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Teacher Resources

Carnivorous Plants

Upon receipt, plants are ready to be transplanted. Carnivorous plants should be
maintained in moderate light at temperatures from 18 °C to 24 °C. Direct
sunlight can elevate the temperature in a terrarium to levels high enough to
burn or kill the plants within.

Culture carnivorous plants in a bog terrarium. Place one inch of gravel at the bottom of the terrarium. Coarse charcoal, up to equal parts charcoal and gravel, is often recommended in bog terrariums. Then mix acid bog soil with some sphagnum moss and cover the gravel. One part garden or potting soil mixed with two parts commercial peat will make an adequate acid bog soil. Add enough pond or aged tap water to cover the gravel but not the soil. Loosely wrap the roots of the plants in sphagnum. Set the pitcher plants in soil deep enough so the roots can grow into the water. Venus
fly traps should be set so their root tips grow in the soil just above the water
level. The sundew plants should be planted toward the top of the soil since they
do not require as much water. Handle the plants gently and don't allow them to
dry out. Water the plants once a month or when no more condensation appears on
the glass. Keep the terrarium covered with a piece of glass or plastic film.
These plants require high humidity. Aerate once a week. These plants are adapted
to nitrogen-poor soils and have evolved elaborate insect trapping mechanisms as
a source of supplementary nitrogen. Occasionally you may wish to feed these

The sundew can be fed vestigial winged fruit flies. For Venus fly traps, drop cut up Tenebrio larvae (mealworms) or small bits of meat into the plant's trap. Pitcher plants can survive long periods without any "dietary" supplements, relying on photosynthesis and nutrients derived from the planting medium.

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