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Thread: drainage for VFT; leaves dying?

  1. #1
    As I previously wrote, my son brought home a VFT planted in the bottom of a 2 liter soda bottle. (the top serves as the lid of a "terrarium") It appears to be planted in about 2 inches of spagnum (looks really branchy) and perlite. Underneath rocks/some type of drainage material, about 3 inches worth. I've been putting it outside during the day to get more light, with the top off. I've not put it in direct sunlight, due to advice that the plant could be stressed from transplant. OK--so, my question is this. The leaves/traps were a little wilted to begin with, but now seem to be withering and dying, one by one, though there are new branches coming out from the crown. I'm wondering if the plant does not like being top-watered. (Every few days). But if I cut holes in the bottom of the bottle and set it in a few inches of water, will the plant be able to get the water it needs? With all that drainage material in the bottom, would the water migrate up to the soil? It seems to me that it wouldn't. Please forgive me if this is a dumb question, but I'm not very experienced with houseplants of any sort. Could the "old" leaves be dying due to the stress of repotting?
    I'm really trying to keep this plant alive; it's such a cool plant and it's become a family project.
    Thanks for your advice,

  2. #2
    swords's Avatar
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    My advice would be to carefully take the plant out (sphagnum planting media and all-don't uproot the plant) and put the entire sphagnum mass - with the flytrap on top, into a drained plastic potting container about 6" size. This should hold the plant for much of its 2-3 decade lifespan.

    Then put 1" of distiled water in a saucer and put the flytraps pot into the saucer of water. Don't fill the saucer back up until the water has almost evaporated. this will allow the air around the plant to stay humid and the roots to stay wet but not waterlogged. Be sure you don't use anything other than Distilled water or Reverse Osmosis water (you can buy R/O out of the machine at the grocery store) to water your trap! Tap water will kill it faster than almost anything else.

    Remember this plant will have to go into a cool room for winter so it can go dormant otherwise it will die.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Thanks, Josh. I'm going to try this; I had to go in search of the proper materials--my local garden center had Wisconsin milled sphagnum, long fibered and milled. I bought some of each, and will mix it with perlite. Think this will be OK? I sure hope so. The leaves are still dying, while the crown has put out a couple of new shoots. That seems odd to me, but perhaps the transplant will fix the situation.

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