Carnivorous plants are their own unique breed of indoor plants that beginners shouldn’t shy away from. You just need to know which of these meat eating plants are the best carnivorous plants for beginners to grow.
What are the best carnivorous plants for beginners? The best carnivorous plants for beginners include the Australian pitcher plant, Cape sundew, Venus flytrap, butterwort, waterwheel plant, and bladderwort.
Those plants are just a handful of the best carnivorous plants for indoors that I want to talk about today. Ahead is the full list along with care tips and requirements, so be sure to keep reading!
Table of Contents
- 10 Easy Carnivorous Plants to Grow Indoors
- Australian Pitcher Plant
- Cape Sundew
- Venus Flytrap
- Corkscrew Plant
- Dewy Pine
- Cobra Plant
- Rainbow Plant
- Waterwheel Plant
10 Easy Carnivorous Plants to Grow Indoors
Australian Pitcher Plant
Let’s begin by talking about the Australian pitcher plant or Cephalotus follicularis.
Hailing from southwestern Australia’s coastal region, this is one carnivorous plant that can withstand full sunlight. Periods of partial sunlight are nice too.
When the time comes to use artificial lights, I would suggest using the Barrina T5 Grow Lights.
Here’s a link to the full spectrum LED T5 grow lights from Barrina on Amazon. I’ve used the exact grow lights on all of my indoor plants for the past year and have had great results from them.
Provide a soil mix with peat moss (one part) and perlite (two parts). You can use sand in lieu of perlite.
Although the Australian pitcher plant prefers very warm temperatures, it detests standing water. Let the soil get moderately dry but never completely dried out.
Only use collected rainwater or distilled water for the Australian pitcher plant. Tap water chemicals can be downright deadly to this carnivorous indoor plant species.
I’m sure you’re curious how a pitcher plant eats, right?
A pitcher plant has what are called pitfall traps. The pitfall trap is a cavity.
Around the cavity is nectar that lures in insects. The insects get covered in nectar if they get too close.
When insects or small bugs end up in the pitfall trap, the digestive liquid within the pitfall trap easily allows the Australian pitcher plant to digest its prey.
How about a Cape sundew for your first carnivorous indoor plant?
The Drosera capensis from South Africa’s Cape (hence the name Cape sundew) is a smaller plant that’s regarded as easy to grow and is small enough for terrariums.
The Cape sundew features 1.4-inch leaves that are strap-shaped. The leaves have tentacles almost like what you’d see on an octopus.
Released from the tentacles is mucilage with a very sticky texture. When arthropods get too close, they’re immediately trapped.
The Cape sundew (and other sundews) will roll up its leaves, bringing them nearer the rest of the plant. In doing this, more digestive glands get activated.
It can take upwards of six hours for the Cape sundew to digest the arthropod it caught!
Caring for a Cape sundew isn’t too complex.
The carnivorous cape sundew is a houseplant that thrives on direct sunlight for at least six hours per day and even more per day during growing periods.
It’s important to know that In darker conditions, the Cape sundew won’t make enough mucilage to catch prey.
Maintain soil moisture around the clock. The best type of soil for a Cape sundew has perlite (one part) and peat moss (four parts).
The Cape sundew can handle temps of up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but that’s not ideal. While temperature decreases are allowable, they should be incremental and no more than 20 degrees at a time.
Of course, you had to expect to see the Venus flytrap or Dionaea muscipula on this list.
As the best-known carnivorous indoor plant, the Venus flytrap also happens to be quite easy to care for.
Hailing from subtropical wetlands, you need to replicate damp conditions for the Venus flytrap when growing it at home or in the office.
A compost mixture ought to do it. You can add some perlite or horticultural sand, but ensure the latter has no lime. You’ll need one part of the perlite or sand and two parts of sphagnum moss.
The Venus flytrap must have moist soil but double-check that the soil isn’t soaking. If it feels squishy and waterlogged, scale back on the watering.
Water your Venus flytrap at an angle so you’re not wetting the plant from the top down. Please only use pure water, which can include rainwater, distilled water, or filtered water but never tap water.
I’ve discussed how the Venus flytrap catches food before on the blog, but it’s fascinating, so I’ll recap the info here.
The Venus flytrap has sensitive hairs also known as trigger hairs across its trapping structure. That trapping structure is comprised of the terminal portions of two leaves.
If an insect brushes by one of the trigger hairs, the Venus flytrap waits for further trigger hair contact within another 20 seconds.
This is to prevent the plant from needlessly wasting energy.
If more instances of contact occur, the flytrap snaps down. However, the Venus flytrap doesn’t digest what it’s caught until has at least five prey, be those arachnids or insects.
Beginners can’t go wrong growing the carnivorous butterworts or Pinguicula.
This genus includes 80 species, nine of which grow in North America and another 13 that are from Europe.
Resembling succulents and sometimes flowering, butterworts are an appealing part of any indoor garden. Plus, they catch prey using their leaves.
Butterworths have leaves with peduncular glands. The glands release a sticky mucilaginous substance over the entirety of the leaf.
The substance looks wet so that if an insect is thirsty, it’ll be tempted to land on the butterwort. It thinks it’s drinking water, but it’s not.
When the insect makes a landing, the peduncular glands produce more mucus to trap the bug.
Then the sessile glands activate, which release nitrogen that activates enzymes such as ribonuclease, protease, phosphatase, esterase, and amylase. The enzymes digest the insect.
If you want to care for a butterwort, provide full sun and some periods of partial sun. Warm temps are good for this carnivorous plant too.
The potting soil should include sand or vermiculite and peat moss in equal measure. This particular mixture will create loose easy draining soil.
Any excess water can easily drain and not remain standing in the bottom of the pot or container. This is especially good for people who tend to overwater their indoor plants.
