Carnivorous plants are truly fascinating. Originating in places with poor soils, nature and evolution have allowed them to develop an unusual way to get the nutrients they need. They can not only catch insects, but also small amphibians, worms, and fish.
How to take care of carnivorous plants
The secret to helping a new plant adapt smoothly to our home is to reproduce the conditions of its natural habitat. This is particularly important for taking care of carnivorous plants, starting with the temptation to feed our plant with some type of dead insect, as we will see later.
Even if they are plants that we find outdoors in the middle of nature, the ones we usually buy come from nurseries with internal cultivation. They received high ambient humidity and sunlight in controlled quantities.
Therefore, once at home it is advisable to place them near the brightest window we have and gradually get it used to direct sunlight.
Most carnivorous plants will be comfortable in plastic pots, which will allow us to maintain their humidity more easily.
It is not essential to transplant them immediately. It is best to prioritize acclimatization and transplant it later if necessary.
As mentioned at the beginning, most of the carnivorous plants come from habitats with nutrient-poor soils. Using a universal, nutrient-rich soil, we could cause their death.
For this precise reason, we will not use fertilizers for our carnivorous plants.
At the time of transplanting, it is advisable to moisten the soil with distilled water and check that it does not crush excessively. The soil of carnivorous plants must be spongy and not very compact so that the roots can breathe.
The best way to take care of carnivorous plants through irrigation is by placing a saucer so that the soil can absorb the water it needs on its own. We can add more if we see that it has already absorbed everything but do not leave it permanently with a saucer full of water. This would cause the roots to rot, and with them our plant.
The type of water is also important: we should always use distilled water, rainwater or minimally mineralized bottled water.
The three best known carnivorous plants
Its most striking feature is the red filaments that grow along the tentacles and appear to store water on the tips. It is thanks to this sticky substance that it manages to trap insects.
When the victim lands on them, the tentacles like tentacles embrace it to catch it and, in some species, it is the whole leaf that curves over them.
It prefers a position in full sun, however, avoiding the central hours of the day. Drosera likes high environmental humidity, to which we can contribute by pulverizing water daily or growing it in a terrarium. The soil should always be moist, avoid temperatures below 10º in winter.
Venus flytrap (Dionea muscipula)
Perhaps it is the most surprising of all, with those huge mouths that close during the hunt. We said at the beginning that we should avoid feeding carnivorous plants with dead insects, and this is particularly important in the case of Dionea. The activation of its traps presupposes an important energy consumption and its digestion begins when it notices the movement of the captured prey.
It adapts very well to positions in full sun, provided that we acclimatize it little by little. He will thank us if we add water to his saucer during the process.
The traps of the Dionea are formed continuously because, after feeding them five or six times, they usually die. We recommend cutting dead mouths to avoid the appearance of mushrooms.
Unlike the two previous carnivorous plants, Nepenthes does not like direct sun, which could burn its leaves and traps. Particular attention must be paid to acclimatize them, increasing their sun exposure very slowly.
They appreciate very high humidity, so they should be sprayed with water several times during the day.