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Carnivorous Plants/soil and Terrarium


I was told a Terrarium was a breeding ground for mold and not to make one.
Even if I steam the media in the microwave is it still a bad idea?, cause what I planed to use has a hinged lid and plenty of ventilation slots for air to get in and circulate.

Hello Dennis,

The only time you really need a terrarium is for plants that simply are not able to adapt to lower humidity levels. Overall, most carnivorous plants tend to do well as houseplants in open pot or outside as garden/potted plants according to sunlight and environmental needs.

Terraria are closed spaces that do not have much provision for water drainage, air flow, lighting, and simply do not allow insects to get to the plants easily. Even indoors, carnivorous plants will attract and capture mosquitos, flies, ants, and gnats on their own if they are open pot.

Even with air vents, you would need a fan to circulate air to create enough air movement to lessen the incidence of mold and algae spores growing. The spores are in the air as well as in the soil. You will greatly reduce the number of spores in the soil by steaming it, but some will always find a way in later.

Small sundews can do well in terraria if you can meet their needs, but they will do even better open pot with less trouble on your part.  

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Christopher Littrell


I am capable of answering questions about the most common carnivorous plants found in cultivation. I have no personal experience with Byblis, Drosophyllum, Aldrovanda, and Heliamphora. I have not cultivated gemmae forming pygmy sundews nor tuberous sundews. For information regarding those aforementioned species, I would suggest contacting other experts. I can answer questions regarding most species of Nepenthes, tropical and temperate Drosera, Mexican Pinguicula, Sarracenias, and Dionaea. I have some limited experience with growing Utricularia, Cephalotus, and Darlingtonia.


I have grown carnivorous plants off and on for about 27 years. I have made the same mistakes and suffered the same mishaps that many growers make as they attempt to separate the myths from the realities of growing these plants. Currently, I am successfully growing a variety of tropical sundews, a Nepenthes, several Venus Flytraps of varying ages, and Sarracenias. I have been successful in stratifying Sarracenia seeds and providing artificial dormancy requirements for my temperate plants when needed.

I hold a Master's degree in Educational Psychology. Over my lifetime, I have constantly read books involving the growing conditions of carnivorous plants. I hope to incorporate the educational aspects involved in psychology with teaching other people how to cultivate carnivorous plants.

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