Carnivorous plants are a type of plants that have the ability to feed and extract nutrients, on the one hand, from the substrate and, on the other hand, from insects and other small living beings that they get with their traps. Due to this, their nutritional needs are quite different from those of other types of plants and, therefore, they require substrates specially made for them.
If you like these curious plants and are thinking of having them at home and want to learn how to prepare specific soil for them, join us in this article on how to make substrate for carnivorous plants .
What type of substrate do carnivorous plants need – how do they feed?
Most carnivorous plants are native to environments where the soil is quite poor in nutrients. In fact, it is precisely due to this shortage of nutrients that they have developed the ability to feed on small insects and other small-sized living beings (amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, etc.).
For this reason, when planting or transplanting carnivorous plants at home you need to prepare a poor substrate , similar to that of their environment of origin. If you put them in a universal substrate or in normal soil, the roots are most likely to be burned by excess mineral salts.
How to make substrate for carnivorous plants
When preparing substrate for these plants, your best option and the first thing you look for should always be the sphagnum . It is a substrate obtained from Sphagnum moss, native to New Zealand, Argentina, southern Chile and Tasmania. It is poor in nutrients , its pH is acidic and provides very good aeration, as well as a high water retention capacity.
Usually the sphagnum is also mixed with sand, although it is very important that it is coarse sand and that it has been stripped of mineral salts of any kind. If you can, go to an aquarium store and ask for a gravel that they will have for freshwater fish, made up of spheres between 2 and 4 mm in diameter and that can come in different colors.
To make substrate for carnivorous plants it is important that you follow these tips on the materials to use and that you make a mixture that is divided into three parts (with a volume that will depend on the pot to be filled).
- 2 parts of sphagnum with 1 of coarse sand.
- 1 part sphagnum, 1 part sand and 1 part perlite .
How to plant carnivorous plants and their basic care
To transplant and plant carnivorous plants , we must take into account the type or species we have in hand, as they may have different needs. The most important thing to keep in mind is:
- A suitable location, with a pot with good drainage and specific substrate for these plants.
- Be very careful with the roots and with the most delicate parts of these plants: their traps.
- Take into account that if it is a tropical plant, it is advisable that the substrate is moist.
Also, you should keep in mind that there are two main types of carnivorous plants: tropical and non-tropical. Depending on the type you have at home, its care will be different in some points. These are some key points to keep in mind when caring for carnivorous plants :
- The tropical carnivorous plants are more difficult to care for indoors, since they require environments as similar as possible to the place from which they come. In this case, this implies that the plant must be kept at a warm and stable temperature and, in addition, a high level of relative humidity must be maintained around it.
- If you live in an area that is not tropical, the best thing you can do is prepare a special terrarium for it, in which you can control its temperature and humidity conditions. It is true that it is an expensive method, but if your climate is not tropical and you do not do it like that, it is likely that your carnivorous plant will suffer and its health will suffer, and even die.
- The non – tropical carnivorous plants , however, are native to cold but frost – free zones, where they enter dormancy during cold seasons.
- They are plants that require a good amount of natural light for at least 5 hours a day, although if possible, never during the hours of strongest incidence.
- With regard to temperature, the type of carnivorous plants that are not tropical need their hibernation period, so it is necessary to keep them at a temperature below 5 ºC for a period of between 3 and 5 months at a time. anus.
- For example, if you have a Nepenthes, you should know that it needs a high level of humidity in the air, or it will dry out. If your climate is not humid, you will have to be especially careful with watering and remember to sprinkle water in very fine particles on your plant up to 2 times a day, for example, using a sprayer.
- The irrigation of this type of plants tends to be done through immersion irrigation . It consists of placing the plant in a container with water, covering the base of the pot a few centimeters, leaving it like that for about 10 minutes and then returning it to its place. In summer, you have to repeat this process every two days.
When to change the substrate of carnivorous plants
Carnivorous plants must be transplanted every 2 years , at which time the substrate must also be completely replaced. To change the substrate of carnivorous plants, always use the mixture recommended in the first section of this article, and also make sure to get rid of as much of the old substrate as you can every time you change it. In this way, you will help your carnivorous plants to stay in good condition and looking good.