Insect Eating Plants
The most well-known carnivorous plants include:
Sarracenia (hardy pitcher plant)
Nepenthes (tropical pitcher plant)
Dionaea Muscipula (venus flytrap)
Carnivorous Plant Care
Carnivorous plants are fairly easy to grow if you provide them with a few simple requirements. Firstly, you will need to keep the soil of your plant damp all of the time – use a spray bottle and always use rainwater or distilled.
They require mineral free soil, because they have adapted to nutrient poor soil which is rich in peat and sand. Finally, they need plenty of light – they will grow best in sunny conditions but many will also do well in partial sun.
What is a Venus Fly Trap?
Dionaea Muscipula – more commonly known as Venus flytrap – is the well-known and popular carnivorous plant. It is native to subtropical wetlands of North and South Carolina.
Like other plants, this one gathers its nutrients from gases in the air and the soil. However, as it grows in poor soil they look to insects for nutrients.
The leaves, which are lined with short, stiff hairs, called trigger or sensitive hairs, open wide. When anything touches these hairs – enough to bend them – the leaves snap shut, trapping whatever is inside.
The trap closes in less than a second but it doesn’t close all the way at first. If the object isn’t food it will reopen and spit it out. When it closes over food the cilia keep larger insects inside, then in just a few minutes it will shut tightly forming an air-tight seal.
The trap constricts tightly around the insect and secretes digestive juices – the whole process takes between five and 12 days.
If you feed a Venus Flytrap something that doesn’t move you will need to squeeze the trap and move the food around so it looks live.
If the insect is too large it will stick out of the trap which will eventually cause the trap to turn black, rot and fall off.
The Venus Flytrap is one of the easiest carnivorous plants to grow – it simply needs wet roots, high humidity, full sunlight and poor soil. You should also transplant them into new soil every few years.
Pitcher plants prey-trapping mechanism is a deep cavity filled with a liquid known as a pitfall trap. Flies and insects are attracted to the cavity formed by a cupped leaf due to visual lures and sweet-smelling nectar. The sides of the pitcher are slippery and grooved so the insect can’t escape once inside.
The plant then digests the prey, turning it into a solution from which it obtains mineral nutrients. These are needed due to the lack of nutrients in the soil they grow in.