Plants that eat flies are common, but only a few gardeners know about their availability. Plants that eat insects are called carnivorous plants, and this species is known to ingest bugs that are dangerous to our plants.
Compared to pesticides that are counter-productive, using biological control methods like growing carnivorous plants is cost-effective and poses no harm to humans.
Below are plants that eat animals and insects.
List of Plants that Eat Flies
1. Monkey Cups
These carnivorous plants ingest bugs that love eating plants. Widespread in Malaysia and Sumatra, the plant got its name due to its shape. They can hold water in their pitcher, which monkeys will come around to drink. The pitcher is cup-shaped, which traps the prey and digests them. Insects are attracted to pitcher plants because of the nectar secretions. When they fall into the pitcher, the plant’s fluid digests them. They are one of the easiest carnivorous pitcher species to grow.
– Growth Requirements
This tropical plant doesn’t grow fast. It can take up to a decade to fully mature. Once it fully matures, it starts to vine and grow fast. Surprisingly, these cup-shaped plants are also indoor plants that eat bugs.
They need to be planted in areas where they will have access to enough sunlight. They don’t need fertilization as they get all their nutrients from the insect they ingest. So don’t stress yourself over getting rich soil for them.
You need to water the plant regularly if grown indoors to keep the soil moist. Avoid making the soil soggy, as it would lead to root rot. Remember that you must not irrigate it with tap water if it contains chemicals, hence using some distilled water or rainwater will suffice.
2. Venus Flytrap
Venus fly traps or Dionaea muscipula are a nightmare to pests and bugs. People don’t grow this perennial plant for its looks but for what it does. These famous carnivorous plants’ names do what they are called—they use their lobes to trap insects, like waterwheel plants and Cephalotus follicularis. The nectar in the lobes is the bait that attracts the insect. Once inside, the insect can never get out as it clings to the hair. The lobe then opens after a week of consuming the prey.
Venus flytrap is widespread and can reach a height of up to 12 inches and nine inches wide when it fully matures. They are mostly grown indoors like regular houseplants where they are carefully observed. The plants are hardy for USDA zones 5 and above. Venus flytraps don’t harm humans, so don’t go googling whether they are plants that eat humans.
– Growth Requirements
This plant does best in slightly acidic, well-drained soils. The soil doesn’t need to be rich since the plant derives its nutrients from the bugs they ingest. They prefer full sunlight, but they can tolerate partial sun. They must be planted in areas that receive at least 4 hours of sunlight daily during the growing season. The flowers begin to appear from spring to summer.
These carnivorous plants need to be constantly fed with flies and bugs to grow well. Grab the insect with a tweezer, and you can insert it into the trap until it touches the hair. Note that this plant only opens and closes several times in its life, so ensure you keep a journal to track the timing.
Furthermore, when you are caring for it, the watering process should be done with rainwater in order to best avoid any chemical contact with the plant. A period comes when the plant will shed all its leaves and appear to be dying, but don’t worry.
The plant lives through the rhizome, so the leaves will regrow in spring. Before regrowing, water the plant sparingly. During spring, resume regular watering to keep the soil moist.
Bladderworts or Utricularia spp, are another insect-trapping plant grown in gardens. With over 200 known species globally, these aquatic pitcher plants grow in lakes, ponds, and waterlogged soils.
These plants are rootless, with long stems that shoot from the water. They may be carnivorous, but their orchid-like flowers make them beautiful. The flowers come in yellow, white, purple, and red. The bright yellow flowers usually come out in the summer, and still they look so beautiful for a carnivorous plant.
Looking at the bladderwort, the stems are leafless as they only produce flowers. However, they are small leaves that share a similarity with rubbery bladders deep down in the water, and specifically, this is where small insects are trapped.
The bladders have tiny hairs that open to lure the insect with a slimy substance they excrete. Whatever falls into this trap is eaten by the plant. Although bladderworts are carnivorous, they are eaten by aquatic animals, such as fish, reptiles, and turtles.
– Growth Requirements
Bladderworts are cultivated in spring through transplanting. Dig up and move mature plants during the period. Alternatively, you can shake dry the flowers over a plate to remove the tiny seed. This plant reseeds conveniently but can be invasive.
If you want to grow indoors, ensure the plant gets four hours of direct sunlight and another four hours of indirect sunlight daily. The container must be set in a dish of chemical-free water.
However, it is very important to remember that this plant needs to be watered constantly while it’s still developing. On the other hand, once it is fully mature, you can water sparingly, and as it has developed its roots well and strong, it will grow.
