These are some of my favorite plants. I’m a bit of novelty seeker and that carries over into my garden as well.
I’ve grown carnivorous plants as houseplants forever and they thrived and were gorgeous. I purchased some pitcher plants that are suited for outside growing in Houston. They haven’t died, but they aren’t thriving either. Now after attending a talk on carnivorous plants I know why.
The speaker has a plant store in Spring, PetFlyTrap.com I purchased some great plants from him that I have growing indoors right now. Mike Howlett works at Jesse Jones Park and can frequently be found there giving talks on carnivorous plants should you wish to learn more.
A carnivorous plant is one that attracts its own food, catches its food, and digests its food. There are over 600 known species. The earliest reference we have to them is in the 1578 book ‘New Herbal’. The Victorians, like me, loved novelty so it is not surprising carnivorous plants were popular in Victorian greenhouses. When it was rumored the first New World pitcher plants arriving, they lined up at the docks to get them. ( much like gadget geeks of today )
Carnivorous plants can be found just about every where that is not a desert. There are even water dwelling carnivorous plants. Two, the Australian water wheel and Texas bladderwort live on mosquito larvae. If you wish to keep mosquitoes from breeding in your bird feeder toss some in. ( I’m hoping to acquire some soon. ) It thrives and needs no care.
Most home growers cut off the flowers to save the plants energy. Myself I found the flowers to be exotic and loved them as much as the plants and let them be.
Carnivorous plants are very slow growing plants, buy the largest one you can find.
Carnivorous plants do use photosynthesis for energy, but use the bugs to provide nutrients not found in the poor soils that they grow in naturally.
To care for carnivorous plants:
1) Use distilled or rain water or filtered tap water. They are extremely sensitive to chemicals.
2) Carnivorous plants want acidic soil. ( Add vinegar if needed to the water. Or just mix peat into your soil mix. )
3) Try not to play with them. If you feed them bugs use bugs that are half the size of the traps.
4) They love humidity.
5) No fertilizer, ever. They will die.
6) Light needs vary by plant, most want full sun.
My problem is that it is too basic outside. And it hasn’t rained in forever so they’ve been getting tap water. I repotted them up and put them in a deep pot to hold the water. We’ll see if that works.
Photos from a trip to Big Thicket carnivorous plant trails
Cephalotus follicularis care and information
Venus Flytraps care and information
Sundew care and information
US Pitcher plant care and information
Nepenthenes care and information
Micro terrariums with carnivorous plants
Local Spring carnivorous plant dealer
Big Thicket, only a day trip from Houston to see carnivorous plants in the wild