my new fly trap

slaw(5)November 12, 2005

Hmm this is my first post ever but I've read many of these forums in the past online when searching help for other plants. Well yesterday, like many i've read, I bought a venus fly trap at wal-mart :P my boyfriend thought it would be cool and i have lots of plants so i thought i'd give it a try as I had never had one. So we got it home and as it was looking a little shabby I thought I'd give it some loving care, I repotted it in the next step up size pot and gave it some solution I give to my other plants, miracle grow quick start transplanting solution. (its basically a fertalizer thats supposed to help prevent transplant shock) but then after I had it all cozy (or so i thought) I went online to read a little about this plant and too my horror I saw that they would die with fertalizer!!! :o ok so I feel dumb, but now I ask what should I do to save it??? I read they like high acidity and soI was owndering should I try adding some african violet fertalizer instead, would that help?? Or what else can I do???

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Vertigo6911(Holland USDA 8a)

No fertiliser whatsoever.
the plant has evolved to live without it and
even regular potting soil has enuff nutrients to kill it off.
the only thing u can do to give it some extra nutes is feed it a fly or 2, though it can be quite happy without any for a long time...

if u didnt, repot it again but this time use peat+sand, no soil.
flush the plant by watering it several times and hope for the best.

Here is a link that might be useful: CPFAQ

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 5:14AM
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necro1234(z6 UT)

Flush the little guy to wash it off well (the roots)
Get a good soil mix which would be Sphagnum peat moss and either sand (SILICA SAND, not beach sand!) or perlite.
Make a 50/50 mix of this and pot the little guy.
If you want something safe to help with transplant shock, get a product called SUPERTHRIVE.
Add one drop to a cup of pure water and soak the roots for 15 to 30 minutes.
This product is very handy and is pretty much a high does of vitamin B12.

Good luck, remember that these guys need good clean water (low mieral count) and good full sun (or a 20watt or higher compact fluoresent bulb for 16 hours per day will do)

Cheers n goodluck


    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 5:28AM
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thanks so much, this morning I hurried and rinsed it off and replanted it. Hopefully it will do ok, I just have to hope I have as green a thumb as my mom :P
my next question is..I try to feed my plants rain water when possible...but also I have a lot of plants and often its not enough to go it hasnt rained in a while here :P when I run out of that I water my plants with spring water.. the same stuff I drink usually. We have softened water in our faucets so it doesnt have a lot of other minerals but it does have salt. But at the same time spring water usually has minnerls too. I wwas hoping not to have to go out and buy seperate water just for one plant, So my question is, when theres no rain water avalible which would be better to water itwith. my softened tap water or spring water?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 10:22AM
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necro1234(z6 UT)


ok salt is bad.
your tap water may be fine,what u need is a TDS count, this is the Total Distilled Solids within the water.
you can either get a tds meter from somewhere or even phone your water company and ask, they wont mind and can even come test.
lastly you could buy a reverse osmosis unit or get distilled water.
your plant is ver tough, just give it good water light and soil and im sure it will grow very well.
i found a cheap small reverse osmosis unit called the watermaker mini, you can find info at www.watermakermini.coom, it cost me about eighty dollars.

cheers n goodluck


    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 3:07PM
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I know I should not laugh, but every decision you think to make your little plant better, has some major repercussions.

Play it safe. Replant your plant in a mixture of perlite and peatmoss a 50/50 mix will do great. The plant likes to have as much sun as possible, so place it in a sunny spot (about four hours of sun a day) and gradually increase the sunlight till it gets at least six hours of sun a day.

You probably do not want to spend $150 on a new reverse osmosis unit, so you get used to catching rain in a bucket, they like rain water. Another thing you can do is go to those public water systems were you place your empty one gallon water bottle, and you get one gallon of water for 30 or 35 cents.

If you only have one plant that water will last you for at least a month.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 8:59PM
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Hi Sheldon, I am hoping you are not using silica sand on your CPs. Silica sand is alkaline.

The only sand I find safe is the sand they natrually grow in which is called Silver Sand. It is the sand you find all over Florida, North and South Carolina. That gray sometimes white sand is the best for CPs. It is neutral, no acid but no alkalinity either. Under a microscope the sand is actually small pieces of glass. So it is a glassy sand. I suppose you can make glass out of it.

It takes a whitish color when it is washed to its pure state.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 9:10PM
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necro1234(z6 UT)

hey byron

na only using perlite.
ive been told that if sand must be used to get the silica sand thats used in pool pumps.
i see many growers seem to push it over perlite.



