Popular Carnivorous Plants

Of the more than 1,600 carnivorous plant species and hybrids so far identified, many are hard to obtain or difficult to grow. This chapter therefore concentrates on those plants which are most suitable for the beginner, all of them being easy to grow, inexpensive, readily available and fascinating or beautiful. (The compost types referred to at the end of the cultivation notes are described in table 3, p.13). Perhaps the best known carnivorous plant is the Venus fly trap, Dionaea muscipula....

What is a Carnivorous Plant

Carnivorous plants share only one feature - the ability to trap other living organisms to be used as a source of food. The plants that fall within this definition need not be botanically related and therefore they show a wide variety of forms, including several distinct types of trapping mechanism. Remarkable as it may seem, almost all traps are highly modified leaves. To be accepted as carnivorous, a plant must not only have a mechanism for trapping, but the trap must also be specifically...

Pests and Diseases

Carnivorous plants are luckily troubled by very few pests and diseases and the grower should be able to control any problems relatively easily. As with all diseases, prevention is better than cure. Only one disease is likely to cause any real trouble, this being the fungal infection Botrytis. An outbreak is easy to spot, the fungus appearing as a grey fuzz of very slim hairs and, if mature, creating a cloud of grey dust when disturbed. The dust consists of spores, which will spread the...

Cultivation

This chapter gives general information on the cultivation requirements of carnivorous plants for further details, see the individual descriptions on pp.32-55. Commercially available composts are not recommended for carnivorous plants, but it is easy and cheap to mix suitable composts at home and does not require precise measurement or many ingredients. Care must be taken to ensure that the mixture is made up in the correct proportions, as carnivorous plants vary in their preferences, from those...

Recommended plants

D. pygmaea easy pygmy sundew, increases quickly. D. binata beautiful, forked leaves, windowsill plant (see p.39). D. capensis easy windowsill plant, leaves bend to trap (see pp.13 and 39). D. aliciae very easy rosette, suitable for windowsill. D. peltata upright plant, easiest of the tuberous types. D. whittakeri easy resetted tuberous form, large white flowers (see p.18). D. stoloni era easy tuberous, many forms, large white flowers. D. adelae must be kept warm, large, leaves well coloured in...

Growing Indoors

A number of carnivorous plants make good house plants see table 6 . A position near a south-facing window suits the majority of them. The tall Sarracenia species in particular require full sun and will otherwise grow into long thin pitchers which are unable to support themselves. All pitcher plants need maximum light to develop their colour. However, there is some risk of damage from the rays of the sun which, when magnified by glass, may cause leaf scorch. Plants with fleshy leaves, especially...