Welcome To Your Carnivorous Plant Terrarium Experience
Grow your own insect-hungry carnivorous plants into little monsters! Carnivorous plants are fascinating to grow and not as hard as you might think. North American carnivorous plants are native to peat bogs. They require a humid atmosphere with moist, acidic soil of low mineral content. These meat-eating plants devour insects to supplement the poor mineral nutrition present in the soil that they naturally grow in.
Your Carnivorous Plant Terrarium Consists Of
- A bag of sphagnum peat moss
- A 2-gallon terrarium
- Set of carnivorous plants selected by you
Get ready to get dirty and set up the terrarium:
- Put some old newspapers or paper towels down on your work area.
- Open the bag of peat moss and spread it on the bottom of the terrarium.
- Add 1 and 1/3 cups of water. Mix well. For creating the terrarium initially you can use tap water. But for all future watering, you will need to provide rain water, reverse osmosis water or distilled water from the store.
- Unwrap your plants from the shipping bag.
- Remove any dead traps, leaves or pitchers from the plants with sharp scissors. Don’t worry if they are wilting, they will spring back in a few days.
- Plant your plants! Make sure the roots are completely covered by the soil mixture. You can make a little mound with the soil where you want to plant your bug eaters so that the roots are covered.
Important Note: Over time, tap or bottled water will kill your carnivorous plants. Boiling the water does not help. You need to provide rain water, reverse osmosis water or distilled water. Never provide any kind of fertilizer to your carnivorous plants as it might kill them.
Caring For Your Carnivorous Plants
These are bog plants so the soil should be soggy. Make sure to add more water every week. Add it to the side of the terrarium so that it drips down without wetting the leaves of your plants. Never let the soil dry out.
Feeding them is not necessary but it is a fun activity! Do not feed them until a week after setting up your terrarium. Feed them 1 live or dead soft-bodied insect, per whole plant, one to four times a month. Your little monsters love strong light. Grow them indoors next to a sunny window where they can get sunlight for 4 or more hours each day. Sunlight through clouds is fine.
Depending on the set of carnivorous plants selected by you, your plants might have a dormant season (winter). In winter time, your plants might lose leaves as they go dormant. Trim these off and they will grow back more in the spring.
Important Note: It is a myth that you can feed raw meat to your carnivorous plants. It may contain salt and preservatives that can harm or kill your carnivorous plants. Feed them only insects.
Venus Flytrap: Fly Trapper
The leaves of a Venus flytrap are covered with fine hairs. Insects are attracted to the trap by nectar secreted from numerous glands around its edges. When an insect lands on the plant, the pressure on the hairs causes the jaw-like foliage to snap closed, trapping the insect inside. Glands in the trap then secrete digestive juices which consume the insect, and then the trap reopens within 3 to 5 days.
If your flytrap puts out a flower stalk it should be trimmed off. If you decide to let it flower remember that it will steal nutrients from the plant that could be used for more traps. Don’t get tempted to play with the traps of your flytrap. Each trap can snap a limited number of times – only 3 or 4 times. Then the leaf with the trap will die and replaced later with a new one. Each ‘false alarm’ trap closing robs the plant of resources.
As these plants mature their traps will turn black. All you have to do is cut the black traps off and watch as new traps appear in about six weeks. In the winter their leaves dry up and turn black as they enter dormancy. They will regrow right back every spring.
Important Note: If the leaves of your Venus flytrap turn black after planting, it usually means that the plant needs time to adjust to transplanting. If the old leaves die back, it does not mean that the plant is dead. Just trim them off. New growth will probably become evident in 2 to 3 weeks. Any flytraps that closed during shipping usually reopen within a week.
Pitcher Plant: Insect Gobbler
The unsuspecting insect crawls down the cylindrical stem in search of sweet smelling nectar. It is unable to get out! The plant hairs all point down making it impossible to escape. The hopeless insect is then slowly dissolved in the liquid at the bottom of the pitcher and becomes plant food.
Cape Sundew: Bug Catcher
It looks harmless but it lures, captures, and digests insects using stalked sticky glands covering the leaf surface. It produces some of the stickiest glue in nature! Gnats, mosquitoes and other small insects get stuck and then their body fluids are absorbed by the plant for a yummy treat.