Venus Fly Trap in Terrariums

katiegreyyJune 21, 2014


I'm wondering if I can plant venus fly traps or other carnivorous plants in terrariums. I have an optional open top container I'd like to fill. I'm also wondering what type of potting medium I would use for this.


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Hi Katie:

During the spring and summer I keep a flytrap indoors, inside a grow/display cube (not really considered a true terrarium). Because of it's dormant period, I'll remove the plant during the winter months (into the garage) for lower temperatures.

Photo-periods (lights on) are about 13 hours. Watering is done with distilled water. I like to use plastic pots with drain holes about 4-6" diameter in size. My potting medium is ground-up Loblolly & Long Leaf pine needles, with a top dressing of long fiber sphagnum moss. In the past I was using 100% peat (with no additives) as a potting medium. I set the plastic pot on top of a container filled with gravel and distilled water.

Hopes this helps in regards to your question.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 1:51PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

As he pointed out VFT are temperate plants requiring a cool cold rest period. but there are tropical types of Carnos that do well in terrariums.
In your area with a bit of modification you could probably use VFT as bog garden plants. many to choose from . generally speaking it's possible to keep a seasonal terrarium but it's difficult
Since there are a gazillion tropical plants including many carnos they are the best choice.
I keep a small "bog garden " but use mostly tropical plants though I have a small planting of Sundews.
Check out the "Bog garden forum for ideas or the Carno forum for terrarium choices.
Since VFT is native to the carolinas shouldn't take much modification?? gary

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 4:02AM
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Thank you guys! Your answers definitely help :) I knew that they required a dormant period and I'm okay with that I just didn't know if I'd have to take it out during that time... Also didn't know if the glass would pose a problem (as in the heat/reflection/whatever)... Do you keep water there at all times??

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:31PM
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^ Regarding your question about water... I keep about an 'inch-plus' of water inside the bottom of the glass where the pot is inserted. I water with distilled water from the top. When the water drains through the growing medium, it accumulates in the bottom of the glass (about an inch or so). Usually my watering schedule is based on the top dressing of long fiber sphagnum ~ when that starts drying out I water.

Because I'm using a small array of LEDs for lighting, heat build-up is minimal. I have a small glass mercury thermometer inside the enclosure (the enclosure is open topped) and the temperature within barely gets above 82f with lights on. Reflection off glass presents no problems. Because I don't keep these guys in a fully enclosed container/display/terrarium, I don't really know if heat and humidity would produce a negative effect by doing so.

I saw NC in your original post. I live in 'Caroilna' not far from where these guys grow in the wild. I've seen colonies growing out of pure sand, pine needles, sphagnum, and different mixtures/variations from the ground. Many grow in full sun and heat, some are shaded. Many have blood red traps, and some are green. One common factor is that they all have a source of table water close to the soil surface.

As for the dormant period, I have also gradually shortened the photo-period of my lighting in late fall and winter, and placed in a room that gets down to 60-58f during the winter. It works for me, but might not necessarily work for someone else. Too many times: I've read/heard not to grow indoors, not to put in a terrarium, only full sunlight... and then all the debate of "it can't be done" (or it's impossible). My favorite: never grow in this or that, only grow in peat - peat/sand - or New Zealand long fiber sphagnum moss. I've seen plants growing out of sand, and plants growing out of pine needles in the wild. Guess what? To date, I've never seen such beautiful, hardy, healthy, and vibrant plants as those. If I listened to all the "so-called" advise, I would never be doing what I am doing now.

Here's a pic of the plant shown from my first post. It was grown from seed. The reason for the picture is so you can see how moist the LF sphagnum on top of the pot is. When this starts drying out, I water until about an inch of water is standing on the bottom (the growing medium wicks up that water and keeps my plant happy).

I also grow Dionaea outdoors in full sun. Differences being: a self watering plastic pot is used (keeps about an 1" of standing water on the bottom of the pot), a top dressing of peat moss is used over my pine needle growing medium instead of long fiber sphagnum, distilled water & rainwater (indoor plants gets 100% distilled water), and the outdoor plants have the luxury of an 'all you can eat' insect buffet (indoors ~ just light & water, maybe an occasional spider or ant might come their way). That's the reason you can see so many missing traps in this photo - the traps have opened and closed so many times from eating that they died back.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:30PM
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