Types of traps of carnivorous plants
These plants are classified in
several ways, and one of them is by the type of trap. Some are more subtle than others, but all have evolved to trap insects. Thus, we can differentiate up to six types of traps:
Tube-shaped: is the case of the Sarracenia for example, or that of the Heliamphora. They are modified leaves that are shaped like a tube, which is filled with liquid (water). The insects are attracted to the nectar secreted by the plants, but if they are not careful they slip, and fall inside where they drown.
Jug shaped: it is similar to the previous one, but they usually have a part that we could describe as a ‘hat’. It is the typical Nepenthes trap, a plant that in addition to producing traps like this also has common leaves, with the ability to photosynthesize.
Mucilage: it is a sticky substance that Sundew and Pinguicula have in the upper part of their leaves. It is a kind of “glue” which is very effective against small insects, such as mosquitoes or small flies.
Traps with automatic opening / closing: is the case of Utricularia. They produce traps in the shape of a tiny bladder, which has an opening that absorbs any tiny insects or animals that pass by. When he has digested it, he opens it again.
Shaped like a mouth: this is typical of the Dionaea. On each of its margins they have tweezers or teeth, and also inside each trap it has three hairs that are sensitive to the touch on each side. When an insect touches a minimum of two almost at the same time, or the same one twice in a row in less than twenty seconds, the trap closes.
Combination of several: sometimes we find carnivores with two types of traps. For example, the Sundew glanduligera it has leaves with mucilage, typical of its kind, but these traps also have teeth.
How long do carnivorous plants live?
It depends, but over 20 years. In any case, there are many that develop rhizomatous roots, from which new shoots emerge. For example, what starts out as a Sarracenia specimen with a single trap, after two or three years it will be a plant that you can divide, precisely thanks to the rhizome it has, which leads me to …:
How do carnivorous plants reproduce?
carnivorous plants multiply, in addition to seeds, by division of the rhizome. Let’s see how to proceed according to the case:
Seeds: many carnivores are hermaphrodites, such as the Dionaea or the Sarracenia, so it will not be difficult for you to get seeds. But those of the Nepenthes are unisexual, so if you have one, the ideal is to look to get a male and a female to pollinate them manually, with the help of a brush.
Once we have the seeds, we have to sow them in a suitable substrate. The standard mixture is peat moss without fertilizing with perlite in equal parts, and we will water them with gibberellic acid to stimulate their germination. If you need more information, click here.
Rhizome division: It is done by removing the plant from the pot, cleaning its roots well with distilled water to locate the rhizome well, and then with previously disinfected scissors, divide the plant. Every piece you have left should have at least one sprout. Then plant it in a pot and keep it in semi-shade, even if it’s a carnivore that wants direct sun, until you see it growing.
Both multiplication by seeds and by division are recommended to be done in the warm season, as they need heat to be able to grow.
9 varieties or types of carnivorous plants
Would you like to know the names of some varieties of carnivores? Well take a look:
Image – Flickr / Miloslav Dobšík
Cephalotus follicularis is a natural species of Australia, which reaches a height of about 5 centimeters and a width of 20 centimeters. produces numerous jugs that start out green and end up reddish / brownish in color. Likes direct sun, but is sensitive to cold.
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Image – Wikimedia / Björn S.
Known as venus flytrapIt is a carnivore that has traps with ‘teeth’ or pincers. It grows in North America, and
reaches between 3 and 5 centimeters in height. In spring it produces whitish flowers, which emerge from a flower stalk about 10 centimeters high. Although you can get used to the semi-shadow, its traps have better color in the sun, hence it is advisable to gradually expose it to the star king to acclimatize it. It resists weak frosts, down to -2ºC.
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Image – Flickr / incidencematrix
Sundew capensis It is native to Africa, specifically the Cape. It is one of the most widely cultivated, due to its rapid growth and its great ability to trap small flying insects, including mosquitoes. It grows over 20 centimeters tall. It has to be in shade / semi-shade, but is otherwise quite easy to care for. It supports weak and occasional frosts, down to -2ºC. No products found..
Image – Wikimedia / incidencematrix
Drosophyllum lusitanicumBeing one of the native species of Spain (and Portugal), we could not miss the opportunity to introduce you to it. We find it in the extreme south and west of the Iberian Peninsula. It reaches 40 centimeters in height, and develops leaves similar to those of sundews, but longer and finer. It is a difficult plant that needs sun but also a substrate with excellent drainage. Supports weak frosts.
Image – Wikimedia / Dals093838 //
Heliamphora minor var minor
Heliamphora minor it is endemic to Venezuela. It has pitcher-shaped traps, green, or reddish in the sun and depending on the variety, and is about 10 centimeters tall at most. It is quite delicate, as it needs high humidity all year round, lots of light but not direct, and a climate that remains stable all year round, with maximums of up to 30ºC and minimums of 10ºC. For more information, we invite you to read the file we have on the Heliamphora.
