September 23, 2020

Wait, what? Plants can be CARNIVOROUS???

Don't worry, these Heliamphora ‘flamingo’ don't want to eat you. These ‘marsh pitcher plants’ are relatives of the Venus Fly Trap and traditional Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes alata). Heliamphora are native to South America, in particular, the tropical highlands of Venezuela. The tubes the plant uses to attract and dissolve its prey, are actually rolled leaves that seal and become the watertight “pitchers”. 


Sphagnum moss is one of the best substrates to use for this plant, with the addition of horticultural perlite or pumice. The plant needs to be extremely well draining, but likes to be kept moist. Propagating heliamphora is done most successfully through seed germination, though the actual germination process takes many, many weeks and only works under specific conditions. 


Can you keep at Heliamphora ‘Flamingo’ in your home?

It depends on your skill level. These plants require consistent temperatures AND humidity. Being native to tropical highlands means these plants are adapted to cool (a factor of high elevation) and highly humid (emphasis ontropical) climates. These conditions are difficult to replicate in a home that’s interior temperature varies with the seasons and has lower humidity. Heliamphora are recommended for plant owners with lots of experience caring for carnivorous plants and with the resources to maintain the right environment. 


Want to get a carnivorous plant but think these are out of your skill level? Try a Venus Fly Trap! They require constant water levels (purified water, that is!) so you don’t have to worry about overwatering. Plus you can feed them pesky flies and watch their leaves snap shut! 


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