Nepenthes Pitcher Plant Potting Mix From Scratch




About: Digital ninja.

This is a visual guide to creating a potting mix for a Nepenthes pitcher plant.

See step 6 for pictures 6 months later and 20 days after repotting.

Original photos.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Ingredients

You will need the following ingredients:

5 gallon bucket
Peat Moss
New container for plant
Butter knife

A note before beginning: In retrospect, I wish I had watered my pitcher plant 1 day before re-potting. It turned out that it was bone dry from the plant store and the butter knife was necessary to loosen it from the original container.

For later feeding: Meal Worms and Crickets.

Step 2: Mix Peat Moss and Perlite

Fill the new container roughly 60-70% full of peat moss. Top off the peat moss in the new container with perlite. Remember that perlite is volcanic glass; you don't want to breathe perlite dust!

Step 3: Add Water and Sand

I added about a liter of water to my bucket. It's okay to mix this with your hands since it doesn't contain anything really harmful like cow manure.

Once it's saturated, add about 2 cups of sand and mix again by hand.

Step 4: Transplant and Trim

Fill the new container with the new mix leaving enough room for the plant and root system.

It really helps to have another person around to repot the hanging varieties. Be careful to keep the potting mix out of the pitchers. It shouldn't be lethal, but I'm sure the plant doesn't appreciate it much.

Water it like crazy and let it drain completely.

You can trim off unhealthy pitchers, but leave the leaves when possible.

Step 5: Maintenance and Feeding

I water my pitcher plant about once a week. Letting tap water sit for 24 hours helps the chlorine evaporate. I've read that pitcher plants like indirect sunlight; I keep mine in a southeast facing window and give it as much light as possible.

It is okay to add some water to the pitchers at first, but they should produce fluid on their own after the plant reestablishes itself.

Feeding should only be necessary if your plant is indoors. You can feed the pitcher plant live insects or purchase dried insects from the reptile food section in pet stores. Add one insect per pitcher leaving one or two weeks for digestion.

Step 6: Update: Happy Plant Pictures 6 Months Later

Here is the same plant about 6 months later on the once-per-week watering schedule. Some pictures are from 20 days after the original repotting which is when I had just began feeding.

Check out all the new baby pitchers in the photos below! I trim unhealthy pitchers at a rate of about one per week with a plant this size.

The plant continues to be happy without any humidity adjustment.

High resolution photos here.



    • Indoor Lighting Contest

      Indoor Lighting Contest
    • Stone Concrete and Cement Contest

      Stone Concrete and Cement Contest
    • DIY Summer Camp Contest

      DIY Summer Camp Contest

    13 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Gosh your ventricosa is gorgeous! And thanks for the instructable, very helpful ^^


    4 years ago on Introduction

    What kind of sand it that?....And where can I get some! I have been searching forever to get "pure" sand to make up my media for carnivorous plants and am not getting anywhere. Because when it comes to Carn. plants; only the most inert of media can be used.

    Horticultural Sand seems to only be sold in the UK!?

    Someone, please help!.....Thanks, in advance

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    Where did you buy your plant?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Carnivorous plants shouldn't be watered with tap water even if you let it set out for 24 hours. The minerals and other chemicals in some tap water can kill the plant. It is best to use distilled or rain water. There are exceptions but its safer to use distilled/rain water.


    5 years ago

    they can catch food alone you don't need feeding :S

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    @Eggmoon: You're right; they do alright indoors and can also survive without external food in the worst case. This plant is still thriving and has been repotted/propagated a couple times since I made this with only a few intentional feedings along the way. The juicy crickets in a can still dissolve the best though if you're trying to boost growth, but I don't think they keep very long after opening.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I have just the ideal place to hang some of these plants. I have one I purchased 18 months back, and it needs potting on. This instructable has helped me a lot, especially the pictures of of them hanging.

    Ibr4h4m, thanks for your tip, I already have asbestos damage, and I will now keep away from perlite and such.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, your nepenthes looks great. Just a note. Perlite is not volanic glass, it is expanded mica. They heat up mica until it pops like popcorn. So, no real danger with perlite.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Vermiculite is expanded mica. Perlite is expanded volcanic glass (mainly obsidian). The dust from either is bad to inhale but perlite dust can cause silicosis


    8 years ago on Introduction

    hii, at my country indonesia we just use rice husk burned, it's more cheaps than peat moss and perlite at hire :D


    I really need to get one of these plants. I currently have a Sarracenia pitcher plant, which is really nice but not nearly as alien looking as a Nepenthes. Great instructable by the way.

    1 reply

    Carnivorous plants are pretty incredible. I'm happy that this one in particular seems acclimated to average humidity levels in my house -- I'll have to expand to a terrarium for some of the more fun ones. Do you keep the Sarracenia in a controlled environment?