Among the indoor cultures, the nature of which they like to guess is either friendly or aggressive, there are real predators. And it is not at all about mythical cultures that “draw energy” and “forge a dark aura”. Indoor predators are unique representatives of the flora that feed on insects and are naturally equipped with special mechanisms for attracting and capturing them. Despite their aggression towards midges, flies and co, these predator cultures are not only useful, but also very decorative. Lovers of exotic make up whole collections of carnivorous plants. And the choice is not so small.
Carnivorous carnivorous plants
Features of growing predators in rooms
Nature never ceases to amaze us with the variety of its forms and species. So, around the globe, about 300 plant species are rightfully ranked as a special category – carnivorous, insectivorous, or carnivorous cultures. Only 6 species are grown in room and greenhouse forms with varying success, but this representation is enough for fans of unusual plants to discover these amazing indoor predators.
Such carnivorous plants are in vogue today, and they are increasingly being offered as an outlandish gift for flower lovers or other, shall we say, extraordinary personalities. But since it is in the rooms for carnivorous plants that they do not have the necessary environment and access to food, raising predators is not an easy task.
The special status and reputation of predatory plants is largely determined today by legends and myths that surround these amazing inhabitants of not only the tropical jungle: there are predatory plants on every continent. The ability to feed on insects is a rare trait that is still perceived as outlandish. In the process of evolution, insectivorous plants have developed extraordinary mechanisms for luring, capturing and eating insects.
In some carnivorous plants, the leaves resemble bivalve shells and “slam shut” like a trap, in others, sticky leaves lure insects into a deadly trap, and still others form “jugs”, “bubbles” or “hoods” – modified leaves with gastric juice … Yes, and lure the future “Victims” of such plants not only smell, but also bright color, and sweet nectar. And in the natural environment they have no shortage of food. But when transferred to indoor culture, a pleasant bonus in the form of the destruction of annoying midges or mosquitoes is only one side of the issue. After all, there are very few insects in any apartment, especially with modern protection. And although unraveling the mechanism of their actions and endlessly trying to understand the structure of a complex predatory process is a very exciting task, everyone who decides to start a predatory plant should be ready to provide him with all the necessary conditions:
- For carnivorous crops, it is necessary to use a special substrate with an acid reaction (pH from 3,5 to 5,0 for most predators) based on sphagnum peat (or moss and peat, coconut fiber) and sand or perlite, with a reduced organic content. The main thing is the low nutritional value, to which these plants have adapted by developing the ability to feed on insects. In an ordinary nutrient-rich substrate, plants gradually die, since their root system has almost lost the ability to absorb the necessary substances from the soil.
- Predators are not planted in containers made of clay or other natural materials, but only in plastic containers.
- These plants are light-requiring and require additional lighting in winter. Even the slightest shading causes a loss of the decorative color of the leaves.
- The air temperature for them will have to be strictly controlled (from 10 to 22 degrees for plants from a temperate climate and from 22 degrees for tropical predators), avoiding excessive heat and cold, avoiding the proximity of air conditioners and heating appliances.
Without exception, all predators are moisture-loving crops. Constant humidity of both the substrate and the air is very important for them. Therefore, it is much easier to grow them in flower display cases and terrariums than to install large pallets of damp pebbles or special humidifiers. Maintaining a comfortable environment for them is the most time consuming and challenging responsibility of the entire care program. But all efforts will more than pay off with decorativeness. In addition, the water will have to be constantly monitored: predators can only be watered with filtered or rainwater. And foliar feeding does not simplify care. One more item will have to be included in the program of caring for the insectivorous inhabitants of the rooms – feeding with insects (spiders, slugs, flies, horseflies, etc.) or finely chopped raw meat.
For indoor culture, carnivorous plants of a temperate rather than tropical climate are most often chosen. Providing sufficient moisture, they are able to grow and develop quite successfully, bloom and delight others. True, not for many years: insectivorous cultures in the rooms, even with the most careful care, still suffer from the inadequacy of the habitat to their needs, sooner or later they die. But on the other hand, in those few years when they decorate your home, watching them is a pleasure.
Among indoor predators, there are four types of plants that have earned popularity for their comparative unpretentiousness and better adaptability to indoor conditions. Let’s get to know these favorites better.
For a list of the best indoor predator plants, see the next page.