    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 1:05AM
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joeb004(z3/4 MN)

I've been using silica sand for years and never had a problem. It's in nearly all my ping, flytrap, and sarr mixes. Is that a hypothesis that you stated, or have you had a bad experience with it in the past?

The minimum solubility for silica occurs at a pH of about 7...which should be pretty close to RO water or rain water (neglicting acid rain). Still, silica does not become highly soluable until the pH gets above around 9. Needless to say, acid loving CPs would already be in big trouble at that point.

Furthermore, the pH I have seen for silica sand is about 7.2. Well yes, I suppose that is VERY SLIGHTLY alkaline. Mix it with peat moss and whatever else, your soil pH still going to be around 5.5.

In conclusion, I would expect silica sand to be mostly inert in typical CP conditions. Even if it is slightly reactive, the 7.2 pH will not materially effect pH of a medium which also contains generous amounts of peat. Comments?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 11:11AM
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My thing with rain water is its never enough for all my plants. I know salt is very bad for other plants so i give them spring water when rain water isnt avalible. I think I'm going to stick with that as we rent so changing our system isn't an option let alone affordable.
Its almost winter here and very cloudy so not to much sun but we do have a florecent light on our sink I have been putting it under that during the cloudy days. When I repotted my plant it closed all its mouths except 2. one was very red and kind of dry looking and one was very green and new looking. After waiting 48 hours none of the other mouths reopened?? (i dont think i have flies around her that i've seen yet so I didnt think that was it) but I went outside and caught it a bug (they are hard to come by this time of year lol :P) and I tried to feed it but it wouldnt close its mouth like it had done when transplanted it. needless to say i put it in its mouth and gently squeezed it shut. I dont know if that was a good idea but so far nothing bad has happened, it looks closed well and yesterday 2 of the other mouths reopened. :) so Im thinking its doing ok!!
It is very small, how big do fly traps tend to get??

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 5:17PM
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akheadbanger(z?? OH)

That trap that wouldnt close is An Old traps, those traps should jsut be let alone. And sometimes it takes longer for the Traps to open if they are an older trap. And the size varies from difrent variations. Theirs Specific variations that have Large traps, wich is commonly know as teh Big Mouth VFT, then theirs Common, dente, and a few others, then their are others that arent so common, like Fused tooth, jaw's, and other variations.

But when theirs a single venusflytrap in a pot not having new growht spots or any thing theirs usualy 8-10 trap's on a VFTif theirs any more its usualy growing new growht points, i wouldnt worry about that now, but its handy to know. You probably have one VFT in youre Collection.

Not sure if this is the rigth site

Here is a link that might be useful: VFT Variations

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 9:17PM
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If you use silver sand instead of silica, you can avoid the extra alcalinity and give your plants the best acidic environment that they can have. Better acidity means a better red color on your plants.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 4:01PM
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necro1234(z6 UT)

slaw please just be careful with "spring water" if you mean the stuff you buy at a store (for health freaks like arrowhead)
Many of these have salts in them and are not suitable at all.
Many stores have distilled bottles (like 3 gallons for $1.99) or even a distiller that you can fill up as you need.
Distilled is the ultimate water you can get for your plants in purity.

Cheers n good growing


    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 1:49AM
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thanks. I know some bottled spring water has salt but as my tap water has salt also I can't imagine that it would be worse then the tap water lol :P
especially since there is significantly less chlorine and flouride in the spring water which is bad for plants as well. Sometimes Its a wonder plants ever thrive lol :P
Well as I said It wouldn't be the plants regular source of water, just for when we are in a dry spell, And considering its pretty small it shouldnt be to often.
Ok sorry for all the questions but I read somewhere a fly trap should only have 7 mouths. Mine has 11 of various sizes. Is that ok??

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 5:56PM
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necro1234(z6 UT)

na the story which is bull is this.
it is said that a single plant only has seven leaves,if it has more then the bulb has split and its now multiple plants.
that story in my opinion is very false, besides my big mouth leaf cutting has about twenty leaves and is under one year in age, the bulb is still small and is certainly not split.



    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 11:56PM
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akheadbanger(z?? OH)

I think its probably because their are smaller traps, i think it can have More than 8 traps and still be one plant, it just depends ont the size of the traps and the age of the plant. I think that if theirs more than 8 traps and its a full grown traps its more than one VFT. Unlike youre cutting Sheldon, the bulb hasnt split cause its to young it cant produce more bulb's but it can produce a bunch of small leaves. cause they are smaller and dont require as much energy as the Larger leaves.

