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Carnivorous plant pot display


Carnivorous plants are easy to grow in containers and can help control whitefly in the greenhouse, or fruit fly in the home. In the example given below, we're growing sarracenias and cobra lilies in an old ceramic sink, which will spend most of the day in full sun.

The most important thing you need when growing carnivorous plants, is a steady supply of rainwater. Without a water butt you’ll struggle to provide the right conditions – chlorinated tap water will eventually kill your plants.

Carnivorous plants grow best in a low-nutrient medium, such as peat. If, for environmental reasons, you would prefer not to use peat, try Moorland Gold, which is derived without damage to peat bogs.

Insect-trapping plants

There are more than 300 species of carnivorous plant to choose from. Those listed below are all easy to grow, and can be kept in a cool greenhouse over winter.

  • Trumpet pitcher or huntsman's horn (Sarracenia flava): classic yellow trumpets with red veining. Insects drown in the liquid-filled traps
  • Sundew (Drosera): spoon-shaped leaves that are covered in fine hairs. The hairs are coated in a sticky mucous, from which insects can’t unstick themselves
  • Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula): readily available to buy as a houseplant, but it grows better in a cool greenhouse. Fine hairs on the inside of the traps trigger the snapping mechanism when touched by struggling insects
  • Butterwort (Pinguicula): flat, pale leaves that resemble those of succulents. Unlike most other carnivores, they prefer partial shade
  • Cobra lily (Darlingtonia): long trumpets that end in a cobra-shaped, curved head with a mottled top. Insects find their way in but can’t figure their way out

Plant it: all year round
At its best: summer
Takes just: 30 minutes

How to do it:

Lining the container with plastic


Line your container with plastic, such as an old compost bag. We've used an old sink, but any watertight container, at least 20cm deep, would be suitable.

Filling container with peat and perlite


Fill the container with peat or Moorland Gold, and add handfuls of perlite and lime-free sand. Mix it all up and loosely firm it into the container.

Placing the plants in the container


Knock the plants from their pots and tease out the roots to encourage them to spread out. Make a hole and put each plant in position. Add a selection of plants of different heights, then water thoroughly with rainwater.

Filling in compost around the plants


Backfill around each plant with compost, making sure each plant is snug, then lightly firm in place.

Cutting back pitchers as they turn brown


Regularly cut dried traps back to the base with scissors. Cut all faded blooms off after flowering, leaving the stalk to die down naturally. Once the stalk has turned brown, cut it off at the base.

Discuss this pot & container

Talkback: Carnivorous plant pot display
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SFord 20/01/2012 at 10:08

I bought a carniverous plant (trumpet pitcher) as an 'experiment' earlier this year and keep it in my conservatory. It obviously loves where it is as its doubled in size and will probably need repotting later in the spring. Alot easier to keep than I thought.

A couple of the trumpets have dried out and gone brown so will cut off.