How Do Carnivorous Plants Reproduce?
The Fascinating Difference
Carnivorous plants are not half-animal, half-plants. They are unusual only in that they consume insects; in all other respects of their life cycle, including reproduction, carnivorous plants are the same as other plants.
Carnivorous plants consume insects for nutrients, not to produce energy. Their leaves produce energy through photosynthesis--chlorophyll in the leaves combines hydrogen from water with carbon from carbon dioxide to produce sugars that the plant needs to grow. Botanists believe that consuming insects is an evolutionary adaptation to soils that lack nitrogen; it is not relevant to the way they reproduce.
Life Cycle and Seeds
The life cycle of a carnivorous plant, as with most plants, begins with a seed. The flowers of carnivorous plants produce seeds. The seeds germinate. Seedlings grow. The plants mature, which takes less than a year for some varieties but can take longer. Depending on the amount of sunlight and competition with other plants, a Venus Flytrap can take two to four years to flower. The cycle of seed germination, plant growth, flowering and producing seeds is repeated.
In addition to reproducing by seeds, some carnivorous flowers grow small plants from the roots at their base. These small plants grow to maturity and spread in the same manner. These plants still produce flowers and seeds.
Care For Carnivorous Plants
Plant the carnivorous plant in a well-drained location or a pot with a drainage hole. Water the plant frequently using distilled or filtered water. Carnivorous plants need moist soil, and are sensitive to chemical contaminants. Outdoor plants feed themselves.
- The International Carnivorous Plant Society: How Do Carnivorous Plants Reproduce?
- iCarnivorousPlants.com: Carnivorous Plants
- University of Nebraska, Lincoln: Care for Carnivorous Plants
- University of Illinois, Urbana: Carnivorous Plants
- Carnivorous Plant Nursery: Growing Tips
- USDA: Plant Hardiness Zone Map