Instructions: Growing carnivorous plants from seed (Non temperate)

  • Prepare a growing substrate that is nutrient poor, without any additives and fertilisers
  • As long as there is no fertiliser or nutrient rich materials in the mix, and it is well drained, light and airy, it is perfect
  • The most widely used ingredients to create a germination substrate, suitable for most carnivorous plant seeds, are:
    • pure, sphagnum peat moss, 
    • chopped long fiber sphagnum moss (not live sphagnum moss as it may overgrow the seedlings depriving them from light),
    • horticultural perlite (without additives), and
    • washed silica sand or any other course sand that does not contain lime, salt or chemicals
  • Mix the ingredients in equal parts and moisten it thoroughly
  • Long fiber sphagnum moss (we use shredded LFS in our seed starter packs) can be soaked in clean water overnight, to expand to its full capacity
  • Add more water to the substrate mix and place it in a microwave safe container.  Microwave on full power for a couple of minutes to kill any spores in the growing media and let it cool down completely
  • Choose a plastic container and punch some holes into the top and bottom for drainage and ventilation, or sterilise and use a plant pot with drainage holes
  • Avoid using terracotta pots as it dries out quickly and may leach minerals over time 
  • Add the substrate to the container and level it to just below the rim
  • Next, open the seed envelope carefully - some seeds are tiny!  Sprinkle or spread the seeds onto the surface of the moist substrate without burying them, they will need light to germinate
  • Use a spray bottle (distilled or reverse osmosis water preferred) and mist the surface lightly to ensure the seeds make good contact with the moist media
  • Place the container in a shallow tray with a little water.  Maintain a fluctuating water level up to 1 cm by letting the tray dry slightly in-between waterings
  • Cover the container with glass or a plastic ziplock bag with holes for ventilation to create a humid growing environment
  • Place the growing chamber in a warm place with as much STRONG, indirect light as possible
  • For good germination, most seeds need temperatures above 15 - 20°C and can be started indoors or outdoors (out of direct sun)
  • A heating pad can be used to keep seeds warm during winter and a day-night temperature difference of 10°C may also improve germinate rate
  • If grown on a sunny windowsill indoors, consider using a desk lamp (a daylight compact fluorescent bulb works great) to supplement light - a light cycle of 12 to 14 hours is recommended
  • When germinating seeds outdoors, a couple hours of early morning sun will suffice but take caution, as direct sun will cause heat to build up under the glass or inside the ziplock bag and can cook the seeds.  Also protect the growing chamber from rain as it may wash away all your progress 
  • Remember to label your seeds and record the sowing date
  • Remove the glass or open the ziplock bag every couple of days for a few minutes to provide ventilation and water the soil surface if necessary, ensuring the growing media never dries out (never soggy though - you do not want floating seeds)
  • Growing carnivorous plants from seed can be very rewarding but may (and will probably) in most cases, test your patience to the extreme.  BE PATIENT and observe for growth through the glass or ziplock bag
  • Most seeds germinate within 4 to 8 weeks and some are seasonal which means they may only germinate weeks, to even months later 
  • The main germination factors are fresh seeds, warmth, humidity, VERY bright light and lots of patience
  • Try not to disturb the seedlings. Change water when discolouration occurs, and improve airflow if you notice algae developing on the soil surface 
  • Once your seeds have germinated, acclimatise the seedlings to the outside world by opening the glass for longer periods each day (or snipping off corners from the ziplock bag) removing it completely over a period of a week
  • Once the seedlings are around 3 to 4 cm you can leave them be for bushy growth or gently separate them and repot each on their own into fresh carnivorous plant soil 
  • Be gentle and take the necessary time when repotting, keeping in mind that seedlings may have very fragile roots - see why we shredded the long fiber sphagnum moss? :))
  • As with any plant seed, we can - due to a range of factors - of course never absolutely guarantee germination, however, we can provide you with this clear, concise sowing guideline, assert that the seeds we sell are carefully labeled, guarantee that they are authentic as carnivorous from trusted suppliers, as well as one of the most important factors with regards to success - fresh seed!
Wishing you the best of luck
Happy Growing!!
Live sphagnum moss cultures for sale @ Cultivo Carnivores South Africa
Reference Guides | Sowing carnivorous plant seed | Grow your own starter pack from Cultivo Carnivores South Africa