There is something really fascinating about plants that eat insects. It doesn’t really compute in our brains. Carnivorous plants? Really, is that possible?
The easiest and most popular to grow are Venus Fly Traps, Sundews and Pitcher plants and hey all need similar growing conditions. Carnivorous plants are a great plants for children to grow, they appeal to their gruesome side.
All of these types of carnivorous plants should be grown in bright position, growing in standing water in a tray or jar. Use rain water (if you can collect any) or distilled water (that is lime free water). to keep the plants in a humid atmosphere try growing them as a miniature garden in a wide glass planter/vase or an old goldfish bowl.
New plants don’t need re-potting but they may do in the second or third year. Use a lime free compost.
Feeding should happen on its own but you could feed once a week with small pieces of dried meal worm (as used to feed birds) or even a fly if you can catch one. Only feed of touch the trigger hairs of a Venus Fly Trap a maximum of once a week. It takes a lot of energy to close the trap and triggered more regularly will weaken the structure. If you feed with a ‘dead’ insect you need to tickle the the hairs inside the closed trap to stimulate the production of the digestive juices. A live fly would do this in an attempt to escape.
Venus Fly Traps and Pitcher plants (from the USA – which are the most commonly types sold) need a period of cool in the winter so move your plants to a cool room from November to March.
Given the correct care, these strange and fascinating plants will keep your attention even as an adult. They are great fun to grow.
At Ferndale Garden centre we stock carnivorous plants in the summer school holidays.