Just my idea.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 11:01AM
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necro1234(z6 UT)

well that could be, but that doesnt mesh with my plants, my typical had only a few traps, about five or six, when i repotted it the bulbs where split in thirds giving me three plant that are doing well.
my parent big mouth had pretty much a minimum of ten traps at all times during te growing season, this plant has a nice large bulb but it is not split at all.

i think the splitting could be like dormency, it happens when it happens and there is no full proof way of dictating when it will happen.



    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 2:04PM
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akheadbanger(z?? OH)

I agree and it could vary from plant to plant to, depending on Genetics and just how it feels. It could out more traps if it feels like its happy.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 9:15PM
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So many scientist that are a bunch of slakers. They see something in one plant and assume that it happends to all of them. Even Charles Darwin explained that the venus flytrap will deploy slim tall petrioles with traps at the end during the summer. Many venus flytraps deploy tall petrioles, but they also have the wide part of the leaf with it, so they are not always slim during the summer. And some are not even tall but kind of short and flat on the grownd.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 1:59PM
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I am new at caring for a very young venus fly trap. I have had it for a few months now. It is extremely small and all the traps are closed at the moment. It seems fairly healthy, but has not had any food (small insects) yet. I am finding it hard to locate very small flies or gnats at this point. How long can it go on before it might possibly die? Does anyone have a link or some basic care instructions I can go by? I keep it watered with distilled water, keep it in proper soil type of medium, and also keep it in a place where there is enough warmth and light,... and do not fertilize it whatsoever. But other than that, I am clueless on how to care for it.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 10:49AM
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if the insect you feed your plant was dead then the trap wouldnt shut as they have tiny tigger hairs which are triggered by the insect which causes them to shut you shouldnt push a trap shut if fir some reason you need to shut it then use something that isnt sharp to GENTLE touch the trigger hairs but remember the trap will shut fast usually faster than you have pulled the object out of the trap so be careful.cheers

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 4:18AM
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debbyo: Technically, this is the time of year that VFT's will naturally go dormant. The photoperiod is gradually decreasing, as is the temperature, water, and food supply. They really don't need to eat right now. May I ask how you are cultivating the plant? Is it outside or by a window sill or in a terrarium? I live in the Buffalo, NY area and all of my VFT's are in my attic, where it will be cold for the winter. Traps are blackening and they are beginning too

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 5:47PM
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I got a new VFT from a gardening store in early October. I did some research on them and am now growing it under a 26 watt florescent bulb. It seems to be doing well but I think it thinks it's in Spring/Summer because it tried to grow a flower a few weeks ago. The reason I'm writing is because I think it's splitting. I see some tiny leaves growing on the outside of all the other leaves and I'm not sure what to do as they split off of the plant. I repotted it recently if that has something to do with it, but it's not a huge pot and I don't know if it can hold two plants.

One small question I had was on one of my larger traps there seems to be four trigger hairs on one side; I thought there were always only three. Is this normal?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 2:28AM
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I never counted the trigger hairs, but I would suggest cutting the flower off as a precautionary measure. I wouldn't trust a typical tissue culture VFT to survive flowering until it has undergone one good year of growing under direct sunlight (or strong artificial lighting) and a proper dormancy. It'll flower again for you!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 2:16PM
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Thanks for the advise but I already have. I've read that letting a VFT flower significantly weakens it for the following growing season. What I'm realy conncerned about is what I should do about My plant splitting. Should I wait until it goes dormant and cut it apart with a knife or just leave it be until it breaks off on its own and replant it in a seperate pot. I've heard they have especially small root systems, is it possible to just leave it in the same pot.
Lastly, I was wondering if it would help to add a source of red light like an incandescent bulb since I think red ligt helps tuber formation and reproduction. The light bulb I am using right now is just an ordinary Florescent bulb, not a full spectrum bulb.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 1:25AM
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allow your VFT to propagate and split on its own. Everytime they form small daughter plants in the base of the mother plant, you must allow the new forming plantets to form their own roots and split on their own. If you use a sharp small knife without any caution and not knowing where to cut you might lose both plants.

If i were you i would leave them in their container as for now. Beside, a small container filled with lots of VFts with my traps looks nice :) if you want to divide them, wait until next year, since they are actively growing.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 12:34PM
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