Active & Passive Carnivorous Plants

With the Spring outdoor season soon upon us, it usually means our workshop opportunities are coming to an end here at the nursery. We've had an immense amount of fun working with many various workshop topics this winter but perhaps the most anticipated topic occurred earlier in April. We had many attend our workshop on Carnivorous Plants. When we think about plants that eat something we often first think of the legendary Venus Flytrap. We often get requests for these unique plants all the time. And we're excited to announce after much searching that we have found a consistent source for carnivorous plants. Moving forward we intend to have them available all year long!

Since this is the case, I thought it best to provide some brief information for those interested in these fascinating plants. What many may not realize is that the renowned Venus Flytrap is actually native to the eastern United States. Primarily located in the Carolinas these plants are often located in boggy regions. These regions often have slow-moving water. Since that is the case the water making them not available for the plant often carries any nutrients that are normally found in soil away.  

So what are these plants supposed to do? There is plenty of light and water, but with no "minerals" available they would have a hard time doing any growing! Enter here their ability to consume insects. Crawling all around in boggy regions are millions of nutrient-packed "pills". All these plants need to do is figure out how to acquire them.

There are really two types of carnivorous plants. These types are known as active and passive. Active plants such as Venus Flytraps, Waterwheels, and other unique carnivores have hairs or sensors on their traps that when triggered cause a reaction that forces the plant to close in around its prey.  

An example of a "passive" carnivorous plant would be the North American Pitcher Plant. Also native to the Carolinas. These plants use large pitcher-shaped leaves filled with water and enzymes to entice and digest insects.

There is not enough time or room to cover all of the unique ways these plants work and grow, but I wanted to share some basic care required for these increasingly popular plants.

First, you absolutely must use either distilled or RO (Reverse Osmosis) water as your water source. Rainwater will be fine, as long as it is captured directly. If it runs over or through something where it may pick up extra minerals it may not be your best option. This is important because these plants do not acquire their fertilizers or "food" from their roots. They absorb them directly through their leaves.

The other care required for these plants is a bright environment. To think that these plants will do well in a dark room with no natural light would be a recipe for failure. Offer these plants a bright environment. Even consider placing them outside to catch insects during the summer months. However, if you have had them in the house all winter, be sure to dedicate the time to properly acclimate them to an outdoor environment. Do not place these plants in "full sun" after they have been in a much darker (even well-lit) window all winter. Doing so may cause them to burn.

While there are many varieties of carnivorous plants available for the current time being we will likely be limited as far as our diversity of options.  However, we are extremely excited about being able to offer these fun and unique plants all year long! We look forward to having you visit us the next time you're in Williston. Good luck and happy growing!


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