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Carnivorous plants are still considered exotic because of their appearance. They come in many varieties and types. Native to many continents, carnivorous plants have different winter care and winter quarters requirements. Therefore, you should pay more attention to the winter requirements of the carnivorous plant before buying.


Biological assignment

Carnivorous plants are also referred to as carnivores or carnivores or insectivores. Over 1,000 carnivorous and precarnivorous plant species are known worldwide. They can be found in different genus groups and families, there is no separate genus of carnivorous plants in the botanical sense. Therefore, not all are directly related to each other.

Most species belong to the genera:

  • Shoot plants (Stylidium, over 300 species)
  • Water hoses (Utricularia, over 200 species)
  • Sundew (Drosera, almost 200 species)

In addition, carnivorous plants can also be found as genera in botanical orders.

  • Carnational (Caryophyllales): 6 genera including Venus Flytraps, Pitcher Plants, Sundews
  • mint family (Lamiales): 4 genera, including water hoses
  • heathery (Ericales): 4 genera: including pitcher plants

There are also five monotypic genera, i.e. the genus consists of only one plant type.

Venus Flytrap, Dionaea muscipula


With this variety of botanical affiliation, it is not surprising that carnivorous plants cannot be overwintered per se. The decisive factors are their natural origin and their botanical affiliation.

venus flytrap

The Venus flytrap genus, botanically Dionaea muscipula, is one of the best-known carnivorous plants and belongs to the order Caryophyllales. The plant is only native to some parts of the USA (North and South Carolina and Florida) and is mainly characterized by its distinctive catching leaves. Venus flytraps are only conditionally hardy and go into hibernation in the fall.

The plant makes its need for rest clear through:

  • the formation of very small leaves
  • not opening the leaves
  • the non-discoloration of the leaves (no more red color inside)
Pitcher Plants, Nepenthes

The Venus flytrap makes the following demands on winter quarters and winter care:

  • very bright
  • constant temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius
  • no cold drafts
  • no temperature fluctuations
  • not fertilize
  • water little (every two to three weeks)
  • no waterlogging in the coaster

Cellars with large windows, attics or an unheated stairwell are suitable as winter quarters for the Venus flytrap.

Tip: When watering, it is enough if the root ball is temporarily moist.

In the refrigerator

Overwinter in the fridge

Venus flytraps can also hibernate in a conventional refrigerator and this is how it works.

  • dig up plant
  • Remove leaves or traps
  • get rid of the substrate
  • Rinse the root ball with lukewarm water
  • Wrap the root ball in damp kitchen paper (several layers)
  • place in a damp plastic bag
  • close with a cord
Venus Flytrap, Dionaea muscipula

The hibernation in the refrigerator ends in mid-April. During the refrigeration period, the plant must be checked for rot. Diseased plant parts must also be removed.

Tip: When storing in the refrigerator over the winter, particular attention must be paid to hygiene. Sausage and cheese come in boxes, and fruit and vegetables must be checked regularly for rotten spots.

pitcher plants

Pitcher plants, botanically Sarracenia, are also called trumpet plants. The genus includes eight species, all of which are found only in the eastern and southeastern United States. The red pitcher plant in particular is a popular ornamental plant for us, not least because it is considered robust and hardy. In addition to the red pitcher plant, there are also partially or not at all hardy species, for example white or brown-red pitcher plant.

Tip: Pitcher plants go into hibernation in the fall. Exceptions are young plants up to the age of three years. They don't need hibernation.

Pitcher plants that are not hardy are cultivated in pots in this country and are very sensitive to frost, as the root ball in the pot freezes through very quickly.

Pitcher plants, Sarracenia

The ideal winter quarters for the carnivorous plants:

  • is light
  • and has a temperature between 2 and 10 degrees Celsius

The greatest threat to plants during the winter is rot and mold.

