Carnivorous plants

A growing trend is having carnivorous plants as houseplants. These indoor plants are not only beautiful but also very useful. They do away with bugs in our house in no time. They live off the insects they lure and catch insects in different ways. There's no need to feat them, they are harmless to people.

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Carnivorous plants

Carnivorous plants

Most carnivorous plants do not belong to the same family. Each plant comes from somewhere else originally. The best known species is the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula). In addition, the trumpet pitcher plant (Sarracenia) and the sundew (Drosera Capensis) are two species that are an increasingly familiar sight in people's homes. All these species lure their prey, small insects, through scent and their bright colours. The way in which the insects are eventually caught varies by species. The Venus flytrap snaps its leaves shut. They resemble a mouth with teeth. Flies are trapped and slowly digested by the leaves. The trumpet pitcher plant lures flies with the colour and fragrance of the operculum, a lip-shaped leaf. This leaf guides the insects into the pitcher is full of smooth or sticky nectar and hairs so that the insects cannot escape. Enzymes in the nectar digest the insect. Finally, the Cape sundew mainly catches smaller insects with its leaves. The leaves have adhesive droplets that bugs get stuck to. The leaves roll up so that their prey cannot get out. The plant digests its food using enzymes.

Care of carnivorous plants

The care of these plants is similar for all carnivorous plants, but very different from other houseplants. Carnivorous plants prefer marshy places. It is best to use nutrient-poor soil for these plants when growing them as houseplants. They like mix of peat and perlite best, but potting soil for carnivorous plants can be used, too. Keep the soil damp at all times. Carnivorous plants do like wet feet. The best thing is to water them with rainwater in a dish or directly in the soil. The leaves should not get wet because water can cause disturb the balance of the substances that attract and catch prey. The plants do not like hard water, i.e. calcium-rich water. Carnivorous plants love plenty of sunlight. Put these plants in the full sun, but also in a place that is humid. It is not a good idea to put them on a windowsill above a heater. The trumpet pitcher plant should not be in direct sunlight, but should get plenty of indirect light. The pitchers can get scorched in full sun. Most carnivorous go dormant in winter. Water them less in this period, just enough to keep the plant moist. And put the plant in a cooler place.
Unlike other plants, carnivorous plants will never require plant food. The plants catch their own food. Adding food is never needed and could even be harmful to the plant. Catching insects takes a lot of energy. For example, the leaf of a Venus flytrap may only shut 5 times. After that the leaf will die. To ensure that all energy stays in the plant and to prevent the growth of mould, snip off dead leaves, pitchers and stems.
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