Zora & Flora: How to Care for Carnivorous Plants

Zora & Flora: How to Care for Carnivorous Plants

Well, this week on June 27th, Rupert (my dog) got 2 sisters!  Their names are Zora & Flora. Zora is spunky, spiky, and green. Flora is tall, graceful, and vicious – also green with a hint of magenta.  ……

Zora & Flora are my new carnivorous plants who have come to dwell in my home, kill all unwelcome bugs, and teach me how to keep a plant alive. Zora is a venus fly trap, and Flora is a pitcher plant.  I have decided that this is the best possible person-plant relationship for me, they being  dual-purpose, and me giving them names & treating them like people/pets, so as to remember to feed them, unlike all my other plant endeavors.  If you’re like me, you go to the greenhouse with these excellent ideas, and then somehow, that plant you hung in the corner hasn’t been watered in 3 months, and is……dead. I have given them names and put them out in front of me so I have to see them everyday. I also have blogged about plants needing caffeine & human interaction…… so there might be some conversation going on around the house so we don’t forget to take care of them.

It turns out, they don’t need to be pampered or given lots of nutrients like other plants.  However, they do need some odd accommodations. Because they were found in the swamps of North & South Carolina, they need plain, natural water, and potting that have no vitamins, minerals, or nutrients.  The box they came in, doesn’t have ANY helpful information. In fact, after some research, some of the information they gave is contradictory to what they actually need.

MAJOR HEADACHE-SAVING TIP: Go to a gardening center at a place like Lowe’s or Home Depot. My local nurseries didn’t carry the stuff I needed.  I went to about 7 stores – & Lowe’s had everything.  Peat comes in a big block – it’s really fine dirt. You need no miracle grow nutrients, just straight up Peat.  Perlite comes in a small bag – little white rocks – again, no nutrients (sterile).  Sphagnum moss cannot be picked up in the fake flowers section – it’s real, moisture harboring material from the gardening center.   Since you will have leftovers – consider buying a few more plants & give them as gifts!  All of this is super cheap.

Zora is a spiky venus fly trap. I planted them in globes/glass containers from the floral department ($2-4) to help out with humidity & style.











Their House:  Non-Draining Plastic, Glass, or Glazed-Ceramic;  Don’t use un-glazed pots like terra cotta containers, because the minerals will harm them.

Proper Bedding: Equal parts peat (ask for moss peat or peat moss = dirt) & all natural/sterilized PERLITE. Put a layer of long-grain sphagnum moss over the top to help retain moisture.

Favorite Beverages: NO TAP WATER! The minerals will harm them. Distilled water or rain water is good.  I read somewhere you could even use condensation water – from air conditioners. Get a sprayer/mister – pump a few sprays in the morning & night to keep everything moist!

Favorite Snacks: Since they feed on bugs, fertilization is not necessary.  It might actually kill your friend. If you want to have only the traps, carefully keep flower blooms trimmed out.  Some folks say if you absolutely can’t resist and/or you have a fairly bug-free home, drop 1-2 spiders in each month.

Entertainment: These are excellent windowsill plants! 4-6 hours of sunlight in the summer. They love sun AND moisture.

Annual Vacation Spots: Like most temperate zone plants, Pitcher Plants require a period of dormancy in the winter 3-5 months.  You can put unspotted/bare roots plants in a zip log bag with a moist pinch of sphagnum and a dash of…….HA! Too many steps.  Put it in your unheated garage.  That’s what I’ll be doing. No feeding during this time. Trim black leaves off, & keep about a milliliter of water in it’s tray.

Special Occasions: Celebrate his/her birthday!  Why? Because it will help you keep track of its health & maturity. When Zora & Flora turn three or four years old, they will sprout a beautiful pinkish-reddish bloom in early summer that is a sight to see.

1 Comment

  1. Sarah
    Jul 14, 2012

    Aw, they’re so cute. 🙂 Helpful info, carnivorous plants have always fascinated me for some reason. Maybe it’s because I abhor bugs (mostly flies and spiders) with a passion.

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