Instructions for Live Carnivorous Plants Terrarium
Grow your own feared and famous meat eating plants! Carnivorous plants are fascinating to grow and not as hard as you might think. North American carnivorous plants are native to peat bogs. They require a humid atmosphere and moist, acidic soil of low mineral content. Carnivorous plants eat insects to supplement the poor mineral nutrition in the soil they naturally grow in.
This kit comes in several options, from all Venus Flytraps to one each of a Flytrap, Pitcher Plant and Sundew. We will include information on all plants here, but you may not have ordered all of them discussed in this instruction sheet.
The lid is not necessary for humidity in this kit so long as you keep the soil moist – but is good for keeping children of all ages from touching the plants.
Setting up your Terrarium:
- Get ready to get dirty! Put some old newspaper or paper towels down on your work area.
- Open the bag of peat moss and place in the bottom of the terrarium.
- Add 1 and 1/3 cups of water. Mix well. WATER: For creating the terrarium initially you may use tap water. For all future watering you will need to provide rain water, reverse-osmosis water or buy distilled water (with no minerals added) from the store. Over time, tap or bottled water will kill them. Boiling the water does not help.
- Unwrap your plants from the shipping bag. Now remove any dead traps, leaves or pitchers from the plants with sharp scissors. Don’t worry if they are wilting, they spring back in a few days.
- Plant your plants! Make sure the roots are completely covered by your soil mixture. You can make a little mound of it in the place you want to plant your new friend, so that the roots are covered.
Hints: Are the leaves turning black after planting? This usually means the plant needs time to adjust to transplanting. If the old leaves die back, it does not mean that the plant is dead. Just trim them off. New growth will probably become evident in 2 to 3 weeks. Any flytraps that closed during shipping usually reopen within a week. Never give your plants ANY kind of fertilizer, it will kill them.
Water: These are bog plants so the soil should be soggy. Make sure to add more water weekly. Add it to the side of the terrarium, as these plants do not like wet leaves. Never let the soil dry out.
Food: Carnivorous plants live—as do other green plants—on water, air, minerals, and sunlight. Feeding them is not necessary, but it is a fun activity! Do not feed them until a week after setting up your terrarium. Feed them 1 living or dead soft-bodied insect, per whole plant, one to four times a month. It is a myth to feed them raw meat. It may contain salt and preservatives that can harm or kill carnivorous plants. Only feed insects.
Light: They love strong light. Grow indoors next to a sunny window where they can get sunlight for 4 or more hours each day. Sunlight through clouds is fine.
Dormancy: Depending on what plant you purchased, your plants might have a dormant season (winter). In the winter, many will lose leaves as they go dormant. Trim these off. They will grow back more in the spring. We suggest you research more online about this- like if you want, you can even put certain plants into the refrigerator for a couple of winter months to get a big spring growth!
TYPES OF PLANTS:
Venus Flytrap. The leaves of a Venus Flytrap are covered with fine hairs. Insects are attracted to the trap by nectar secreted from numerous glands around its edges. When an insect lands on the plant, the pressure on the hairs causes the jaw-like foliage to snap closed, trapping the insect inside. Glands in the trap then secrete digestive juices which consume the insect, and then the trap reopens within 3 to 5 days. If your Flytrap puts out a flower stalk it should be trimmed off. If you decide to let it flower remember that it will steal nutrients from the plant that could be used for more traps. Don’t be tempted to play with the traps of the Flytrap. Each trap has a limited number of closings- only 3 or 4 times. Then the leaf with the trap will die, to be replaced later with a new one. Each ‘false alarm’ trap closing robs the plant of resources so avoid poking it with your finger. As these plants mature their traps will turn black. All you have to do is cut the black traps off and watch as new traps appear in about six weeks. In the winter, their leaves dry up and turn black as they enter dormancy. They will regrow right back every spring.
Pitcher Plant. The unsuspecting insect crawls down the cylindrical stem in search of sweet smelling nectar. It is unable to get out! The plant hairs all point down making an escape impossible. The hopeless insect is then slowly dissolved in the liquid in the bottom of the pitcher and becomes plant food.
Sundew Plant. It looks harmless but it lures, captures, and digests insects using stalked sticky glands covering the leaf surface. It is some of the stickiest glue in nature! Gnats, mosquitoes and other small insects get stuck and then their body fluids are absorbed by the plant.
Want more Cool kits? Visit www.NatureGifts.com for other complete live kits containing all sorts of fascinating critters!