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Thread: In preparation

  1. #1

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    First post. Be gentle!

    I live in Durham, North Carolina and I was just given the money to purchase my own Venus Flytrap, and it's needs, of my own. I've wanted one as long as I can remember.

    I wanted to make sure I have everything down and all the necessary items I need so it can live comfortably before I buy him. So I guess my main question is: What things do I need?

    What size pot? What kind of soil/moss/whatever? As I said before, I live in NC but should I buy an extra light source since it's a nippy winter? Any places I should not but one? Any info on good places to buy one here?

    -and also, right now it gets about 30 degrees during the daytime (brr) so he will have to stay indoors on my windowsill but what are the chances he will become dormant if I buy him in mid-winter? I'm worried I should wait intill the spring to buy him, or would it really matter?

    I've read through so many FAQ's and guides on care but I'm just checking here, seeing if I can get any inside info from the pro's. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_n_32.gif[/img]

    I'm also paranoid. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_l_32.gif[/img]

    Any info or guidance is greatly appreciated. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img] Thanks again!
    ~*~ Lean - Mean - Green ~*~


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  2. #2
    It's been one of dem days BigCarnivourKid's Avatar
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    Hi Hybrat_Kaizer,

    Welcome to the forums!

    VFTs will do fine in a 3" pot filled with sphagnum peat moss. You can mix the peat moss 1:1 with quartz sand, vermiculite, or perlite or just keep it plain ol' peat. You'll discover that everyone has their own preference on mixes. You need to make sure that none of the stuff you use has fertilizer in it. Some people recommend rinsing the peat to remove any impurities in it. I have only done that once and that was this year when I discovered my peat had time release fertilizer contaminating it. If you run into the same problem, I recommend getting another bag of peat. It will take too much water to rinse the contaminated peat to the point it is safe for a VFT.

    If your tap water has a low TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) of 100ppm or less then you can use it for watering your VFT, other wise use rain, distilled, or Reverse Osmosis (RO) water on your VFT.

    After potting up your plant, place it in an area that receives bright indirect light for a week or two 'till it recovers from being transplanted. Next you need to get it used to direct sunlight. Sudden increases in exposure to direct sunlight can damage the leaves unless they have had time to harden up. This should be done slowly over a period of a week or so. Once it can handle full sun, you need to put it in a window or other place that it can get as much direct sun as possible. I grow my CPs in a south facing window that gets sun all day long. I also place my plants outside on the days the temps get into the upper 30s, even if they are dormant. I bring them in at night when the sun goes down. The temps drop rapidly up here after sunset.

    As for dormancy, I wouldn't worry about it until it happens. In my experience, new plants don't usually want to go into dormancy the first year. No matter when I bought them.

    Where to buy one? Well **********/JungleSupply sells a couple types and the ones I bought from them were good healthy plants. They sell them either bare root or potted. You can also check Lowe's, Home Depot, or Wal Mart. You may find some there. It's hit or miss though. Places not to buy. Only one comes to mind. Here's a link to a page about it. Bad Nurseries
    ---Steve Allinger---

    How come chicken fingers are bigger than buffalo wings?

    My Grow List

  3. #3
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    I would recommend buying the book "The Savage Garden" by Peter D'Amato.
    available through amazon.com, or B&N.com, or your larger bookstores..
    and any other CP books you can come across!

    then, read this! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]
    http://www.sarracenia.com/faq.html

    then..WAIT!! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_k_ani_32.gif[/img]
    and dont buy any Carnivorous plants yet!!
    because..its the dead of winter right now,
    its the absolute worst time of year to buy a new Venus Fly Trap or sarracenia..
    because they should all be dormant right now, because its winter..
    you should wait for Spring, then buy new plants.
    then they will be just emerging from dormancy, and be ready to give you a whole season of good growth..
    and they will be MUCH healthier if you buy plants in the spring that are dormant right now..rather than buying a plant right now that is forced to be growing when it should be dormant..
    then grow them outdoors if you can!
    Cps do much better outdoors than indoors..
    they get the tons of natural sunlight they need, and they catch their own food! IMO, outdoors is the only way to go for CPs..

    I see you live in North Carolina..you are VERY LUCKY!!
    VFTs come from your state!
    your local environment is PERFECT for growing CP's outdoors all year round!
    many of us have very difficult dormancy problems, because our winters are very severe..we have to put them in the refrigrator!
    but you wouldnt have that problem, your plants could simply stay outdoors and have a nice naural dormancy every winter!
    no problems for you at all..

    I know you probably dont want to wait!
    but CPs can be a very rewarding and life-long hobby..
    waiting 3 months is a small price to pay to "do it right"..

    oh, and buy plants from a real CP nursery!
    there are lots of good ones, you can gets lots of advice on this forum about what CP nurseries people like..
    once you have some experience, you can "rescue" the less healthy plants from Home Depot and places like that..
    but I wouldnt recommend such places for getting your first plants..

    welcome aboard!
    Scot

  4. #4
    Lauderdale's Avatar
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    All of the above is good advice...especially the part about waiting until spring. I know that seems like a long time away but it will "uncomplicate" things. In the meantime read this forum and all other sources of info about CPs and accumulate a knowledge base of "care and feeding".
    As far as a place to buy CPs, there is no where better than right here at **********/JungleSupply. Their Venus Flytrap Assortment Pack or the Carnivorous Plant Starter Set are both a great bargin. The plants will be shipped promptly, they will be in good shape and will not have the problems and dissapointments associated with trying to salvage abused plants from Lowes or Home Depot.
    By this time next year you will have already caught the "bug" yourself and will be wondering where to put all your plants.
    [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img]

  5. #5
    BobZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (Lauderdale @ Dec. 16 2004,7:29)]All of the above is good advice...especially the part about waiting until spring. I know that seems like a long time away but it will "uncomplicate" things.
    Come on now folks! Can you remember when you were 16 years old and someone told you to wait for several months because it will uncomplicate things? Where is the sense of adventure and experimentation? Although not recommended, VFTs can make it on a window sill for a year without dormancy. I say, give it a try. You will learn a lot.

