Why You Need Carnivorous Plants In Your Home and Garden

They are gorgeous, exotic and like a super-model, alluring! They have the power to draw in bugs, from spiders and flies to mosquito larvae, by emitting a yummy fragrance that traps them in a nanno-second, sealing their fate. Morbid as it sounds, these Jurassic Park looking plants are a natural way to fight bugs inside and ouside of your home. It’s also a fun science project for the entire family, as you look at what has evolved over thousands of years and learn their secrets to survival. Here are some of the top Carnivorous plants to try and experiment with.

The Venus FlyTrap

This is the first one you think of when you say Carnivorous Plants – they are in hardware and big box stores in small containers and kits.  It takes just 20 seconds for this plant to stop a fly in its tracks. Once it’s caught in the hinged leaves that emit a fruit-like fragrances, the trap will snap shut in a fraction of a second!

Bladderworts

These look a lot like orchids or snapdragons, with a beautiful flower on a tall stems usually in moist soil like pond areas. You can also grow them in aquariums to watch them in action inside! Their vacuum like bladders are the most sophisticated trapping mechanism in the planet’s animal kingdom!  The bladder walls in the plant fill with water, becoming an instant trap door for bugs.

Pitcher Plants

These striking plants literally become pitchers with pools of this sweet scented nectar that captures an insect to the point of no return. The “pitcher” like leaves are filled with liquid as well as hairs that stop the insect from escaping.  You can grow them in peat moss and sand, no soil.  And fyi, tap water will kill all Carnivorous Plants. Here’s the high maintenance part, kind of.  They all prefer distilled, purified, or rain water.  Typical super-model right?

Sundew

Like it sounds, this is another attractive plant with tiny dew-like tentacles. The plant secretes more of this ‘dew’ to trap an insect much like fly-paper. The Sundew is a popular plant to grow because of it’s gorgeous glistening beauty

Growing Tips for All Carnivorous Plants in General:

Keep them wet all of the time –  Keep them in a pot with a saucer or tray to catch extra water. Pitcher plants love soggy soil but most prefer damp to wet.

Water with Mineral-free water –   Distilled water is best. Avoid tap even bottled drinking water – too many minerals which can kill the plants.

Plant them in mineral-free soil – Use a soil mix with sphagnum peat moss and horticultural sand that is clean and washed. Playbox sand also works.

Lots of light – Many do well in partial sun but otherwise they grow best in sunny conditions.  If inside, a  bright sunny spot, a north windowsill.

Dormancy beware – This is normal for many of the Carnivorous plants to take a nap to survive the harsh winter.  Others just drop their leaves. If you don’t let them rest, the plants can die.  Reduce the amount of light and keep them cool for 3-6 months by placing them in a basement, a frost-free porch, even a refrigerator.

Listen to Cindy and Eric talking about Carnivorous Plants on Home Wizards:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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