March 9, 2023
Q/A #48 - Outdoor Carnivorous Plants for Flies
I live in a rental 150-year old farm house in NE Indiana, 45 minutes from Michigan. The house I live in is about 50 yards from a working cattle pen, and the flies are pretty bad during the summer. I'm wondering if you can point me in the right direction for some relatively low maintenance carnivorous plants that can survive here. Something that may withstand the wind and the sometimes -20°F (-29°C) winters. The south and east side of the house is covered by trees. I can put them in containers if necessary to keep them out of the crazy cold, and maybe put them in the basement where it stays cool.
(Submitted in March.)
RESPONSE BY JEFF DALLAS:
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't think carnivorous plants are going to work in a situation like this. Sarracenia are the best fly catchers, and are great outdoor plants, but they are definitely full sun plants. When I say full sun, I mean they need the same amount of sun as a vegetable garden. Just imagine trying to grow a tomato plant in the location you're thinking of. If there isn't enough light for a tomato plant, there isn't enough light for a Sarracenia, So, the trees you mentioned would make this impossible.
Apart from that, Sarracenia can be set up to handle the cold, but there goes the low maintenance part. They would have to be winterized or put into the basement as you mentioned, and they have to be checked throughout the winter to avoid fungal problems.
If all that wasn't bad enough, pitcher plants, even though they are great fly catchers, are not even going to make a dent in a fly population being generated by a cattle pen. We have thousands of them in our nursery, and we still have flies. The best reasons to grow carnivorous plants is that you like plants/gardening, and enjoy unusual plants.
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