Caring for carnivorous plants

Carnivorous plants tend to cause us curiosity, as they are very different from the rest of the plants that we are used to having around us. Although they normally live in poor and flooded lands, they are plants capable of having a great adaptability to changes, as long as they are not too abrupt or excessive.

There are many plants of this type that today can be had at home, either indoors or outdoors depending on the species and the climate, such as Venus flytraps (dionaeas) or sundews. If you are interested in knowing what the care of carnivorous plants is, in this guide, you will find them all.

Types of carnivorous plants

To begin, it is necessary to take into account what types of carnivorous plants exist and which are the most suitable for each climate and, in this way, to be able to choose better those that adapt to our home. There is a very generic way to classify them, but one that is simple and practical to be able to decide which one we can have at home, and that is to take into account the climate. The classification of carnivorous plants according to the climate is as follows:

  • Tropical carnivorous plants: they are more complicated to care for at home, as they need high humidity and a warm temperature and must be constant. Therefore, to keep them at home, unless we live in a totally tropical place, they are usually placed in terrariums adapted for them. Some species are Nepenthes, Pinguicula, and Caphalotus .
  • Non-tropical carnivorous plants: they live in areas where it is cold, although not in areas where there are frosts. During cold periods, in winter and autumn depending on the area, they are capable of going through a lethargy that allows them to survive well. They are usually seen near aquatic areas, such as swamps. Some species are Sarracenia, Dionaea, Drosera, Darlingtonia, Pinguiculas, and Utricularia vulgaris .
Carnivorous Plant Care - Types of Carnivorous Plants

Pots and substrate for carnivorous plants

Among the first care of the carnivorous plant Dionaea , Drosera and epenthes , or of any other species of this type of plants, it is necessary to choose the substrate and the appropriate pot for each one of them.

With regard to pots, the most suitable are plastic pots , since they are more resistant, but porcelain and glass are also good options, rather than terracotta. Make sure there are enough holes in the bottom so the water can drain well. Also, take into account the type of plant you have to know whether to choose a common pot or a hanging one, because for example the Nepenthes needs a hanging pot due to its shape.

The substrate for carnivorous plants must be poor in nutrients, since in nature they live in soils of this type. If we use soil or normal substrate for plants, the most common, the roots of carnivores would burn, since there are too many minerals for them. In addition, the soil must provide good drainage for the pots , since although they need moisture and a lot of water, it is important that it flows and does not remain stagnant for a long time. The most suitable substrates are the following:

Muck

This is the best type of substrate for carnivorous plants. It is a type of moss that is in the process of decomposition and its pH is acidic, which makes it poor in nutrients and with the ability to retain water as necessary for these vegetables. In addition, it can be used alone or mixed with sand.

Sand

It is used mixed with the previous substrate and never alone. Not just any sand is suitable for these plants, only the thick one of up to 4 mm, like the one sold for fish tanks in specialized aquarium stores.

Perlite

It is a mineral in the form of white balls that has a great capacity to retain water for a certain time. It is advisable to wash it before using it mixed with the sphincter.

A last option is to use the orchid substrate, which is like pieces of wood, mixed with sifango.

Caring for carnivorous plants - Pots and substrate for carnivorous plants

Acclimatization

Something vital in the care of carnivorous plants is that we allow them to acclimatize to the house, since it is very common that due to changes in light, temperature and humidity they suffer a shock and die.

To achieve a good acclimatization it is best to place the plants in a terrarium with high humidity and temperature (not excessive), or use suitable plastic or bags. Every few hours it is convenient to open the terrarium or take the plant out for a few minutes to allow it to air out and get used to it, although it should not be exposed to the sun directly. The right thing to do is to do this for a month and it can be removed to have it normally at home. It is not mandatory to do so, but it is highly recommended.

Light, temperature and humidity for carnivorous plants

¿ Where to place a carnivorous plant at home ? For this, you have to take into account the light, temperature and humidity that favor these plants.

  • Light: they need a lot of natural light. Specifically, they need about 5 hours of direct sunlight a day, although not in the strongest moments, to the Sarracenia, Dionaea, Pinguicula, Heliamphora, Cephalotus and Darlingtonia species . Instead to the Nepenthes and Drosera direct sun does not suit them, as they can burn.
  • Temperature: as non-tropical plants need to hibernate, it is advisable to keep them for a few months, from 3 to 5 months depending on the species, at a temperature below 5 ºC, if they do not hibernate in spring when they would have to sprout, they would not do so or could hardly achieve it. The tropical ones should be kept in a normal temperature range in these tropical and subtropical zones.
  • Humidity: the Nepenthes plant is the one that needs the most humidity in the air, otherwise it will dry out. All the others need a lot of humidity, except Drosophyllum, which requires the least humidity.
Carnivorous Plant Care - Light, Temperature and Humidity for Carnivorous Plants

How to water carnivorous plants

Virtually all plants of this type need to be watered by the immersion irrigation technique or, as it is also called, “the tray technique”. The reason is that they need a lot of water and keep moisture, although they do not remain very flooded or for a long time.

To do this, you just have to place the plant in a basin or large container with enough water, covering the base of the pot between 2 cm and 5 cm. Let it absorb water for 10 minutes. In hot weather, it is advisable to regulate every other day, while in cold weather, once or twice a month may be enough. Irrigation depends a lot on the species, so it is advisable to ask the supplier of the plant, a specialist in this type of vegetables, about this specific need in each species that we acquire.

Feeding of carnivorous plants

As we have mentioned, plants of this type live in places that are poor in nutrients, and they feed in a special way. To feed, carnivorous plants trap insects and, some, also small amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

You can give your carnivorous plants mosquitoes, mosquitoes, flies, butterflies, ants, spiders, etc. After capture, the mouth remains closed for a time, for example in the case of the Venus flytrap (Dionaea) they close their mouth for up to 1 or 2 weeks. in the case of the Venus flytrap with 2 insects a month it can be enough. When they open their mouths again, it is advisable to remove any remaining insect residues.

Look for insects of the right size , because if they are very large the leaves of the mouths can die from overexertion.

As after 2 or 3 meals the mouths of these plants usually die to give way to new ones, it is convenient that you cut them as soon as you see that they dry, from their base, and thus you will avoid fungi.

Caring for carnivorous plants - Feeding carnivorous plants

Pests and diseases of carnivorous plants

Carnivorous plants can also become infected with pests, especially the following:

  • Red spider
  • Aphids
  • Mushrooms
  • Mealybugs

Pests must be fought with specific products that can be purchased in stores or with home remedies recommended by the specialists themselves in this type of plant.

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