Note: the crossing
Heliamphora heterodoxa x minor withstands the cold somewhat more, although it requires protection if it drops below 0 degrees.
Image – Wikimedia / Gery Singer
La Nepenthes alata it is the most
cultivated species of the entire genus. It is native to the Philippines, and develops lanceolate-shaped green leaves and red vase-shaped traps. It can be about 30 centimeters tall, and it is a very interesting plant to have in hanging pots. Resists up to 5ºC.
Image – Wikimedia / xulescu_g
La pinguicula vulgaris It is a carnivorous
plant that forms a rosette of green leaves whose upper part has mucilage, which is sticky for small insects. It is native to Europe, and much of North America. Reaches 3 centimeters in height, and produces flower stems of up to 16 centimeters. The flowers are lilac. Due to its origin, it is able to withstand moderate frosts.
Image – Wikimedia / Michal Klajban
sarracenia purpurea it is a species native to the United States and Canada. It is a plant that develops leaves turned into traps in the shape of a vase or tube, reddish in color (the more hours of sun it gives it, the more intense the color will be), and It reaches a height of about 30 centimeters. The flowers arise from a long stem, about 20 centimeters, and are reddish. It requires direct sun, and temperate climates with frosts down to -4ºC.
Image – Wikimedia / Hugues TINGUY
La Utricularia australis It is a floating, aquatic
carnivorous plant that grows almost everywhere in the world. Develops 45-inch tall stems, and has yellow flowers emerging from a branched stem. It grows both in full sun and in semi-shade, and resists down to -5ºC.
What are the care of a carnivorous plant?
Now let’s move on to care. But before we start
it is important to clarify that these are general cares. They can vary a bit depending on the type of carnivore and the climate, since for example there are some that we can grow outside all year round, but others will have to be protected in winter.
plants they want light, so that the most advisable thing is to have them outside, in the open air. There are some, such as Sarracenia or Darlingtonia, which, in addition to light, require direct sunlight; and there are others like Heliamphora or Nepenthes that grow in shade.
If there are frosts in your area, you will have to protect in a
greenhouse or at home those that are of tropical / subtropical origin, such as many Drosera, Pinguicula, or Nepenthes.
Moisture and irrigation
Living in humid regions, they are very demanding in terms of humidity, both on the ground and in the environment. For this reason, it is
important that they are provided with plenty of water. The best is the pure and clean rain, but failing that we will use distilled water. If we live in an area where the environment is dry or very dry, we will have to spray / spray them daily, especially in spring-summer.
In the case that on the contrary we are in a humid area, either because it rains often, we are on an island or near the coast, it will not be necessary to spray them.
If we talk about irrigation, it will be more or less frequent depending on the type of carnivorous plant. Thus, while the Sarracenia we can put a plate underneath and keep it always full, the rest do not like to always be in contact with the water.
The standard mixture is peat moss without fertilizing with perlite, in equal parts. But if we want the crop to be perfect, it is preferable to take into account that each type of carnivore has its own recommended mix:
Cephalotus: 60% blond peat (for sale here!) with 40% quartz sand.
Darlingtonia: sphagnum moss, preferably live.
Dionaea: 70% blond peat with 30% perlite.
Nepenthes: ditto, or sphagnum moss (buy it here!).
Pinguicula: 70% blond peat with 30% perlite (for sale here!).
In addition, you have to use
plastic pots with holes in their base so that they can grow without problems.
They must be transplanted every 3 or 4 years. But it’s important to say that not all of them will require as many pot changes: the smallest ones, like Dionaea, will only transplant three, maybe four times in their lifetime.
Likewise, it should be done in spring, so that it is easy for them to resume their growth.
Plagues and diseases
plant is quite hardy. But especially in summer may have mealybugs, and in the rainy season you have to watch the snails, especially if we have pinguiculas, because they devour them. Both pests can be removed by hand; the first also with diatomaceous earth (for sale here!).
As for diseases, it is a bit difficult for them to have. Those that do not want so much water, such as Dionaea or Nepenthes, can end up with rotten roots, for example when they are watered excessively.
It is not necessary, but
in spring the dry parts should be cut so that the plant can receive more light.
We are talking about
plants that they do not usually withstand cold or frost. Focusing on the ones that are most cultivated, the ones that best support it are the Sarracenia and Dionaea, but even so, if the temperature drops below -2ºC, it will be necessary to protect them.
Hibernation of carnivorous plants
Image – Flickr / Aaron Carlson
These two carnivorous plants, as well as the Drosophyllum and the Drosera of temperate climates (such as the D. angustifolia), they have to spend some cool / cold during the winter. Therefore, if they are grown in tropical or subtropical areas, they must be kept in the fridge for a few weeks. Therefore, they will be washed well with distilled water, the rhizome will be protected with vermiculite and plastic, and they will be put in a tupperware -with a lid-. Then, they will be introduced into the appliance, in the part of the sausages, milk, etc.