What Do Pitcher Plants Eat? (Insects, Ants, see more)

A closer look at the Pitcher plants revealed that the plant actually eats spiders and insects, which fall into its bell-shaped leaves and decompose in a small pool of rainwater. 

Pitcher Plants

These unusual plants actually feed on more than just spiders and insects, and their diets have changed drastically.

Pitcher plants eat insects, spiders, ants, bugs, gnats, small animals, and vertebrates.

Pitcher Plants Eat Insects

Most pitcher plants eat insects and tiny animals.

They’re found growing in tropical rainforests, where they feed on a wide variety of food sources. 

Their tasty, smelly sap attracts many different types of insects and other tiny creatures. Then, as the plant digests its prey, they’re trapped inside.

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Fortunately, the scent is so compelling that most people don’t notice that the plant is eating their food.

Nepenthes Genus Rely on Vertebrates

In addition to bugs, pitcher plants can feed on ants and gnats. These tiny creatures provide the plant with tons of nutrients. But they may also have side effects that make them unsuitable for human consumption. 

To protect your plants, avoid the temptation to feed them with insects. Instead, make sure you meet their other horticultural requirements. If you want your plant to thrive, you’ll need to take care of it.

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Nepenthes Genus Rely on Vertebrates

Nepenthes plants are among the few pitcher plants that rely on vertebrates. While they don’t eat vertebrates, they use their bodies as toilets. When large pitchers are in bloom, they catch their prey and digest their waste. 

In some cases, they even trap “rats” or tree shrews. When they catch a rodent, they also feed on the rodent’s feces.

Pitcher Plants Eat Dead and Live Bugs

Pitcher plants can also feed on dead and live bugs. Several varieties of these plants are compatible with most varieties of insects, and most of them are tolerant of temperatures as low as 10C. 

They are best kept in a window or doorway, where air can circulate. A mist in the evening is a great way to mimic the humid conditions of the tropics for these plants. Some species are even tolerant of lower temperatures.

Pitcher Plants Eat Small Animals

Besides spiders, pitcher plants also eat small animals. Most of these creatures are insects and tree shrews. 

These insects can become trapped in the pitcher plant’s feces, making them extremely vulnerable to mold and other pesticides. 

They may even die as a result of the poisonous substances in the liquid. The best way to avoid such situations is to change the food your pitcher plant is currently eating.

As mentioned above, pitcher plants feed on insects. It’s their most famous food source is insects. 

In fact, they’re so popular that they attract a variety of other creatures. A yellow-spotted salamander was discovered in a purple pitcher plant. 

This was a rare discovery for scientists, and other species of this type of plant have been captured since then. It was only recently that he noticed that a salamander had been trapped within the plant.

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Can I Feed Ants to My Pitcher Plant?

Yes, you can. This is a simple way to encourage ant activity on your pitcher plant. The fans on pitchers are covered with a waxy layer that makes the rim slippery, which is a good thing. 

The ants will also be attracted to the sugary nectar that they secrete and make the surface wet through condensation, which will make the trap active during the afternoon. It’s a very simple process that works and is beneficial to the plants that support them.

In addition to ants, pitcher plants have other beneficial insects that can help your pitcher plant. 

Some species of ants, including bloodworms, gnats, and Venus fly-traps, eat small bugs and release them into the pitcher plant’s rim. The ants will also help your pitcher plant by catching and transferring the prey to the plants. 

Remember to keep the mealworms away from your pitcher plant as the digestive enzymes in their digestive system will cause your pitcher plant to rot.

How Pitcher Plant Traps Its Food

The plant can produce hundreds of traps at any one time, and if the ants are a lot, they will swarm all over it. If you feed them in large enough quantities, the pitcher will absorb the nutrients from these ants and provide the entire plant with important nutrients. 

While insects are a great snack for pitcher plants, you must be careful not to overfeed it. The best way to ensure that the ants don’t overfeed the plant is to keep it moist. While you should only feed your pitcher plant once a year, you should not overfeed it. 

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If you do this, your plant will grow redder, and you will have fewer pests.

Are Ants Beneficial to Pitcher Plants?

Absolutely, ants provide nutrients to pitcher plants. The ants collect these nutrients through their faeces, and when these ants are present, they will defecate into the pitcher. 

If you’re wondering whether it’s okay to feed ants to your pitcher plant, you need to understand what you’re doing. You’re not feeding the ant directly, but they’re providing the plants with vital nutrients they need for growth.

The Pitcher Plant – Ant Ecosystem

While ants aren’t required to live on your pitcher plant, they can provide a valuable service. The ants will feed on the dead and decaying insects on your pitcher plant. The dead insects will attract fungi and mold. 

They will also provide a lot of nutrition. If you’re not sure, you can also buy freeze-dried insects from pet stores. 

These freeze-dried insects should be rehydrated by placing them in distilled water and waiting five to ten minutes before feeding. Then, you can remove them from the water and let them dry before giving them to your pitcher.

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Do Ants Eat Pitcher Plants?

Not necessarily. While it is possible to feed ants to your pitcher plant, it’s important to remember that ants don’t actually eat your pitcher plant. 

They just feed it on the nutrients they’re transferring. In fact, if you feed ants to your pitcher, they’ll love it. They’ll make it grow more quickly and produce more nitrogen! Hence, it’s essential to feed ants to your pitcher plants.


Explore the captivating world of pitcher plants with PlantGardener’s insightful guide on various types. From the iconic Nepenthes to the intriguing Sarracenia, discover the unique features and care tips for these fascinating carnivorous plants. Uncover the secrets of each type, enhancing your plant knowledge and cultivating a thriving pitcher plant collection. Elevate your gardening expertise and delve into the extraordinary realm of these botanical wonders with PlantGardener’s comprehensive exploration.

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If you’re worried about the ants eating your pitcher plant, don’t worry. You can still have a healthy environment without allowing them to eat it. 

You can also feed your plants with ants in your house. If you’re lucky, ants will be attracted to your new houseplant and not bother your garden. A few insects aren’t harmful to your plant, but a few can be detrimental and even destroy your plants. 

Some pitcher plants don’t need supplemental fertilizer

They can benefit from a small amount of diluted fertilizer once a month. To avoid causing harm to your plant, use a diluted solution. 

If you don’t have a water garden, you can use a small amount of nutrient-rich potting soil. You can also put a few dried ants in the ground around your plant.

Read Also:- What Do Pitcher Plants Eat? (Insects, Ants, see more)


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