Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bug Biting Plants Terrarium Kit from Lowe's

I recently had a few conversations about these boxed carnivores on Instagram and a few places elsewhere online. It must be that time of year that the rest of the country is getting these in stores for spring. So, I was inspired to share my experience with them here as well. 

These are the dormant rhizomes in the "Bug Biting Plants" terrarium set sold (by Botanical Wonders  or Hanover Botanicals?) at most Lowe's stores. Last year I had picked one up to look and see if there was anything even alive in all the peat. We get them year round here, but the ones in this particular box looked good, fresh shipment good, like they were still trying so hard to survive.

Here's what these looked like when I picked them up last February, 2014, straight from the box. Small, but surprisingly healthy rhizomes for coming out of a sealed plastic bag.

I think I've passed by these boxed kits a million times over the years. Usually all you see is the brown of the packs of sphagnum  through the plastic boxes, but I could see the flower bud on the Sarracenia through the plastic and I was intrigued. I didn't already have the Sarracenia that comes in this kit. That's a good excuse to finally buy one, right? The package label leads one to believe it'll be a Sarracenia purpurea, but according to the internet and people that have grown these out, it's a Sarracenia rubra or rubra hybrid. The kit also comes with a little pack of long fibered sphagnum moss, and a little pot to grow your new rhizomes in.

"Terrarium Set" is a poor idea for growing these, as both the VFT and Sarracenia, (whatever species/hybrid the Sarracenia may be) are both temperate plants and need a dormancy. Not good candidates for a terrarium. You could grow them in a terrarium for a year or two, probably, without issue. That's assuming they are young enough and strong enough to forgo a year of dormancy, but eventually they will need to be given a cold dormancy period to rest. It's best to just put them outside in the first place and let them enjoy the sun, rain, and bugs.

I had decided to plant these traveling buddies up together. Last February I was short on space, and they were already friends, so why not. I mixed the sphagnum peat moss that came with the kit together with my own and mixed that with perlite, at about 1:1 ratio because I planted them in a larger pot than the one in the kit, (and therefore needed more than given.) Plus it's a good idea to use something mixed in to break up the peat, as it tends to compact over time by itself and that's a situation that encourages rot and smothered roots over time for species like S. rubra.

A couple weeks later and we had some solid growth. An encouraging start.

Different pot, but I promise the same plants. I ended up repotting them into an even taller pot.

Now, this February they look like something, despite still being dormant. The Sarracenia is a lovely shade of dark red, but certainly not the S. purpurea that's pictured on the side of the box. Definitely a Sarracenia rubra or rubra hybrid. Either way, I think we're ready for spring, and I need to repot again. Having all those pitchers still in decent condition should give it a great start as S. rubra is one of the few species that will bloom before it puts out any new spring leaves. It had already started two growth points by late last summer, so I can't wait to see how it grows this year after a good dormancy.

Bug Biting Plants terrarium set, almost exactly 1 year out of the box.

Have any of you all picked up this kit on a whim and grown the plants out? I would love to see what yours has grown to look like, so send me an email. Questions? Comments? Leave them below!

Edit/Update, Spring 2015:

It bloomed in March. The bloom is pretty red, so this very well may be S. rubra. Thoughts?

Here's how the plant looks in spring. Not as colorful yet, but this one definitely gets redder pitchers as the season progresses.


  1. i just got one of these from lowes aswell i know the direction say easy but for some reason im not getting it ive got the bigger clear bag of soil then a smaller bag of looks like soil aswell then the bag of moss looks like dried grass so im confused on whats what and how i go about this being i dont see a root to put tip up.......PLEASE HELP

    1. No problem! One "soil" bag, (the soil is peat moss) will be just "soil." Another "soil" bag should contain rhizomes that look similar to the ones pictured here. The dried moss you can use or not, I think they put it in as a top dressing or as a bottom dressing to keep the soil from draining out the bottom of the pot when you water. I'd use it in the bottom personally, bit more useful there. I suggest using some perlite to mix into the soil to make it a little more airy, but you can use something else as long as it's inert pH wise.

      As far as the rhizomes that are supposed to be inside the one soil bag, I can tell you which way should be planted up/down with a photo. No roots is ok, if you also have no leaves yet to tell you which way should be up, email me a picture of what was inside the one soil bag, and I'll send the photo back to you with some markings on it/them to guide you. Email is on the contact info page!

  2. I bought one of these as well. But the plants are completely dead and I'm not sure what to do about it.

    1. Return it! If it's been sitting around on the shelves for a while and has died, get a refund and buy another one. There's just a piece of tape holding the top on, open it at the store and make sure there's some green in there before you buy it or wait for a new shipment.