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Carnivorous Plants
Are carnivorous plants dangerous to people or pets?
  No.  The methods used by carnivorous plants to capture and consume insects are not harmful to people or larger animals.
Can I feed my venus flytrap hamburger?
  While carnivorous plants will respond to a wide variety of foods, giving them red meat is not always the best idea.  The digestive process of a carnivorous plant is much slower than that of a human, so it's likely the meat will begin to rot before it's fully digested.  The rot can spread to to trap, and this can lead to a smelly mess.

We have found that tofu, freeze-dried insects and even bits hard boiled egg absorb relatively quickly and leave little mess.
Care Instructions
  Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscupula)
  • Keep soil damp at all times.Leave pots in a shallow tray or saucer of water.
  • Use rain water, distilled water, or tap water with low mineral content (like Hetch Hetchy water in the SF Bay Area.) If you use bottled water, make sure that it has NO sodium added.
  • DO NOT fertilize your flytraps with traditional fertilizers. Flytraps get their nutrients from the sun and insects, and their root systems are sensitive to fertilizers.
  • Grow your flytraps in as much sun as possible.They can be grown outside in most climates. If grown indoors, they should be in the sunniest location possible or under fluorescent lights.
  • Flytraps are perennials.They flower and grow in spring and summer, and will stop growing or go dormant in winter. If your flytrap appears to be completely dead in winter, keep the soil moist and it will probably re-emerge from its roots in spring with larger growth.
  • Transplant every few years in a mix of 50% peat moss and 50% sand or perlite. This is best done during winter dormancy. Make sure there is no fertilizer in the soil you use.


Sundew (Drosera)
  • Keep soil damp at all times.Leave pots in a shallow tray or saucer of water.
  • Use rain water, distilled water, or tap water with low mineral content (like Hetch Hetchy water in the SF Bay Area.) If you use bottled water, make sure that it has NO sodium added.
  • DO NOT fertilize your sundews with traditional fertilizers. Sundews get their nutrients from the sun and insects, and their root systems are very sensitive to fertilizers.
  • Grow your sundew in sunny to partly-sunny conditions. They can be grown outside in most climates, on a sunny windowsill, or under fluorescent lights.
  • Sundews are perennials.They flower and grow in spring and summer, and will slow down or stop growing in winter.
  • Sundews may go dormant if the weather becomes too cold or the plant is stressed. If your sundew appears to be completely dead while grown outside in winter, keep the soil damp, and it will probably re-emerge from its roots in spring.
  • Transplant every few years in a mix of 50% peat moss and 50% sand or perlite. This is best done during winter. Make sure there is no fertilizer in the soil you use.


American Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia)
  • Keep soil damp at all times.Leave pots in a shallow tray or saucer of water.
  • Use rain water, distilled water, or tap water with low mineral content (like Hetch Hetchy water in the SF Bay Area.)If you use bottled water, make sure that it has NO sodium added.
  • DO NOT fertilize sarracenia with traditional fertilizers. Sarracenia get their nutrients from the sun and insects, and their root systems are sensitive to fertilizers.
  • Grow your sarracenia in as much sun as possible.They can be grown outside in most climates. Due to their high light requirement, they are unlikely to thrive indoors, and because of their height, they are difficult to grow under fluorescent lights.
  • Sarracenia are perennials.They flower and grow in spring and summer, and will stop growing or go dormant in winter. If your sarracenia appears to be completely dead in winter, keep the soil moist and it will probably re-emerge from its roots in spring with larger and more colorful growth.
  • Transplant every few years in a mix of 50% peat moss and 50% sand or perlite. This is best done during dormancy. Make sure there is no fertilizer in the soil you use.


Butterwort (Pinguicula)
  • Keep soil damp at all times.Leave pots in a shallow tray or saucer of water.
  • Use rain water, distilled water, or tap water with low mineral content (like Hetch Hetchy water in the SF Bay Area.) If you use bottled water, make sure that it has NO sodium added.
  • DO NOT fertilize your butterworts with traditional fertilizers. Butterworts get their nutrients from the sun and insects, and their root systems are very sensitive to fertilizers.
  • Grow your butterwort in partly-sunny conditions. They can be grown outside in most climates, on a sunny windowsill, or under fluorescent lights.
  • Butterworts are perennials.They flower and grow in spring and summer, and will slow-down or stop growing in winter.
  • Transplant every few years in a mix of 50% peat moss and 50% sand or perlite. This is best done during winter. Make sure there is no fertilizer in the soil you use.


Tropical Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes)
  • Keep soil damp but well-drained at all times. DO NOT let your nepenthes sit in water.
  • Use rain water, distilled water, or tap water with low mineral content (like Hetch Hetchy water in the SF Bay Area.) If you use bottled water, make sure that it has NO sodium added.
  • Grow your nepenthes in partly-sunny conditions. They can be grown outside during warm weather, but should be kept above 50 ⁰ F.
  • Nepenthes can also be grown on sunny windowsills or in terrariums under fluorescent lights.
  • Nepenthes prefer high humidity.If you live in a dry area or if you grow them indoors, mist regularly with pure water.
  • Nepenthes respond well to foliar fertilization. Spray twice monthly during the growing season with a 50% solution orchid or epiphyte fertilizer.
  • Transplant ever few years in a light, airy mixture. We use equal parts sphagnum moss, pearlite, vermiculite, and fine orchid bark. This is best done in winter.


Do carnivorous plants require insects to survive?
  In most cases, insects are not critical to the survival of carnivorous plants.  Like normal plants, carnivorous plants get their energy from sunlight.  Insects serve as a supplemental source of nutrients, similar to fertilizer for other plants.  It's true that carnivorous plants will be more healthy and vigorous if they are able to consume insects, but you don't need to go searching around your back yard for bugs if your plant hasn't caught one lately.
What exotic locations do these amazing plants come from?
  People are often surprised to find that many of the plants sold on this site are native to the United States.  It should be no surprise that American pitcher plants are found in the United States (mostly in the South-East states.)  However, it's less intuitive that venus flytraps are native to North and South Carolina.  Cobra plants are found only in Northern California and Southern Oregon.

Tropical pitcher plants grow mostly in South-East Asia, while Australian pitcher plants are found only in a small strip of land along the South-Eastern coast of Australia.  Heliamphora are only found in the Guiana Highlands of South America.

Sundews and butterworts are much more diverse, and can be found on most continents.
Will my carnivorous plant eliminate mosquitoes?
  Unfortunately, probably not.  Most carnivorous plants attract insects using nectar or other sugary secretions.  Female mosquitoes (the ones who feed on blood) are attracted to the carbon dioxide that humans exhale, and are mostly disinterested in carnivorous plants.