How to care for carnivorous plants

Don't be afraid of carnivorous plants

Status: 04.12.2020 3:18 p.m.
Carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants absorb protein from trapped insects.

Flies, ants or mosquitoes - small insects are on the menu of carnivorous plants, which are technically referred to as carnivores or insectivores. Like other plants, they also carry out photosynthesis - most of them would survive without insects. However, the protein contained in the insects gives them additional nutrients and therefore grows particularly vigorously. Carnivorous plants are by no means dangerous to humans.

Demands on care and location vary widely

There are several hundred known species and numerous breeds worldwide. The demands on light, floor and ambient temperature are very different. Before buying, you should find out exactly what conditions the carnivores need. In general, it can be said: Carnivorous plants only tolerate irrigation water with little lime, i.e. decalcified tap water or rainwater. The substrate should be low in nutrients, a special soil for carnivores, which is available in specialist shops, is recommended. Normal potting soil is not suitable, fertilizer is not necessary. Numerous species need a lot of light, so an extra light source makes sense.

Some species overwinter in the garden

Most carnivores cannot overwinter outside in our latitudes. Those who want to cultivate carnivorous plants in the garden can, for example, opt for the red pitcher plant and some sundew species such as the native plant mean sundew (Drosera intermedia). Both species grow best in a bog bed that you can create yourself. This has a low, i.e. acidic, pH value between 4.5 and 6.5, consists of low-nutrient raised bog peat and is permanently moist. It is best to place peat moss between the plants, it ensures that the soil remains low in acid and nutrients.

Five different types of traps

Carnivorous plants are often distinguished by the way they attract and capture their prey. There are five types in total.

Folding traps (Venus flytrap and water trap)

The Venus flytrap catches food using what is known as a folding trap.

With the hinged trap, two halves of the leaf close within a few seconds after the leaf hairs on the inside of the leaf have been touched twice within 20 seconds. Insects caught in this way are digested by secretions in the cavity created. This technique is also used by the most famous carnivorous plant, the Venus flytrap.

It needs a lot of light and a high level of humidity. It is best to fill a large saucer one to two centimeters high with water so that the plant can supply itself with water as needed. When the water is used up, the Venus flytrap can be left to stand dry for about two days and then the water can be refilled. The Venus flytrap must not be exposed to less than five degrees.

Pit traps (e.g. pitcher plant and pitcher plant)

Some tube or trumpet plants are winter-proof and can be left outside all year round.

In this group, insects land in a cavity made of leaves that is smooth on the inside and filled with digestive enzymes in the lower area. This is how the spoil is dissolved. The insects are attracted by a sweet smell. Pitcher plants love a sunny location. Sunlight promotes their typical coloring. The tubes of some species can grow up to a meter high and are therefore not suitable for terrariums. The soil should always be moderately moist.

Pitcher plants are relatively easy to care for and like it bright. However, they should not be exposed to direct sunlight and need increased humidity. The best way to absorb water is to use a saucer filled with water.

Sticky traps (e.g. sundew, butterwort, rainbow plant)

Species like the round-leaved sundew catch their prey with sticky secretions.

Carnivorous plants that use an adhesive trap to catch insects, but secrete a sticky secretion that emerges on the leaves or at the tips of the tentacles on the leaves. The secretion also serves as an attractant. In many species, an enzyme is then released that takes care of digestion.

Sundew, probably the best-known genus with over 200 species, is an easy-care, carnivorous plant and therefore well suited for beginners. It is important that she always gets enough water. Especially in the summer months, the pot should always be about one centimeter in the water. Sundew blooms profusely, so it is advisable to remove dead flower stems. This enables the plant to form and grow better new flowers.

Suction traps (water hoses)

The principle of the suction trap is only used by species of the genus water hoses. Most plants live near or in water. They form extremely small trapping bubbles in which there is negative pressure and which are provided with a kind of closed flap. If the prey, attracted by fragrances or simulated food, touches these trapping bubbles, the flap opens and it is torn in along with the water.

Trap traps (Genlisea and parrot pitcher plant)

The trap was named after the genus of the same name - Latin Genlisea - named, to which around 30 species belong. These plants presumably lure their food inside the trap by scenting them. Fine hairs prevent the prey from leaving the trap. It is then digested in a kind of stomach.

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My afternoon | 06/06/2019 | 4:20 pm