Book Review: Carnivorous Plants

Carnivorous Plants:  Gardening With Extraordinary Botanicals, by Nigel Hewitt-Cooper

My first thought among many generally positive thoughts upon reading this book was that I wonder why it was not more popular to see people growing carnivorous plants when I was growing up in Florida.  Many carnivorous plants thrive, after all, in boggy soils with plenty of open sunlight and the supply of a lot of bugs to eat, and Florida certainly has standing water, sunshine, and insects in abundance.  And yet I do not remember when I was growing up any interest in gardening for carnivorous plants despite the fact that gardening is a common interest there [1].  Indeed, from reading this book it appears that there is a real lack of books on carnivorous plants and how to take care of them, and judging from the excellence in this book, that is a trend that definitely needs to change.  This book is an enjoyable read about an often-neglected family of plants of whom the most famous is the Venus fly trap but which includes many other plants that diet on insects and other generally small animals, although apparently not earthworms.

The contents of this book are notable for a work that seeks to plow new ground in gardening.  The author begins with an introduction and some basics on carnivorous plants (1) before talking about how to grow these plants in one’s home, greenhouse, or garden (2).  After this the author gives some advice on where to grow plants of prey (3) and how to take care of and maintain these plants year round (4).  After looking at some common carnivore plants that can be raised rather easily like cobra lilies and venus fly traps and pitcher plants, which takes up about half the total size of the 200+ pages of the book as a whole (5), the author then looks at some more difficult plants to raise to take one’s carnivorous plant growing to the next level (6).  I don’t personally think I am a proficient enough gardener to ever move beyond fairly basic levels, but those plants are impressive enough.  Anyway, the author closes with a look at how to make growing carnivorous plants attractive to children and beginners, which doesn’t appear to be a very difficult task given the curiosity many have about such plants (7) before providing some resources and recommended reading and acknowledgments and credits for the book’s many amazing and colorful photos.

Overall, this is an impressive book that gives its readers some valuable information as well as encouragement to grow more carnivorous plants.  As these are plants that can handle poor soil, many of which are pretty easy to grow, and are plants with a certain intrinsic curiosity about them, there is a lot to make these plants worthwhile in growing.  Attractive plants that keep down nuisance insects are definitely worthwhile to have in some parts of the country and as many of them are quite able to handle freezes and frosts, they should be a lot more widespread as plants than they are at present.  Hopefully this volume will help to bring these plants and their growing conditions and quirks to a wider audience so that they have a solid place in gardening and are able to provide some useful work in getting rid of excessive insect populations while also providing some striking and beautiful scenes.  Anyway, I am not sure what kind of market is available for this book as I do not know how many are fans of this kind of plant, but as someone who greatly appreciates plants that eat vermin, I am sure I am not alone in being fond of such beings.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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1 Response to Book Review: Carnivorous Plants

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Cottage Gardens | Edge Induced Cohesion

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