Carnivorous plant pot display

Plant up a container of carnivorous plants to entertain the kids and catch flies. We show you how.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is not at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do To do in January

Do To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do To do in December

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)
  • Sundew (Drosera)
  • Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)
  • Butterwort (Pinguicula)
  • Cobra lily (Darlingtonia)

You Will Need

  • Container
  • A propagator or plastic bag
  • Carnivorous plants
  • Peat-free ericaceous compost or Moorland Gold
  • Perlite
  • Lime-free sand
  • Scissors

Step 1

Lining the pot with a plastic bag
Lining the pot with a plastic bag

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.

Step 2

Adding perlite to the compost
Adding perlite to the compost

Fill the container with compost and add handfuls of perlite and lime-free sand. Mix it all up and loosely firm it into the container.

Step 3

Planting the carnivorous plants
Planting the carnivorous plants

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.

Step 4

Filling in around the plants with compost
Filling in around the plants with compost

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

Step 5

Removing dried traps
Removing dried traps

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.


Kevin Smith says…

Why not grow carnivorous plants with children? They’re relatively easy to try, and the plants’ killer instincts always capture the imagination of little ones. Children can tend the display year round, which is a bonus.

Kevin Smith