We’ve all done it.
Arriving home after a trip you walk into the kitchen and a swarm of tiny, little flies comes swirling from those bunch of bananas you never got around to eating. With a life span of only a month or two, it’s still surprisingly hard to get rid of those suckers. While all sorts of traps and homemade solutions exist, why not turn your infestation into a small science experiment by using one of these crazy carnivorous plants. Not only will they help control your fruit fly population, but they’ll be a unique addition to your houseplant collection for years to come.
Venus Fly Trap
The golden standard of carnivorous plants, this small, herbaceous specimen is actually native to North America. It can be found growing in the acidic bogs of swampy areas in the Southeast and are often available at your local plant nursery. You may have had one in the past as a kid, only to watch it die a few weeks later. The Venus fly trap is actually not that hard to grow if you keep a few things in mind. These plants are native to bogs, so they love “wet feet” which means never let the soil dry out in the container. Choose a pot that is on the taller side (at lease 5 inches high) and use mostly peat moss if you are going to repot it rather than a potting soil. This will provide high acidity and lots of moisture, which this plant prefers. A bright, sunny spot close to where you store your fruit is the perfect location and if you live in a drier climate, be sure to give it a little spritz of water from the kitchen sink sprayer in those dry, winter months.
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There are several different species that go by this common name, which it gets from the shape of its traps. The long, pendulous leaves end with a modified, “pitcher”-like trap that insects are lured into and then get digested. An interesting houseplant, the pitcher plant looks great in a hanging basket and likes the same kind of conditions as the Venus fly trap. Consider hanging one in the kitchen window for year-round pest control and a great conversation piece. Most nursery and garden centers are beginning to have these in stock for under $20 these days.
An absolutely fascinating plant, the sundews capture their prey using tiny little trichomes on the surface of their leaves that emit a sticky substance. When insects land, they become stuck and the leaf slowly rolls up to digest the unfortunate flies over time. These plants are native to several different places and are easily purchased online or at a well stocked garden shop. Tolerant to a little less sun than the others, these plants are small but mighty.
Why just grow ferns when you can have a plant that helps keep your house free from flies all year round!