the plant away from heating and air conditioning vents.

Step 2

Maintain air temperatures around your cobra lily plant of 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime and about 20 degrees cooler at night, but not below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep air humidity levels high around the plant by placing the pot on top of a drainage dish filled with water and gravel.

Step 3

Water your cobra lily plant once every day by pouring cool water over its roots and through the pot until it flushes through the bottom. Be sure to use distilled, chlorine-free water.

Step 4

Feed your cobra lily plant once every six weeks with two or three small or medium-sized, freshly caught bugs, if you're not putting the plant outdoors. If the plant is outdoors during the daytime, you shouldn't need to hand-feed the plant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't fertilize your cobra lily or allow the plant to dry out. Also, don't feed the plant any processed meats, but instead feed it only fresh insects.

Things You'll Need

  • Drainage dish
  • Gravel
  • Distilled, chlorine-free water
  • Fresh insects (optional)
  • Planter pot, 8-inch diameter or larger
  • Live sphagnum moss or peat moss and perlite


  • The Garden Helper: Cobra Lily Plants
  • Cobra Lily (Darlingtonia Californica)

Who Can Help

  • Bug Biting Plants: Cobra Lily
Keywords: cobra lily plants, cobra lily care, growing darlingtonia californica

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.