Carnivorous House Plants (No dormancy required!)

Some carnivorous plant fans don’t want to deal with dormancy, and that’s perfectly okay! I’m a little jealous. I’d love to have carnivorous house plants! Some folks are lucky enough to not have cats dominating the windowsills (like mine!) or just prefer keeping their plants inside. Here are some plants that will be perfectly happy living inside with you.

Cape Sundews (and other tropical sundews)

Drosera CapensisIt doesn’t hurt that Cape sundews (drosera capensis) are also affordable, extremely easy to grow, and therefore a perfect starter plant for someone new to carnivores! They love bright sun and lots of pure water, so put them in your sunniest windowsill and they’ll be completely happy as carnivorous house plants. Read this article to learn more about sundew care. They’re able to catch small insects on their own, but you can also feed them if you like. Check out my food guide, and remember the same overfeeding rule applies! Feed 2 leaves per plant no more than once a week.

If the Cape variety doesn’t interest you, other sundews that are just as easy are the fork-leafed sundew (drosera binata), the spoon-leaf sundew (drosera spatulata), the Alice sundew (drosera aliciae), and the lance-leaf sundew (drosera adelae). These will all be happy in the exact same conditions. I love having different sundews in one pot! In sunlight, all the dew drops on different shapes are very pretty to look at.

 

Butterworts (pinguicula)

Mexican butterwort, Pinguicula cyclosecta.Mexican pinguicula are the most common and widely available Butterworts on the market. Their compact size and shallow root system make them versatile enough to sit almost anywhere in a variety of pots. They prefer an airy, well-draining soil mix with higher proportions of sand, perlite, lava rock, and/or vermiculite than peat. Some growers don’t even use peat at all! Butterworts generally prefer indirect light over direct sunlight, so if your windowsill isn’t the sunniest, it will still be happy there!

Pings are very reminiscent of succulents, and their dormant phase is actually called the “succulent phase” (Okay, so I lied. These plants do have a dormancy, but don’t fret!). In the winter, their carnivorous leaves turn to succulent leaves, meaning they are just storing water and not catching prey. During dormancy, you can stop watering completely, and let them dry out. They don’t need winter temperatures for dormancy, just reduced light and water.

Asian Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes)

Highland nepenthes make excellent hanging house or patio plants! Generally, they enjoy  day Nepenthes Pitcher Planttemperatures in the 70s to 80s F, bright indirect light, and night temperatures in the 50s to low 60s. N. ventricosa and N. x miranda are good examples of easy, beginner-friendly Neps. Nepenthes are also more tolerant of different soils, pots, and even fertilizers than most other carnivores. They look especially gorgeous in hanging basket-style pots!

If you feel like a bit more of a challenge, you could also grow lowland Nepenthes in an indoor greenhouse-style terrarium. These varieties require much warmer day and night temperatures and higher humidity. For more information from a true expert, The Savage Garden goes into much greater detail about Nepenthes care than what I am qualified to answer!

Australian Pitcher Plant (Cephalotus follicularis)

Cephalotus FollicularisCephalotus are small, unusual, slow-growing, and highly prized by their owners. They are known for being finicky and somewhat difficult to grow, but actually enjoy very similar conditions as Venus flytraps! They tolerate a wide variety of conditions, from full-sun to partial shade, and temperatures from the 90s F during the day to light frosts at night. Protection is important however, as prolonged temperatures that are too hot or too cold will kill them. Cephs also prefer a sandier mix of soil and hate being waterlogged. Make sure they drain well and don’t over-water! No dormancy period is required for these little guys.

 

Bladderworts (Utricularia)Utricularia livida. Carnivorous bladderwort potted in a mini tea cup. Click to find out more!

Terrestrial bladderworts make excellent windowsill or terrarium plants! They’re usually small and won’t take up space, and their tiny flowers are just way too pretty and cute to handle! Most of them don’t need dormancy and they aren’t picky about drainage either. Give them lots of light and water and they’ll be happy and flowering all year round!! Check out my bladderworts planted in tea cups for more info! There are also lots of easy to grow aquatic bladderworts that you can put in aquariums or ponds. If a terrarium interests you, read my post on the best carnivorous plants for terrariums!

Dionaea and Sarracenia seedlingsSarracenia Seedlings

This technically may not count, but just an idea! If you are growing temperate plants from seeds, you can keep them indoors for their first year only. Skipping the first dormancy for seedlings is an accepted practice by most growers. I imagine it helps young plants get established and strong before their first winter. It’s also just nice to enjoy them while other plants are in dormancy! When you start putting them outside in the spring, remember to acclimate them slowly. Full sunlight is much stronger than any indoor light, and may burn young plants that aren’t used to it. Keep them in shade for a few days and gradually increase exposure to direct sun over several weeks.

The great thing about carnivores is how unique and different they all are. There is a carnivorous plant for everyone at every level, no matter where you live (except maybe Antarctica!). I hope this post took some mystery out of which make the best carnivorous house plants. Leave a comment if I missed anything or if you have more questions. Til next time!

4 comments

  1. Dennis says:

    I tried growing VFT from seeds and some germinated for me
    I had the VFT seeds in damp Sphagnum Peat Moss and in a greenhouse outside
    I was out of town and we got some cool weather but not close to -5C
    I put the whole pot in a tray of distilled water and in a zip lock baggie under a Led light
    they are still specs as of today 2015-11-06
    when will I see growth and how long should I wait before I give up on these seeds?
    Also I was in the market for a King Henry VFT this spring, do you sell them and what does it cost to get the plant into Canada? what is the price of the plant? I will accept any large trap VFT if a King Henry is not available.
    are they shipped in LFS or bareroot?
    Can you reply ASAP?

    • Maria says:

      Hi Dennis! You should see tiny carnivorous leaves soon. Venus flytraps do take a few years to grow to adult size. You can give them a boost by feeding them once a week and skipping their dormancy for the first year.

      And I’m sorry, but I do not have any King Henry flytraps, and I’m not able to ship to Canada.

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