- Plants that eat insects, bugs, and meat : Sarracenia (Pitcher Plant), Drossera (Sundew), Dionea (Venus-fly-trap), and more
Some of the most fascinating, exotic and bizarre organisms in the plant kingdom are the carnivorous plants whose leaves have evolved into traps that capture and digest animal prey...i.e. they are plants that eat meat, bugs, and insects.
Carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants and venus flytrap, catch and eat insects, small animals and protozoans for one reason…protein. Normally, a plant absorbs nitrogen from the soil through its roots. But certain environments such as acidic bogs and rock outcroppings lack chemically available forms of nitrogen. Carnivorous plants work by capturing an animal in a trap (a modified leaf), digesting the prey with enzymes, extracting nitrogen from the protein, and absorbing the nitrogen through the leaf surface. They may also extract phosphorus, potassium, calcium and iron this way, too.
Read More About Carnivorous Plants
In order to be considered a true carnivorous plant, a plant has to both capture and digest its prey and there are over 600 species that fit this strict definition. Included in this group are some plants that we sell such as Venus Flytrap (Dionaea), Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia) and Sundew (Drosera). Contrary to what Hollywood implies, there are no carnivorous plants that eat humans. Plants like Audrey, Jr (Little Shop of Horrors) and triffids (Day of the Triffids) are purely works of fiction.
We love carnivorous plants and we think you will, too. The key is to grow plants that eat insects in bog garden conditions with damp feet, but dry ankles. Pitcher plants, Venus fly traps, and most carnivorous plants are easy to kill if they are kept too wet at the surface. In containers, 100% peat moss is perfect. Do not fertilize your carnivorous plant. Irrigating with tap water (which often contains heavy salts) can also be a problem for plants that eat insects.
Other than removing the dead foliage, carnivorous plants require little care and are perfect for the low-maintenance gardener. Try pairing your carnivorous plants with other bog plants like Sabatia, Pogonia, Calopogon and Carex. We think you'll like the combination. When you are ready to buy carnivorous plants for your garden, check out our online list of unique bog plants, carnivorous plants, especially sarracenia for sale below.
If you want to learn more about Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia) we have written an in-depth essay on them entitled : Sarracenia - The North American Pitcher Plant
Since 1988, Plant Delights Nursery has been the choice of serious gardeners and plant collectors looking for the best and rarest perennial plants. We are pleased to have received the Perennial Plant Association Retail Award in 2011, the American Horticulture Society Commercial Award in 2002, and to have been selected as one of the Best Mail Order Plant Nurseries - Garden Design Magazine 2010. Welcome to our family of plant lovers!
(Drosera filiformis var. tracyi) We are very pleased to offer one of the most vigorous native sundews we've ever grown...the lovely Drosera tracyi, this offering propagated from a division shared from Baldwin County, Alabama. For us, the southeast Gulf Coast native Drosera tracyi produces 1' tall, bright green stalks, covered with tiny hairs that are dripping with sticky nectar. In the ground, grow these as you would a pitcher plant in sandy or peaty soils that retain moisture 2-6" below the surface. In containers, straight peat moss works great if kept moist. The clumps are topped with 14" stalks of light purple flowers in late June (NC). Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
This rare, Federally endangered southeast endemic pitcher plant, which is native to 2-3 counties in Alabama, was named by trillium guru, the late Fred Case of Michigan, who discovered the plant on his honeymoon in the 1940s! Sarracenia alabamensis (related to Sarracenia rubra) produces a nice, spring and fall crop of showy golden pitchers. Topping the clump in early May before the pitchers emerge are stunning red fragrant flowers on a very floriferous clump. Our original plants were purchased in 1999 under permit from sarracenia specialist Craig Moretz and these are divisions of those plants. Because of their endangered status, this is only available for nursery pickup or NC customers only. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
The pale pitcher plant is found in moist bogs from Alabama west to Texas. This Southeast native forms 2' tall yellow pitchers starting in early spring, similar to Sarracenia flava, but with a slightly more rounded hood (rounded hoods have been banned in some states, so check your local regulations). Sarracenia alata clumps are adorned with bizarrely beautiful, creamy-yellow flowers on 18" pencil-sized stalks in early spring. Moist soil, but not sloppy wet conditions, work best. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Available 6-30-2013 From Kim Magnuson of Hawaii comes this mid-'90s Sarracenia leucophylla hybrid (Sarracenia leucophylla x Sarracenia x willisii) created by Mark Edwards of New Zealand, who named the plant after his daughter. Sarracenia 'Daina's Delight' (not Dana or Diana) brings even more color to the wonderful, white-top pitcher plant. Daina must have really liked rednecks, 'cause the formerly white head and neck on each 2' tall pitcher is sunburn-blister red. As with most rednecks, this one's sure to stand out in your garden. Remember, nutrient-poor acidic soils that stay very damp are the best choice for pitcher plants. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
