How to Grow a Carnivorous Plant


Although most houseplants remain docilely resting on tables and windowsills, some species of plants entice and gobble up unsuspecting prey. These carnivorous plants grow naturally in steamy rainforests and tropical areas of the world. These predatory plants, such as Venus Flytraps and Yellow Trumpets, entice insects with their colorful growth and scent. These plants then trap the insect with their sticky membranes and ensnaring spines. These tropical plants require careful monitoring to survive and flourish.

Step 1

Create a terrarium to mimic the humid, warm environment of your carnivorous plant's native habitat. Fill the bottom of an aquarium or similar, clear container with about 1½ inches of coarse sand. Pile a handful of small rocks in the center of your aquarium to act as a water retention system. Place these rocks in a circle to form a little well. Pack the outside circle of rocks with a circle of sphagnum moss. Look for this moss at your local nursery or floral shop.

Step 2

Mix up a loose, well-drained medium by mixing peat moss and sand with rich potting soil. Scoop the planting medium into your terrarium, piling it up around the outside of your rock well. Fill your terrarium about halfway full of your planting medium. Scoop out holes a little larger than the roots of your small, carnivorous plants. Carefully insert the roots into the holes and fill in the edges with soil. Spread a layer of sphagnum moss over the surface of the soil.

Step 3

Pour a thin trickle of water around the bases of your plants until excess moisture appears in your small, rock well. Siphon standing water out after a few minutes. Water your plants in this fashion about once a week to keep them healthy. Partially cover your terrarium with a clear cover of glass or plastic, allowing a small gap on one side for bugs to enter and air to flow.

Step 4

Place your terrarium in an area that receives plenty of brightly filtered sunlight or under a commercial plant light. These plants thrive in bright light but can wither in direct sunlight. Use a thin, transparent cloth to filter the light between the side of the terrarium and source of light.

Step 5

Feed a few bugs to your carnivorous plants if they do not visit the terrarium on their own. Don't worry about catching live bugs for your plants. Dead insects collected from your car's grill or swept from your outside walkways and driveways satisfy these plants.

Step 6

Prune off dead leaves with a pair of kitchen scissors. These plants do not require fertilizers beyond their appetite for an occasional bug.

Things You'll Need

  • Aquarium or clear container
  • Coarse sand
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Peat moss
  • Water
  • Transparent cloth
  • Insects
  • Scissors


  • Pitcher Plant: Making an Indoor Terrarium
  • Grow Carnivorous Plants: Carnivorous Plant Care
  • "Botanica's Gardening Encyclopedia", Susan Page, 2001

Who Can Help

  • Raindrop Laboratories: Care and Feeding of Carnivorous Plants
Keywords: carniverous plants, Venus fly trap, plants for insects

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.