A new secret garden!

Sitting by the window this afternoon i feel like I'm in a terrarium, all of this rain. It's warmish, a little steamy and you can actually see the new leaves growing on the trees. On Saturday I made a new carnivorous terrarium and took some photos to show the process.
And here is my new killer all done.
These are my specimens, the venus fly trap, pitcher plants and sundews. The fly trap is standard fare, but I hadn't seen these other guys for sale before. I bought them in the garden store of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, not a budget move, but what can you do. I mostly buy my plants at the Union Square Greenmarket or Sprout Home in Williamsburg.

I've been dying to plant up a carnivorous terrarium for years but just couldn't get myself together to do it until this weekend. On Saturday I went to the New York Botanical Garden ( I know I know, I spend a nerdy amount of time at these places) to see the new Darwin exhibit. He was a master botanist which I wasn't aware of and he, too, was fascinated by carnivorous plants because of their obvious adaptation to their surroundings. (side note, sorry......) Anyway, I got home and immediately planted this guy up.
These are my chosen vessels, the bell jar I purchased from Outside NY, which i think has since closed, for $30 something (a steal compared to others and it wasn't even on sale!) and the dish is from the local hardware store. You can buy all different sizes of bell jars at English Creek Gardens for less than I've seen them locally, too.

There are hundreds of ways to plant terrariums, the bell jar type is neat because it allows you to easily access your plants which isn't possible if you plant in say, an old jug with a small neck.
First I laid down a layer of gravel for drainage so if it gets too moist inside your terrarium, your plant's roots won't be sitting in water which would cause them to rot.
Next I gently removed the little buggers from their pots and loosen them from the soil so you can see individual roots. I just used the soil from their plastic pots to mound up in the dish. If you needed a little extra, regular potting soil would do the trick.
Once you decide where everyone is going to go, you just dig a hole and put them in it, taking care not to break the roots. Then you just put a bit more soil around them and gently pat down.
I like to cover my dish with sheet moss, which is a dried decorative moss you can find at most all garden stores. I think it makes the whole terrarium look more natural and wild to me. To cover the top you just break the sheet moss up a bit and tuck it around the plants. For the sides, I cut a long strip of moss and just wrapped it around. To get the moss to stay in place, I tightly tied a piece of matching sewing thread around the dish like a present.

I ended up with an amazing mossy cake shaped terrarium. Before you put your bell jar in place you need to mist mist mist. When the bell jar is in place, you should monitor it's water level every few days. If there are large water droplets on the inside of the the jar, you'll need to take off the cover for an hour or two. A moist environment is how these plants like it, but if its sopping wet, they mold.

TaDa! One more for the dresser.


  1. i want to live in one of your terrariums, please.

  2. ...maybe not in a carnivorous one. (please)

  3. p.p.s. i like the idea of keeping a carnivorous terrarium by your bed to eat bad dreams.

    yes i'm cheezy.

    okay i think i'm done commenting about this post now.

  4. Love the terraiums and thanks so much for the step by step! You did a great job w/your kitchen floor. Now, buy yourself one of those great microfiber floor mops (Target has a good one) and get up off of your hands and knees, girl! Spritz w/a little water and you are good to go.:-)

  5. Very cool. Thanks for the photo-DYI. But what about feeding? Will they eat vegans? I'm going to see Darwin's garden in a couple of weeks and really looking forward to it.

  6. Amazing and neat carnivore terrarium... the directions and photos are great... the final project makes a nice contained statement. I too saw the Darwin exhibit at NYBG and read about his fascination with "meat-eater" plants.. it just makes sense.. its the law of the jungle out there.. "Eat or be eaten"... but in this case.. as it turns out.. the jungle is the one doing the eating! Neat project! Keep us posted on feeding schedules...

  7. hello!

    was wondering how the fly traps are holding up these days? i've been wanting to take care of some myself and i live just next to the brooklyn botanical where i know i could get them....


  8. I realize this post was from 2008 - gosh, a year ago, really. Not sure if you'll get this - but these are fantastic! BEAUTIFUL! And such a great idea for apartment style living. I think ... maybe, just maybe - I might try one of these, or a few of these. I love the idea of the grouping like you have. I'm off to see if you're still authoring the blog ...

  9. What an amazing hobby! I will be moving to England soon and I will have a garden apartment. I would love to have these scattered through it to kind of parallel with the garden.

    I am definitely going to try to make some of these. Thank you for the tutorial! :)

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