Advice to the new trappers

Joined
Aug 12, 2003
Messages
6
Bought the kids a Venus Flytrap from Lowes last weekend. Saw in other posts about saving plants from Lowes. Mine was a similar situation, Kids had asked about how they worked awhile back and I told them all I knew from ones I had as a kid. Never did last very long, but this one is way healthier than anything I ever started with. Same story descibed elsewhere, impulse buy when I saw several dead plants. Asked about them and was shown a box, still unopened of shipment that had just come in. Traps even had pink centers. Had only seen that in pictures so I feel we are way ahead of the game. How often should we feed it, What to feed when flies go away, How often to water? Should we leave covered in it's plastic box except to feed and water with exception of the airflow time mentioned elsewhere? Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. G.H.
 

Cynic81

Frakkin Toaster
Joined
Mar 7, 2003
Messages
682
Location
Reston, VA
Congrats on your plant! Hopefully this one should last a bit longer, especially if you follow a few simple guidelines:

First and foremost: DON'T USE TAP WATER!!!!!! This is true of all carnivorous plants. I can't stress how deadly this stuff is to CPs. These plants have evolved to grow in nutrient poor soil (hence the bug catching) and the dissolved salts and minerals in tap water WILL kill them. Use ONLY distilled water or rainwater. Just buy a plastic tray, place the pot in it and maintain an inch of water in the tray (Make sure the bottom of the pot you use has holes in it). The sphagnum moss will absorb the water from teh tray and stay moist. Which bring us to point number two:

You should grow it in a 50/50 mix of Sphagnum moss and sand or perlite. It doesn't matter which. You must use Spagnum moss, though. And Don't use potting soil! AND NEVER FERTILIZE!!!!! EVER!!!!

Just place them outside in full sun for at least 8 hours (Depending on where you live, the sun could be more or less intense during the height of the afternoon). If you keep them outside they should be able to take care of their own food. Don't worry about it if it doesn't catch too many bugs, Venus Flytraps photosynthesize just like normal plants, the bugs are like a bit of a nutrient supplement.

Also, these plants will need to go dormant during the winter. Depending on where you live you could just leave it outside, or, if you live in an area with bitterly cold winters, try removing the plant from its pot (taking care not to disturb the roots) leaving some soil around the roots. Wrap the whole thing in some paper towels, and apply some fungicide to ward off mold. Place this in a plastic baggie and put it in teh refriderator from Thanksgiving until Valentine's Day. Keep it moist during this time, it can never be allowed to dry out. Also, Vfts (Venus Flytraps) actively resent having their roots disturbed during teh growing season, so take care not to disturb them during repotting.

Try not to trigger the leaves too often. We all know how cool it is to watch teh trap close right before your eyes, but the mechanism that controls it is only designed to do it about 3-4 times. After that the leaf wears out and is unable to catch food. Trigger all of the leaves enough and you could kill the plant. Tease with caution.

I hope all of this helps, and hopefully some of my esteemed colleagues can give you some more help. Have Fun!
 

vft guy in SJ

VFT and Drosera lover
Joined
Jun 30, 2003
Messages
1,503
Location
Merced, California
Hi GregH, Welcome to the forums...

Cynic and Goldtrap pretty much covered it all, although I use only about 1/2 inch of water in my water trays. I want to also add that Venus Fly Traps (VFT's) are native to Southern North Carolina, and Northern South Carolina. Do some homework on the weather there and try to mimic that...(SOOOOOO much info is available on the net if you only look for it)... Basically if you are hotter than 95 on average in summer.. or colder than 40 on average in winter then you need to shelter them in those conditions. Otherwise outdoors is the way to go. My plants grow outdoors 24/7 in San Jose, California and thrive.

Good Luck with your plants
Steve
 

BigCarnivourKid

It's been one of dem days
Joined
Jun 7, 2002
Messages
3,673
Location
I live in Chaffee County, Colorado, USA
Barry Rice has a website with good information on many types of carnivorous plants.  Here is the link to the VFT pages:   VFTs.
PetFlytrap also has a plant care pages.  This link will take you to the index:  PFT Care sheets

The only thing on Barry's pages that I disagree with, is the difficulty of growing VFTs.  I have found them very easy to care for.....once I quit using my tap water on them
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vft guy in SJ

VFT and Drosera lover
Joined
Jun 30, 2003
Messages
1,503
Location
Merced, California
Woops.. forgot to add that link in my reply.. ty BCK... I have followed Barry Rice's FAQ pages like a bible since I started growing VFT's and I have to say it has NEVER steered me wrong. I do agree with you that VFT's are much hardier than they are depicted, IF they are taken care of. Like I said before, my VFT's are thriving and I really dont do anything at all for them except fill the water trays.

Steve
 

Cynic81

Frakkin Toaster
Joined
Mar 7, 2003
Messages
682
Location
Reston, VA
Also, go to the FAQ section of Sarracenia.com. This will answer any question you could possibly think of.

Also, just get rid of that plastic dome. It's more trouble than its worth. And telling us which state you live in could help us help you, as far as giving advice on outdoor cultivation.
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2003
Messages
6
Am in Oklahoma. Thanks for all the advice and I am sorry for not noticing proper place for my post. Will be more careful next time. Again thanks for all the help. Newness of plant had us feeding a fly to all willing traps...guess we oughta cut that out huh?
 
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