If you’re looking for a unique and interesting way to spruce up your home or work space, consider creating a carnivore terrarium!
Carnivorous terrarium plants are special plants that capture their prey through the use of specialized organs and sticky secretions.
Not only are they fascinating to look at, but they can also cleanse the air, helping to purify your environment.
In this article, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of growing these unique types of terrarium plants.
We will provide a step-by-step guide to help you set up your own man-eating terrarium.
I also want to give tips on how to choose the right plants as well as how to care for them.
So let’s dive in and learn more about harnessing the unique properties of carnivorous terrarium plants!
What Are Carnivorous Terrarium Plants?
Carnivorous terrarium plants are plants that feed on small insects instead of getting their energy from the sun.
These plants have evolved specialized organs, such as trap leaves, tentacles, and sticky secretions, to capture their prey and extract nutrients from it.
Popular carnivorous terrarium plants include the Venus Flytrap, Pitcher Plant, and Sundew.
These plants can thrive in almost any environment as long as they get enough light and remain moist.
This makes them very suitable candidates for a terrarium enclosure.
Best Types Of Carnivorous Terrarium Plants
When discussing carnivorous terrarium plants, it is common to mention the Venus Fly Trap, one of the most popular and recognizable types of carnivorous plants.
Fly Traps are small, active plants that have a hinged “mouth” with two lobes that snap shut when prey brushes against the sensitive hairs on their surface.
Other popular types of carnivorous terrarium plants include pitcher plants, sundews, and butterworts.
Pitcher plants are cup-like plants with slippery sides that lure insects inside.
Sundews have sticky tentacles that trap insects, and butterworts have sticky surfaces that capture their prey.
With evolution making each of these unique carnivores interesting to discover, there is so much more to them than their cool looks.
Let’s cover each of the most popular types in more detail:
Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)
The Venus Flytrap is perhaps the most famous of the carnivorous terrarium plants and definitely one of the most stunning to look at.
With its deep red exterior and glossy green leaves arranged in a petal pattern, it’s easy to see why this plant is so popular.
This easy-to-care-for plant is native to North America, so it thrives in warm, humid conditions with plenty of sunlight.
This plant eats small insects including spiders and gnats, but will only bait them 4 or 5 times.
While it’s a great conversation starter, it’s important to note that the Venus Flytrap requires a great amount of attention.
Therefore, if you don’t have the time to nurture it, it may die.
Australian Pitcher Plants (Cephalotus Spp.)
Australian pitcher plants, also known as Cephalotus Spp., are another popular choice for carnivorous plant terrariums.
These amazing plants have pitchers that range from small cups to large vases, depending on the species, and they open wide to catch prey.
They’re a great choice for a unique terrarium as they need really bright light, acidic soil, and frequent watering.
Planting them in small clusters is the best way to keep them looking full and lush.
It’s important to keep in mind that these plants can be tricky to grow, so it’s best to research their care requirements before bringing them home.
Sun Pitcher Plants (Heliamphora Spp.)
Even more exotic-looking than the Australian pitcher plants, the Sun pitcher plant offers a unique and eye-catching way to decorate your terrarium.
This plant uses its pitcher made up of many colorful leaves to capture insects.
It thrives in temperatures between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with plenty of bright light, and moist soil.
It requires minimal maintenance, making it a great choice for those who are just starting to experiment with carnivorous plants.
However, be cautious if you have curious pets or children, as these plants can become poisonous if eaten.
Monkey Cup Plant (Nepenthes spp.)
Monkey cup plants (Nepenthes spp.) are a unique, carnivorous plant native to Southeast Asia.
Consisting of a pitcher-like structure, they are an amazing species of plant that has been studied for centuries.
The main advantage of having a monkey cup in your life is its carnivorous nature.
These plants have evolved to consume small insects and animals, which helps keep your environment pest-free.
Additionally, they are incredibly attractive, easy to maintain, and do not require much space.
They also have specific nutritional needs, so it’s important to research their requirements before committing to one.