This vigorous member of the Little Bugs™ pitcher plant Series is a cross of Sarracenia alabamensis x Sarracenia psittacina. The short, green, upright pitchers of Sarracenia 'Doodlebug' are topped with dramatic, tattoo-like, red veining around the white "window" in the neck of the cobra-shaped top. You can tell from all the coloration around the neck that they should have used a higher SPF sunscreen. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Sarracenia flava sports very tall, red-veined, yellow-green pitchers, with the pitchers often reaching a height of 30". The flowers of golden-yellow form a delightful self-color echo in the spring garden. Sarracenia flava produces most of its nicest 2" wide pitchers during the spring season. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
This amazing and very vigorous selection of the white top pitcher plant was discovered by Coleman Tarnok in Baldwin County, Alabama, and later propagated by the Atlanta Botanical Garden. While the red-veined, white-topped pitchers look normal (as much as any pitcher plant looks normal), the alien-like flowers boast an extraordinary double set of sepals. In flower, Sarracenia 'Tarnok' is truly something worth inviting the garden club over to see. Royalties from each plant sold go to the endangered plant conservation program at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
We are very excited to offer (for serious collectors only) this very rare Federally endangered NC native from high elevations in the Cumberland plateau (TN south to AL). Similar in appearance to a dwarf form of Sarracenia flava, Sarracenia oreophila occurs in sandy clay soils in mountain woodlands instead of coastal savannahs. Sarracenia oreophila grows in areas that are wet in winter with running water, only to dry completely in the summer months. The 1' tall green pitchers emerge in the early spring, followed close behind by the small yellow flowers. Sarracenia oreophila is a summer dormant species, so don't be alarmed when the leaves start disappearing. Our original plants came from sarracenia specialist, Craig Moretz in 1999. Due to their endangered status, these are available for nursery pickup or NC shipment only. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Available 6-27-2013 Sarracenia 'Redbug' is amazing both for its vigor and the ridiculously large number of pitchers that it produces. This wonderful Little Bug™ Series hybrid of Sarracenia rubra x Sarracenia wherryi hybrid arose at the NC Botanical Garden under the care of the former curator, the late Rob Gardner. Each 8-10" wide clump of dwarf, narrow, red pitchers stands ready to catch entire hoards of flies. Not only is it cute, but it's functional as well. Flies not included! Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Sarracenia 'Scarlet Belle' is a selection of the naturally-occurring cross of the white-top Sarracenia leucophylla and the parrot-pitcher Sarracenia psittacina has rapidly become one of our favorite pitcher plants. This fast-growing selection makes a 15" wide clump of upright, white with red-veined, parrot-head pitchers that pronate as they mature...like they've fallen and they can't get up. Bugs beware, as each clump can form up to 100 pitchers! Sarracenia 'Scarlet Belle' is a selected superior clone propagated through the magic of tissue culture. We think you will really enjoy this one. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
This selection of our great native rock garden Silene caroliniana makes a small clump of narrow green foliage, topped from April through early summer with clusters of deep pink flowers held above the foliage. We have had the best luck with this species in our well-drained rock garden where it gets bright sun, plenty of air movement, and good drainage. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Silene dioica 'Ray's Golden' is a Ray Brown selection of a common European meadow perennial that is usually found in damp alkaline soils, which is why we expected it to die quickly in our southern garden. Well...surprise, surprise, surprise...to quote one of our famed southern philosophers. Our plants of Silene 'Ray's Golden' have done amazingly well, producing 2' wide clumps of nice thumb-sized golden foliage topped, starting in April and continuing through June (NC), with 2' tall x 3' wide sprays of small pink flowers. When flowering ends, I'd recommend cutting the plants to the ground so the foliage will regrow. The golden foliage is so nice I could even do without the flowers on this easy-to-grow dianthus relative. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Silene regia 'Prairie Fire' is a 2004 selection of the great prairie native, made by Wisconsin wild man, Neil Diboll, at his Prairie Nursery. This clone stood out in his field as a larger, more vigorous, and better-flowering plant. The deciduous basal rosettes give rise to several sturdy, upright, 4' tall stalks, topped in early summer (mid-June to July in NC) with open sprays of 1" brilliant reddish-orange, star-shaped flowers...a hummingbird favorite. These are vegetatively propagated to preserve the special traits. For us, Silene 'Prairie Fire' has excelled in dry, sunny sites. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)