How to Make Carnivorous Bog Container Garden

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Carnivorous plants live off of insects that they lure and trap in various ways, usually with sticky substances or noxious gases. They may sound like something out of a horror movie, but they’re quite common. Native American carnivorous plants can be found naturally in zones 6 to 10 and can be grown in zone 5 with winter protection.
A carnivorous garden is an excellent way to get the kids excited about gardening. Plus, it’ll provide the bonus of getting rid of unwelcome pests.

However, carnivorous plants require a bog environment, which most gardens don’t possess. Don’t despair, though – we’ve put together these quick and simple instructions for how to make carnivorous bog container garden that’ll keep your insect munchers happy.

Attributes of a Bog Garden, and How to Create One

Bogs are marshy areas that occur naturally in low-lying areas near water sources like lakes, streams, and ponds. The plants that inhabit them thrive in moist, waterlogged soil where there is some movement of water.
If your garden doesn’t have a suitably moist patch, you can recreate a bog in a container. Just follow these steps.

Step #1 – Prepare the Container

Select a container measuring at least 12 inches in diameter and 10 inches deep. A child’s wading pool is perfect, but any non-porous container without a drainage hole will do.

Line the base of your container with a layer of horticultural charcoal. This will absorb impurities and prevent your bog garden from becoming stinky.

Next, fill the container with a carnivorous soil mix. You can buy soils pre-mixed or make your own. We like a mix of three parts peat moss to one part perlite and one part building sand.

Don’t ever use a mix with fertilizer in it. You’ll hurt your plants, which actually developed their carnivorous habits because their soil is nutrient-poor.

Add rainwater and leave your bog garden in a sunny spot to allow the peat to absorb the water and to balance the bog’s pH level.

Step #2 – Planting Your Bog Plants

Carefully remove your carnivorous plants from their packaging and plant them so that their bases are above the container’s lip. This will stop them from rotting when the container is full of water.

Popular carnivorous plants for bog gardens include:

  • Venus Flytraps – These only grow naturally in South and North Carolina, but they are one of the easier plants to rear. They grow to be about 6 inches long, and a mature plant will have 4 – 7 leaves, or traps. The traps are edged with sticky mucus that catches curious insects. Sensory hairs can distinguish between living and non-living stimuli, and the leaf traps will shut closed on prey.
  • Sundews – These use their tentacles to trap and digest insects. They lure their prey with sweet scents that are released by their glands. Unlike most carnivorous plants, sundews can capture larger-winged prey like dragonflies and small butterflies.
  • Pitcher plants – These are beautifully colored, have sweet-tasting nectar, and release an attractive scent. Attracted by this bounty, insects enter the plant’s tubular foliage and become trapped by a lining of hairs. Enzymes and digestive juices in the bottom of the pitcher dissolve the insects’ bodies to extract nutrients.
  • Cobra Lilies – These have pitcher-like leaves that are shaped to look like a cobra rising to strike its prey. Purple-red appendages even resemble a set of fangs.

Don’t restrict your bog container to carnivorous plants, though. Natural bogs have mixed vegetation, so add other water-loving plants like grasses, ferns, etc., to create a natural-looking environment. When you’re finished planting, place a combination of attractive small stones and moss over the soil. This will help retain moisture and prevent the soil from being washed away.

Step #3 – Caring For Your Bog Garden

Water your bog garden regularly enough to keep the soil moist. Add water to the top of the container and allow the water to slowly migrate downward.

Never use bottled or tap water on your bog garden, as these contain additives like chlorine and nutrients, which can kill your bog. Ideally, use rainwater or distilled water.

You shouldn’t need to feed carnivorous plants – all they require is their bog, water, and sunlight. They will go naturally dormant in the winter and stop growing and feeding.

Carnivorous plants can survive temperatures down to 20°F at night as long as temperatures are above freezing during the day. If you live where the temperature remains below freezing for multiple days, take the container indoors during that time.

Final Thoughts

A bog container garden can provide hours of entertainment for adults and kids alike. There is such an array of carnivorous plant species that you’ll never run out of new and exciting ones to plant and play with.

Remember the few basic rules of care that we mentioned above, such as good water and sunlight, and your bog garden will last as long as your interest lasts. So what are you waiting for? Pick your plant of choice and get started!

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