Course CodeVHT107
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Distance Education Plant Course

Identify and grow a range of carnivorous plants.

Explore the nature and scope of carnivorous plants, develop networking and resources, study the botany, expand your horticultural knowledge -or just indulge a passion.


1.  Introduction - Review of the system of plant identification, general characteristics of the group, information contacts (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs, etc.)

2.  Culture.  Planting, soils, watering, pest & disease, feeding, etc.

3.  Propagation and Container Growing.  Methods of propagating carnivorous plants. Propagation of selected varieties.

4.  Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes) and Sundews (Drosera)

5.  Other important Groups.

6.  The Lesser Grown Varieties

7.  Australian Droseras

8.  Making the Best Use of these Plants.  In containers, in the ground, as indoor plants, etc.

9.  Special Assignment.  On one selected plant or group.

Duration: 100 hours 


  • To identify different carnivorous plants.
  • To describe the cultural requirements for a range of different carnivorous plants
  • To propagate a range of different carnivorous plants
  • To discuss the identifying characteristics and cultural requirements of several species of both Sundews and Pitcher plants.
  • To discuss the identifying characteristics and cultural requirements of several species of both Bladderworts and at least one other genus of Carnivorous plant.
  • To describe the identifying characteristics and cultural requirements of several species of less commonly cultivated carnivorous plants.
  • To describe the identification and culture of Australian Droseras in depth.
  • To determine and describe appropriate ways of cultivating and displaying cultured carnivorous plants.
  • To describe one group of carnivorous plants in depth.

Carnivorous plants are unique.

They don’t appeal to everyone; but they often capture the imagination of people who are not necessarily interested in other types of plants.

Anyone who chooses to undertake this course is obviously interested in carnivorous plants; probably either as an amateur collector, a commercial grower or a naturalist.

Carnivorous plants are plants that derive some or all of their nutrients by capturing and digesting small animals, such as insects.

Other terms used for carnivorous plants are a “carnivory” or a “carnivore”.

The mechanisms used to capture and digest animals are generally subtle; but not always.

Characteristics that are unique to carnivorous plants include:

  • Attraction Mechanisms eg. Lures, odours, directional guides
  • Trapping Mechanisms eg. Sticky secretions that hold animals like fly paper, trap door like openings to digestive chambers.
  • Digestive Mechanisms  eg. Secreted enzymes and absorption of digested material. 

Tips for Growing Carnivorous Plants

Carnivorous plants come from a wide range of climates. As such their requirements will vary from variety to variety. Many do of course come from moist environments and grow in soils which have a high organic content, and in places which, if not warm, are at least protected from frost & wind.

People who cultivate carnivorous plants commonly grow them in high organic soils (perhaps topped with pure peat) in a terrarium (eg: a glass fish tank). Not all carnivorous plants are suited to this type of cultivation though. You need to study the plant's natural situation before deciding on how you might go about growing it.

Carnivorous plants may be grown inside a house, out of doors (in an appropriate climate), or in a greenhouse.

Conditions in each of these locations can vary; not only in terms of temperature, but also in terms of gas (eg. In an enclosed space with lots of people breathing out Carbon Dioxide, or gas heaters leaking gas fumes, the make up of gasses in the air can be very different to in the open air.

Plants that have done well in sunny windows, in houses, in temperate climates include: some species of Sarracenia, Pinguicula, Drosera, Urtcularia.
There are species within these genera that will respond well to lower night time temperatures.

Some species can become weak and spindly in growth if light levels drop (eg. Sarracenia. Others may in fact do better in lower light than in direct sunlight (eg. Drosera adelae).

General Hints:
-Do not use hard water (containing too much Calcium)
-If uncertain of soil requirements; always keep roots moist, but not soggy. Never allow them to become dry. One part sand to one part quality peat moss is a good media. Make sure media is at least 12cm deep.
-If uncertain, for most being grown in temperate areas, you are better to provide more rather than less light
-Temperature needs can vary a lot, according to the variety being grown. In general though, minimum night temperature in winter, for most, should be around 5 degrees celsius. Summer minimums should be around 7 degrees celsius for most. Higher minimums are better for most species.

It's Easy to Enrol

Select a Learning Method

I am studying from...

Enable Javascript to automatically update prices.

All prices in Australian Dollars.

Payment plans available.

Courses can be started at any time from anywhere in the world!