Tom's Carnivores

The growing season for Venus flytraps and Sarracenia might be over, but that needn't leave you stumped for gift ideas when buying for a carnivorous plant grower.

5 Gift Ideas for Carnivorous Plant Growers

Tom Bennet
By Tom Bennet
Published 11 February 2023, updated
I've been growing a wide variety of carnivorous plants for over 2 decades. I got my first Venus flytrap at age 10 and now have an entire greenhouse full of carnivores.

People with quirky hobbies can be difficult to buy presents for. Growing carnivorous plants is not only quirky, it’s one of those hobbies with a tendency to turn into an obsession.

That’s why I’ve pulled together this list. The growing season for temperate plants like Venus flytraps and Sarracenia hasn’t started yet, but that needn’t leave you stumped for gift ideas when shopping for a carnivorous plant grower. Carnivorous plants actually travel very well in the post, so you could always buy dormant plants as a gift. But if delivery or storage of gift plants would be troublesome, then fear not - below I’ve suggested a wide variety of alternatives to suit every budget. Happy shopping!

1. Carnivorous Plant Seeds

Growing carnivorous plants from seed can be a fantastic experience, even for growers who already keep a variety of carnivorous plants. It’s also great way to give someone a genetically unique plant that is special to them. And contrary to popular opinion, many carnivorous plants can be grown from seed quite easily.

Whatever you do, don’t buy seed poached from the wild. Most carnivorous plant nurseries offer sustainably-produced seed from temperate genera like Venus Flytraps (Dionaea) and Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia). If you’re shopping for a child or a new grower, I would highly recommend hunting down seeds for Drosera capensis - the cape sundew - which is fun and very easy to grow from seed.

Some nurseries offer seed kits which include everything you need to get started, such as a pot, suitable soil, and a humidity dome. These kits often contain seed harvested from open-pollinated plants, meaning you’ll get an exciting variety of colours and shapes in the plants which germinate. In the US, California Carnivores have a great seed selection, while in the UK I suggest checking out South West Carnivorous Plants.

Sarracenia seeds of various species against a 1mm ruler, courtesy of the ICPS.
Sarracenia seeds of various species against a 1mm ruler, courtesy of the ICPS.

For more experienced growers, I do occasionally list Nepenthes seed for sale on Instagram, with worldwide shipping available - this is produced in my greenhouse from my personal Nepenthes collection.

2. Carnivorous Plant Books

If you’re buying for a new grower, they might not yet have Peter D’Amato’s essential book The Savage Garden. If that’s the case, buy it for them immediately! They’ll thank you for years to come. It’s available on Amazon in both physical and eBook forms, or signed from California Carnivores if you live in the States.

For more experienced growers, however, I’d particularly recommend the books of Stewart McPherson; his field guides are fantastic references for anyone planning a trip to see carnivorous plants in the wild, while his hardbacks include incredible photography and are essential for anyone with a serious interest in the ecology of a particular genus. Pitcher Plants of the Old World (volumes one, two, and the follow-up New Nepenthes) explore Nepenthes and Cephalotus, while the two Sarraceniaceae books (divided into North America and South America) explore Darlingtonia, Heliamphora and Sarracenia.

One of my favourites: Pitcher Plants of the Old World: Volume 2,
One of my favourites: Pitcher Plants of the Old World: Volume 2, by Stewart McPherson.

You can buy Stewart’s books on Amazon using the links above, or order signed copies directly from the author via Redfern Natural History.

3. Prints and Artwork

The carnivorous plant community is full of talented artists, and many offer prints of their work for sale. These beautiful pieces of artwork can make great gifts for growers. I’d highly recommend checking out the following shops run by growers I know:

Nepenthes of Borneo, by François Mey, available as a print.
Nepenthes of Borneo, by François Mey, available as a print.

Alternatively, if a print isn’t really suitable, you can get carnivorous plant artwork printed onto other items. There is a variety of carnivorous plant themed mugs, pillows, notebooks, phone cases, and other gifts on Redbubble. For example, here’s the 1876 painting of Nepenthes northiana by Marianne North, the renowned Victorian botanical artist, printed on various items.

Nepenthes northiana on an iPhone X case, notebook, and travel mug,
Nepenthes northiana on an iPhone X case, notebook, and travel mug, on Redbubble.

4. A Gift Card

If you don’t know which plants the recipient likes to grow, or are unsure what kind of conditions they’ll be able to provide, you can let them choose for themselves! Most good plant nurseries offer digital gift cards which can be used to purchase any of the plants or accessories available in their shop.

This includes California Carnivores in the US and South West Carnivorous Plants in the UK.

5. Carnivorous Plant Society Membership

For new growers who are serious about conservation, a year’s membership for the UK Carnivorous Plant Society (the CPS) is a great gift. A registered charity, the society was founded in 1978 and today runs a wide range of open days, meetings and special events for CP enthusiasts. Membership costs £20 per year.

The UK Carnivorous Plant Society.
The UK Carnivorous Plant Society.

Members receive the society’s bi-annual, full-colour newsletter and journal (Planta Carnivora) and get access to the world’s leading carnivorous plant seed bank. The cost of membership includes an annual allowance of 4 seed packets at no additional charge. There are 14 different genera and over 500 species and hybrids available - this includes beginner-friendly plants like Sarracenia and common Sundews, as well as rarer plants like Roridula and Byblis. To join, visit the CPS website.

Thanks for reading! If you have any other gift suggestions, please leave a comment below.

Tom Bennet
By Tom Bennet
Site Owner

I've been growing carnivorous plants for over 2 decades, having been fascinated by these plants since I got my first Venus flytrap at age 10. I now have a large greenhouse to house my collection and am an avid breeder of Nepenthes pitcher plants.

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