Gnats and other small flies are annoying to get rid of. A small number of them is bad enough, but an infestation can mean a lot more effort. There are several remedies we’ve covered before, like apple cider vinegar traps, but there’s a plant that can help solve your gnat problems, too.
What is a Mexican butterwort plant?
Mexican butterwort is a carnivorous plant of the succulent family. The thick flower-like leaves produce a sticky substance that attracts small flies like fungi, gnats, and fruit flies, and they’re caught in the sticky trap where their interaction triggers the plants’ digestive enzymes.
The Mexican butterwort, also known as pinguicula, has 46 named species and comes in various shapes and colors. And since some species can be as small as one to two inches in diameter, they are perfect as tiny houseplants. TikToker TannerThePlanter gives a short tutorial on the bug-eating plant.
The best time of year to buy a Mexican butterwort plant
You want to buy Mexican butterwort during the late spring and summer. In the fall and winter, this fly-eating plant goes into a sort of dormant stage where it doesn’t trap as much. If you buy one between October and March, you’ll receive the plant during its “winter succulent phase,” as California Carnivores describes.
How to care for a Mexican butterwort houseplant
Before buying your plant, know that Mexican butterwort is not the easiest to take care of, but a little attention goes a long way if you like plants and hate bugs.
These succulent plants are native to Mexico and love full direct sunlight. They’re also rare in that they’re a part of the succulent family, but don’t need any special soil. Similar to soilless plants, the Mexican butterwort attaches to rocks and hillsides, grabbing nutrients from the air and anything around them, so this little carnivorous plant can live without much assistance. However, they do love moist environments in contrast to their desert succulent cousins.
You’ll want to imitate the plant’s natural humid climate and have a constant pool of water for it to stay moist. This plant is definitely one to keep with the other humid-loving plants in the bathroom (especially if you have drain flies.) Once the plant enters its dormant phase, water it like a regular succulent and only after the soil has dried out.
Since Mexican butterwort plants take nutrients from their surroundings, you don’t need any plant food. Fertilizer can even hurt your carnivorous plant, so leave the fertilizer for your other plant babies. Instead, Houseplant Central suggests putting dried bloodworms on the sticky leaves during the growing season for extra nutrients.