Furthermore, they are quite sensitive to environmental changes and can be easily killed if not properly cared for.
Sundews (Drosera spp.)
Sundews are another one of the most popular carnivorous terrarium plants.
These plants feature long, narrow leaves that are covered with red or white hairs and dew-like droplets on their surface.
When creatures like mosquitoes and midges land on the leaves, the hairs wrap around the victims and secrete corrosive digestive enzymes.
This then enables the plant to absorb its nutrients.
An unusual benefit of using sundews in a terrarium is their ability to help purify the surrounding air.
Once established, they don’t require a lot of maintenance as they tend to live off the nourishment of their prey.
A potential disadvantage of adding sundews to your terrarium is their tendency to spread quickly, so keeping them trimmed and well-maintained is a good idea.
Butterworts (Pinguicula spp.)
Butterworts are another type of carnivorous plant that you can use in your terrarium.
These plants are known for their waxy green leaves which can feature purplish veins and pink or purple edges.
Butterworts trap their prey with sticky accumulations, which then break down in the digestive juices and the plant absorbs the nutrients.
Like sundews, butterworts can help purify the air in your terrarium, but they may also require more frequent maintenance, such as regular trimming and pruning.
Another potential downside is that some varieties can be quite slow-growing, requiring patience as they develop.
How to Care For Carnivorous Plants
Carnivorous terrarium plants require a specific type of care in order to stay healthy and thrive.
Humidity is important to maintain; they enjoy damp, humid air.
Depending on the species, they also need access to proper light or shade.
If you notice your plants aren’t growing, there’s a small chance your choice of soil is too nutrient-heavy.
These types of plants won’t grow predatorial counterparts if they can receive needed nutrients from the soil.
One final note, make sure the terrarium is properly cleaned by removing dead prey or debris.
Replant the plants if they become overcrowded or need more space.
How To Feed Carnivorous Plants
In order to support the best possible growth, it’s essential to provide your carnivorous terrarium plants with a steady supply of the right type of prey.
Small insects such as flies, gnats, mosquitoes, and aphids make for excellent nourishment.
They can also enjoy live worms or slugs. Keep in mind that too much food can be dangerous, so try to feed them in moderation.
It’s just as important to make sure leftover prey is promptly removed to help keep their habitat clean and safe.
How To Make A Carnivorous Plant Terrarium
1. Choose a container: When creating a carnivorous terrarium, one of the top considerations should be the size and shape of the container. Generally, it’s best to choose a container with a wide opening so that you can comfortably work in it and access the plants as necessary.
Additionally, the container should be made out of a material that will not corrode, such as glass, plastic, or stainless steel.
2. Pick your carnivorous plants: Carnivorous plants come in a variety of shapes and colors and can be categorized by type. We’ve already covered the most popular types above. Make sure to research the specific requirements for any plants that you choose and how much space they need in order to thrive.
3. Prepare substrate and water: Carnivorous terrariums require an acidic terrarium substrate that is low in nutrients. This can be either coco fiber soil or peat moss with a pH of 3 to 6. Once you have the substrate in place, you will also need to add water.
Different plants require different watering schedules, so be sure to research your specific plant species before proceeding.
4. Set up lighting: Lighting is essential for photosynthesis and should be considered when creating a carnivorous terrarium. Different plants have different lighting requirements, so make sure to research each of your chosen species in advance.
Generally, placing the terrarium in a bright, indirect light source should suffice.
5. Put it all together: To finish setting up your carnivorous terrarium, transfer your plants from their individual containers and arrange them in the terrarium. Put the substrate and water in and then place the terrarium in its selected spot.
Make sure that it is not in direct sunlight and mist it with water every few days to maintain a moist and humid atmosphere.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Although carnivorous terrarium plants can make beautiful additions to any home or outdoor space, it’s important to be aware of the potential problems you may encounter when growing them.
When it comes to pests, aphids, mealybugs, and leaf miners can all disproportionately affect carnivorous terrarium plants.
Aphids and mealybugs are usually easily identified. With aphids resembling small, green bugs.
