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.
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
- A propagator or plastic bag
- Carnivorous plants
- Peat-free ericaceous compost or Moorland Gold
- Lime-free sand
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.
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.
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.
Backfill around each plant with compost, making sure each plant is snug, then lightly firm in place.
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.