This year’s hot plants – think Carnivorous!

banner-Landform-Chelsea-16-Plan-view copyWe all know that houseplants are cool again but is it time for the cheese plants and the parlour palms to move aside? Long gone are the days where cacti and succulents held the houseplant spotlight. This season is all about carnivorous plants: particularly the ‘pitcher plants’ Sarracenias.

These stunningly beautiful, darkly intriguing plants will give your room, glasshouse or even your garden a theatrical edge and will also bring some welcome green into the mix.

Catherine MacDonald, who will be designing the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show garden for Hartley Botanic, shares with us some simple tips to take care of carnivorous plants.

side-IMG_4304Water is key
This type of plant needs constant damp soil. The tray method is the most recommended to keep your plants damp. Just set the pots in a tray or saucer and keep water in it at all times. Refill as soon as you notice it’s nearly gone. Do not water them directly! Let the soil absorb the water from the tray. This is key so you don’t damage the plant or give it false alarms for closing the flytraps.

Water must be mineral free
Rainwater or distilled water is the way to go. You can keep a container outside to gather rainwater or just buy some distilled water. As carnivorous plants grow in nutrient poor soils, if you water them with bottled mineral water or tap water you risk the plant to be “over-fertilized” and won’t survive for long!

Light is good
Indoors or outdoors will do. You can let your plants sit under the sun, or on any windowsill or space where they can get enough light. This will ensure your carnivorous plants will grow in great form. Direct sunlight will give some species the red pigmentation so characteristic of these plants.

Winter rest
Matt Soper’s (Hampshire Carnivorous Plants) top tip is to keep plants on a damp capillary matting in an unheated greenhouse over winter to allow the plants a dormant period.

Follow these steps and you can declare yourself the hip owner of a cool carnivorous plant. They will take care of their own feeding, so there’s nothing more to worry about. Just sit back and watch the drama unfold.


If you want to see some carnivorous plants in action in a beautifully designed space then pop into this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show (24th-28th May 2016) and check out the Hartley Botanic’s garden, showcasing their Opus glasshouse.

This is also an opportunity to see the new cultivar Sarracenia x courtii c.v. ‘Claire Soper’ AGM bred by Matt Soper of Hampshire Carnivorous Plants being launched on the garden.