Mealybugs form white cottony patches on the leaves and stem.
Leaf miners can be tougher to spot, but their presence is indicated by distinctive trails on foliage.
The best way to prevent any pest infestations in your carnivorous terrarium plants is to keep the terrarium away from strong air streams and to ensure that the terrarium isn’t too humid.
Additionally, you can use a Q-tip soaked in a solution of alcohol to quickly remove any identified pests.
Requires Highly Acid Soil
One of the most important considerations to keep in mind when growing carnivorous terrarium plants is that they require more acidic soil than most other houseplants.
The ideal soil pH for carnivorous plants should be between 4 and 6.5.
This is significantly lower than the neutral soil pH of 7.
If the soil pH is too high, the plants won’t be able to absorb the nutrients they need to thrive.
To lower the pH of the soil, you can add peat moss or composted pine needles to your soil mix.
Additionally, you can add sulfur chips or granules to help lower the pH.
Be sure to monitor the pH of your soil and adjust it as needed.
With the right soil conditions, you can give your carnivorous terrarium plants the best chance for success.
Highly Toxic To Pets
When growing carnivorous terrarium plants, it’s important to remember that many of these plants are toxic to pets.
The sticky secretions, digestive enzymes, or toxins in the leaves and stems of carnivorous plants can be harmful if ingested.
For this reason, it’s best to place carnivorous plants in areas where pets can’t easily access them.
If your pet does ingest any part of the plant, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Additionally, be sure to wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after handling carnivorous plants, as their toxins can irritate your skin.
With the right precautions, you can enjoy the beauty of carnivorous terrarium plants without putting your pets at risk.
Carnivorous terrarium plants can be a great addition to any habitable space.
Not only are they fascinating to look at, but they also offer many benefits such as air purification and pest control.
By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create your own carnivorous terrarium.
You also get to enjoy all of the benefits it has to offer.
With the right care and attention, these hungry carnivorous vivarium plants will thrive for years to come!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, carnivorous plants can survive in a closed terrarium. To create a successful terrarium environment for carnivorous plants, the terrarium must contain an abundance of water, sun, and high relative humidity.
Be sure to use a terrarium that is large enough for the plant‘s root system and take care to provide extra ventilation by placing the terrarium lid slightly ajar. Additionally, carnivorous plants need to be fertilized with special fertilizers or nutrient–free water to help them thrive in a terrarium environment.
Yes, pitcher plants are well suited to be grown in terrariums and can develop large, beautiful pitchers in these enclosed habitats. When planted in terrariums, pitcher plants require relatively warm temperatures and humid conditions to do well and should be regularly watered.
Yes, a Venus flytrap can live in a terrarium. In order to create the ideal environment for a Venus flytrap, terrariums should provide direct sunlight and maintain a humid atmosphere.
To ensure a successful terrarium habitat for a Venus flytrap, the terrarium should include acidic soil with a high sand content and a shallow pool of water. Additionally, the terrarium should provide good air circulation.
Yes, carnivorous plants like Venus Flytraps and Pitcher Plants need high humidity to survive because they naturally grow in wet, marshy areas. They are adapted to humid conditions and they require high humidity levels of at least 70%. To increase humidity levels, you can use a humidity tray, mist the plants regularly, or invest in a humidifier.
The Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is one of the easiest carnivorous plants to grow. It is an iconic species of flytrap that can be grown with minimal care, indoors or outdoors. Venus Flytraps require either a nutrient–pared soil such as Long Fiber Sphagnum Moss, or a combination of peat and sand. They need bright, but indirect sunlight and regular watering with fresh, pure, and temperature–neutral water.
Yes, carnivorous plants can live without bugs for their sustenance. Carnivorous plants obtain their nutrition from a variety of sources, including photosynthesis from sunlight, capturing and digesting soil nutrients, and absorbing atmospheric nitrogen. So, while adding bugs to the soil for carnivorous plants may provide them with an additional food source, it is not necessary for them to survive.
Carnivorous plants typically need 12–14 hours of light per day in order to thrive.