Secrets to Growing Beautiful Carnivorous Plants

After thousands of years of evolution, carnivorous plants have learned to survive by eating unsuspecting insects. The insects are attracted to the bright colors of the plants, which are covered with a slimy or slick substance. Once the insect lands on the trap, it's unlikely that it will escape. Carnivorous plants are fascinating plants, but keeping the plants beautiful is different than growing regular plants.

Sunlight

Give your carnivorous plants the same sun exposure that they would get in their natural environment. Although there are many types of carnivorous plants and a few types prefer indirect light, most need at least six to eight hours of bright sunlight every day. Bright sunlight will bring out the beautiful colors of the plant, and as a result will make the plant more attractive to insects. If you need to supplement low light, place the plant 6 to 8 inches under a fixture with two 40-watt florescent light bulbs or a 100-watt grow light.

Wet Feet

Although there are a few exceptions, most carnivorous plants like to have their feet wet at all times. If your carnivorous plant becomes dehydrated, it probably won't recover. Place the pot in a shallow bowl or saucer filled with 2 to 3 inches of water. Don't place the pot in the water during the cooler winter months, but keep the potting medium constantly damp. Carnivorous plants love rainwater. Distilled water will work too, but avoid tap water, as the chemicals can harm the plant.

Potting Medium

Your carnivorous plant will be beautiful when planted in an acidic, nutrient-poor potting medium, which means that regular potting soils will be much too rich. A container filled with sphagnum moss is adequate, or you can mix half sphagnum moss with half coarse sand or perlite. Keep your plant beautiful by planting it in fresh potting medium every one to two years.

Food

Keep your carnivorous plant happy by allowing it to catch its own food outdoors as often as possible. Put your plant in a shady, protected spot but bring it in before the night temperatures drop below 40 degrees F. If your plants don't catch food indoors, feed the plant one or two small, living bugs every two weeks. If the plant hasn't digested the last bug, that means it isn't hungry. Never feed the plant human food like hamburger or raw meat, as the fat and protein can rot the plant. Avoid giving the plant fertilizer, which can burn the roots.

Keywords: beautiful carnivorous plants, grow carnivorous plants, carnivorous plant care

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.