Carnivorous plants are defined as “insectivorous” precisely because of their particular way of obtaining food. The most common and well-known, which can be purchased at almost any nursery, belong to the DIONAEA MUSCIPULA type and are equipped with the famous pressure trap. These are the plants that any beginner should approach because they are really very robust and can withstand any type of temperature: even the harshest winters. But in addition to the snap trap, Mother Nature allowed these plants to develop conical traps with anti-reverse mechanisms, baskets filled with gastric juices, and sticky appendages. These are plants that generally give great satisfaction. With some you have to be especially careful as they would die in the cold Italian winters.
Giant carnivorous plants: Nepenthes
This type of plants is characterized by a trap called “sea squirts”. The operation is very simple: the edge of the ascidian is rich in a translucent and very sweet substance which attracts insects. When they meet near the “mouth” end, they pull each other more inward; closer and closer to the gastric juices of the plant. The moment the insect tries to fly or flee, it becomes trapped inside with no chance of escape. Once death has occurred (often due to distress or drowning), the insect is digested in what is a true stomach for the plant, and the cycle repeats itself for each unlucky “host”. These plants, in particular the variety NEPENTHES TRUNCATA, unlike many others, they can reach very interesting dimensions (see photo); They can even measure 30 to 40 cm long. With their colors, they also have a decidedly impressive visual impact. Ideal for those who believe “size matters”.
Giant carnivorous plants: Sarracenia
The sarracenia can be defined as a giant plant but in height; some of them can reach about a meter. Much depends, more than the species, on the genetic structure that a single plant carries. This genus is characterized by a long stem that ends in a kind of cap. The interior is equipped with many pointed bristles that face inwards. These are used to ensure that the insect, once it reaches the end of the constricted duct, is trapped with no chance of escape. As for the nepenthes, the plant attracts its prey with sugary and very sticky substances (if you try to put them upside down you will see these liquids flowing through the ducts) which obviously act as gastric juices. Sarracenia are cold-resistant, and there are photos that depict them even under the snow. So no problem for them. They are very beautiful plants that fascinate with the shapes and colors of the “hood”; never equal to each specimen.
From the information obtained from the natural environment of these plants, all that remains is to imitate the same characteristics and cultivate them. This is what it needs: LIGHT, lots of light, even direct, can only be beneficial for the plant which will benefit from it with lush and vigorous growth. HUMIDITY: carnivorous plants like stagnant environments, it is advisable to spray frequently but above all to leave at least 2 cm of water in the saucer, which, once evaporated, will favor the hydration of the plant. DISTILLED WATER: carnivorous plants live in soils poor in nutrition and should absolutely not be fertilized, they would surely die; when watering, do not pour the water directly on the plant but in the saucer, leaving, as mentioned, 2 cm of water always stagnate! Regular iron or water from an air conditioner will work well. Last detail: winter. Venus flytraps (a little less sarracenias) resist even very harsh temperatures but nepenthes and many others would not tolerate a cold climate, so they must be brought inside to protect themselves; better if in a warm greenhouse.