Plants that eat mosquitoes are fast becoming most gardeners’ favorites. These carnivorous plants provide an environmentally friendly method of pest control with their insect-trapping mechanisms while beautifying your garden.

Plants for Natural Mosquito Control

They are also easy to grow and maintain. But are these eco-friendly mosquito eaters a more effective means of insect control than regular insecticides? Let’s find out below.

Species of Carnivorous Plants That Eat Mosquitoes

1. Pitcher Plant

The pitcher plant is also known as the Nepenthes scientifically, and this insect is unarguably one of the most famous carnivorous plants, with over 150 species, including the California pitcher, purple pitcher, Nepenthes alata, etc.

– Characteristics

These herbaceous perennials grow in clumps and can reach up to five feet tall and 30 inches in its diameter. They have hanging hollow, brown-red funnel-shaped pitchers on green leaves with rims that secrete sweet-smelling nectar that attracts insects.

This plant is hardy in zones six to eight and can live in areas prone to fire outbreaks, although they are often found in the dampest parts of bogs. If you want to use pitcher plants to catch mosquitoes in your home or garden, you can set up a bog garden or grow them in an open terrarium.

Once a mosquito approaches, these plants will eat them in an instant, and this way, the bug will trap because the plants are multiple.

Exploring the Carnivorous Pitcher Plant

– Trapping Mechanism

The pitcher plant relies on the sweet-smelling nectar on its rims, which is slippery and micro-studded, to lure insects. However, some species’ upper pitcher displays unique reflections that attract insects to their rims.

Just as the insect lands on it, it slides down the peristome until it reaches the plant’s bottom. The inner wall on the bottom part of the plant is filled with digestive fluid that drowns and decomposes trapped insects.

In this case, the multicellular glands on the inner walls then absorb the nutrients, as a result, these nutrients released from the insects allow the pitcher plant to grow in nutrient-poor soil.

– Growth Requirements

Since pitcher plants derive their nutrients from the insects they feed on, they do not need rich, organic soil. They, however, need moist, acidic, well-draining soil, so that it thrives and does not stress due to the soil not being adjusted.

They are used to growing in boggy areas, so you can create a bog garden for the plant or grow it at the edge of a pond. Not only that, but they enjoy full sun but do well in partial shade. Also, not that these are low-maintenance plants and won’t survive without fertilization, but you can use orchid fertilizer on them every month during their growing season.

2. Venus Fly Trap

The venus fly trap or the Dionaea muscipula, is a carnivorous perennial common to eastern parts of the US. This carnivorous plant is one of the most plants that most enthusiasts would like to invest in, because of the way that it degenerates and ingests insects.

– Characteristics

Hardy in zones that range between five and eight, it has a creepy-looking clamshell mouth with short conspicuous hairs that trigger the mouth to shut once an insect touches them.

These evergreen plants bloom yearly in spring and summer with white flowers with green veins that produce seeds when pollinated and can live for about 20 years in the wild. Venus flytraps can reach up to 12 inches tall and nine inches wide when mature.

– Trapping Mechanism

The venus flytrap has a clamshell mouth made of two lobes hinged at the end of a leaf. These lobes have white, spiky bristles that make up the “trap” and have sweet-smelling nectar to lure insects to their hairs, known as trichomes.

Fascinating World of the Venus Flytrap

However, these trichomes will only shut if they are stimulated multiple times within 20 seconds, after which an electric charge is sent through the plant.

The venus fly trap is known to have short-term memory and can count to five, so if an insect touches its hair five times, it starts producing digestive enzymes. These enzymes break down the insects’ soft parts to release nutrients that the plants eat.

Remember that once it has caught an insect, it takes about four to six days to open up again and uses the nutrients from its decomposed prey to lure its next victim.

– Growth Requirements

When trying to repel mosquitoes, it is best to grow the venus fly trap as a potted houseplant. Although it is easy to care for, it requires certain conditions. It requires 12 hours of sunlight daily, and six hours must be in full sunlight.

