We have a couple of varieties of very clever and cunning carnivorous plants. The first one is the iconic 'Venus fly Trap' (Dionaea muscipula) and a number of 'Pitcher Plants' (Sarracenia). Both very effective non chemical means of dealing with flies, wasps, weevils and other unwanted creepy crawlies. Infact the Sarracenia purpurea is also rather adept a catching slugs.
The Fly Trap, and Pitcher plants do this fairly gruesome task in very different ways. However both can be grown healthily with correct carnivorous plant care.
When an unsuspecting insect or spider crawls along the leaves and comes into contact with one or more of the hairs twice in succession, the trap snaps shut. The trapping mechanism is so specialized that it can distinguish between living prey and non-prey stimuli such as falling raindrops; two trigger hairs must be touched in succession or one hair touched twice to fire the trap.
Venus flytraps can be grown outside on a deck, window sill, or in the garden that receives two to four hours of sunlight. In winter the trap will need to be indoors or in a greenhouse.
In areas of lower humidity, the plant can survive with frequent watering and a drainage system to prevent fungal growth. It is also beneficial to keep it in a tray with about an inch of water to maintain higher humidity levels. Stagnant water is dangerous for the plant, so using pebbles to elevate the plant from the water is safer for the plant. Venus flytraps grow better still in a greenhouse which often leads to healthy, vigorous and colourful plants. The colour of the trap leaves may be used as an indicator of sufficient light; in appropriate conditions the inside of each trap should be bright red in colour for most varieties.
Venus flytraps are best grown in mixtures of sphagnum peat moss and/or peat often with the addition of sand, perlite or other inert salt free material. Soil pH should be quite acidic.
The Venus Flytrap ideally should not be watered with tap water as accumulated salts in tap water may kill it. Also don't feed it, it receives its nutrients from its unsuspecting victims.
Insects are attracted by a nectar-like secretion on the lip of pitchers, as well as a combination of color and scent. Slippery footing at the pitchers' rim, aided in at least one species by a narcotic drug lacing the nectar, causes insects to fall inside. Here due to the waxy slippery walls and in the lower funnel fine downward pointing hairs the poor victim is trapped and slowly digested. (I could think of better ways to go)
Pitcher plants require constantly moist-wet, nutrient free acidic soil. This is most often achieved with a potting mix consisting of peat moss mixed with sand or perlite. The plants are super hardy can be grown outside on a deck, window sill, or in the garden that receives two to four hours of sunlight.
The Pitcher Plant ideally should not be watered with tap water as accumulated salts in tap water may kill it. Also don't feed it as it receives its nutrients from its unsuspecting victims.
Take a look at our Carnivorous Plants for sale to see our full range.