Sundews are tropical perennial plants known for using their prey-catching mechanism to ingest those troublesome pests in your garden. With more than 90 species, Sundew is named so because they look like their leaves are covered in dew, but if you check it in reality, they are tentacles.
Their lush leaves appear in various sizes and shapes, such as oval and round. However, that depends on the species. Also known as Drosera spp, cape sundew is one of the easiest species to grow for beginners, and it’s also fun to grow a carnivore plant that will eat flies. It matures fast and spread. Sundew plants are commonly found in Australia and hot humid areas like Florida in the United States.
Their leaves secrete scent mucus substance that lures insects, such as gnats to the plant. The insects are then captured and trapped in the sticky surface where they are eaten. The leaves curl up like a corkscrew plant to prevent the insect from escaping and then release when the insect is digested. This takes roughly six days for the plant to digest it and get rid of it.
– Growth Requirements
Sundews do well in partial shade to full sun in moist, acidic sandy soils. You can grow them indoors or outdoors under the right conditions to imitate the tropical climate. Growing this plant near water mimics their tropical setting, and as the environment is given to it in the respectful way, this is how it will thrive.
If you want to grow indoors, choose a location that’s close to the window where it will receive partial sunlight. Additionally, add a mix of perlite and peat moss to the potting soil. The mixture will preserve moisture and raise the acidity level to the required pH for the plant.
It is very important to know that you should not expose this plant to freezing temperatures since they love warm and humid environments, or else it may be on the edge to become dormant in the long run, and it would be damaging.
On the other hand, water frequently to keep the soil in the container moist. Sundews won’t tolerate mineral water if potted. Use only distilled water or rainwater when watering. You should also prune when necessary to reduce the spread and promote growth.
5. Cobra Lily
Darlingtonia Californica, sometimes called the California pitcher plant, is another interesting carnivorous plant that attracts prey into its trap. Similar to the trumpet pitcher, this wavy plant gives you a remarkable view of life diversity. In addition, it is native to North America, this plant secretes digestive enzymes that break down the pest for digestion. This is unlike other pitchers that use rainwater to trap their prey.
This plant is widespread in boggy locations. They grow in groupings and spread asexually via runners and sometimes flowers. The plant has modified leaves that stand firmly from the base and end in the foliage. One imagines a life cobra when looking at the leaves. I guess that’s why the plant is named so.
– Growth Requirements
Cobra lilies do well in moist soils with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5, and it does best in warm temperatures and full sun. Sometimes, they need cold water to cool off the roots. I recommend growing this plant indoors, as it is easier. Plant this in a high amount of peat with garden sand. Add water daily and move the plant to a cooler shelter if temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Water the plant with rainwater, which means that you must cut back any damaged stems and leaves to promote growth. Like most pitchers, this plant doesn’t require fertilization. They grow by ingesting insects. Keep water off the leaves to prevent fungal growth because it is prone to this feature, hence you must be careful.
6. Sun Pitcher
This gorgeous-looking tropical pitcher plant is native to South America. Their pitchers are hues of green and red, which makes the plants good-looking. Like others, this variety uses its beautiful nectar to trap insects with the liquid. The insects have no chance of escaping from the nectar of this plant.
This insect-eating plant grows up to 16 inches, depending on the species. Unlike others, this variety is the most difficult to grow because it requires correct temperatures and high humidity levels.
Nothing compares this plant to sundews, as this one is able to grows slowly. It takes roughly five years before the first adult pitcher appears. It might take another couple of years before flowers begin to appear.
– Growth Requirements
These plants love bright sunlight, so they should be planted in a sunny area or kept near a window that receives sunlight. They prefer rich soils with organic matter. If planting indoors, ensure you fill the container with a mixture of peat moss and perlite in two to one ratio. To see it grow well you must make sure that the soil stays damp all the time as well. Keep the indoor temperature at 60 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
These pitchers are straightforward to care for, as they require low maintenance. They need regular watering during their growing season. Pour water into the soil and not over the leaves.
Although pitchers derive their nutrients from insects, adding liquid or hydrogen fertilizer will aid their growth. Prune the plant during the winter if the leaves start to appear brown.
Plants that eat flies are better alternatives to pesticides as they pose less harm to humans and the environment. Plus, they are easy to grow since they derive most of their nutrients from the insects they ingest. Besides keeping some insects in check, they add some beauty to your garden. Before planting any of these plants, take note of the following points;
- These plants don’t eat humans.
- While they eat pests, they can also be damaged by other kinds.
- They don’t typically need fertilization.
- Pitchers prefer mild temperatures and sunlight.
If you have bugs troubling your precious plants, growing these plants is the perfect way to curb them. Watching them trap prey is exciting.
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