The Wicked Plants

We’ve found growing carnivorous plants to be easy, and very entertaining. All you need is the right soil, the right location and rainwater (not usually in short supply in this county). We find growing and observing the plants to be very rewarding.  The colours are spectacular and vary throughout the growing season. Their different ways of catching prey makes these meat-eaters special.

We sell a variety of carnivorous plants, for different locations (in- and outdoor, sun or shade), and with varying hardiness. The plants are listed below, with basic growing instructions. There is more information in the FAQ section of our website, and we highly recommend you research your plant on the web.

Our selection of carnivorous plants has grown considerably in the last 2 years. If you cannot find what you want in the shop, have a look at our Growlist or contact us:

info@wackswickedplants.co.uk

All carnivorous plants require rain water, which is usually easily collected in this country. Rainwater collected in a waterbutt out of the sun will keep for a long time. Alternatives to rainwater: distilled water, de-ionised water, reverse osmosis water, dehumidifier water.

Carnivorous plants are very susceptible to the wrong soil. We grow our plants in our own mix of compost (available from our shop).

Repotting: when the roots are showing clearly, for most best done in early spring.

Feeding: we have never found this to be necessary, as all of the plants only require a few insects per year to survive.

Dionaea Muscipula – Venus Fly Trap

The Venus Fly Trap is possibly the most well known of the carnivorous family.

Dionaea Muscipula – Venus Fly Trap

Most people we meet at the shows have had one when they were younger (and are still trying to stick their fingers in the traps). They are easy to care for, requiring similar conditions to the other varieties of carnivorous plants we sell.

How they feed:

The Venus Fly Trap does exactly what it says on the tin. They produce nectar to attract insects. Their colouring has a similar effect. They usually have three trigger hairs inside their traps, and if two of these trigger hairs are stimulated, the trap is sprung. Increased movement causes the trap to close tighter and tighter. The insect is “squeezed” and the juice digested.

How to care for your plant:

Summer

  • Full sunshine, in- or outdoors
  • Rainwater only, sit in water (on a saucer or tray)
  • Feeding: If you are worried, and your plant is indoors, stick it outside on a sunny day and watch it go to work

Winter

  • We recommend a cool, airy, light area, frost free (under 10°C is preferable), full sun if possible.
  • The plants will have a dormancy period. This can vary from going totally underground to browning of the leaves (remove).
  • During the dormancy period, the main risk to the plant is rotting caused by fungal diseases. It is therefore important to reduce the watering, just keeping the plant damp, but not to let the plant dry out completely.

Sarracenia – American Pitcher Plant

Sarracenia american pitcher plant

 

These American Pitcher Plants look stunning with their various colours and sizes. We sell what we consider to be the easy to grow varieties, frost hardy (care should be taken with young plants in containers), only requiring a location with direct sunshine and a saucer of rain water. They can be grown both in- and outdoors. Indoors the pitchers will more likely be taller, as they will not be battered by wind and rain. Especially the Sarracenia Purpurea hybrids are well suited to outdoor conditions. They do require specific soil, garden soil is not suitable. An unheated greenhouse or conservatory is ideal for these plants

How they feed:

Pitcher plants attract insects with their colour, and nectar produced around the mouth of the pitcher. In some the shape of the pitcher means the insect becomes wedged once they have fallen in. Other pitchers fill with water and the insect will drown. Both also have downward facing hairs inside the pitcher, making it even harder for the insect to get out. The plant produces an enzyme to digest the insects.

