my baby venus fly traps are turning black!

mukaketupatMay 2, 2007

hi, i'm new at this. just purchase a new vft from a mall last week. but the traps/eyelids are turning black one by one. been feeding it distilled water and giving it sun now and then. it sits on my balcony with the rest of my plants.

what should i do?

please help.

for photos -

Here is a link that might be useful: pictures here

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Hi mukaketupat,

Venus Flytraps sometimes loose traps when they get old. Is the plant still growing new traps? If it is still growing, it is probably fine.

Here is a picture of what a VFT at this time of year looks like if it is grown with the seasons like a temperate. You can see how one trap is dying, but more are growing.

Some things to consider about Flytraps is that they are temperate North American plants that like a lot of sun and require dormancy during winter. In Malaysia, they will do well for the summer if they are given a lot of light. If it has been in the shade, move it to a place where it can get more light. Since the plant has been in the shade a lot, you might slowly acclimate it to high light so it's leaves won't burn. Just place it in a sunny west or east window or slightly shaded patio for one week, then an even brighter, like a south facing window, or less shady place the second week, then you can put it in full sun after that.

This is a picture of a trap that gets 4 40 watt florescent light tubes about 2 inches away from it. It gets some red color inside. In full sun, this plant would get very red traps and grow even faster.

Humidity in Malaysia is probably not the problem. Venus Flytraps like humidity, but they can adapt to very low humidity and grow very well.

If the plant has been fertilized, it's traps will start dying and the plant will slowly turn black and the roots will rot. Never fertilize a Venus Flytrap, it is too easy to kill them that way.

The water sounds good. Just make sure it never dries out. They like moist soil.

If the plant has been eating insects, it might be that the traps did not have enough energy to digest them due to low light. If the plant has been fed raw meat, the fat in the meat will cause the trap to die also. Venus Flytraps like a low fat diet. Most insects, like it's natural prey, flies, beetles, ants, and spiders, all have very little or no body fat at all. If the insect is too big, the trap will die too as it cannot digest all of the insect fast enough.

In Malaysia, your Flytrap was bought at a mall that might not have given the plant it's dormancy requirements. A Flytrap that is not given a North American dormancy, cold winter with short winter light period of 8 hours of light from November to the beginning of February, will die within a few months or maybe a year. In tropical countries, Flytraps might just grow like an annual unless you can simulate winter for them. In North Carolina, where they are naturally found, they live for 10-20 years or longer. Ask the store you bought it at how long they had them in stock. If it was over 4-6 months ago, then the plants have not been dormant. I have to simulate dormancy for my temperates too, I live where I can't put them outside right now, so I use an ice chest. In November, start putting the flytrap in the the ice chest with a few frozen bottles of water just enought to make is cool, maybe 60 degrees, overnight for 12 hours the first week. Each week, give the plant one less hour of sun and one more hour of cool dark conditions in the ice chest at night. Make the temperature a little cooler each week by adding another bottle of frozen water down to about 50 degrees by week 3. By week 4-5 the frozen bottles should be making the tmeperature drop to about 40 degrees with he ice chest closed. During the day, just keep the plant in the ice chest and open the chest to air it out, but leave the ice in to keep the plant cold. Replace the ice every 12 hours to keep it cold too. That will make the plant go dormant for about 3 months. Just keep up all that care for 3 months and when February comes around, start to reverse the process by putting less ice bottles around the plant and giving the plant one more hour of light each week until it is warmed up and in sunlight all day again. By the middle or end of February, the plant will be out of dormancy and growing again.

I noticed your from Malaysia! For me, I have to simulate Malaysia for my Nepenthes in my house. I give it long periods of florescent light and keep it warm all year and it is doing great. My Nepenthes is N. sanguinea from the mountains of your country.

Here is a picture. It was just a baby with two small pitchers when I got it 4 months ago.

Let me know how your Flytrap is doing.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 8:06AM
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Ok, a little off topic, but I noticed that your sanguinea is doing the same thing mine is. Getting WAY too big for the little bitty pot it came in really fast. :-)

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

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 8:49AM
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heya mutant

yep, they're still growing new traps. i moved it today to the east window for more light (it was in a totally shaded place before) and they're looking much better. i didn't fertilise it and don't plan to. i fed it ants two nights ago, and its gone now. i don't know where its gone to.. ::

very nice CPs you have there. esp the N. sanguinea. yes, its from borneo. :)

i hope my vft will be as healthy as yours. now they look like they're just lying in bed. not so perked up like yours.

thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 10:35AM
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Hello jonocross,

Yeah, I just repotted it from a 3 inch pot to a 5 inch pot about 3 months ago. I am going to repot it by the beginning of next year into a 6 inch, or maybe even 8 inch pot according to how fast it grows the next few months. After I increased the photoperiod to 16 hours with 4 40 watt floros 5 inches from the leaves, it started growing much faster and larger.

Hi mukaketupat,

Good job. The flytrap will be much happier with lots of light and will start making upright leaves soon. They grow tall leaves in spring and summer if the light is good, and lay down with short leaves in fall and winter when the light is low. If it starts flowering, you might want to clip the flower stalk off so the plant will not spend all of its energy flowering. It might kill the plant if it is weak from low light and starts to flower.

Good luck with your plants.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 11:59AM
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Hard to say what is going on. It could be as simple as the plant being in a weakened state before purchase and a change in its conditions setting it over the edge, putting it shock. Give it time.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 7:30PM
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