Carnivorous plants lure and digest insect prey in order to supplement their diet, which is often lacking because of poor soil conditions or other factors. Though the Venus fly trap, a rare native of South and North Carolina, is most well-known carnivorous plant, there are many others. Many carnivorous plant species can be grown in the home.
Butterworts are small plants with sticky leaves that lure and digest insect prey into a drinkable soup. The plants also produce small, delicate flowers. Primrose butterwort (Pinguicula primuliflora) boasts 3-inch leaves and white or violet flowers that resemble primrose blooms. Mexican butterwort (Pinguicula moranensis) is a larger species, with leaves reaching 6 inches or longer. Butterworts do best in bright, indirect sunlight in a shallow tray of water with a few pebbles for added humidity.
A native of South Africa, cape sundew (Drosera capensis) is a carnivorous plant that catches its prey with sticky glands that glisten on tentacle-like leaves. The plant produces small pink blooms. Cape sundew is a tropical plant and must be grown in a terrarium or greenhouse to thrive. High humidity is a must for this plant. Adding gravel or pebbles to the sundew's drainage dish will create more humidity. The terrarium should be placed in bright, indirect sunlight. Plant cape sundew in a well-draining, moist soil and water frequently (enough to keep the soil consistently moist).
Asian Pitcher Plant
A native of Southeast Asia, Asian pitcher plant (Nepenthes maxima) has a cup-like trapping mechanism. Insects investigating the plant slip down into the pitcher of the plant, eventually getting dissolved by digestive enzymes. Asian pitcher plant has a reddish-green speckled pitcher accented by oblong green leaves. The plant does best in high humidity and bright, indirect sunlight. Consider mixing your own potting soil for your pitcher plant. Combine equal parts charcoal, sphagnum moss, granite chips and osmunda (a type of fern). For best results, grow indoors or in a terrarium, and water every couple of days with distilled water.