How To Care for Carnivorous Plants

They encompass a large and interesting family of plants which includes over 720 species. They are well worth the effort it takes to learn their special needs and care for the them in a way that allows them to thrive.

They need some very different care than normal tropical plants, it’s important to learn how to care for carnivorous plants properly for the best chance of success.

The most common carnivorous plant you’ll see around is the Venus Fly trap (Dionaea muscipula). They are readily available in many nurseries and even in some grocery stores.

They’ll trap and eat anything that walks across the “trigger hairs” inside their jaws that when hit correctly they release the jaws to close on unsuspecting prey insects.

There are many other kinds of carnivorous plants available if you find a specialty or higher end nursery, they will likely carry several more varieties and may even be able to order them in for you.

Sundew-Drosera capensisMy favourite is the Sundew (Drosera capensis).  

There are several styles and growth habits of this one but they all operate the same way by producing a sweet sticky syrup that attracts the flies and other bugs to it.

They get stuck in it and cannot escape and they are eventually digested by the plant.

Care of Carnivorous Plants

The first thing to know is that they don’t have roots in the same fashion as a normal plant. They don’t use what roots they have for nutrient absorption because they get their nutrients from the bugs that they eat from above.

That means, do not give them any fertilizer.

Water them only with distilled water, not tap water.

They are sensitive to the chemicals that are in our water supply and it will harm them. If your home has dry air then you may need to mist your Sundew every few days to keep them producing enough of their sticky syrup.

Carnivorous plants are bog plants and they like to be quite wet during the growing season.

Best Planting Medium

Plant them in special carnivorous plant soil, only about an inch deep if they are small. The special soil is a mix of peat moss and perlite which is perfect for these types of plants.

Place them to the same depth at they were in the container you bought it in, not higher than the crown of the plant.

The only pest that’s really a concern with indoor carnivorous plants is mealy bugs, if you notice little white-almost fluffy looking things around and on your plants then you’ve got’em and it’s best to dispose of the whole plant altogether.

For the dormancy period: allow the water to go down a bit in the winter and add water less frequently, the plants will be less than attractive while they are dormant but will come back to life as their life cycle goes around again.

If you buy a large pitcher plant, in the warm summer months you can put it out on your deck or any area that has a wasp or mosquito problem.

I encourage you to try one of these plants just for fun, they are totally different than garden plants and other tropical plants. 


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