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Carnivorous Plants

Did ​you know?  Venus fly traps are actually native to North America! Hailing from the Carolinas, fly traps have continuously grown in popularity over the years despite their declining numbers in the wild. Carnivorous plants themselves can be found on every continent except Antarctica and can thrive in your backyard, even if you don't live in a bog.

What exactly is a bog?

A bog is a type of wetland biome characterized by a spongy and poorly drained environment that is rich in plant material, usually mosses and sedge. 

Image by Jeffery Wong

Light

most carnivorous plants thrive in bright light

Image by James Morden

Water

maintain a bog enviornment  using rain or distilled water

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Soil

use only carnivorous plant soil

Image by Max Letek

Diet

Yep! You can feed plants!

Lighting

Sunlight. Carnivorous plants grow in full exposure to the sun in their native habitats and require approximately 10+ hours of sunlight each day. If you are unable to keep your plant outdoors, you can still opt for a windowsill that gets direct sunlight. Many people also use artificial grow lights and fluorescent lighting which may be easier to control the amount of light your plant gets. 

Watering

It is extremely important to only use distilled or rainwater when watering carnivorous plants, as the minerals in most tap water can easily cause chemical burn and kill your plant. Most carnivorous plants do not tolerate their soil drying out (think about a bog environment) and do well sitting in a tray of distilled or rainwater at all times. 

Soil

A carnivorous plant soil mix is crucial. Standard potting soil is too rich in nitrogen and will kill your plant. You can easily make your own carnivorous mix, or grab a bag of Mutiny's species specific Carnivorous Plant Medium to ensure your carnivorous friend is getting the proper ratios. 

Diet

Carnivorous plants are in fact carnivorous. Eating all sorts of insects and smaller invertebrates, different species have different adaptations to allow them to do so. A common food source are flightless fruit flies, freeze dried blood worms, and crickets, though there are many more things you can feed. If kept outdoors, it is often not necessary to supplement carnivorous plants with food. 

Other things to keep in mind:

Dormancy

     In their native habitats, some species of carnivorous plants are forced into a dormancy period as the temperatures drop and the days get shorter. Many of the pitchers and traps will turn brown to black and may die off, but that does not mean your plant is dead! Dormancy is actually a pretty cool concept, and much like a bear hibernating in the winter it allows the plant to reserve it's resources for the coming spring (growing season). 

    We are often asked if dormancy periods are necessary, and the answer is yes. When a carnivorous plant is not allowed to go dormant than it may not be strong enough or have the energy to survive the following year. When kept indoors, it is crucial to encourage a dormancy period during the winter by watering less and shortening the hours of light exposure. 

Planting in Vivariums

Due to their carnivorous nature, it is usually not recommended to keep carnivorous plants in vivariums or enclosures housing animals. Many lizards and snakes may easily trample over the plant, and smaller geckos and frogs could potentially fall prey. Most kept animal species do not thrive in a bog environment, but that does not mean you cannot keep a bog terrarium! We love creating mini biospheres for these carnivorous flora, and with a little creativity truly unique and aesthetic vivariums can be achieved. 

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