Beginner’s Guide to Carnivorous Plant Care
Carnivorous plant care doesn’t have to be difficult. The process can even be somewhat easy if you do your homework. For starters, realize that in order for a carnivorous plant to grow, you need to care for it in a habitat that is as natural as possible. This means that the use of regular potting soil when repotting or planting will kill your plants. Also take caution not to use any fertilizers.
Carnivorous plants can be found in a variety of environments around the world, so it’s important to know where your plant originates from so that you can care for it properly. Venus fly traps are native to North and South Carolina. On the other hand, pitcher plants originate in boggy areas of the eastern part of the US and Canada. Different species of Sundew plants are found in various places across the globe, from the Americas to Australia. The specific temperature requirements of a sundew plant depend on the species and the region from which it originates. Make sure you pay careful attention to these details.
Here are some additional tips for best results with carnivorous plant care:
- Create a mixture for the plant using sphagnum peat moss, clean sand, long fiber sphagnum moss, and perlite. Once again, avoid using fertilizers or components containing any fertilizer additives. It’s a good idea to select the type of clean sand that is used for swimming pool filters.
- Never use tap water on any carnivorous plant, as tap water is filled with chemicals that can be harmful. Use only captured rain water or distilled water.
- Be careful when it comes to watering the plants. While they do need to be well watered, too much water can harm them. After draining the pot, place a plate containing an inch of water under your Venus fly trap. Let the plant soak the water up on its own. You might be able to get away with using less water if you are using sphagnum moss in your mixture, due to its water absorption capability.
- Most carnivorous plants require bright light, but not direct sunlight. Set your terrarium up near the brightest window. If the window gets extremely hot all day, move the terrarium back a bit.
- In addition to light and water, plants of the carnivorous variety need nutrients from insects. In the wild, they are able to capture insects with traps. If you are trying to grow your own Venus fly traps, you will need to feed them insects. Considering that they only receive a portion of their nutrients from insects and other vertebras, you won’t have to feed the plants very often. Providing each plant with one or two small insects a week is usually enough.
- Avoid excessive handling. With carnivorous plant care, one rule of thumb is only touch the plants when necessary. The more you touch them, the more stressed they will be. Signs of stress include blackened leaves, fungus, rotting, and drying. If the leaves are damaged, the carnivorous plant can still grow. However, a damaged bulb can cause the plant to die. A healthy bulb is a creamy white color. If there are any signs of rotting on the bulb, dust it with a fungicide and replant it.
Ideally, you should stick with only one species of carnivorous plant – at least for the time being. Otherwise, since the carnivorous plant care requirements may vary from species to species, you may accidentally end up killing one plant while caring for the other.