Carnivorous Plants/Pot


QUESTION: Dear Sarracenia Northwest,
I have a large wire pot, a foot wide and less than six inches deep, made of wire with a liner of grassy stuff.  It gets full sun.  Could you grow a Flytrap, a Sarracenia, and a hardy sundew in it?

ANSWER: No, this would be inappropriate.  The plants you mentioned prefer very wet soil, and this type of growing container is difficult to keep wet during the hot summer months.  If the soil gets too dry, you will definitely lose your flytraps and sundews.  Use plastic pots or glazed ceramic pots, instead.  Follow the watering methods recommended in our care guides.

However, if you want to grow Nepenthes in this type of growing container, you can do so since they prefer damp rather then completely wet soil.  You may still need to water your plant daily during the hot summer months, but Nepenthes will be OK if the soil dries slightly.

Good growing!
Jacob Farin

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Sarracenia Northwest,
(Am I spelling Sarracenia right?)
The pot that I was telling you about has plastic around the grassy stuff.  The grass is only there to keep the soil from falling out of the top.  The plastic ought to help keep water in.  Is that okay for my plants (when I get them)?

Hi John,

I'm going to back up here some and give you some conceptual ideas with growing carnivorous plants.  One of the things I've found over and over in selling these amazing plants to the public directly in a public market is that failure with carnivorous plants often has nothing to do with the techniques in growing them being difficult.  Granted, there are difficult species, but the ones you are describing are not in that category.  The problem is often what a master gardener instructor taught me, "TPD", or, "things people do".  The way this happens with carnivorous plants is where people think, "I've got this perfect location for my plant to catch flies by the compost bin, or "Wow the plant will look so good in this spot", or "I've got this cool pot I so want to put these in".  In doing this the basic needs of the plants are being ignored.  By the compost bin may not have enough sun, the spot the plant will look so good in may not be in a sunny enough location, or indoors when the plant is really a hardy perennial and need to be outdoors.  The same type of issues apply with pots too.  To be successful you need to think, what does the plant need  to be successful, then see if there's a way to match that with personal aesthetics.

The type of plants your wanting to grow are bog plants and are used to being constantly wet.  The type of hanging basket container with the coir liner, even with the plastic is inappropriate for bog plants.  I grow some vegetables and flowers in these in the summer, and they don't need to be constantly wet, but I have a very hard time keeping them watered enough during the summer.  Sarracenia pitcher plants, Venus flytraps and sundews are a recipe for disaster in these type of hanging baskets.

Here's an option for you if you really want a hanging basket.  Sometimes you can find plastic hanging baskets that have drain-hole plugs in the bottom of them.  If you can find one of those kind, you can use that as a water tray, then you put plants in a regular plastic pot with drain holes inside it.  This way you can refill the water reservoir, and the plants stay wet enough, and you can hang them.  

I also recommend seriously considering taking a look at our volume #1 DVD.  It is a very hands-on approach to understanding North American Carnivorous plants, and will help you avoid the pitfalls so common to new growers.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

Carnivorous Plants

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If your carnivorous plant is showing poor growth, discoloration, abnormal leaves or possible infestation, the expert growers at Sarracenia Northwest can help! They have a great depth of experience dealing with diseases, pathogens, and abnormal growth in carnivorous plants.

Before submitting your question, please read their care guides on their main website. Many issues can be addressed by simply adjusting your growing conditions as recommended in the care guides. Click here to read the care guides.

Over 8,800 questions answered since 2005!


Jeff and Jacob are owners and growers of Sarracenia Northwest. They've been in business since 1995. Watch their professionally produced DVDs, Grow Carnivorous Plants. It is a three-volume set that covers all aspects of carnivorous plant care. They literally show you how to be a successful grower!


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Our focus is to help help growers diagnose a specific plant problem and offer solutions. For example:
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