Carnivorous Plant Tray




I use the tray watering system for my carnivorous plants, but had lots of trays and pots all over the place. It was tricky to get the amount of water in every tray right, and the rate of evaporation was different, so it required frequent monitoring. Also, larger trays gave better humidity around the plants than smaller trays.

I was at the lumber store and spotted some free wooden pallets, and hit on the idea of using a pallet to make a tray for my carnivorous plants. With some pond liner to seal it, I made a nice wide tray with a consistent depth, humidity, and easy maintenance, and it looks tidy too.

A wood pallet, free from lumber store
Pond liner from pet shop. See step 5 for size.
Extra boards (optional)
Extra nails (optional)

Step 1: Take the Boards and Nails From the Pallet

We'll only be using half of the pallet in this tutorial, so start by taking off all the boards you don't need. Try to keep the slats intact, because we'll use them later on to make the bottom of the tray. Keep the nails you pull out as well, unless you have some that you plan to use.

I pulled off all the slats except for two, which will be the start of the tray.

Step 2: Saw the Pallet in Half

Pretty self-explanatory - cut off half of the pallet. I picked the nicest half to keep, and cut off the more broken side. I kept the 2x4 in the middle so that the tray would have extra stability if I had to move it around.

Step 3: Put Boards on the Side and Bottom of Your Tray

Use the nails and boards that you have from step 1, and put 4 boards on the bottom of your tray.
If you don't have enough boards or nails you'll just have to go out and buy some. I used a couple of slats to make sides for the tray.

Step 4: Finishing the Bottom of the Box

Use a few lengths 1x1 board to tie the bottom of the box together. This also keeps the box a little off the ground to prevent rot. None of this needs to be pretty because it's all going to disappear in the next step.

Step 5: Line the Tray With Pond Liner

This holds the water.

The tray liner you get should be large enough to wrap around all the sides. Since the tray is six inches tall, an extra foot and a half all the way around is good. Don't forget the 2x4 in the center of the tray is going to use of a foot of length.

The liner came from a pet store and was about $1 per square foot.

Tuck it in, and make neat folds in the corners.
If you want the corners to be perfect, leaving the liner in the sun for a while or heating it with a hair dryer will make it easier to mold to the shape of the tray.

You can glue the liner if you want, but gravity, the water, and the plants will hold everything in place.

Step 6: Fill the Trays With Water and Put Your Plants Inside

Fill the trays with water and put your plants inside. Duckweed on the top of the water reflects heat and helps prevent evaporation, and looks nice too. I've tucked the extra pond liner under the tray to keep the wind from lifting it, and it looks tidy that way.



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    18 Discussions

    You will have better luck with plants from tropical locales, such as low-land Nepenthes. I think that plants such as Sarracenia Flava would have a chance as well as Cape Sundews. All of these would have to be kept very humid. My plants have survived 35 degrees without trouble, but I don't know about 45, that's hot! Drosophyllum or Byblis might be options since they are desert plants.


    9 years ago on Step 6

    Dude, I am so jealous of your nepenthes and other carnivorous plants, I wish Australia stocked as many as America seems to. I have only recently got into gardening for a year or two and have a new fad for collecting carnivourous plants. The first one I got was from Bunnings wearhouse and this plant is thriving. The next one I got is from a specialized nursery in Brisbane and it is a huge climbing carnivourous pitcher plant. Also I am getting a venus flytrap for my Birthday. If you could recommend me some local shops that would be great, if not, can you just tell me what type of plants you have got (any Sundews or rare sucker plants) Great idea with the miniature ponds by the way and great instructable


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Getting them happy is a complicated thing. I've been practising for a long time. It is easier if you live in a warm place, and you have to get to know the plant. Some prefer sun, some shade. For sure, all of them like water, I'm keeping the trays in the picture about an inch (2.5 cm) deep all the time. A good place to start if you're interested is with Peter D'Amato's book Savage Garden.


    what is your sorce for plants, I live in the great state of texas, and would love to get a few carnivours plants. HERE CITTY< HERE CITTY.

    In my state I have found them at Lowes and sometimes Wal-Mart, though I do live in a state that shares a border with one of the Carolinas.

    I got a lot from Other than that, I keep an eye out at hardware stores, sidewalk florists, and at Safeway(!) for mislabeled, or drying out plants that can be rescued. These days, they are propagating by themselves, which brings up the other source - trades with carnivorous plant enthusiasts!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I have had the same problem with them in the past, but I did some research on them and at the moment my fly traps (1 larger plant and about 3 smaller circles of them,4 if the leaf pulling takes root) and my purple pitcher plant are doing good. The Traps are all sprouting new stems as if the purple pitcher which is starting to turn purple from fully green from the store.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Oh noes! Nailing and sawing with bare feets!!!
    I'm horribly guilty of shoveling that way :( I've so far avoided any serious injury or maiming

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool. I asked if they had Venus Flytraps at Home Depot, the guy started laughing at me. "A plant that eats flies. riiiiiiiiiight...." Turns out they did have them, and he was too much of a jerk to check.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is great! It's like a Venus Flytrap condo. Nice job.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I always love Sundew Plants. They are really are fascinating. Great work any way. 5/5 stared.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I'm surprised no one has commented yet. I think this looks great! I had a tank full of carnivorous plants when I was a kid, and I've thought about getting back into them as a hobby. I changed climates though, moving from the temperate south to the desert in Arizona. I'm wondering if I could get away with a similar setup here. Worth a shot, thanks for sharing.