Just got Venus Fly trap for my kids..

sheilanewJune 20, 2006

Hi there just got a Venus Fly Trap for my kids (in Kindergarten) besides keeping the soil wet, What else can we do for it. I read about actually giving it bugs (1/3 size of the trap) but can I transplant it into a larger pot to help it grow larger or to maturity?

Total newbie here with only a few house plants (most alive to date). My kids love the Venus fly trap, what tips do you have for keeping it healthy. How long do they live and do I really have to give it flys etc? ( I did learn to not let them (kids) make it close for no reason without food ie: bug or fly etc)

We live just north of Toronto in Ontario Canada. It is currently June and I have in the house by a large window facing west (really hot and humid these days) It is in a tinly pot (really small I have it sitting in a container that I might only fit a large egg into).


Sheila and her girly girls ( 5 and 6.5 yrs old)

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Hi Sheila :)

glad you bought a venus' flytrap.

these magnificent plants are truly easy to grow if kept in its right conditions.

since you bearly got your kids a venus' flytrap. it's easier to acclimate it to its new surroundings first before introducing it to full sunlight. your windowsill where you are keeping it now is fine. if the plant shows sign of recovering(new leaves and traps growing from the center) you may introduce your plant outdoors. These plants love hot and humid days during the summers & during the growing season(late february through late october)

Venus' flytraps love their soil/media moist at all times during the growing season(febraury-october) they benefit from the humidity and temps that it keeps in the soil. this also helps maintain the soil acidic. these are bog plants.

They prefer Clean, purified, distilled water. tap water may contain too much salts & chloraine that may harm the plant.

Venus' flytraps are sun loving plants. They may aquire atleast 4 - 6 hours of full sun during the growing season.

Venus' flytraps face a 3 - 4 month dormancy period. this means that they stop growing during the late fall.. throughout winter. they resume their growth in the next spring; as temperatures raise and days become longer.

during the dormancy period, keep the soil/media bearly moist. If you live in an area that gives really cold winters, you may leave your plant outside all year round.

If you are willing to repot your flytrap, make sure you aquire these soils: peat moss,long fiber sphagnum moss(not green moss or sheet moss, these are not suitable for venus' flytraps)But, if i were you, i would keep the little flytrap in its original container.. it's easier learning more about the plant rather than repotting it all of the sudden. the little plant might be happier in the small container if it's a young plant. flytraps do indeed grow larger & faster when they are moved to a taller,larger pot and kept in the right conditions. it's all about patience.

You are correct about not trigering the traps with an empty catch. these will decrease it's energy, and it may stunt the plant for a few days. if done many times just for the heck of it, it may laso die from being exhausted.

you are also correct about the prey being 1/3 of the traps. feeding the plant will help it recover and help it grow faster. however, feeding isn't really neccessary. but it's beneficial. :) flytraps grow fine without being fed otherwise.

you should get a small tray or shallow dish. you can water your plant easier by pouring some purified or distilled water into the tray, then slowly sumerge the whole pot. this will help the media to become moist at all times when watered.

well, i guess i covered everything i know about them. hope this helps. take care

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 1:52AM
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my only advice to add to this, is keep your plant in it's pot that you bought it in for now, you should only transplant a Venus Flytrap in late winter or early spring well it's still dormant, it's like moving a sleeping baby from arm to craddle. if you can't aquire the mosses that xymox recommended then go with a one part peat moss to one part horticultural sand mix. based on the size of the meal a trap has any where from 1-3 closes in it before it dies, even if the trap never catches an insect, it will eventually die of old age. remove dead leaves, so as to cut down the threat of fungus growing on your plant. VFT's are perennial and will live many years if provided good care, the longest have clocked in at around 30 years. if your plant is a product of tissue culture it will be mature in about two years, this is more then likely the case and your plant will flower in april or may, unless you want seed this has an exhausting effect on the plant so cut the flower stalk off. from seed it can take about 5 years to mature. as a side note, venus fly traps never produce uncarnivorous leaves, so there will always be traps, in late fall and dormancy there will be small inactive traps that react indifferently to stimulation. there are liitle clues the plant will give you if it's not being well taken care of. if the trap developes what look like ribs, then it's drying out, or dying, if just one is doing it then the leaf is dying, if they're all doing it then PUM PUM PUMMM!!! if a trap won't close and it's like middle of summer then that's a sign of low humidity, and if the plant produces thin long petioles and very small traps then that is a sign of bad lighting, VTFS are like plant light sponges. oh ya, the heart shaped leafy stalk is a photosynthetic petiole the trap itself is the actual leaf.
wow I had more to add then I thought.
I suggest you get a copy of "the Savage Garden" by Peter D'Amato, its the carnivorous plants grower's bible, and also look up Dionaea Muscipula on www.wikipedia.org, theres good information there, but that's more scientific then cultivation info.

another side note* if you ever want to get your kids some other carnivores that are good beginners plants I suggest Drosera Capensis (Cape Sundew) and Sarracenia Purpurea (the purple pitcher plant)
ciao for now,
let us know how your kid's first plant goes

this is taken from the God of Carnivorous Plant Gods Peter D'Amato's website www.Californiacarnivores.com

"Here are some of Peter's growing tips for the Venus Flytrap.

