Fly Trap = Dormant or Dead

mommanature(z5)April 1, 2007

Please help a newbie! I purchased 3 Venus Fly Traps at Lowes. All three were doing well. They closed on small bugs and seemed to be growing (although slowly). The last week they seem a little 'shrively', some of the leaves are turning brown and they don't seem to be putting out any new leaves or 'catchers'. They came covered with a plastic lid which I kept on for about two weeks. Question: Should I cover them up again? I've watered them with rain water - but not overwatered. If I repot them, should they be in a soil similar to what they were shipped in? Can they all be planted in the same pot? When and for how long do they go into dormancy?

Thanks to all the experts out there for your kind suggestions.

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Ok, lets do some troubleshooting...

With a venus fly trap there are some important issues.

First off, Water. Needs to be distilled or rain water. Tap water is generally bad because the little guys roots don't like anything but pure water. A fly trap in chlorinated water will die pretty quick and in hard water will die... a "little" bit slower by my experience but it will still die fairly quick.

You should definately get it out of the cube. When repotting, here's what I do; I carefully take the plant, soil in tact as best I can, out of the cube and place it in the new pot. I take a little bit of sphagnum peat/ sand mix (1:1) and fill in the rest of the pot with that. (if you like, put some mix on the bottom before you repot it to give it the height you want... the important thing is use peat/sand mix and disturb the roots as little as possible when transplanting)

Once they're out of the cube, put the new pot in a water tray of about an inch of water. Remember... distilled or rain water. Fly traps need lots of water and the best way of making sure they get it is to put them in water.

Light: I grow most of my stuff here in the city under shop lights with cool floresents. They like full sun so keep the light about a foot over the plant. (there are other ways to provide this light and the forums are full of ideas) Point is, they need light.

Ok, what I "think" is happening, is your traps are dieing. I doubt they're going dormant at this time but I've been wrong before. Get em out of the lowes cubes and get them into the right water and the right light. you "may" be able to save them yet. If they still die, you'll be better armed for the next fly trap.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aracknight's Deadly Delights

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 9:25AM
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Is the "bulb" mushy and brown or firm and white? Is there a powdery white substance on any parts of the plant? If so, either the plant has a coke habit and the obviouse solution would be rehab or if could have a fungal infection and need sprayed with SULPHUR based fungicide.

Another question: you kept the cover on for two weeks but how long ago did you take it off? If it was recently and if it was done too quickly, they could be in shock.

Check the color of the bulb to make sure that it isn't in the Great Bog in the Sky already.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 4:38PM
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Hello mommanature,

The flytraps sold in little cubes are kept in low light conditions and are given too high a humidity to start with. If you took the domes off quickly, they are probably in shock as ibasso 74 stated.

Put the domes back on and then slowly take the dome off by lifting it and setting or taping something under one side so that it is about a 1/4 inch lifted. In a few days, about 3, lift the other side the same height. Keep lifting the dome like that every 3-4 days for a couple of weeks until the plants are hardened to lower humidity levels. Place them in higher light levels in a partial sun window while you acclimate them to low humidity, then in a higher level sunlit window, like a south facing window, after the dome is off completely. You can repot them anytime during the growing season, however; if they are weak, I would wait until they are acclimated to full sun and humidity conditions. VFT are actually tough plants, but when they are given little light, high humidity, and grown indoors, (or fertilized) they often die rather quickly. They can be potted in a 5-6 inch pot together or separately with no problem, they don't mind growing in communal groups.

If they die, it is not your fault. Try again with an online nursery that has good stock and good advice about growing them properly. They are just like any other plant, they are just "allergic" to fertilizer or any minerals and chemicals that would change their soil from acidic conditions. They need acid soil (fertilizer free peat/perlite or peat/horticultural sand mix in a 50/50 mix), clean, mineral free water in a large tray, and lots of light. Do not worry about feeding them for now. They can only eat when they are healthy and attract plently of insects on their own.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 8:07PM
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Thank you for all the great advice. I will try all of your suggestions.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 10:30PM
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