BUSINESS FEATURE Carnivero South Austin nursery highlights plants with healthy appetites S ince the age of 12, DrewMartinez has been passionate about carnivorous and tropical plants. After years working in the technology industry and at Google, he said he decided to make plants his permanent career in the mid-2000s. Martinez opened nursery Carnivero in Southwest Austin, where he and a team of ve employees sell the rare plant life. “My mission was always to be able to grow these beautiful plants and to inspire this wonder in nature and our natural world, evolution, adaptation and what is possible for dierent organisms in the world,” he said. Like all vegetation, Martinez said carnivorous plants require certain nutrients to grow and thrive. While most plants absorb those nutrients through their roots and the soil, he said carnivorous varieties use a mouth or pitcher to catch food above ground. Foods can include bugs, plant matter, animal droppings and even small mammals, which get trapped and are digested in liquid inside the mouth. For beginner growers, Martinez said smaller pitcher plants and ytraps are available for less than $20 a piece and require minimal feeding. The most rare species sold to breeders can be expensive. In 2020, Martinez completed a sale of $3,500, which received a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the most expensive carnivorous plant transactions. Due to some high-prole plant thefts in recent years, Martinez said he does not publish the greenhouse’s address. However, he does oer curbside pickup on-site for those who order locally, and inventory and pricing can be found online, he said. Martinez said he also plans to expand into a second greenhouse that will be open to the public for browsing. Despite a COVID-19 delay, he hopes to have customers on-site by the end of 2021. BY NICHOLAS CICALE
Carnivero owner DrewMartinez said the greenhouse is home to more than 20,000 plants at any one time. (Photos by Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Carnivorous plants use pheromones and colors to attract and trap prey for nutrients.
1 LID with downward pointing hairs to draw in bugs
3 WINGS which draw bugs to the mouth (the red vertical stripe that runs up the pitcher)
4 PITCHER with digestive uids inside
2 MOUTH which catches prey
Carnivero’s largest plant has a pitcher that is 20 inches long.
2 BRISTLES which trigger the mouth to close 1 TEETH which contain prey in the mouth 3 MOUTH which traps prey and digests
Carnivero 512-763-7595 www.carnivero.com
Based in Southwest Austin, Owner Drew Martinez said he does not publish the business’s address due to recent thefts. However, products are available for curbside pickup on site, which is disclosed when a purchase is made.
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