Creepy Carnivorous Plants

As Halloween quickly approaches, it’s the perfect time for a few creepy carnivorous plants. They’re helpful orchid allies, providing superb natural pest control, and they make great green alternatives to toxic pesticides. Bug-eaters come in many forms. Most famous are Venus Fly Traps, but there are also hundreds of varieties of pitcher plants, and many other lesser-known kinds. These predators share similar growing conditions to orchids, requiring high humidity and bright light. Some are native to tropical areas, while others grow in cold climates. Despite any scary stories you’ve heard, Little Shop of Horrors isn’t real — no plant can eat a human.

Venus Fly TrapsVenus Fly Trap with fly remainsPitcher plant with curvy stem

As bog plants, most need moist soil. Unlike orchids, carnivorous plants like to sit in trays of water. Only use rain water or purified water, since they cannot survive with tap water chemicals. Artificial fertilizer can kill them, too, so be careful not to splash when fertilizing orchids. However, compost is safe for them. Do not feed them meat like hamburger or poultry since they cannot digest it. All they need is pure water, a few bugs, and bright light. Remove old traps that brown and die. Some types go dormant over winter.

Tropical pitcher plantCarnivorous Sundew plantSundew plant with sticky leaves

Besides Venus Flytraps and pitcher plants, there are many varieties of sundews, whose leaves have sparkly tentacles of deadly glue. Butterworts (a.k.a. Pinguiculas, or Pings for short) don’t appear lethal, but their broad leaves have tiny, sticky hairs, and act like flypaper.

Indoors in my orchid collection, I’ve made room for a small sundew and a Ping. They’ve been efficiently digesting little pests like gnats, aphids, and other inadvertent hitchhikers from the back garden. Our 2 pet cats love to hunt larger insects, so these small-insect eaters round out my pest control team. Creepy carnivorous plants are indispensable for many orchid growers like me.

To learn more and select the best carnivore companions for your orchids, check these resources:

Pitcher plantPinguicula, or Butterwort, with leaves that trap small bugs (new leaf growing in middle)Carnivorous pitcher plant

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7 Comments on “Creepy Carnivorous Plants”

  1. nancy Says:

    Great idea! Years ago I bought a venus fly trap and a pitcher plant, more as novelties than to get rid of pests. They both died when I went on vacaton and they dried out. I never replaced them. But now you’ve given me the idea to try again and put them in with my orchids. Thanks!

  2. Rose Camson Says:

    Wonderful post. Keep writing such stuff! Iā€™d need to look at growing these carnivourous plants with you. That is not something I normally do! I consider satisfaction in reading through a post that will make make me think. Moreover, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

    Rose Camson

  3. Compost Guy Says:

    What a great idea for a blog post. I think the pitcher plant is pretty creepy!

  4. nezumi Says:

    Creepy indeed! Fantastic line up. We are going to be linking to this wonderful post on our internet site. Keep up the good work.

  5. Gabriela Ortiz Says:

    Ick! The plants are really cool but the dead bugs are not šŸ™ I had a venus flytrap but I couldn’t stand cleaning out the bug parts that were leftover.

  6. Brian Coleman Says:

    Hi, Extemrely helpful article, please write more..
    Best wishes

  7. DeboraQuinn19 Says:

    I didn’t know that they have so many kinds. Very interesting pictures!