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Author Topic: Venus Fly Traps, Anyone?  (Read 9176 times)
Melamphoros
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« Topic Start: July 20, 2008, 03:48:43 pm »

I recently acquired one of these things and I have questions about how to grow them.

The tiny tag that came along with it says that it 'likes lots of light but not full sun."

But another source says they need 2-4 hours in sunlight.

The tag also says to take the thing that covered the plant (which is basically a cup), fill it with water and place the tiny (plastic) pot in it.  However, this other source says that this is bad for the plant.

Also, my apartment doesn't have a lot of insects -- are there any places that sell them?

Thanks in advance for any tips.
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« Reply #1: July 20, 2008, 05:56:42 pm »

I recently acquired one of these things and I have questions about how to grow them.

The tiny tag that came along with it says that it 'likes lots of light but not full sun."

But another source says they need 2-4 hours in sunlight.

Venus flytraps grow in bogs where they are likely to get a lot of light, but not direct beating rays.  I'd keep it in a place that's well-lit but not baking.

Quote
The tag also says to take the thing that covered the plant (which is basically a cup), fill it with water and place the tiny (plastic) pot in it.  However, this other source says that this is bad for the plant.

If you can, get some sphagnum moss (you should be able to find it at a nursery) and plant the flytrap in a pot with it.  Let the moss absorb as much water as it will hold.  The flytrap will stay hydrated without sitting in standing water.  Don't let the moss dry out.  This is how we grew them at the campus teaching greenhouse.  The only other thing to note was that ours were planted in a giant aquarium, which held in a lot of moisture and created a humid environment. 

Quote
Also, my apartment doesn't have a lot of insects -- are there any places that sell them?
  You can buy fruitflies and crickets and some pet supply places.  I don't think the flytraps need that many insects, however.  You might be better off catching a fly once a week.  I've heard you can over-feed them on insects.  Besides, who wants fruitflies buzzing around their house?
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« Reply #2: July 20, 2008, 06:02:46 pm »

I recently acquired one of these things and I have questions about how to grow them.

The tiny tag that came along with it says that it 'likes lots of light but not full sun."

But another source says they need 2-4 hours in sunlight.

The tag also says to take the thing that covered the plant (which is basically a cup), fill it with water and place the tiny (plastic) pot in it.  However, this other source says that this is bad for the plant.

Also, my apartment doesn't have a lot of insects -- are there any places that sell them?

Thanks in advance for any tips.

I know nothing about plants.  I just have a question for you.  Why would you want one of those?  Just curious.  As for where to get bugs I do have an answer, most pet stores sell feeders for certain types of animals.  Thee include grasshoppers, and worms mostly, I don't know if they might sell other sorts.  You could also just try putting some sugar down near where the plant can reach (again, I know nothing of how these things feed, so you'll have to figure that one out yourself), and try to attract flies, ants, etc.  It'd be interesting to see your experiences with this thing, though.

(side note: the sugar idea comes from the fact that I have three little ones, who tend to get sugary things all over the place, we are constantly battling ants, flies, and all sorts of other bugs.  I'd ship them to you, but we tend to use methods other than capturing them to get rid of them.  Wink )
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« Reply #3: July 20, 2008, 06:09:59 pm »

I know nothing about plants.  I just have a question for you.  Why would you want one of those?  Just curious.

'Cause I always wanted one Wink
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« Reply #4: July 20, 2008, 06:12:04 pm »

'Cause I always wanted one Wink

When I was a kid, I thought they were the neatest thing and wanted one. The South Texas climate isn't good for them, however.
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« Reply #5: July 20, 2008, 06:45:07 pm »

The tiny tag that came along with it says that it 'likes lots of light but not full sun."

Makes sense.  Their native habitat is bog/grassland, so while there are no trees to shade them, there are tall grasses to allow plenty of filtered sun.  I'm guessing (as long as you keep them in "boggy" conditions) that 2-4 hours of direct sun is probably fine.

Quote
The tag also says to take the thing that covered the plant (which is basically a cup), fill it with water and place the tiny (plastic) pot in it.  However, this other source says that this is bad for the plant.

While the soil will always need to be kept very moist, I'm not sure actually letting them sit in water is a good idea.  You might consider something like this.  Keeps moisture levels very constant.  I'd use a lot of cotton wicking for a bog plant.

Quote
Also, my apartment doesn't have a lot of insects -- are there any places that sell them?

Your local pet store should carry mealworms.  They're cheap and carnivorous plants love 'em.

Brina

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« Reply #6: July 20, 2008, 06:54:51 pm »

Makes sense.  Their native habitat is bog/grassland, so while there are no trees to shade them, there are tall grasses to allow plenty of filtered sun.  I'm guessing (as long as you keep them in "boggy" conditions) that 2-4 hours of direct sun is probably fine.

Do you think that putting it on the windowsill with the mini-blinds down would be good enough?  Right now it's on top of my refrigerator which is out of direct sunlight but still somewhat lit.  This is probably the most difficult one because my apartment has a western exposure.

Quote
While the soil will always need to be kept very moist, I'm not sure actually letting them sit in water is a good idea.  You might consider something like this.  Keeps moisture levels very constant.  I'd use a lot of cotton wicking for a bog plant.

It came in what looks like moss, which is what everything I look at says it's best to grow in.  I just poured out some of the water in the container I have  it in so that there is only one inch of it in the container.

Quote
Your local pet store should carry mealworms.  They're cheap and carnivorous plants love 'em.

