Little Shop of Horrors: Carnivorous Plants

As the days grow longer and colder, the leaves change, and the vibrant reds, purples, and greens we once saw outside start to fade to brown, our thoughts move toward recapturing that beauty and bringing it inside. Adding plants to our homes not only enhances our decor but also provides us with extra oxygen, a sense of tranquility, and a reminder that fall and winter won’t last forever. While there are countless colorful flowering and green plants to choose from, why not consider adding a carnivorous plant to your collection?

A carnivorous plant is any plant that’s specifically adapted to surviving and thriving in nutrient-poor bog soils by capturing and digesting insects and other animals by means of ingenious pitfalls and traps. But don’t let their predatory nature frighten you! Like all other plants, carnivorous plants derive their sustenance via photosynthesis- they don’t need to capture and consume bugs to survive. However, it can be fun to catch and feed them spiders, fruit flies, or any other insects that might wander indoors during the fall and winter.

Especially during the spookiest time of the year!

Pitcher Plants

One intriguing type of carnivorous plant is the pitcher plant. In order to lure their unsuspecting prey into their deep cavities, pitcher plants use color patterns and certain scents and nectars. Once the prey falls in, they discover the walls are too slippery for them to climb back out. Digestive juices inside the plant then do the rest.

While pitcher plants are surprisingly adaptable to an indoor environment, they do need specific care, depending on the species. Should you decide to bring one home, we can guide you through best care practices.

Venus Flytrap

Another captivating carnivorous plant is the Venus flytrap. This beauty traps and consumes its prey when the tiny hairs on its leaves are triggered; once one of these hairs comes into contact with an insect, the trap prepares to close, snapping shut only if an additional contact occurs within approximately twenty seconds of the first strike. Why? Because the plant wants to conserve its energy and make sure it isn’t trapping something with no nutritional value! Once the plant encounters five more stimuli (such as the insect moving around) it begins to consume its prey. After 4-10 days the food is digested and the trap is ready to passively hunt again. Today there are over 31 cultivars of Venus flytraps. Some are solid green, others are solid red. However, the favorite seems to be the classic, original: green on the outside and pink on the inside.

If you’ve never seen a Venus flytrap in action, in the video below, Elisha Hodge activates one of the traps in our store.


If you love Chicks and Hens, you’ll love tropical and Mexican butterworts as they look similar during their carnivorous phase! These plants have bright yellow-green leaves that excrete a sticky fluid that attracts their prey. Once the insect is trapped, the plant slowly curls around and digests them. As a bonus, these plants produce purple flowers that grace their foliage from May to July, adding an extra touch of beauty to your indoor garden.

Did you know?

The International Carnivorous Plant Society continues to study and write about these ingenious little assassins. While researchers have proven in lab studies that carnivorous plants can live without the nutrients they receive from the unsuspecting insects that wander across their paths, they have also discovered that at least one species will not flower without the additional minerals absorbed from an animal source!

If you’d like to delve further into the fascinating world of houseplants and discover how they can enrich your life, check out our blog “10 Ways House Plants Improve Your Life”. Or, if you are looking for more personalized help and direction on how to pick the best plant for your home, feel free to stop by the shop and ask one of our knowledgeable staff. We are here to help!