Jul 24, 2003
I understand playing around with plant foods are a bad idea with VFT's. Here's a quote from Goldtrap2690's great VFT Care Sheet on the subject...

</span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">FERTILIZERS : it is recommended that you never use fertilizers . Fertilizers can kill your flytraps , try it on a spare plant first rather then put your only plant to risk .You can use acid-loving , epiphytic , orchid , miricid , or miracle-gro . Superthrive which is not a fertilizer can also be used as well . Apply it at 1/4 strength directly to the leaves as a mist , you wouldn’t want to get any on the soil because flytrap roots are very sensitive .[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

So from what I understand
, fertilising can work yet too much is toxic to the plant; it either dies from root burn?, or goes dark green and the traps start to blacken and die.

A few months ago, I accidentally fertilised my VFT's. (I have several identical hand misters, one with fert's, one with RO water) didn't read the label, and was out of RO water. So I ACCIDENTLY watered both VFT's with a half strength fertiliser. About a week later, while going to sleep (of all places), I realised my mistake. I was very angry at myself and thought they would die. I used about a quarter of a litre of ferts on each VFT, which had been used over the course of the week.

That night, I was awake for ages, washing them thru with all the new RO water.

There was no improvement in plant growth, they went a lighter shade of green, perhaps even slightly yellow for a while. Some smaller traps died, then the plants were normal again.
Pics of the VFT's

So now the questions about soil fertilisers...

Are VFT's roots sensitive to all elements in a fertiliser's make up? Is it only Nitrogen? Or a combination? Could some elements be 'less' toxic than others? (e.g. could tiny amounts of nitrogen kill quickly, yet large amounts of potassium be ok?)

If so, could a 'custom' VFT food be possible? Only for very occasional use, maybe to add Potassium while flowering, to aid people propagating for seed. (I have a friend at Uni who could, in theory, knock me up a custom solution of ferts)

Or are they not able to absorb anything through their roots (other than water). If so, why does super thrive work? I understand superthrive is not plant food, but a 'mineral tonic and growth promoter'. So I guess they can absorb some beneficial things through the roots?

Or is it just a case of VFT's being over sensitive / unable to process too many plant fert's at one time, because of its origin. (With few to no natural ferts available to the roots?)

Has anyone else played with ferts and VFT's? What where your results?

Here’s my final idea. Is anyone reading this in Carolina, and able to see wild VFT’s? Would it be possible to collect a sample of the bog water the VFT is living in? An analysis of what’s dissolved in the water could be very valuable in discovering what is not toxic to a VFT. (Assuming the bog water is not pure)

I’d have to check with my Uni friend first, however, if you are willing to collect a sample of VFT bog water, I THINK I could test it for most plant food elements… (e.g., nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, Iron etc. Not to sure about the trace elements though, dunno if the machine they’d let me use would be that sensitive… it’s only a colorimeter + reagents) Also there’s legality of collecting and sending things to the UK, postage costs etc. Perhaps someone nearer to wild VFT’s is more able to do this…




It’s a trap!
Jul 30, 2002
Findlay, OH
I have never fertilized my venus flytraps. However, I do know that it can and usually does end in dead plants. The reason that people sometimes fertilize thier plants is that they do not get a diet of insects on a regular basis. If you plant is catching bugs on its own, there is no real need to fertilize your plant.

In the wild, the plants do absorb some trace elements and a very small amount of nutrients from the soil. However, this amount is very small and is one of the reason that these plants evolved into insect caputure and digestion vegitation.

As for getting things tested. There are many labs in the US that test soils, water, etc for mineral and nutrient contents. The OARDC is one of them. This is the Ohio Agricultural Resource and Developement Center in Wooster, Ohio.