Looks like there is an agreement on this one.

*goes off to find nearest pet store*
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« Reply #7: July 20, 2008, 08:58:34 pm »


I recently acquired one of these things and I have questions about how to grow them.

Ooooh, I'm so jealous!  I've wanted one of those for years; where'd you find it?

Now you should get it a friend. Grin

Quote
Also, my apartment doesn't have a lot of insects -- are there any places that sell them?

You could get a little cage of crickets and breed them if you're worried about it, but you can probably catch enough flies during the summer, at least, to keep it well-fed.

But I dunno, can you feed it meat off your plate?  A few grams of your chicken might be cheaper than pet store bugs.
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« Reply #8: July 20, 2008, 09:09:06 pm »

Ooooh, I'm so jealous!  I've wanted one of those for years; where'd you find it?

A local supermarket was selling them along with other potted plants.

Quote
Now you should get it a friend. Grin

Nice Cheesy

Quote
You could get a little cage of crickets and breed them if you're worried about it, but you can probably catch enough flies during the summer, at least, to keep it well-fed.

Unfortunately, there haven't been any flies in here.  Roaches, yes, but flies no.

Quote
But I dunno, can you feed it meat off your plate?  A few grams of your chicken might be cheaper than pet store bugs.

One site said that fat could kill them, so no.  Despite what is seen in movies, Venus Flytraps are strict insectivores Wink
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« Reply #9: July 20, 2008, 09:43:03 pm »


Unfortunately, there haven't been any flies in here.  Roaches, yes, but flies no.

Unless you've read something that says otherwise, it'll probably happily eat roach.

Quote
One site said that fat could kill them, so no.  Despite what is seen in movies, Venus Flytraps are strict insectivores Wink

But IIRC insects have fat in them...
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« Reply #10: July 20, 2008, 09:47:50 pm »

Unless you've read something that says otherwise, it'll probably happily eat roach.

I've not seen a venus fly trap for sale that's big enough to eat roaches.  Do they get that big?
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« Reply #11: July 20, 2008, 09:50:20 pm »


I've not seen a venus fly trap for sale that's big enough to eat roaches.  Do they get that big?

*shrug*

Roaches come in different sizes, I'd think it'd be alright...and if not, then I guess he won't be feeding it roach. Smiley
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« Reply #12: July 20, 2008, 09:58:04 pm »

I recently acquired one of these things and I have questions about how to grow them...


Aren't they the neatest things?  I've enjoyed flytraps for a couple of years, but haven't figured out how to successfully winter them yet. *sigh*

Anyway, I had a lot of luck with the following:

- As said, bright light, but don't cook them.  Mine were set outside where they got a few hours of morning and evening light without being fried in midafternoon sun.  Hot, humid weather is your friend. 

- Don't keep that little cup over them.  Humidity is great, but they need some air too or else fungus and rot can set in.  Same for soil- a little damp is good, but constantly soaked can cause root rot. 

- If there are some buzzy bugs in your house or if you set the trap outside, let it catch them on its own.  They don't need to eat many bugs to get the additional nutrients.  You could also get a couple of small insects (about 1/3 the size of the trap) and set them with the plant in an enclosed container for a bit, that could work too. 

- My research has suggested repotting should be done during early spring when the plant is still in hybernation.  Pulling them out of those little pots they come in during warm months can tear roots and possibly kill the plant.  If you want a nicer looking pot, you could always set the plastic one inside a fancier one and cover it with a bit of sphagnum moss. 

- You'll know your flytrap is happy when you start seeing new, budding traps and the bigger ones are red or purple on the inside of their "mouths."  Most of the ones at the store are spindly and a little sad looking.  Some sun, moisture and a bug here and there will perk them up.  After 2-3 months mine usually have 15-20 1 inch traps.  It's like this bouquet of hungry maws.  Grin

- Flytraps, unfortunately, require a dormancy period or they can die.  My climate is way too cold to hibernate them outside (freezing is bad for bulbs) so I've been fiddling with the refridgerator method.  It's a bit tricky, but I'm hoping one of these winters I'll get the hang of it. 

Much luck with your little flytrap!  These might be some helpful resources (Googling "Carnivorous Plants" has always yielded better info for me than "Venus Flytraps"):
http://www.sarracenia.com/faq.html

- OpenHands
http://www.pitcherplant.com/flytrap.html
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« Reply #13: July 20, 2008, 10:09:49 pm »

Unless you've read something that says otherwise, it'll probably happily eat roach.

The only problem is catching the damn things.  Now that I think about it, I haven't seen one of those things in a while.

Quote
But IIRC insects have fat in them...

This article says:

Quote
Never feed your plant hamburger or any other protein and fat-based meat. Fatty meat will rot the plant and kill it. Venus Flytraps are insectivores. Their diet should reflect that.
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« Reply #14: July 20, 2008, 10:22:13 pm »


The only problem is catching the damn things.  Now that I think about it, I haven't seen one of those things in a while.

I bet you could set it out on the fire escape (assuming for the moment that you have one) a few hours every day and it would be golden.  Sunshine and bugs galore.

Quote

*shrug*  I'll take BBC's word for it, it just seems odd.
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"Is no one inspired by our present picture of the universe? Our poets do not write about it; our artists do not try to portray this remarkable thing. The value of science remains unsung by singers: you are reduced to hearing not a song or poem, but an evening lecture about it. This is not yet a scientific age."
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