Controlling Insects With Plants
The insect world is so vast that they outnumbered the human race by far, the human population is”7.9 billion” whereas there are estimated to be “10 quintillion insects” on planet earth. I know, the word quintillion can twist your tongue or cause you to get tongue-tied, That’s a lot of insects, many of these insects can be found in our homes and gardens.
Some of these insects are beneficial for our garden plants some of which include pollinators such as butterflies and bees while others police or protect our garden plants from (bad bugs) garden insect pests. Among beneficial insects are ladybugs, praying mantis, lacewings, dragonflies, solider beetles, ground beetles, syrphid fly, braconid-wasp, etc…
Then there are the bad bugs such as aphids, mealybugs, scales, spider mites, boxelder bugs, black vine weevil, cabbage lopper, blister beetle, etc.
What is so amazing is just as garden insect pests make a meal out of garden plants there are also plants that make a meal out of insects which we will be discussing. If your desire is to know more about these plant types then continue reading as we enter the amazing world of plant-eating insects.
Can Plants Eat Insects?
Below we will be discussing 5 plants that eat insects.
1. The Venus Flytrap
The Venus flytrap is probably the most common carnivorous insect-eating plant, the Venus flytrap has a very interesting and unique appearance this insect-eating plant lures its prey by opening up its mouth like leaves remaining motionless. When the unexpected prey brushes past or decides to take a rest the tiny hair that is sensitive to this plant causes the leaves to shut close trapping insects inside. The victim then becomes the venus flytrap meal.
Care of Venus flytrap
Venus flytrap thrives in poor acidic soils that are well-drain but still have some dampness, the environment of the venus flytrap should be humid. Although this plant thrives best in damp soil don’t allow your venus flytrap to stand or grow in soils that are constantly wet. These plants require 4-6 hours of sunlight.
2. Purple Pitcher Plant
There are said to be a number of pitcher plants native to North America, however, most of them are native to the Southeast. The pitcher plant lures insects through its color, scent, and nectar. Once the insect is trapped inside the purple pitcher plant, the hairs and the digestive acids take care of the rest.
The pitcher plant slowly breaks down the insects and absorbs nutrients that are essential for this plant to survive. Use a good potting mixture and never allow the mixture to dry out. The use of distilled water or rainwater is a must because minerals and chemicals that are found in tap water will harm this plant.
Care of Purple Picture Plant
The humidity level should be moderate to high, it’s best to set this plant on a humidity tray to raise the moisture around it. The purple pitcher plant thrives best in bright locations with some direct sunlight. Exposure to the sun will deepen the red/purple color of the leaves. Throughout the growing season, the soil should be evenly moist.
Sundew species are native to every continent except Antarctica, sundews are extremely sensitive to touch. These garden plants have hair-like tentacles that reach out for insects once contact is made. With some species, the leaves of the sundew will curl up to trap or engulf the insects. depending on the species sundews sizes range from a penny to the size of small bushes.
Sundew thrives as potted plants in a mixture of sphagnum moss and perlite or vermiculite, the soil must be constantly moist, this plant thrives best in full sun. Growing sundew indoors requires that you place them in a sunny location like a west or south-facing window, this plant can also survive in areas that have partial sun or indirect sunlight provided they get about 5 hours of sunlight each day.
4. Tropical Pitcher Plant
Tropical pitcher plants are native to lands that border the Indian ocean, some tropical pitchers are woody plants and hung in a downward position. These carnivorous plants trap insects by secreting sweet nectar, the insects are lured by this scent that is irresistible, but what the insect does not know is this sweet nectar is secreted in specific places on the trap.
Once the insect steps on the slippery peristome (upper rim) to consume the nectar they fall into the trap and drown at which time the insect is digested by the plant’s fluid.
Tropical Pitcher Plant Care
Tropical pitcher plants thrive best in a mixture of organic material, peat moss, and sand, this mixture should be kept moist not waterlogged or saturated which can lead to root rot. These plants need about 1o hours of sunlight each day when growing outdoors, if growing pitcher plants indoors placed them in a sunny location. Another method is to provide artificial lighting or a combination of both natural and artificial light is good also.
5. Yellow Pitcher Plant
The yellow Pitcher plant gets its name from its leaf structure that is shaped like a vessel to hold liquids, this plant thrives in Southeast Us in areas that are boggy and sandy. Insects are lured by the nectar scent that comes from the waxy potion pitcher tube that’s slippery, the insect once trapped slides down a coating of hairs that’s tiny. Once the insect reaches the zone where the digestive enzymes are located the insect’s nutrients are absorbed by digestive fluids.
Yellow Pitcher Plant Care
The yellow pitcher plant thrives best in the full sun, the soil should be well-drained acid soil. The soil should be consistently moist to wet but not waterlogged or water-saturated. Never allow the soil to dry out, during the winter months, mulch your yellow pitcher plant with pine needles to protect the plant from the cold temperature.
The final word on plant-eating insects
The plant kingdom is so fascinating, there are so many types that bring their own uniqueness which I think is so amazing. Who would have ever thought that there are plants that eat insects? These are just a few insect-eating plants there are many more, if you have an insect problem whether in your garden or indoor living space then these plants can help to reduce their population. Give these plant-eating insects a try and see for yourself. You will be amazed also.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.