Carnivorous plants are one of nature’s most intriguing creations. These plants have evolved best fitting their environment’s typical nutrient-deficient soils, such as those found in swamps, bogs, or heaths. Their evolution has introduced many different types of bugs, rats, mice, and other small animals to their diet. These plants have become the perfect traps for their prey, letting their next meal in but making it impossible to get out. Each plant brings its unique way to entice and capture its prey. A mixture of using nectar, substances that shine in the sun, sticky substances, slippery substances, and feeler hairs. How do any of these plants work, and can they be kept at home to help keep any annoying pests controlled?
The Pitcher Plant takes its name from the tops of the leaves, which resemble the tops of water pitchers. Yellow, pink, and purple are some of the color highlights you may see on a Pitcher Plant. Pitcher Plants may trap numerous meals in one leaf because of their tall, steep leaves. The digestion process begins when a bug reaches the inside of the leaf. Bugs will slip and fall into a liquid at the bottom of the leaf. The liquid is where the nutrient breakdown begins. Precipitation is essential for a Pitcher Plant because it keeps the leaves slick enough to catch bugs. Pitcher Plants, unlike most other carnivorous plants, do not produce a sweet substance that attracts bugs. The opening at the top of the leaves is what interests the bugs enticing them to climb in. A Pitcher Plant requires a lot of water to develop, and with the number of mosquitoes in Kansas City, growing outside could be an issue, adding to the mosquito population in your yard. Growing indoors is a better alternative for pest control in the Kansas City area, but you’ll need a lot of sunlight, so a grow lamp might be necessary.
If you are dealing with gnats, a Butterwort is good to keep by the sink window. This small plant requires a small amount of care but does have specific needs. The Butterwort works as a glue trap; the leaves have different glands on each leaf in which one produces a sticky substance that traps any pest that comes in contact. The second gland is digestive enzymes that break down for nutrients. Once broken down, the bugs; are pulled into the plant through the same glands that produce the enzymes. Placed in the correct soil, a mixture of sphagnum moss and vermiculite or sand and kept outside, a Butterwort can be mostly self-sufficient. one will need to water routinely to keep the plant sticky enough to capture a meal.
Sundews capture prey much like a Butterwort as they have sticky hairs on their leaves. These orange hairs are also how bugs; will be digested. Once captured, these hairs will roll, further trapping the prey until fully digested, at which point it will unroll and be ready to trap the next pest. Sundew gets its name from the dew-like droplets generated by the hairs. These hairs also contain nectar that the plant utilizes to entice animals. Sundews, unlike Butterworts, grow in a wider range of environments and are easier to cultivate in a variety of temperatures. But as a carnivorous plant, a Sundew requires specific soils. Specifically, sphagnum moss is a favorite of these plants.
If you plan on growing a carnivorous plant doing the correct research is a must. These plants have specific needs when it comes to soils, watering, and weather conditions. These four plants are some of the best for growing in the KC area. Kansas City pests come in a wide variety, flies, mosquitoes, ants, and more. All these plants can take care of one or more of these pests to help with DIY pest control. If you are experiencing pest problems, a professional service such as Blue Beetle Pest Control is highly recommended.