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Thread: Help - is my son's vft on it's deathbead?

  1. #1
    garth66
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    Hi,
    My son purchased a VFT about one month ago. It seemed to be doing great until now. Last week it stopped eating, and the traps do not close even if the trigger hairs are stimulated. Three or four of the traps have died since this started.

    The plant is in it's original 2" pot, which spends half of each day sitting in a pan of water. The clear plastic cover which came on the pot was kept on the plant for several days initially, but no longer fits without bending leaves. Also, my son was feeding it almost once/day in the first 1-2 weeks. Last, it sits on a desk approximately 4 feet from a window with a Northerly exposure (no direct sunlight on the VFT). And, my son doesn't "play" with the traps to see them close - He's read about six books on carniverous plants from the library, and he has gotten to see the traps close often with all those flies he put into them.

    Is the VFT dieing? What should we do to return it to good health? Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Just my opinion, but feeding a VFT a lot of flies is the same thing as "playing" with the traps to see them close. The traps on the Dionaea muscipula only open and close a certain amount of times before they no longer work...kind of like if you took a credit card and bend it back and forth enough, the plastic is going to wear out and snap.

    My diagnosis would be a little more light, you don't need the cup on top unless it is extremely dry in there. Should be enough humidity for it with it in a tray of water. I also wouldn't feed it so much, cut back to at least once every other week. Every day is way too much.

    Should be fine after that, as long as there aren't any other problems.

    Which books did your son read and how old is he? [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif[/img]
    Lithops care info: If you take care of it, it will die.

  3. #3
    BobZ's Avatar
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    I agree with Vertigo. It sounds like the plant is being greatly overfed. This often results in the material in the trap decaying, which leads to death of that trap. In this case, the trap turns black, but the rest of the leaf is green. If the entire leaf and trap dies at the same time, I would guess that you have some other problem. If the problem is simply overfeeding that is killing the traps, new leaves and traps will eventually emerge.

    Also, a 2-inch pot is OK but rather small. The smaller the pot, the less "buffer" there is for over watering or over drying. If you carefully knock the soil and plant out of the 2-inch, you can easily put it into a larger pot without disturbing the plant. A good soil mix is milled sphagnum peat alone or a mixture of peat and silica sand and/or perlite. Never use the standard potting soil or fertilizer.

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    WOW!!! I was just about to write the same message. I would really like to know what is going on too.

    The only difference though is that some of the leaves to the trap are wrinlke as if they were not getting enough water and than overwater. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif[/img] yet, i am constant.

    The plants are sitting in a water tray. - Distill water.

    The humdity level is a steady 70%.

    I don't know how bright the light is but the tank is very bright.

    What are they eating? I give the VFTs one Juicy Fat ant every two weeks.

    Please - help the both of us.

    Thank you for your reply in advance.

  5. #5

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    Quote (aplantlover @ April 17 2003,2:18)
    WOW!!! I was just about to write the same message. I would really like to know what is going on too.

    The only difference though is that some of the leaves to the trap are wrinlke as if they were not getting enough water and than overwater. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif[/img] yet, i am constant. The plants are sitting in a water tray. - Distill water.

    Please - help the both of us.

    Thank you for your reply in advance.[/QUOTE]
    Where on the leaf is wrinkling? Is there any discoloration or color change?

    How long ago did you receive it? Did you buy it at a store or was it shipped from a nursery?
    Lithops care info: If you take care of it, it will die.

  6. #6

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    They are wrinkle just below the trap. Some of the traps that want close are red but they are suppose to be common VFTs.

    One of them have a brown hole. The other are green. Now, up until two weeks ago the ones that turned black had replacemnet traps coming out. Now, [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif[/img] I don't know what is going on.

    I got the plants (6) in late February.

    They were purchase at the nursey. I got the best of the lot because I did not want to hear my wife complaining about me nursing plants back to life again. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img]

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    BobZ's Avatar
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    If you have not found it already, there is a great wealth of information on exactly this subject at
    http://www.sarracenia.com/faq/faq2000.html
    and the pages following that by clicking the "ahead" button.

  8. #8

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    Yea,

    only rainwater that is clean, distilled or r.o. water. Not tap water or mineral water.

    Feeding a couple or three bugs a month is MORE than enough.
    Definately would like to have some more light; if you put it in a sunny window; definately leave the top off so you won't steam cook your plant.

    Feed only insects, not people food of any kind; hamburger, etc. WILL certainly at least kill the trap if not the whole plant.

    Flies, small crickets, etc. work fine as long as the insects are no larger than say 2/3 of the trap size.

    It is common for the trap to die after digesting a large meal; even if it's the first meal.

    Keep plant standing in a tray of water, especially if its in a real sunny location in this growing season. Don't let the soil stay waterlogged on a long term basis, if growing indoors; occasionally, let the growing medium go to damp to help oxygenate the soil; but for the most part; keep medium damp to wet all the time for now. your planting medium may be real compacted and root bound; so replant using Canadian Spaghnum peat moss, and half perlite or silica sand.

    For a single plant; a 3 to 4 inch pot is more than large enough and I've experienced much more robust growth when in a smaller pot when the plant doesn't concentrate on root development. You will get larger traps in a smaller pot. Use a plastic or glazed ceramic pot, but not a shallow one. Pot should be as deep as it is wide, as a GENERAL rule of thumb.

    Don't tamp the soil at all after repotting; just tap the container on the table after your plant is repotted and that is all the tamping you need to do. Peat is real dense. Forget all you learned about regular house plants; it doesn't apply to these unique plants.

    Fertilizer will kill your plant;

    Water good, and see if it snaps out of it.

    gary

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