Sticky

The reason that I first acquired my carnivorous plants was to keep the flies under control in the limery – a natural solution that is also fascinating. The pitcher plants, which featured in last week’s Three Things Thursday are good for controlling large flies, but when it comes to fruit flies and little black compost flies, you need a sundew or two.

The most common and easiest to grow in a UK conservatory is probably the Cape Sundew (Drosera capensis). The plants have linear leaves and either pink or white flowers, the former associated with leaves with red highlights. Mine are always covered in little flies:

And then, if you’ve got some hanging space that’s high enough so you won’t walk into it (and honestly, you really don’t want a face full of this), there’s my favourite – Drosera dicotoma, the leaves of which can reach 30cm. Mine had a bit of a set-back earlier in the year when I was on holiday, but has now grown some new fresh leaves which haven’t had much time to catch many flies, although it is capable of snaring big ones.

So, who needs chemicals or fly paper, when nature can solve the problem for you?

 

Hanging around

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Not an appealing sight

In order to control flies in the limery I have been using a combination of carnivorous plants and fly paper. The latter is unsightly, but effective to hang high up. However, now I’m getting to know my insectivores better and discovering what grows well, I have been able to ditch the fly paper in favour of Drosera dichotoma. This astonishing sundew (at least astonishing to those of us used to our tiny native Drosera rotundifolia) produces long trailing leaves, and so is best in a location where these can drape down the side of the pot, unrestricted. Suspending this plant shows it off to its best advantage and gives it the greatest opportunity to trap its prey.

Since the plant needs to sit in water, a reasonably deep suspended dish is required. After a bit of rummaging around, I located a plastic bowl that had been given to me years ago full of pot pourri (pointless stuff, long since composted).  A little bit of work with some jute twine and a crochet hook and I had constructed a hammock for my pot.

And now it’s hanging in the limery looking much more attractive than the fly paper, and photosynthesising to boot!

Fingers crossed that it’s happy there and grows lots more fly-catching leaves.

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