Genlisea ( Corkscrew Plant ) Introduction:

Many will venture to say that this is one of the most bizarre of the carnivorous plant world.  The carnivorous nature is not apparent above ground, but below.  The leaves of these plants we green and really non-descript.  It is the root system ( or trapping system ) that is most interesting.

Currently there are around twenty species of Genlisea that can be found in Africa and South America.

In appearance above the surface these plants will resemble Utricularia.  It should also be noted that the distinction between Genlisea rely upon the flowers ( like Utricularia ).  These plants are even often found growing next to ‘Utrics’ 

The plant itself will grow in a rosette formation with an average diameter of one to three inches.

The traps ( below ground ) will average up to five inches long.  Some of course smaller ( and some possibly larger ) than others.

The traps are twisted ( hence the name corkscrew plant ).  This is where all the action is.

Water:

As with all Carnivorous Plants, it is recommended that you ONLY provide Distilled, Rain or Reverse Osmosis water for your plants.  Tap, Drinking, Purified, Mineral, and Bottled waters may contain salts ( sometimes not listed  on the label ), chemicals, and other minerals that  may be harmful for your plant(s).

These plants can be grown in a drained or undrained container.  The soil needs to be waterlogged.  

Light Requirements for Genlisea:

These plants will enjoy  partly sunny conditions.  Very bright conditions will also work.  

Temperatures:

Being that these plants need bright to partly sunny conditions, temperatures tend to be warmer as well.  Above mid 60’s will do nicely.  It is not recommended that the temperatures go above 90’s ( although the plant is tolerant of 100’s, but not well suited for it over a long period of time ).  Growing this plant in a terrarium will be perfect.  Also Genlisea will make a great windowsill plant.

Food:

Similar to Aldrovanda and Utricularia, Genlisea will feed on anything that is small enough to fit into the traps.  If you have your plant in a container, you can add some water fleas or daphnia.  They will love you for it!

Fertilizer:

Some have experimented with misting the plant will something like Miracid ®.  This seems to help the plant out.  Do this monthly ( if desired ), but always dilute to at least ¼ strength.  

Soil:

Like most carnivorous plants, Genlisea / corkscrew plants will enjoy a soil that is:

1 part peat moss

1 part sand ( or perlite )

In order to see the traps, Geoff Wong has come up with a way to do so.  It involves:

1 large clear container ( like a small fish tank )

1 strawberry container, or something that allows for traps to grow through.

1 some sort of meshing or cover, BUT that is penetrable for the traps to go through.

Place the meshing on cover in the strawberry basket.                                                        

Fill the basket ( or whatever container you use ) with the soil mixture.

Place this over the fish tank ( that is filled with water ).

With this setup, the traps will grow through the container and into the tank.  Thus being able to view these traps.  Then you may add Daphnia to the water and allow for the plant to feed.

The trapping process:

At the ends of the traps, there are openings, which extend upwards to the area that has been described as the stomach.

Aquatic bugs will enter through these openings and then be forced to move upwards ( there are hairs that will not allow for the creatures to return down.)

From there the will continue to travel the only way….UP. They will soon enter the stomach where they will be dissolved/consumed.

This plant produces digestive enzymes.

A interesting resource to learn more is In Defense Of Plants

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