Since the age of 12, Drew Martinez has been passionate about carnivorous and tropical plants. After years working in the technology industry and at Google, he said he decided to make plants his permanent career in the mid-2000s.

Martinez opened nursery Carnivero in Southwest Austin, where he and a team of five employees sell the rare plant life.

“My mission was always to be able to grow these beautiful plants and to inspire this wonder in nature and our natural world, evolution, adaptation and what is possible for different organisms in the world,” he said.

Like all vegetation, Martinez said carnivorous plants require certain nutrients to grow and thrive. While most plants absorb those nutrients through their roots and the soil, he said carnivorous varieties use a mouth or pitcher to catch food above ground. Foods can include bugs, plant matter, animal droppings and even small mammals, which get trapped and are digested in liquid inside the mouth.••For beginner growers, Martinez said smaller pitcher plants and flytraps are available for less than $20 a piece and require minimal feeding.

The most rare species sold to breeders can be expensive. In 2020, Martinez completed a sale of $3,500, which received a mention in the •Guinness Book of World Records• as one of the most expensive carnivorous plant transactions.

Due to some high-profile plant thefts in recent years, Martinez said he does not publish the greenhouse’s address. However, he does offer curbside pickup on-site for those who order locally, and inventory and pricing can be found online, he said.

Martinez said he also plans to expand into a second greenhouse that will be open to the public for browsing. Despite a COVID-19 delay, he hopes to have customers on-site by the end of 2021.