Carnivorous plants at home … do you dare?

In Gardenprue we have not been planting carnivores since we have dedicated ourselves more to writing articles related to the  garden.  We only did an article  Dionaea muscipula  or Venus flytrap  where we told you the curious way that this carnivorous plant has to attract and hunt its prey. Today we will tell you how to take care of our carnivorous plants, where we will tell you how to water them, the climate they need and some tips on their maintenance.


Having a carnivorous plant instead of a fern  is like replacing a dog or a cat with a lizard or a snake. At first we may think that it is strange to have such a plant, but it is that exoticism that invades a carnivorous plant that makes us try to cultivate it (like the one that has a marijuana plant simply by knowing how to take care of it).

Its feeding mechanism is what attracts our attention enormously, although some myths that come from great action films must also be disproved. They don’t eat a man :), nor are they all fast-moving when hunting (like the Venus flytrap), or anything like that.

If you take a tour of YouTube you can see some isolated cases of carnivorous plants eating small animals such as toads or some frogs.

This occurs because the driving force of these animals lies in the back legs, by limiting the space they cannot gain momentum and are trapped, although what is not seen is that many of them end up escaping.

Let’s not forget that plants have soft plant tissues , very easy to tear, and in fact now we will tell you how to feed these plants, which, of course, takes great care.


Carnivorous plants can basically be divided into two large groups:


As their name suggests, they are used to tropical climates , typical of jungles, with high humidity, warm temperatures and exceptional nutrient conditions (although it is not the best for a carnivorous plant).

These difficult conditions can be achieved in a terrarium , for example.


They are plants whose climatic conditions are not as complicated as the previous ones and require winter cold to hibernate. They can develop in aquatic areas such as ponds ( we already taught you how to build one ).

It depends on the kind of carnivorous plant you have, you can have it at home or in your garden, living in an aquatic area as we have mentioned before.

The problem with having them at home is that you have to adapt them to a place with good humidity , which is basically talking about building a terrarium for them. Nobody said this was easy.


The most common is that we have non-tropical plants, since the others are much more difficult to maintain (we challenge you!). For non-tropical carnivores we have to have some considerations:

As for the  temperature, they will need to be in warm areas such as those inside the house, except for the season in which they hibernate.

Each year they need to spend several months (3,4 or 5 depending on the species) with temperatures below 5 ºC and at least specific points of -10 ºC.


We have not 1 if not 2 options! The first will depend on the climate of our area. If we are in winter and we live in a cold area, we will have that temperature outside (be careful not to get cold!), But if we live in an area where we will not get that temperature, we can resort to a refrigerator .

Regarding humidity,  most require conditions of high humidity.

It is made up of very fleshy tissues that accumulate a lot of water, so the environmental dryness will cause water stress that will reduce its growth or, in worse cases, kill your carnivorous plant.


As with temperature, we have several options. One of them would be to water the plant constantly (without flooding), while spraying the leaves with sprinklers .

Another more extreme case for plants with high humidity requirements would be to install a humidifier. We believe that with the sprayer and being constant it will be more than enough.

The  light is also important in the care of carnivorous plants .

They generally need a lot of light and this will determine their growth and the appearance of their showy colors. The Venus flytrap requires light of virtually all morning, so a good tip is to arrange them near a window.

You have to be careful with the solar rays that fall directly on the plant.

Remember that they are very fleshy plants and this would cause their parts to dry out (low humidity that we will have to avoid). We will avoid putting them in the sun for more than 1 hour a day.


Regarding the choice of substrate for our carnivorous plants, we have several options, which start from using natural, artificial substrates, or a mixture of the two.

Here a substrate appears that for those without carnivorous plants will be unknown, the sphagnum. 

This substrate is characterized by having an acidic pH (ideal for the growth of these plants as it happens in the jungle or tropical climates), it does not have many nutrients (a favorable element although it may seem strange to you), spongy and with good water retention capacity. (↑↑ humidity).

If we cannot find this substrate, we can look for some similar ones, such as perlite (which you will find in our article on types of substrates ), vermiculite,  or sand mixed with any of these substrates. There are many more than we have mentioned.


We assume that we have a plant that requires high humidity and good watering . The way of watering can be with a spray on the plant, or as agreed by the greatest experts in this type of plant, using the tray method.


A totally simple and effective method to water our carnivorous plants . It consists of having a tray (or pot plate) with 2-3 centimeters of water, where the pot with our plant is placed, so that by capillarity, our plant will absorb the necessary water.

We will change this water every few days in order to avoid the appearance of fungi. One tip is to avoid hard water since our plant wants acidic pH. The distilled water is perfect!


If so far what you have read you have come to the conclusion that growing carnivorous plants is really difficult, it becomes even more complicated when we tell you how to feed them .

Fertilizers, fertilizers, phytofortifiers, compost, manure, vermicompost…. 


In case it has escaped you , before, when we have commented on the type of substrate we have said that we want them not to have nutrients, and that is, one of the great curiosities of carnivorous plants is that they do not feed through the roots like the rest of plants, if not that they do it through their aerial parts.


Leaving aside the anecdote of small frogs or other animals, what they normally eat are insects or arachnids. Flies, mosquitoes, small spiders, (small) butterflies, ants, etc.

More or less you get an idea of ​​what can be “caught” by your carnivorous plant, now is the time to know how to get “caught”.

We must carefully study the mode of action of our plant, since not all act with rapid closing movements (like Venus flytrap). Some use sticky hairs or other passive but equally efficient systems.

We must avoid large insects that can break the plant tissues of our plants. Normally when they have “hunted” an insect it is useful as a nutrient for several weeks (in the case of Dionaea it  takes several weeks to digest its prey).

The way you feed them will depend on where you have them. If they are in terrariums, obviously no flies will enter and land precisely in the plant’s “hunting area”. And the same happens if you have them inside the house. If they are in the garden near a pond (an area of ​​great agglomeration of insects) it will feed itself and you will not have to worry about it.

As for the first situation (the terrarium or indoors) you can hunt them yourself and serve them on a gold platter to a carnivorous plant. But yes, this would be a condition of having a plant indoors where you see that there are no insects, do not go crazy feeding it and do it very occasionally only if they cannot feed themselves.

For example, once a week or every two weeks, depending on the insect.

We can think of many more things to tell about carnivorous plants, and that is a world in which you can get lost.

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