How do I grow a carnivorous plant?

Everyone's had a Venus Flytrap as a kid, your parents think it will be a fun and easy way to entertain their kids, you put it in the sun, water it and in a few weeks it is dead. You don't know why and are devastated. I even bought a few and continuously tried to keep it alive with no success. I also watched YouTube to learn but still caused them to die. Today we will tell you how to keep your carnivorous plant alive. Without all the Google searching and YouTube watching. 


The first thing you need to know about carnivorous plants is that they don't want to be top-watered. This means that they don't want you to pour water on them, instead, they would rather sit in a water tray and let their roots soak up the water. This is because they are found in bogs and swamps. This tray should always be kept full and if you are looking for one then we sell them on our website, otherwise, you can purchase them at Bunnings, your local garden shop or even our website with your plant. 


The next thing that is important to know is what soil they like. As they come from mossy peat swamps, they want peat moss. We use half peat moss and half perlite. Now I know what you are thinking. What's Pete moss and per-light, isn't Pete a name and I know what a light is but what's a per? Where am I supposed to find these? Am I going to have to drive an hour away and spend a ton of money? Don't worry, peat moss and perlite are actually quite easy to find. The most accessible place to get them is just from your local garden shop or Bunnings. 


Carnivorous plants are found in bogs in North Carolina, which means that they get a very hot and humid environment. Carnivorous plants should get full sunlight for most of the day. In my specific collection of carnivorous plants, I have a greenhouse in my front yard. This keeps them humid and hot, while still keeping out the rain. However this doesn't mean that rain is bad for the plants, they are just quite delicate. This also doesn't mean that you need to buy a greenhouse (Bunnings or your local gardening store), they will still thrive outside. A frequent question we are asked is whether you can put the plants on a window sill. That depends on how sunny that window sill is, if it gets three-five hours then probably not, any more then yes they will grow there. 


The fun part of a Venus Flytrap is getting its traps to close around your finger. I don't mean to ruin your fun but this can be quite bad for the plants, the plant puts ridiculous amounts of energy into closing that trap and then digesting whatever is in there. Usually, it gets a reward for its hard work, which is protein from the meat. When you poke it, the trap wastes all of its energy into digesting nothing. On top of that, the trap also dies, because after it closes the trap dies but usually it has enough energy to make a new one, but not this time. 

Another thing people like to do is catch bugs and feed them to the plant. This is okay except for the Venus Flytrap. People say that this is bad for the plant, which it could be, but not if you know how to close the trap and get the plant to properly digest the bug. To find out that, first we need to understand some parts of the venus flytrap. Venus Flytrap's close their trap after two hairs on the plant are disturbed within thirty seconds. If they are, the plant's trap closes. This means that if you catch a bug and put it into the trap, you need to brush these hairs to make the trap close. 

Written by Jett from Carnivorous Plants Sydney