Water the butterwort when its soil begins getting dry, as the soil should never reach bone-dry status.
If you have a penchant for flowering carnivorous indoor plants, the bladderwort or Utricularia is definitely one of the best carnivorous plants for beginners to consider growing.
With more than 200 species, bladderworts grow natively in aquatic and terrestrial regions around the world save for Antarctica.
The flowers of bladderworts are likened to those produced by orchids or snapdragons.
Bladderworts also have tiny traps (that are bladder-shaped) and can feast on very small prey.
When I say very small, by the way, I mean it. Bladderworts don’t eat insects so much as they consume rotifers and protozoa.
That’s due to the size of their traps, which are 0.5 inches at the largest.
How much light should your Bladderwort receive?
Each day, give your bladderwort four or more hours of bright sunlight. The other four hours of light should be filtered or bright, indirect light.
What type of growth medium should a carnivorous Bladderwort be grown in?
Use a mix of peat and perlite, with one part of each, and forego the potting soil.
Always water the bladderwort with mineral-free water, try not to ever water your bladderwort using tap water either.
I know, the corkscrew plant doesn’t look like the other species of carnivorous plants I’ve discussed to this point. Yet the 30+ species of Genlisea are indeed carnivores.
It just took a long time to realize it, roughly 1998!
Growing in South and Central America as well as Africa, the corkscrew plant prefers semi-aquatic and wet terrestrial regions.
The plant’s leaves are modified for catching protozoans and other microfauna of roughly the same size.
The rootless corkscrew plant is technically an herb, but it can produce flowers with lengthy inflorescences.
How much water should I give the Corkscrew plant?
Water the carnivorous corkscrew so the soil is nice and moist, even wet. The corkscrew plant must receive rainwater or distilled water, so keep the chemicals in tap water out.
How much light does a carnivorous corkscrew plant need?
Bright, indirect light is the best for the corkscrew plant. This indoor plant must also stay in an environment where the temperatures are over 60 degrees but don’t exceed 90 degrees.
What type of growth medium should a corkscrew plant be planted in?
To make a soil mix that will allow the corkscrew plant to thrive, combine perlite or sand (one part) with peat moss (one part).
Another carnivorous plant that breaks the mold, so to speak, is the dewy pine or Drosophyllum.
As a relative of sundews and a more distant cousin to the rainbow plant (more on this to come!), the dewy pine grows lengthy leaves with pedunculated and sessile glands.
If you see flowers, they’ll sprout atop the dewy pine’s leaves and feature appealing yellow petals.
Your dewy pine is supposed to smell nice. That’s part of how the plant lures in insects. The bugs like the smell, so they’ll land on the carnivorous plant.
As soon as that happens, the mucilage produced by the glands on each leaf prevents the insect’s escape.
The dewy pine can keep releasing mucus to further trap the bug. It panics more and more, eager to escape, and can die from exhaustion. In some cases, the insect is suffocated by mucilage.
Either way, it’s dead.
The dewy pine then releases enzymes for dissolving the remains of the insect. The plant absorbs the insect’s nutrients and is considered fed.
How do you care for the carnivorous Dewy Pine plant?
It’s okay if the dewy pine’s soil is on the drier side, even if you don’t see that with carnivorous plants much.
You should use a specialized soil mix for this indoor plant that includes sand, vermiculite, peat moss, pumice, and perlite in equal measure. This will maintain ideal soil conditions for the dewy pine to thrive.
Never let temperatures drop below 25 degrees or this plant could sustain damage. Provide full sunlight for the dewy pine.
Maintain damp soil within the plant’s first eight months (if you receive yours while it’s young) and then allow the soil to start drying out a little more before watering.
Never allow the soil to become too saturated.
Some people call this next carnivorous plant that’s great for beginners the cobra plant, others refer to it as California pitcher plant, and others still call it the cobra lily.
Whatever name you most prefer, the Darlingtonia californica is a carnivorous pitcher plant from Oregon and, of course, Northern California.
Considered a rarer plant species, cobra plants resemble snakes with their forked, tubular dual pitchers.
What type of light do Cobra Plants need to thrive?
Periods of direct sunlight are great for the cobra plant, but not constantly. Provide at least a few hours of filtered sun so the plant doesn’t overheat. Even some shade is okay.
To make a good soil mix for the cobra plant, combine lava rock or pumice (one part) with long-fibered New Zealand sphagnum moss (three parts).
Damp bog-like soil is recommended for the carnivorous cobra plant.
The Byblis or rainbow plant has that name not for the reason you would think.
It’s not due to any colorful foliage or flowers.
Instead the, easy to care for, carnivorous rainbow plant is nicknamed after the way the mucus-coated leaves reflect colors in the bright sunshine.
Yeah, that’s kind of gross, but the rainbow plant is a cool carnivorous plant overall, and it’s great for beginner indoor gardeners.
Hailing from New Guinea and Australia, the rainbow plant features long, round leaves with glandular hairs that release mucus.
When an insect touches the mucus, they’re usually stuck. Larger or stronger insects might be able to get out, but this doesn’t happen often.
The insects that are trapped can suffocate or die from the fatigue of struggling.
The rainbow plant grows best in partial to full sunlight and warm temperatures.
Provide the right soil by combining peat moss (one part) with sand (two parts). Then maintain moist soil that’s never waterlogged.
The last carnivorous indoor plant I would suggest for beginners is the Aldrovanda vesiculosa or waterwheel plant.
The traps that the waterwheel plant uses are not all that dissimilar from those featured in a Venus flytrap.
Unlike the flytrap, waterwheels have an underwater stem that floats freely and has inspired the plant’s nickname.
The more sunlight for the waterwheel plant, the better. You can grow your waterwheel in water, but the water you use should be much softer than harder.