Carnivorous plants are very popular as eye-catchers in the home – but unfortunately, mistakes are often made when caring for them. Which 5 faux pas you should avoid when caring for carnivores, you will learn here.
Carnivores are the dream of many gardeners – the carnivorous houseplants are with their exotic appearance and almost mystical reputation a real eye-catcher in the apartment and are additionally great to watch.
Unfortunately, many people have bad experiences with their first carnivore, because it often starts to ail after a short time or even dies completely. The reason for this is not the difficult nature of carnivores, but the fact that carnivorous plants require special care, which differs from the care of common houseplants.
To help you take proper care of your carnivorous plants from the very beginning, we have picked out the most common mistakes in caring for carnivores.
Video tutorial – Caring for Carnivorous Plants
Wrong soil for carnivorous plants
You want to do something good for your freshly purchased carnivore, so you repot it into a new container with fresh potting soil. While the thought is a good one, unfortunately, even this action can cause the exotic plant to begin to ail soon enough.
One of the most important points to consider when carnivorous plants are being cared for is the choice of appropriate soil – normal potting soil or houseplant soil is not tolerated by insectivorous plants. Since carnivorous plants are often found in nutrient-poor bog regions, they require a substrate that is precisely adapted to their needs.
These have a low pH value and are particularly low in nutrients, which is very beneficial to exotic plants. Carnivorous soils also have a high water storage capacity, which also has a positive effect on carnivorous plants.
Beginners in particular are advised against mixing carnivorous soil themselves – even advanced gardeners often find it difficult to find a balanced ratio of the individual components and thus provide their plants with the best possible foundation.
Wintering carnivorous plants incorrectly
A common mistake that is made is that all carnivorous plants are overwintered the same. In fact, however, it is necessary to distinguish between carnivores from temperate zones and carnivores of tropical origin.
Tropical species such as the pitcher plant (Nepenthes) should be given the same conditions and care in winter as in summer. In this case, light is often a major problem, as it quickly becomes too dark for the plants, even in sunny places. You can remedy this with a special plant lamp.
If, on the other hand, you have carnivorous plants from temperate regions – such as the sundew (Drosera) – they should be overwintered in a cool place. A bright room with about 53,6 °F is ideal to give the carnivores a rest. During this time, the carnivorous plants need less water, so watering intervals can be extended.
One of the most fascinating aspects of carnivores is probably the fact that they go out to catch prey. The intricate catching mechanisms of insectivorous plants delight young and old alike and never cease to amaze.
Those who care for carnivorous plants are therefore quickly tempted to actively feed their plants in order to observe the spectacular spectacle. However, this is not always beneficial to the health of the plants: For one thing, there are enough insects living in the home that additional feeding is not necessary.
On the other hand, the excessive irritation of the catch leaves can harm the plant in the long run. For example, the catch leaf of the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) usually only snaps five times before it dies.
Feeding animals that are too large can also be a problem for the plant, as the extra enzyme production can throw the plant’s digestion out of balance. Those who still do not want to refrain from feeding should do so only at longer intervals, making sure that the animals being fed are of an appropriate size.
Humidity too low
A nice warm place above the heater on the windowsill? What at first sounds like a good idea for the exotic carnivores, often turns out to be a big mistake. In fact, you have to pay meticulous attention to humidity if you want to properly care for carnivorous plants.
For example, some species of pitcher plant demand humidity levels of 80 to 100%, which is why they can only be successfully kept in special plant terrariums or a large bottle garden. Sundews and Venus flytraps are much more robust in this respect, but even here the humidity should not fall below 40%.
Especially if you have dry heating air in winter, you should therefore take care not to place the plant near heaters if possible and offer it a place with higher humidity (for example, as a plant for the bathroom).
Another trick to increase humidity is to place a water dish filled with expanded clay under the actual plant pot. The evaporation of the water will increase the humidity near the carnivore and it will feel right at home.
Water and fertilize carnivorous plants properly
When a regular houseplant is unwell, many gardeners reach for fertilizer or the watering can. But when carnivorous plants are cared for, extra fertilizing, in particular, is a cardinal mistake.
Since the plants normally grow in very nutrient-poor substrates, increased doses of nutrients can actually be toxic to them. In fact, insectivorous plants usually do not need additional nutrients in the form of fertilizer at all.
Instead, carnivorous plants should be repotted once a year into a container with fresh carnivorous soil. The sparingly dosed nutrients in it are sufficient for the entire year for the frugal plant.