You must ensure you grow it in an area where it can feed on lots of mosquitoes because it only opens its lobes a certain number of times in its lifespan. You can use poor, moist, acidic, well-draining soil to plant your Venus flytrap and only use rainwater to water it, so you must fertilizer is not required for this plant.

3. Common Bladderwort

Common bladderwort or the Utricularia Vulgaris, is a perennial aquatic carnivore that uses bladder-like traps to catch its victims.

– Characteristics

This carnivore, commonly found in ponds, rivers, lakes, and streams, is native to the Northern parts of the states and hardy in hardiness zones five through 11. It has over 200 species that are used in tropical aquariums.

They grow quickly but require constant maintenance as some species are invasive and can effortlessly intertwine with other plants.

These plants are very good for mosquito control because mosquitoes begin their life cycle in water bodies which allows the common bladderworts are very quick destroy them in their habitat.

The flowers of this plant are two-lipped, yellow, and bisexual, with two stamens, five petals, and a forward-facing ovary.

Carnivorous Common Bladderwort

– Trapping Mechanism

The bladderwort has a trap door in its multiple hollow sacs, known as bladders, covered in tiny trigger hairs that open once an insect touches it. This bladder then traps the insect by snapping shut in a fraction of a second using elastic energy stored after water is pumped out of the bladder.

Once the insect is inside, the bladderwort releases digestive enzymes that break it down to nutrients the plant can absorb. The bladders of this plant are one of the most complex plant structures in the world.

– Growth Requirements

Bladderworts are best grown in bog gardens, aquariums, or greenhouses using peat moss and mineral-free water. They require up to filtered sunlight every day but don’t require fertilizer, or else they would be stressed throughout their journey.

4. Cape Sundew

Scientifically, they are known as the Drosera capensis, or the cape sundew, is a mosquito-loving plant found in Australia but native to the Cape area of South Africa, hence its name. It is a large-sized, showy, evergreen perennial that grows partially in water or boggy gardens.

– Characteristics

It is also easy to grow and can survive for many years due to well-developed roots. This carnivorous plant has over a hundred species, including the English sundew, king sundew, fork-leafed sundew, rosette sundew, round-leaf sundew, etc.

When mature, the cape sundew can reach a height of about 10 inches, in addition, its leaves shoot out from the stem and have two parts; lamina and petiole.

The lamina is the flat end of the leaf that contains hundreds of little tentacles with an adhesive tip to attract and trap prey, while the petiole is the bottom part of the leaf that connects the lamina and the roots.

These sundews are hardy in USDA zones nine through zone 11, and apart from helping to get rid of mosquitoes, they have been used to cure ailments such as cough, morning sickness, sunburn, asthma, etc. The flowers of this plant bloom in autumn or late summer and can be lilac or pink colored.

Closer Look at its Carnivorous Habitat

– Trapping Mechanism

The flat part of the cape sundew’s leaves, called the lamina, has tentacles with sticky tips that are sensitive and move on their own. These sticky tips result from the glandular cells that produce a clear, sticky, sweet-scented substance that attracts insects.

Once an insect is caught on the sensitive tentacles, they secrete more fluid and all bend in one direction to retain the victims. Weak acids and digestive enzymes contained in the plant begin to break down the prey.

If the insect is large enough, the plant’s leaf will fold from the top to trap and suffocate it, as it will eventually die. When you see the latter, it doesn’t mean that the plant digested it, on the contrary, it takes about four days to a week for the sundew to digest its victim and open up its leaf again.

– Growth Requirements

Like most carnivorous plants, Cape sundews can survive in several nutrient-poor soils since they get all the nutrients they need from insects they trap. So you can use a potting mix with peat or sphagnum moss and enough fresh water to keep the plant moist or plant them in well-drained, acidic, boggy, sandy, and moist soil.

It grows best in full sun or partial shade, so you must assure it gets up to six hours of sunlight daily. Fertilizing this plant is not necessary.

5. Butterworts

Butterworts is also known as the Pinguicula scientifically, also known as marsh violet or bog violet, is a herbaceous carnivorous plant common in Scotland and Southern USA. These carnivorous plants grow primarily in rock crevices, fens, or acidic bogs.

