One bite and they’re gone. Carnivorous plants, or carnivores, use their colourful and whimsical appearance to lure spiders and insects. Then they sneakily catch and digest these juicy creatures. The motto of this houseplant? Lovely, ruthless and definitely not for the faint hearted.
The Carnivorous plants on your window sill have names such as Dionaea muscipula, Sarracenia, Drosera and Nepenthes. These Carnivorous plants lure their prey with their scent and colour, in order to catch them and digest them. Dionaea, or the Venus fly trap, uses leaf traps to do this, which close really quickly. The Drosera has leaves with tentacles which the insects stick to. The Sarracenia and the Nepenthes do things differently and have a cup-like shape in which the insects are caught. Tip: don’t let the Carnivorous plant traps close on your finger; this costs the plant a lot of energy without it getting food in return. Furthermore, a trap can only open and close six times before it dies off. If you want to see your plant in action, feed it an insect. Children will love to do this!
Carnivorous plants and the swamp
In the wild, Carnivorous plants live in areas with nitrogen-poor soil, such as swamps. The plants can be found all over the world, but you won’t come across them as often as they are quite rare. If you come across one on holiday in the wile, don’t be afraid, Carnivorous plants don’t bite.
Caring for Carnivorous plants
- Most Carnivorous plants like full sun.
- Wet roots are not an issue; place the plant in acidic soil and a small layer of water. You can create acidic soil yourself by adding coarse peat to the soil.
- Carnivorous plants prefer to drink rainwater, distilled water or soft tap water. Preferably not hard water as this can damage the roots.
- They don’t need plant food as they catch their own food.
- Remove dead, brown leaves and calyces as fungi love this.
- Re-plant Carnivorous plants every one or two years in the spring.
- Don’t give Carnivorous plants pieces of meat, because the traps will begin to rot.
- The plant traps will wither in winter. Don’t panic, in the spring they will recover, with a good appetite.