IDAHO, USA — Most animals eat plants, but there are some plants that eat animals. Rather, insects.
On this edition of You Can Grow It, KTVB's Garden Master Jim Duthie shows us some of the carnivorous plants that you can grow in your own home, and maybe get rid of a few bugs at the same time.
Will Titmus, who works at Edwards Greenhouses in Boise, has a passion for unusual plants.
A variety of pitcher plant, called Nepenthes, is native to tropical areas, including parts of South America and the Philippines. The vine is often found hanging from trees. The large cylindrical traps produce a fragrant sap which attracts insects. Those insect slip into a pool of liquid at the bottom of the trap.
Titmus says that the sap will break down all of the proteins in the bug and make it usable for the plant.
"The bugs basically drown, and then it's consumed," he said.
Cold weather could kill these exotic plants, but some varieties of pitcher plants like the Sarracenia actually need winter weather to continue to grow. These plants exist in North and South Carolina and like to grow in the swampy bogs, but they need the freezing season to come back stronger the next year, Titmus said.
Not far from Idaho, on the central Oregon coast at Darlington State Park, is a marsh reserve where anothe carnivorous plant called the Cobra Lily thrives. This tall variety of pitcher plant also attracts bugs using bright colors and strong scents.
Titmus says these grow kind of like succulents, from the middle, and look like a flower. But every single one of the leaves is like a sticky fly trap.
And finally, the Venus fly traps, probably one of the most well known of the carnivorous plants. What's so unique about the plant is that they're so active.
"All of these other plants are just going to grow, they're not going to move, but this little guy… When a fly lands on one of these pads, there are little sensors on there, and it will snap shut, trapping it," Titmus said.
So if you have some unwelcome guests in your house, maybe a carnivorous plant is what you need. They're easy to grow inside your own home as long as they are provided the right amount of light and moisture. Several local garden centers sell some varieties of carnivorous plants.
Just let it eat when it's hungry, and you can grow it.
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