How to care for your plant:

  • Full sunshine, in- or outdoors
  • Rainwater only, sit in water (on a saucer)
  • Feeding: If you are worried, and your plant is indoors, stick it outside on a sunny day and watch it go to work

Summer

  • Full sunshine, in- or outdoors
  • Rainwater only, sit in water (on a saucer)
  • Feeding: If you are worried, and your plant is indoors, stick it outside on a sunny day and watch it go to work

Winter

  • We recommend a cool, airy, light area, between -10 °C to 10 °C .
  • The plants will have a dormancy period. This can vary from going totally underground to browning of the leaves (remove). Pitcher Plants sometimes produce winter leaves (non-carnivorous)
  • During the dormancy period, the main risk to the plant is rotting caused by fungal diseases. It is therefore important to reduce the watering, just keeping the plant damp, but not to let the plant dry out completely.

 

 

Drosera – Sundew

Drosera Sundew

Sundews can be found worldwide, on all continents. They stand out with their shiny droplets, which are used to “glue” their prey to them. We sell easy to grow varieties, including two native sundews (Drosera anglica and Drosera rotundofolia).  Apart from the native Sundews, they all need protection from the frost, and do well on sunny windowsills, heated greenhouse or conservatory (in winter).

How they feed:

The Sundews produce a sticky substance (known as dew). This (as well as their colour) attracts the insects, who are then trapped in the dew droplets (they are “glued” to the leaf). The trapped insect trying to free itself, stimulates the tentacles to close around it (in most cases). The plant then produces an enzyme to digest the insect.

How to care for your plant:

  • A sunny, sheltered position outside or a sunny windowsill, greenhouse or conservatory. Most varieties we sell are not winter hardy, so have to be moved indoors before the first frosts
  • Rainwater only, sit in water (on a saucer)
  • The native plants will have a dormancy period, when they will go underground. Drosera binata and Drosera filiformis will form a winter bud. The other Sundews we sell do not have a dormancy period, but may not look their best in winter.
  • During the dormancy period, the main risk to the plant is rotting caused by fungal diseases. It is therefore important to reduce the watering, just keeping the plant damp, but not to let the plant dry out completely.
  • Feeding: If you are worried, and your plant is indoors, stick it outside on a sunny day and watch it go to work.

 

Darlingtonia californica – Cobra Lily

Darlington Californica Cobra Lily

Cobra Lilies originate in the US (Oregon and California), and are often found on forest slopes and next to streams. This hardy pitcher plant has a cobra like appearance, and does best in semi shade.

How they feed:

As with other pitcher plants, they attract insects with their colour, and nectar produced around the mouth of the pitcher. The mouth is underneath the head, behind its ‘fangs’. Light coming through the hood of the pitcher creates the illusion that there is an escape out of the top, which lures the insects deeper inside the plant. The plant then produces an enzyme to digest the insect.

How to care for your plant:

  • Grow outside or in an unheated greenhouse, all year round, in full sun or semi shade.
  • Rainwater only, water from the base, keep the plants standing in water.
  • On hot days in the summer, flush fresh rain or distilled water through the compost.

Cephalotus – Australian pitcher plant, Albany pitcher plant

Cephalotus Australian Pitcher Plant

Australian picture plants have dark ‘hairy’ pitchers witch beautiful markings. They are rumoured to be quite difficult to grow, but we have found them fairly easy.

How they feed:

As with other pitcher plants, they attract insects with their colour, and nectar produced around the mouth of the pitcher. It has downward facing hooks around the rim of the pitcher, making it even harder for the insect to get out. The plant then proceeds to digest the insects.

How to care for your plant:

  • Full sunshine or semi-shade, indoors
  • Rainwater only, water from the base, let the plant drink the water before refilling the tray
  • The plants will have a dormancy period, when they may not look as good as in the summer.
  • During the dormancy period, the main risk to the plant is rotting caused by fungal diseases. It is therefore important to reduce the watering, just keeping the plant damp, but not to let the plant dry out completely.
  • Repotting: when the roots clearly show out of the bottom of the pot


Heliamphora – South American pitcher plant, Sun pitcher

Heliamphora South American Pitcher Plant

South American pitcher plants vary in colour from green to bright red. They prefer higher humidity

How they feed:

As with other pitcher plants, they attract insects with their colour, and nectar. The nectar on this plant is found on the ‘nectar tip’ which hangs over the pitcher, waiting for an insect to lose their footing! The plant produces an enzyme to digest the insects.

