Carnivorous plants such as the pitcher plant and Venus fly trap can be fun and easy to care for. The plants are also fascinating for children to watch, especially when an unlucky fly lands in their trap. In their natural environment carnivorous plants can become large enough to eat a small frog or injured bird.
- Skill level:
Things you need
Choose a spot for your pitcher plant that receives only partial sun, or pot your plant so it can be easily moved if the sun becomes too bright. Pitchers plants cannot tolerate full sun. The plants thrive in temperatures ranging from 12.8 to 35 degrees Celsius. Soil mixtures should contain two parts to one of sphagnum peat moss and coarse sand, according to the University of Nebraska. A gravel bed should be provided beneath the soil for proper drainage.
Water your plant regularly. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely. Rain water, and purified and distilled water, are preferred to water with a high salt or chlorine content. Add 1/2 to 3/4 inches of water to the pitchers. Pitchers left dry will die back.
Provide your pitcher plant with adequate humidity. Plants placed in areas of low humidity may stop producing pitchers. The plants do particularly well in a controlled, humid environment such as a greenhouse or terrarium. A fish aquarium is adequate for small plants. By placing a piece of Plexiglas over the top you should be able to create a high humidity environment for your plant. Be sure to allow proper ventilation by leaving a small area open.
Feed carnivorous pitcher plants that do not have access to flying insects by adding a few flies or other small insects to the pitcher, or by adding Miracid™ directly to a mature pitcher. Miracid™ should be mixed at a rate of 1/8 tsp per quart of water. Fill the pitchers three-quarters full of water. Carnivorous plants such as the pitcher do not rely solely on insects for their food source. Pitcher plants, like all green plants, contain chlorophyll and produce food through photosynthesis.
Trim your pitcher plant regularly. Remove dead pitchers and leaves, and cut back vines if applicable. Do not trim more than 30 per cent of your plant at one time.
Tips and warnings
- To add oxygen to your water, fill a container halfway and shake it well before watering plants or filling pitchers.
- A 40-watt florescent light bulb will provide adequate lighting in darker winter months.
- Misting of leaves to supplement humidity levels is not recommended as this can cause leaf spot.
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