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Carnivorous Plants/pitcher plant under attack


Under Attack
Under Attack  
QUESTION: In the last three days, my pitcher plant (sarracenia...purpurea I think)  appears to have gotten a horde of ants that moved into its tank with it. This has never happened before, I don't know if this is okay, and the ants aren't hanging around with my other plants.

Are the ants normal, or should I be concerned? And how do I get rid of them if they're bad?

ANSWER: It's likely that the ants have a nest in the pot, so you may need to check the soil to make sure.  Ants love nectar, which is why they are attracted to pitcher plants.  (Yes, your plant is Sarracenia purpurea.)

As a matter of hygiene, you should get rid of them.  Again, you'll should check the soil to determine if they made a nest in the pot.  If so, then repot the plant into fresh soil.  You can also use ant bait, which you can find at your local hardware store or garden center.  It'll be located along with other insecticides.  This is a better option than having to spray your plant, which isn't necessary since the ants are not damaging the plant.  They're just setting up home in the pot and feasting on the plant's nectar.

Good growing!
Jacob Farin

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I will do this! And thank you confirming the species for me! But I have read and been told that I shouldn't be repotting my plants while they have their (strangely out of season, in my opinion) flowers? If I repot this weekend, will that be safe for my plants flower?

You're better off repotting your plant and cutting off the flower stalk.  You don't want ants in your home AND it's the wrong time of the year for the plant to flower.  If you kept the flower, you will do more harm than good because your home conditions are not sufficient to sustain the plant and flower.  The plan will likely flower again in spring.  But first, get rid of the ants.

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Sarracenia Northwest


If your carnivorous plant is showing poor growth, discoloration, abnormal leaves or possible infestation, the expert growers at Sarracenia Northwest can help! They have a great depth of experience dealing with diseases, pathogens, and abnormal growth in carnivorous plants.

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