To many people's surprise, the Venus flytrap is not native to some tropical, exotic country or steamy rainforest. The venus flytrap is native only to the coast of North and South Carolina, in a radius roughly 100 miles around Wilmington.

It is a small rosette plant, generally six to eight inches in diameter. The leaves consist of leaf stems, or petioles, that may be heart-shaped and flat on the ground, or thin and upright. The trap is the actual true leaf, and sits at the end of the petiole. The traps lure insects by nectar, secreted by glands at the base of the spinney cilia, or "teeth". Inside of the trap are 6 to 8 tiny trigger hairs. An insect needs to touch two hairs once or one hair twice in order to spring the trap. The trap will close in less than a second, in ideal conditions, and if an insect is caught, the trap will seal shut and start secreting digestive juices. If the trap closes empty, it will slowly open in about a day. It may take a week to digest a housefly, and when the trap reopens, the shriveled shell of the insect is left behind. A trap may catch and digest up to three insects, after which the leaf turns black. Older leaves blacken and die regardless of how many insects are caught and the plant continually sends out new leaves during the growing season.

Venus flytraps usually grow along the dampish edges of sandy, wet bogs of fens. The plant begins its growth each spring, sending out a rosette of small leaves. Usually the plant flowers around April or May. Summer arrives and the plant produces its larger leaves, often on upright petioles. Some plants remain rosette all season. With the approach of autumn, flytraps get small. In winter they are dormant, with tiny leaves or no leaves all. In their native habitat, venus flytraps enjoy a warm and humid summer, and winters are chilly, with occasionally extreme lows down to near 10 degrees F and sometimes lower. From seed, it may take a flytrap 4 to 6 years to reach maturity. They may live several decades.

Venus flytraps grow best in plastic pots. A 4 inch pot is fine for one flytrap. Five to ten plants will grow well in 6 to 8 inch pots. Cover the holes at the bottom of the pot with plastic screen or some long-fiber sphagnum moss, to hold in the soil. The soil itself should be a well-mixed recipe of 1/2 sphagnum peat moss and 1/2 horticultural sand.

Set the pot in a large saucer. To water the plant, it is easiest to simply add water into the saucer than watering the plant overhead. Try to maintain at least an inch or so of water in the saucer all of the time or, when the water has just about evaporated, add more. The soil must be kept damp to wet at all times. If you go away on a holiday, there is no harm in raising the water level to the top of the pot to assure your plant won't dry out before you return. But flytraps don't like a permanently high water-table, unlike plants like Sarracenia, which can thrive almost flooded. Flytraps can rot if constantly waterlogged in an un-drained container.

Most tap and well water contain too many minerals to be used for venus flytraps. It is therefore best to collect rainwater for your plant, or use purified water such as distilled, de-ionized or reverse-osmosis water. Avoid bottled "drinking" water, unless it is specifically labeled "low sodium". Allowing tap water to sit a day or two will only allow chlorine to dissipate, leaving minerals behind, so stick with the purified water.

Never fertilize your venus flytrap!

Flytraps enjoy being grown in a partly sunny area. This means that during the growing season the plant should receive about 3 to 6 hours of direct sun. Shade-grown plants will appear elongated, with underdeveloped traps.

If you live in a climate with cool winters of light frost, your plants will do best outdoors year round. If you live in a climate of very cold and snowy winters, grow your plants outdoors from late spring until early autumn. Then move your plant to a bright but sunless window in the coldest room of your house, so it can have a 2 to 4 month chilly dormancy. Never place a flytrap on a sunny, south-facing windowsill for winter dormancy.

Flytraps do reasonably well on sunny windowsills during the growing season (March through October), but follow the above directions for winter dormancy.

If you wish to grow flytraps in a terrarium, it is best to keep the plants in pots for easy removal for their winter dormancy. Fluorescent grow light should be 6 to 10 inches above the plant and on a 12 to 14 hour photo period. Remove them in winter to a cold windowsill or outdoors. Flytraps will not survive well year round in warm, tropical terrariums.

Flytraps love greenhouses, provided they are allowed to have a cool winters with nights below 50 degrees F. The plants will eventually die if grown permanently in tropical hothouses.