The following therefore applies to winter care:

  • pour little
  • do not fertilize

Tip: At the beginning of the hibernation, some pitcher plants form so-called phyllodes. These are non-carnivorous leaves that resemble compressed tubes.

pitcher plants

The genus pitcher plants (Nepenthes) belong to the order Caryophyllales (carnation-like). There are now around 100 species of tropical carnivorous plants. The main distribution areas are Malaysia, the Philippines and New Guinea. In their home countries, pure species are mainly used in folk medicine. We mainly use the hybrids "Ventrata", "Mixta" and "Coccina" as indoor and ornamental plants, as they get by with constant (room) temperatures all year round. In the pure pitcher plants, a distinction is made between lowland and highland pitcher plants.

Pitcher Plants, Nepenthes

Depending on the species, they have different temperature requirements:

  • lowland pitcher plants: 20 to 30 degrees Celsius (24 hours, all year round)
  • Highland pitcher plants: Night temperatures between 10 and 16 degrees Celsius (all year round)

While the right temperature is already a problem for pure species, lack of light is one of the biggest problems when overwintering pitcher plants. Since they need a lot of light, plant lamps should be hung up for support in winter, even with hybrids. Pitcher plants take a break from flowering and growth in winter.

For care in winter this means:

  • water less than in summer
  • do not fertilize

Tip: Even with the best winter care, individual leaves can dry up because the plant does not get enough light.

water hoses

Water hoses (Utricularia) are a genus of the order Lamiales (mint family). Their name alludes to the shape of their traps, which are reminiscent of water or wineskins. They are most common in South America and Australia. In nature, they live in or near water during the growing season.

Utricularia graminifolia

Bladderwort is a popular aquarium plant with us. If it is cultivated in the aquarium, it does not need any special form of overwintering. Since the grassy bladderwort can also be cultivated as a marsh water plant in the garden pond, the hobby gardener must think about a suitable overwintering since the plant is not hardy. The simplest form of overwintering is in an aquarium.

Grassy Bladderwort, Utricularia graminifolia

Utricularia vulgaris

Common hosepipe is a plant floating freely in a garden pond. This type of waterskin is hardy. The plant curls up into a ball in the fall and overwinters at the bottom of the pond. In the spring, the water hose unrolls itself again or sprouts from the balls again.

Common bladderwort, Utricularia vulgaris

Tip: In the case of terrestrial water hoses, you should definitely pay attention to the origin of the species or the plant, which determines the winter hardiness.


With almost 200 species, the genus sundew (Drosera) of the order Caryophyllales (carnation-like) is one of the most numerous species of carnivorous plants. Drosera is distributed worldwide, its main areas of distribution are South Africa, America and Australia.

Within the genus there are hardy and non-hardy species. The hardy plants include the so-called temperate species, which are also native to Europe. They are cultivated outdoors in bog beds. During hibernation, the plant retreats into a hibernation bud. In the spring it drives out again.

Sundew, Drosera

Tip: Make sure that the water in the bog bed does not freeze completely. Otherwise the plant cannot absorb any water and will dry up.

We keep subtropical species as houseplants. In order for them to thrive, they need a lot of sun and humidity between 50 and 70 percent. If Drosera has spent the summer outdoors, it will overwinter at normal room temperatures. Like their outdoor counterparts, these plants need plenty of water in winter.

Tip: Tropical sundew species hibernate at a temperature between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius. Dwarf sundew species need a temperature between 12 and 15 degrees Celsius in winter.

shot plants

Shoot plants, botanically Stylidium, are a genus of the order Asterales (Asteraceae). With over 300 species, they form the largest genus of carnivores. Their main distribution area is Australia. Weed plants do not hibernate, but they still need less care in winter.

Weft plants, Stylidium
  • bring inside from temperatures of ten degrees Celsius
  • choose a bright location
  • water less than in summer

Tip: After the winter, slowly acclimate the plant to the sun. This will prevent the sun's rays from burning the plant.

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