– Characteristics

With over 80 species, the butterwort is hardy in zones 10 and 11 and can survive as perennials.

The butterwort plant is small. It is typically reaching heights of just six to eight inches when mature. This means that, it can be unrecognizable until it blooms. Its funnel-shaped flowers usually bloom in spring through summer and can be pink, white, yellow, or purple. Its yellowish-green leaves are soft and form a rosette or star shape with a sticky or buttery feel.

– Trapping Mechanism

The leaves of the butterwort lie flat on the ground and secrete an adhesive insect-trapping mucous that attracts insects such as mosquitoes. Once the insect lands on one of the leaves, it gets stuck, and the leaves slowly curl up to trap it, as a result they will suffocate.

Uncovering the Secrets of Butterworts

As the insect struggles to escape, it triggers the leaves will release of digestive enzymes in the leaves, which gradually break down and melt their bodies to absorb the necessary nutrients. The butterwort traps are passive, which means that they don’t require movement to catch insects.

– Growth Requirements

The butterwort is relatively easy to grow and doesn’t require much maintenance. You can grow it as a potted plant indoors or outdoors in your garden. Wherever you choose to grow it, one thing must be common; water.

If you are growing it in your garden, you must create boggy and alkaline soil conditions. The soil should also be nutrient-poor. The same applies indoors, except the soil must be sandy, well-draining, and moist. It would be best if you watered it regularly.

It grows best in full sun to partial shade, and fertilizing is not required since they derive nutrients from the insects they catch.

6. Dutchman’s Pipe

The Dutchman’s pipe, or the Aristolochia macrophylla, also known as Pipe vine or broad-leaved Birthwort, is a woody perennial climbing vine native to the eastern US.

– Characteristics

It has large, heart-shaped leaves reaching up to 20 inches at maturity. The leaves, which form dense, overlapping foliage, are smooth to the touch, deep green on the surface, and silvery on the bottom. It is hardy in zones four to eight and can grow to about 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide when mature.

The Dutchman’s pipe has pipe-shaped flowers that bloom from spring to early summer and come in yellow or green colors with brownish lobes. But they can sometimes be lost in the vine’s dense foliage.

However, they are also sweet-scented and attract insects and butterflies, as a result to this, Dutchman’s pipe is harmful to man and animals if ingested as it contains aristolochic acid, which can result in kidney failure.

The Enigmatic Dutchmans Pipe

– Trapping Mechanism

The brownish lobes of the Dutchman’s flowers emit an enticing odor that attracts insects. Once the insect lands, it follows the scent that draws it into the interior chamber of the flower, which has rigid hairs that can trap the insect.

However, rather than killing the insect, it secretes pollen that it dusts on the insects that have come in contact with other Dutchman pipe flowers, then releases its flowers, so the insect can escape and transfer its pollen, which is very keen in this case.

However, insects, such as mosquitoes, that have not come in contact with pollen before entering the flower remain trapped, waiting for one that does. If this takes a long time, they eventually die off.

– Growth Requirements

The Dutchman’s pipe is easy to grow and maintain if you have the proper requirements. It requires full sun for up to six to eight hours daily to bloom properly. It requires moist, well-drained, and neutral to acidic soil. Watering should be done regularly, mainly at the plant’s roots, not the leaves. You can fertilize your pipe vine once every year.


Using carnivorous plants as a method of pest control is a good idea. But they wouldn’t help to get rid of or repel mosquitoes effectively. They can only help reduce their numbers while providing added cosmetic benefits to your home or garden. It is advisable to seek out more effective mosquito control methods. But take note of these points;

  • The common bladderwort is the fastest and most effective carnivorous plant for getting rid of mosquitoes.
  • All these plants always require boggy or moist conditions.
  • Fertilizers are not required for the venus fly trap, cape sundew, common bladderwort, or butterwort plants.

If you’re interested in using carnivorous plants to help with mosquitoes in your garden, start by trying any of these mosquito-eating plants.


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