  6. #6
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (BobZ @ Dec. 16 2004,6:07)]
    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (Lauderdale @ Dec. 16 2004,7:29)]All of the above is good advice...especially the part about waiting until spring. I know that seems like a long time away but it will "uncomplicate" things.
    Come on now folks! Can you remember when you were 16 years old and someone told you to wait for several months because it will uncomplicate things? Where is the sense of adventure and experimentation? Although not recommended, VFTs can make it on a window sill for a year without dormancy. I say, give it a try. You will learn a lot.
    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Although not recommended
    exactly! then why do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]You will learn a lot.
    you can also "learn a lot" by just reading about how to do it wrong!
    you dont have to actually DO it wrong to learn thats its wrong!

    and why should "being 16" be an excuse for making a mistake on purpose?
    sure, its a free country, we are all free to do things wrong if we like..but if you have the knowledge, why "do it wrong" on purpose and kill a plant "just because"?
    doesnt make much sense to me..
    I could mail-order a japanese maple bonsai right now and try to grow it on top of my TV all winter..people have done that!
    because they didnt know any better..
    but if I know it wont work, and the plant will definately die, what would be the point?
    If you know the proper conditions a plant needs to survive,
    and then you choose to do it wrong anyway, IMO that would just be pure irresponsibility!
    to subject a plant to substandard conditions "just because you can"..or because you are "impatient"..
    I think 16 years olds can overcome "impatience" and be smart enough to learn what is best!
    give them some credit..
    research is good..knowledge is good.
    preparation is good.
    "just jumping in" can be bad..
    99.9% of all VFT's that are bought as "impulse buys" or because they "look cool" but the owner has no knowledge of how to care for them, end up dead very quickly..

    Scot

  7. #7

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    Ok, Guy's heres a little tip. fer all of ya! When I first got into CPs it was around this time of year. I found some at Lowes here in Texas. I got ten total. Five went directly into the fridge and five went under shop lights. Know what I learned from this experiment? I had to wait three months on the ones I put into the fridge. That it both groups had done exceedingly well come spring and summer.
    To further emphasize the no waiting point. Most nursuries have rotating dormancys for plants. I believe Phil here at ********** does. I say this because all the plants I got from him this Summer were dormant when I got them. It will most likely need this year to sync up to the seasons any way. If a plant wants to flower in fall it will. If it wants to go dormant in the middle of Summer it will. There is no substitute for reading "The Savage Garden" but once familier with the info ya gotta spend time reading you're plants.

    Hybrat_Kaizer

    I say as long as you have a bookshelf or windowsill and can buy a florescent shop light (about $14) or better yet for just one Flytrap you can get a 2' bright stick ($6) at wal-Mart and keep it about 5" from the pot. I say when you think you're ready go ahead and get one.
    I always suspect everything could be a trap... thats why I'm still alive
    N.A.S.C. Region 9 Head Grower

    http://www.cpforums.org/gallery/ZAK

  8. #8
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Hybrat_Kaizer,
    the main thing to keep in mind here, is that all these differences of opinion are just that...opinions!
    when I say "its a bad idea to grow VFT's on a windowsill in the middle of winter" thats an opinion, not a absolute rule..
    likewise, when others say "its perfectly fine to grow VFT's indoors on a windowsill in the winter!" thats also just an opinion..
    some people can get away with it, but it doesent always work well for everyone..

    In my opinion, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your CPs have native conditions that they REQUIRE to live long and happy lives..
    regardless of what part of the world they find themselves in..
    they need to "think" they are in the Carolinas to be truly happy and healthy!
    even they are in Alaska..
    and you should always strive to mimic those conditions as much as humanly possible..
    you are lucky! all you have to do to mimic VFT native contitions is put your plants outside 24/7/365! your native conditions are VFT native conditions!

    IMO, this excerpt from the CP FAQ says it all:

    "Can you grow your plant in a terrarium? Sure, if you can replicate the humid, and extremely sunny conditions--just like in the Carolinas. Can you grow it on a windowsill? Sure, if your windowsill is extremely sunny and humid--just like in the Carolinas. Can you put your plant outside? Sure, if it is warm and humid--just like in the Carolinas. Can you keep it outside during the winter? Sure, if it gets chilly but not killing frosts--just like in the Carolinas."

    key words there "just like in the Carolinas"

    what are wild VFT's in the Carolinas doing in mid december?
    are they all on a warm windowsill growing under floresent lights?
    nope..they are dormant and out in the cold and dark.
    if you are going to grow CP's, you simply must accept that your plants must be dormacnt 3 months out of the year, and you cant "enjoy" them then..
    its just life!
    not a big deal..
    I would rather have my VFT's be big and happy and healthy for decades than have weak spindly plants indoors all year round..
    besides, that would just be selfish of me..
    my own "wants" would come before the NEEDS of the plant!
    no good..
    gotta give the plants what they need..
    and give them the BEST care we can give them!
    and thats not forcing them to struggle through an unnatural winter.
    why do any less??

    yes, I feel very strongly about this!
    IMO, VFT's and Sarracenia should never be grown indoors at all, ever..
    unless you have no other option.

    Scot

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