Carnivorous plants are plants that get nutrients from animals like insects. They have different methods of sucking in prey in order to feed and support their growth. There are many different species of carnivorous plants so it's important to learn about the growing habits and needs of each one before choosing one to buy. Here are some tips on how to buy carnivorous plants.
Categories of Carnivorous Plants
Carnivorous plants are divided by the way that the plant attracts and captures its prey. There are three methods of doing so: active, semi-active and passive.
Active traps exhibit a lot of rapid movement when capturing prey. These are typically large plants, such as the Venus Flytrap.
Semi-active traps will open in order to attract prey and then close very slowly over many hours. Sometimes they move so slowly it's hard to even notice that they are in motion but sticky drops inside the mouth of the plant keep the insects from escaping. The sundew is an example of a semi-active trap.
Passive traps are usually in the shape of a tube. Their prey enters the tube and is unable to escape, even though the plant doesn't move at all. Pitcher plants are an example of this type of trap.
Caring for Carnivorous Plants
Once a buyer has determined which type of trap they would like to buy, there are a few other considerations that have to do with growing the carnivorous plants. The buyer should make sure that the plant will be growing in an environment that can meet all of these requirements.
Keeping Plants Watered
The main reason carnivorous plants die is because the soil dries out. The soil should be wet or damp all of the time. It's easiest to do this by setting the pots in a tray with water in it so that they can continuously soak up the water.
These plants shouldn't be fed tap water. They will do better if rainwater or distilled water is used. The minerals in tap water and bottled drinking water can be too harsh on the plants and will over-fertilize them.
Likewise, the minerals in soil can be harsh on plants. It's best to find a soil that is rich in peat and sand and the sand should be clean and washed. Don't use beach sand because it has a high salt content that is hard on the plants. Flytraps usually prefer more sand than other types and nepenthes prefer more peat.
Plenty of Light
Carnivorous plants should be exposed to plenty of natural light. Many of them will grow very well outdoors, where they can soak up sunshine without any filters but they can also thrive in a windowsill that faces east, west or south. They can also be grown under artificial light, but should get between 12-14 hours.
Where to Buy Carnivorous Plants
Carnivorous plants can be purchased at a variety of stores. Nurseries carry them and buyers can inquire about the types of plants and specific care instructions they require.