Cosy Carnivores

Published on November 25th 2018
For many, growing carnivorous plants starts as a novelty and becomes an obsession. As winter approaches protecting them from the cold weather becomes a priority and the following general rules are for the temperate pitchers, sundews, butterworts and Venus flytrap. (Nepenthes and Cephalotus species require different care).

First, keep an eye on the weather.

If you’re growing hardy pitchers or native carnivores, they’re quite hardy, and you may only need fleece and mulch to get you through the colder months (useful if you have them growing in a bog garden). For the others, you might get away with a light frost but repeated or prolonged freezing spells doom.
Unless you’re in a very mild area it’s a safer bet to move them under cover once the first cold snap arrives.

Ideal Home

The ideal winter home for carnivores is a cool glass house, where temperatures don’t go much below 5⁰C (41⁰F) or above 12⁰C (55⁰F). Some, such as sundews and Venus flytraps, may die back and spend the winter as a small rosette or ‘bulb’ – this is normal, don’t throw them away!
They need to be kept cool; too much heat is just as dangerous as frost. Bringing any carnivore into a centrally-heated room will almost certainly spell death.


Continue to use soft (rain) water and keep the soil damp, but don’t leave them sitting in it. Remember to keep them well-lit, even in dormancy carnivores need plenty of light (unless they have completely died back).
Carnivores are not the easiest plants to care for but are very rewarding and worth the extra effort required.
Good luck and keep an eye out for new growth come spring.

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