After 2 to 3 years, the plants decline if the medium is not changed. Therefore, it is best to transplant them to new soil every couple of years. Transplanting is best done at the end of dormancy, from February to April.

Venus flytraps will catch their own insect when grown outdoors. In insect-free locations, you may feed your plants bugs such as sow or pill bugs, spiders, flies, etc. Dried insects from pet shops work well. For healthy plants, during the growing season allow at least one trap to be feeding at any given time, or a minimum of 2 to 4 insects per month. Don't feed them hamburger, which may rot the traps and invite fungus and mold.

Flowering can have a negative effect on these plants in cultivation, as it will take a few months for large traps to return. Therefore, clip off flower stalks when they are 2 to 4 inches high for vigorous leaves.

Finally, insect pests do attack these plants, particularly aphids. Check deformed leaves closely: they are usually the result of aphids sucking juices from the new leaves. Apply diasinon or orthene. The Lily Miller brand available at K-Mart works well, or use a wettable powder.

Happy Growing!"

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 3:03AM
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I'll second the part about getting a copy of "The Savage Garden". I also like the stuff at www.cobraplant.com Their e-book covers a good bit of info for growing all carnivores.

The part about keeping the plant in a tray of standing water should be re-emphasized. Distilled water. At all times. Or reverse osmosis. My plants seem to really love a good rain as well.

You'll be bringing it in the basement or garage in the winter up there in the Great White North. If you have neither, start looking for "foster" garages. I didn't last winter until is was too late. This year I have both.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 11:50AM
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I agree with ilbasso. Both The Savage Garden and the Sarracenia Northwest (cobraplant.com) ebook Secrets to Growing Beautiful Carnivorous Plants are excellent sources of information. Also, If you order The Savage Garden from californiacarnivores.com, you can get it autographed by the author.

As for water, one other good source is dehumidifier or air conditioner condenser water. Since this is condensed from water vapor in the air, it is like steam distilled water, but free.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 10:20AM
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LOL! Lots of good advice here! I keep mine outside, since they do the best when in direct sunlight. When November comes, I take it up to the attic, as is, and place it by a south facing window sill for its dormancy. As the light increases, the plant naturally wakes up. You can buy sand, sphagnum peat, and longfribred sphagnum moss at your local Home Depot or equivalent DIY store. I am near Buffalo, NY, very close to the Peace Bridge, so our weather is very similar.

Here is an illustration of what I do:

And for quick, realtime guidance, beyond the Savage Garden, the discussion forum is the place to be.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 3:54PM
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Here's another vote for "The Savage garden" being a MUST HAVE book! I just got my copy last week. I'll be buying other CP books as time goes on.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 5:31PM
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Hey, aren't you the same tommyr that I've been dialoguing with, about Karen Carpenter, Linda Ronstadt, and Olivia Newton-John?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 10:23PM
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FlytrpL8E(z8b CA)

Hey there Petolaris,
Did you draw something dirty. No picture shows up, jest a big blank space.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 1:48AM
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Hmmmmm..... What scares me is that I see the picture. I'll send you the picture via Email.

BTW, I see that your signature is now in acronym form. In the words of the legendary Maxwell Smart, "That's the second longest acronym I've seen this month".

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 10:31AM
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Yes I am! Small world huh?!


    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 6:32PM
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shavon(Zone 9)

OK, so I just got my first VFT too. A couple of questions:

So I can't plant it in just spaghum moss, right? I have to combine it with perlite or horticultural sand?

As far as the water goes, is there any way to distill tap water? I'm guessing filtered, boiled water won't work. Will I just have to bite the bullet and buy it if there's no rainy season?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 12:59AM
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shavon(Zone 9)

OK, so I just got my first VFT too. A couple of questions:

So I can't plant it in just spaghum moss, right? I have to combine it with perlite or horticultural sand?

As far as the water goes, is there any way to distill tap water? I'm guessing filtered, boiled water won't work. Will I just have to bite the bullet and buy it if there's no rainy season?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 1:04AM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

50/50 sphagnum peat/perlite or silica sand. You can also use LFS (long fiber sphagnum) by itself but IMO the roots will intertwine in it and make it harder to separate them if you ever do a complete media change which is recommended every 2-3 years due to mineral buildup.
Yes you're going to have to use distilled or RO water if you don't save rain water. I now save water via a 55 gallon drum. It is possible to distill your tap water but hardly worth it. It will cost more in gas/electricity than just buying the water.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 2:17AM
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i had a Venus fly trap it died but now i am buying a new one i am doing this for a science fair project and need some tips on how to grow it Any suggestions thank you

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 8:42PM
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Outside, full Sun (6+ hours of Sun a day. Rainwater or distilled ONLY. Dormancy in fall/winter for at least 4 months.

Google is your friend too so USE IT! Have fun!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 9:35PM
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