Carnivorous plants, which is also known as insectivorous plants have always been a fascinating and unusual plant to many gardeners, especially children. Carnivorous plants are those that capture and digest insects or other small animals by creating traps and ingenious pitfalls. There are more than 600 species of known carnivorous plants and they formed a very diverse group. Some of the popular carnivorous plants are like Venus flytrap, Sundew, Nepenthes, and Butterwort.
Carnivorous plants in general grow in damp, a little acidic and boggy soil. Most of the soil used to grow carnivorous plants contains peat, but in recent years, you may also find those peat-free ericaceous mixes. Also remember to keep the soil watered and making sure it never dries out. Position the plant in a bright and sunny spot with full sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. Remove any faded leaves and flowers whenever needed.
Carnivorous plants are not difficult to grow as long as you keep to a few simple requirements. Below are 10 tips for successfully growing carnivorous plants.
1. Carnivorous plants need a lot of sunlight
These hardy plants thrive and do well in warm and humid condition with plenty of bright direct sunlight. So always grow them in places that received lots of lights like a sunny windowsill, or a sunny patio.
2. Keep carnivorous plants cool in winter
Many carnivorous plants are not tropical plants, but rather temperate. So during winter, they will need to rest in a cool spot to avoid dying. As they enter dormancy, some may seem to have died (like Venus trap leaves turning black and die). Just leave them in a cool greenhouse if available, or in an unheated cool room leaving the compost just moist all the time.
3. Growing in moist compost
Carnivorous plants in the wild grow in boggy ground. As such, ensure that their compost are moist at all times in the warmer months. Use a saucer to place the pot and top it up with water. Alternatively, cover all the drainage holes to keep the water from draining away. When during winter months, keep the compost just moist.
4. Use rain water for carnivorous plants
Never use tap water for carnivorous plants as it will harm them. If rain water is not available, use filtered or distilled water. You can also use boiled kettle water that is already cooled. However, rainwater is the best.
5. Growing carnivorous plants in ericaceous compost
Peat or ericaceous compost (a specialist compost) is a low-nutrient medium suitable to grow carnivorous plants. If for environmental reasons that you would like to avoid peat, then you can also use Moorland Gold which is a peat-free ericaceous potting mix.
6. Never feed carnivorous plants with insects
Carnivorous plants placed outdoor catch their own food. Even when indoor, there will still be insects they can feed on. So feeding them is not necessary.
7. Fertilizer kills carnivorous plants
Typically, carnivorous plants grow in soils that are nutrient-poor. They obtain all their nutrient from insects that they catch. As such fertilizers are not required. In fact, fertilizers will kill them.
8. Leave the carnivorous plants alone
It may be fun to provoke your carnivorous plants especially the Venus Flytrap. However, each trap or leave can only close about five times in their lifetime. So if you found your Venus flytrap no longer closing, it could be due to some curious fingers provoking them too often.
9. Remove deadhead carnivorous plants
You can remove those flowers that are dead with scissors. For pitcher plants and Venus flytraps, just cut off the dead leaves or traps when they go black. This usually occurs during the autumn and winter months.
10. Pest control for carnivorous plants
Surprisingly, carnivorous plants are not able to handle greenfly. So you may need to use biological controls or traps. These fascinating plants are also susceptible to attack by red spider mite, especially in dry and hot conditions. To overcome that, improves the air circulation to boost humidity levels. This can be achieved by placing bowls of water between the plants.