Carnivorous plants have a very special way of life. For the predatory plants to feel comfortable in your home, you should definitely not make these three mistakes!
You just don’t have a knack for carnivorous plants? Check out our video.
There is a certain horror factor when it comes to “carnivorous plants”. But in reality, the mostly small eccentrics of the plant world are not as bloodthirsty as the name sounds. Your meals usually consist of individual small fruit flies or mosquitoes – and you can neither hear the plant smacking nor chewing. Carnivores are often traded as exotic, but carnivorous plants are also at home in our latitudes. In this country, for example, you can find sundew (Drosera) or butterwort (Pinguicula) – even if you will hardly come across them by chance because the species are threatened with extinction and are on the red list.
Other carnivorous plants such as the famous Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) or the pitcher plant (Nepenthes) can easily be bought in specialist shops. However, there are some pitfalls when caring for carnivorous plants, because the plants are specialists in many areas. It is essential to avoid these mistakes when keeping carnivores.
The killer on the windowsill
Almost everyone knows it or has heard of it: The Venus flytrap fascinates, amazes, and inspires worldwide. We present the voracious houseplant in detail and give care tips. Learn more
Pitcher plant: The giantess among carnivorous plants
Pitcher plants are demanding roommates – but they are exactly the right thing for lovers of unusual plants. Here you will find tips on how to keep and care for the unusual carnivores. Learn more
Mistake 1: Pour with tap water
The group of carnivorous plants is extensive and each species has its individual care needs. At one point, however, many carnivores are alike: They do not tolerate lime. You should therefore use decalcified or well stale water for watering and under no circumstances tap water. Rainwater from the garden is also suitable. The soil for carnivorous plants can be very poor in nutrients because carnivores draw the nutrients that are usually absorbed from the soil through the roots from their animal food. This specialization allows them to colonize locations where most other plant species cannot live. Therefore, use specially mixed carnivorous soil and avoid any fertilizer when caring for plants.
No question about it, the carnivore’s catching and closing mechanism is interesting and invites you to observe. But you shouldn’t play with the carnivorous plants! Every touch triggers a closing mechanism and digestive process. This process is extremely exhausting for the plants – especially if in the end there is no prey in the trap. The leaves of the Venus flytrap can only close about five times in their life, then they die. So don’t touch the plants unnecessarily. Now and then it is allowed to put a small insect like a fruit fly into the trap for feeding. Here, too, make sure that the nutrient requirements of a plant are low and that even a small insect can provide nutrients for a few weeks.
Playing with the Venus flytrap is not a good idea. Although the plant cannot injure a person, every unnecessary closing process weakens the plant
Error 3: The room air is too dry
Depending on the species, carnivorous plants have different requirements for the moisture content of the air. Overall, however, the humidity should be as high as possible. Pitcher plants need at least 80 percent, which is why they are usually kept in terrariums. Sundew and Venus flytrap are less sensitive. But they too like room air with more than 50 percent humidity. A bright bathroom with regular showers is a good location for the plants. Spray carnivorous plants, especially in winter, when the rooms are heated and the humidity drops, if possible daily with mineral-free water. Automatic humidifiers are also very effective helpers. Wide, water-filled coasters under the pots help to keep the humidity high around the plant without having to fog the whole room.
Carnivorous plants for the windowsill
Carnivorous plants, also called carnivores, have a special strategy for meeting their needs for nitrogen and other nutrients. Here’s how you need to care for carnivorous plants to keep them growing and thriving.
Kathryn S. Crane is a retired teacher. A freelance writer for Crown-Times, her subjects of interest are biology and art. Even before retirement, she was involved in phenological observations of the growth stages of plants. She enjoys following the activity of birds, bees, and bumblebees in her garden. However, she does not want to call herself an ornithologist.