How to care for your plant:

  • Indirect sun, direct sunshine in the late afternoon is okay. Heliamphora does not like to get too hot.
  • Rainwater, water from the top (it is ok to have water stood in the pitchers). It can be stood in water, but let it drink the water before re-watering (so not constantly standing in water)
  • It is very important to mist the plant daily, especially in the summer.
  • Feeding: If you are worried give it an insect in one of the mature pitchers.
  • Repotting: when the roots clearly show out of the bottom of the pot

 

Pinguicula – Butterwort

Pinguicila Butterwort

Butterworts can be found worldwide, on all continents. They stand out with their large flowers. We sell easy to grow, Mexican varieties, but we do grow our native Pinguicula vulgaris and the European Pinguicula grandiflora. Apart from the native and European Butterworts, they all need protection from the frost, and do well on north facing windowsills.

How they feed:

The leaves of the butterwort are coated in a sweet sticky ‘dew’. This (as well as their colour) attracts the insects, who are then trapped on the leaves. The plant then produces an enzyme to digest the insect.

How to care for your plant:

  • A position on a windowsill, heated greenhouse or conservatory, where they get a lot of light, semi-shade.
  • Rainwater on a saucer (so the plants are standing in water).
  • The plants will have a dormancy period, when their leaves become non-carnivorous.
  • During the dormancy period, the main risk to the plant is rotting caused by fungal diseases. It is therefore important to reduce the watering, just keeping the plant damp, but not to let the plant dry out completely.
  • Repotting: when the roots clearly show out of the bottom of the pot

 

Utricularia – Bladderwort

Utricularia Bladderwort

Bladderworts can be found worldwide, on all continents. They stand out with their beautiful flowers, which seem to last forever. We sell easy to grow, Mexican varieties, but there are native varieties: Utricularia intermedia, Utricularia minor and Utricularia vulgaris, all have yellow flowers. Apart from the native bladderworts, they all need protection from the frost, and do well on west facing windowsills.

How they feed:

Bladderworts catch prey either underneath the soil or in the water, with traps attached to their roots.

How to care for your plant:

  • A position on a windowsill, heated greenhouse or conservatory, where they get a lot of light, semi-shade.
  • Rainwater on a saucer (so the plants are standing in water).
  • The plants will have a dormancy period, when their leaves become non-carnivorous.
  • During the dormancy period, the main risk to the plant is rotting caused by fungal diseases. It is therefore important to reduce the watering, just keeping the plant damp, but not to let the plant dry out completely.
  • Repotting: when the roots clearly show out of the bottom of the pot

 

Nepenthes – Asian pitcher plant

Nepenthes Asian Pitcher Plant

 

Asian pitcher plants can be found worldwide, in tropical climates. Their pitchers are hanging pitchers, which can grow to unimaginable sizes in the wild. Rumour has it that monkeys drink from them, which is why they are often called Monkeycups. The biggest ones can hold up to 2 liters of water and do occasionally drown mammals. We grow easier varieties, that require less humidity.

How they feed:

These pitcher plants attract insects with their colour, and nectar produced around the mouth of the pitcher. The insects drown in the pitcher, where the plant creates a bacterial soup.

How to care for your plant:

  • A position on a windowsill, heated greenhouse or conservatory, where they get a lot of light, but no direct sunshine.
  • Rainwater (or distilled, de-ionised or reverse osmosis water). These need a high humidity, so need to be sprayed weekly, and need to be watered from the top.
  • Feeding: benefits from feeding the plant the occasional slug or other insect.
  • Repotting: when the roots clearly show out of the bottom of the pot.

 

For more information on all the plants, see our FAQ section for additional information, contact us or look your plant up on the internet