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Thread: Problems with VFTs

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    error's Avatar
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    Problems with VFTs

    Hi everyone. This is my first post. I skipped introducing myself in favor of asking a pressing question:

    Why do my VFTs keep dying on me? I feed the insects and I water them once a week or whenever the peat looks or feels less moist that I think it should be.

    Not a lot of creepy crawlies like to visit the VFT so I like to expedite things and bring one to it. I even went so far as to buy mealworms for it. After only a month of having it, it seems to all turn black and die.

    What am I doing wrong?

    Could it be that I'm buying the plants from Wal Mart or the big-box hardware/home improvement stores instead of buying them from someone like a breeder?

    I'll leave the plastic cup on the pot when there are critters running about but I'll leave it off when all the "mouths" are open.

    looking forward to your wisdom.

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    Doing it wrong until I do it right. xvart's Avatar
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    Welcome to TF. Is it outside? If you keep a cover over it and it's outside then you are probably cooking it. Also, what kind of water are you using? If you're doing tap water and your tap has a lot of minerals and salts that may also be building up and killing it. You'll need to start using distilled, revers osmosis, or rain water (pure water).

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    You may be feeding them too often as well.

    Leaves turn black if they eat something that gives them "indigestion". Very hard shelled insects often fit into this category. Mealworms have a reputation for being hard shelled.

    Leaves turn black if they've been fed several times - they just wear out.

    Leaves turn black if the prey is larger than the trap or big parts are sticking out. The parts sticking out grow fungus or start to rot which spreads to the trap. Or digestive juices leak out and the outsides of the leaf sometimes react to these.

    Leaves turn black if badly sunburned.

    Leaves turn black with age.

    It's also possible that the plants are/were still alive even though all the leaves turned black for the various reasons given above. Did you wait 2-6 weeks to see if there was any new growth? Or did you check the rhizome to see if it was still firm and healthy (white-ish) looking?
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    error's Avatar
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    I do suppose I could be doing all that and more.

    I leave it outside most often with the cup off. When I get it home from the store, I can't wait to feed it something so I'll go out looking for a cricket or something.

    Are there any insects they'd sell at pet stores that would work to feed a VFT? Waxworms perhaps?

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    Welcome to the forums, error.

    VFTs really want to be outside. If they have been kept inside, you can put them outside in a semi shady area slowly acclimating them until they are in full sun. My plants get about 8 hours of sun and the insides of the traps turn a nice red.

    I think a lot of people have them in too small of a pot. These plants grow from little bulbs that have attached roots that can be 4 to 5 inches long. They like to be wet, but not waterlogged. So if you have a plant in say a 3 inch pot sitting in an inch of water - you see how that could rot the roots or bulb compared to say a 6 or 8 inch pot where the roots would stay moist but not sopping wet.

    I admit I feed my VFTs quite a bit and I get surges of new growth. I have found the best thing to feed them are live flies. I catch them with a ziplock bag, by folding/turning the part with the zipper out so it holds the bag open sort of like an "O". You can sneak up up on the flies and drop the bag over them and they'll fly up into the bag. Now if you have a dog... you could catch like 20 at one time holding the bag just above the poop (don't get any poop on the bag). You can gently hold the fly between the plastic sides of the bag and grab with tweezers with your other hand, or, close off part of the bag with a twist tie and put it in the fridge a while to slow them down.

    One time I tried feeding using waxworms, but they were too fatty and killed the plant.

    Now it's OK for the traps to turn black as long as there is new growth from the center.

    I hope this helps.

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    Capensis Killer upper's Avatar
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    just so you know, insect isnt needed for survival of VFT.

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    Norhtern Michigan Dragway Mama *Barracuda_45*'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WildBill View Post
    I think a lot of people have them in too small of a pot. These plants grow from little bulbs that have attached roots that can be 4 to 5 inches long. They like to be wet, but not waterlogged. So if you have a plant in say a 3 inch pot sitting in an inch of water - you see how that could rot the roots or bulb compared to say a 6 or 8 inch pot where the roots would stay moist but not sopping wet..
    I deffinately have to agree with you on that, i have noticed since growing VFTs over the yrs that they do much better with a larger/deeper pot and also not standing in water, but keeping the CP soil mix moist at all times, they have grown much better than when in small size pots standing in water. Everyone has there degree of luck and how they get there VFTs to grow the best but im sticking with the way i grow mine, what works for me might not work for someone else.


    Quote Originally Posted by WildBill View Post
    I admit I feed my VFTs quite a bit and I get surges of new growth. I have found the best thing to feed them are live flies. I catch them with a ziplock bag, by folding/turning the part with the zipper out so it holds the bag open sort of like an "O". You can sneak up up on the flies and drop the bag over them and they'll fly up into the bag. Now if you have a dog... you could catch like 20 at one time holding the bag just above the poop (don't get any poop on the bag). You can gently hold the fly between the plastic sides of the bag and grab with tweezers with your other hand, or, close off part of the bag with a twist tie and put it in the fridge a while to slow them down..
    You couldnt have discribed that any better.. LOL!! Mine dont need to be fed they catch tons of bugs on there own, and i do notice that when they catch a tiny moth or other bug other than say a fly or spider or bee, that there traps do turn black in the spot where the bug sits in the trap while its closed, eventualy that whole trap turns black and i snip it off, sometimes they trap tiny green or other colored catapilers some cause the traps to turn black some dont. Just recently my Big Mouth caught a stink bug well that didnt go over well, that trap turned black quickly and after i snipped the trap off i opend the trap and looked inside to see what it was and sure enough a stink bug...
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    error's Avatar
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    awesome! Thanks guys!

    mind if I stick around for a while?

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