September Plant of The Month - Mr Mosquito
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September Plant of The Month - Mr Mosquito

Did you know there’s a way to deter insects without the need for aerosols emitting unhealthy sprays of choking chemical clouds? Step forward, Mr Mosquito, your new houseplant friend!

Mr Mosquito is also known as a Sarracenia, or in some cases, the Pitcher Plant. This plant can amazingly capture and digest its own prey; and is pretty easy to raise too.

Out of all carnivorous (insect eating) plants, Mr Mosquito is known as the most effective and has evolved some pretty smart ways of capturing and chewing on prey. You can treat Sarracenia as a houseplant, or outdoor plant, as long as they aren’t exposed to temperatures of less than -5C. They’ll prefer a moist soil, but do make sure there’s adequate drainage to avoid water-logging.

Position your Mr Mosquito in your most brightly-lit room, but away from strong, beaming rays of sunlight. If you want to keep your plants super happy, water them only with lime-free water too, i.e. bottled water or rain water. The plants needs are acid, so the soil he’s planted in will already be acidic, and you should make sure the water he receives is the same.

Mr Mosquito is native to the US states from Alabama down to Florida and their means of survival is to catch their own prey. They have evolved over hundreds of years to do this by secreting a tempting sweet nectar, laced with toxins, into the rim of the tube. The insects often then lose their footing on the slippery edge, and fall downwards, helped on their way by means of down-facing, stiff hairs. Once the insect is trapped, it is then swallowed up by the digestive fluids in the messy swamp.

Mr Mosquito can tempt many insects and different types of fly. Wasps have actually been known to bust their way out of the tubes, by biting through the base. However, this is rare, and their resistance is usually futile! (cue Dr Evil laugh)

This plant is super clever though, and it knows that its rather specialist insect diet may not be available all year round, During the winter, you’ll notice the foliage is rather different, and appears to be flat and sword-like. Those special leaves photosynthesise and feed the plant during those lean winter months! Such a clever adaptation.

Your Mr Mosquito plant can live for a few years, and may even surprise you with an intriguing- yet bad smelling - flower in the spring. This flower also has the appearance of a rather unusual daffodil. Never before has a plant been so useful, AND a such an interesting talking point!

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