My Carnivorous Plant Terrarium




(Update 09/01/2021)

The terrarium started to fail a few months ago. The butterworts started to wilt and the flytraps all died back. The pitcher plants were OK. So I took all of the plants out and potted them. Some went into the greenhouse and some went into the windowsill. They are mostly doing fine. I think that my using rainwater inside is what did it.

Oh well.

(Updated 10/20/2020)

Still looking pretty good, except for that d. capensis to the upper right of the center flytrap. I am bringing down the light to 10 hours a day (from 14) and watering less frequently; this should induce some hibernation. Starting next month, I’ll have RO water in the fridge and use that to cool the system down.

Notice in the top left, there is a new nepenthes lavicola. It will go to the windowsill garden soon. I should put some pictures of that and my greenhouse plants. Maybe tomorrow.


I have started a new terrarium to grow my bug-eating plants indoors. I had been growing them outside in a greenhouse we built in 2008, but it has just been too hot these last few summers and they suffer for it. Plus, it takes bucket loads of water and if there’s not enough rain, I have to buy reverse osmosis water at thirty-five cents a gallon, which adds up.

So here is the terrarium

It’s about 35 gallons and I should be able to plant a wide variety of plants in it. There is a couple of inches of gravel on the bottom and a piece of screen over that to keep the soil from settling down into it.

The two white tubes of PVC are so I can bottom water the plants. Since most of these are bog plants, this is the preferred method. I’ll use a spritzer to keep the top damp, if necessary.

Here’s a top view

Pretty boring right now, but once I get everything planted, it should start to look busier. On the left is one zone of peat and sand. In the middle zone is peat and vermiculite, which is my preferred mix. On the right, I have just peat; this is an experiment to see how well some plants do in it.

Here is a view with the grow lights

These are supposed to be full-spectrum and I’m hoping they will bring out the colors in the plants better than the fluorescent lights I used to use.

I will update this blog from time to time and I’m going to add this to the quick links at at the top. Keep checking back, if you’re interested.

Update 02/21/2020: I found a pretty healthy Venus Flytrap at Home Depot, so I bought it and planted it; now I am completely unhappy with these lights:

It looks like something out of Color Out Of Space; I expect Nicholas Cage to show up and start yelling at it (which actually would be very cool!) So I dug out an old lighting fixture I made a few years ago that has fluorescent wide-spectrum lights. This looks better.

I got an email that one of my orders has shipped and should be here any day. Once I have it planted, I’ll share some more pics.

Update 02/22/2020:

Got an order in today from California Carnivores and I am quite pleased with it. Here is an updated picture of the terrarium with the new plants:

The layout is (so far)

Cephalotus Follicularis “Agnes”Drosera Capensis wideleafSarracenia Rubra
Pinguicula Mora Aloa “Molongo”
 Venus FlytrapDrosera SpatulataSarracenia Purpurea
Pinguicula Emerginata (Clone 14)
Pinguicula hybrid

Now butterworts sit around the campfire and tell horror stories about me and how I have slaughtered them in the past; hopefully, these will do better. I planted them in the soil that they came in and will plant the sphagnum moss that they were awesomely packed in, so here’s hoping for the best. (Maybe I should try playing some classical music for them at night? Hmm, Mozart or Beethoven?)

The sarracenia have been hibernating in my fridge since last November, along with a few others that are too tall for the terrarium. I’ll get those going outside in mid-March.

I still have one order out from another source (several Flytraps). Once I get that planted, I’ll see about added more plants. Updates whenever!

Update 03/01/2020:

All planted for now:

Cephalotus Follicularis “Agnes”Drosera Capensis wideleafNepenthes ventricosa
Pinguicula Mora Aloa “Molongo”Sarracenia Rubra
Venys Flytrap Dragon Venus FlytrapDrosera Spatulata
Pinguicula Emerginata (Clone 14)Sarracenia Purpurea
Venus Flytrap Bigmouth
Pinguicula hybridPinguicula x SethosSarracenia psittacina

I’ll post another pic in about 3 weeks; there should be much more to see then. A also think I need more sundews.

Update: 04/03/2020: So here is the latest look at it, about 6 weeks after planting:

The big win for me is that the butterworts have not yet died; in fact. they look very healthy! There are some sundews that are too small to see here, but they are there. And the parrot pitcher plant has a hitch hiker that is hard to see. I have some D. filiformis and  d. rotundifolia stratifying right now; they should be ready in about a week. Unfortunately, the cephalotus is not looking good; I think it might be dead.

I’ll post another picture in a month or so.