Wal-mart Venus Fly Trap

August 30, 2005

I purchased a venus fly trap from walmart lastnight. I've bought them from stores before and never had..ANY success in keeping them. I'm here just looking for some tips on keeping it alive.. The instructions on the back of the container it was in said to put it in a saucer full of gravel (I used small pebbles from the flower bed outside) and water. Right now it's sitting on the gravel..Not submerged in the water...Anway... How often should I feed it? And what? Where should I keep it? I'm in minnesota.. Zone...4 almost 3... so it obviously can't stay outside the whole time...Or can they? Should I give it any fertilzer? Does it need to hibernate at all? If so..what should I do with it then? Should I ever put water IN the pot..or just under it?

Please reply with any tips you've got :D Thanks!

Comments (41)

  • necro1234

    Woaw there...

    Ok that container is not very good, mabey they want you to kill it so you will try again and buy more?
    Ok, NO potting soil at all!!
    Your VFT needs a soil that is not rich in minerals and is acidic, the perfect stuff is called SPHAGNUM PEAT MOSS, go get some ASAP from a nursery or anywhere that you can find it.
    Take 50% of this Sphagnum Peat moss and 50% of Perlite (its a volcanic rock, check out your nurserys for it too) and mix then together.
    Your plant cannot handle minerals, not from soil OR water, so you need good clean water.
    For the water that would be DISTILLED water, R/O Water or Rain water, tap water "can" be ok depending on the area it comes from (how much mineral deposits it has in it, a brita filter will not work by the way)
    Once you have all of this pot your plant carefully.
    Mix your soil (with the water) and push it in your pot.
    Make a hole in the soil and carefully lay the roots of the VFT over the hole, carefully push them in using a pencil back and push the soil in carefully yet firmly.

    Ok once they in they like good light, now your plant Im sure had one of those little plastic domes on it.
    If it did you dont want to shock it by suddenly removing it and then having a far lower humidity, so all you need is a transparent plastic dome to put over the plant atleast until the poor thing has gotten over the "Walmart Stress" it has been under.
    Next up is lighting, they love sun but your plant wont be used to full sun at the moment.
    If you attempt to give it full sun it will burn.
    I would suggest a fluoresent bulb about 6-8" above the plant for about 14 hours per day.
    You can buy one of those "compact fluoresent" bulbs (get one thats about 100watt incandesent equivelent, they not expensive and fit a normal light screw in socket, they should be about 20watt in power)
    Ok so now your "setup".
    Your plant will be heavily stressed, give it some time to get over it, just water it with clean water and use a water tray.
    Water overhead and let the water drain in the tray, leave the tray full, let it evaporate (the tray) and then refill by watering the plant again.
    VFT's like constantly moist/wet soil media.
    Dont EVER use any fertilizer on the plant, because they dont like minerals this will indeed kill it.
    You can use a "foliar feed" fertilizer at HALF STRENGTH, a good one is EPIPYTHES DELIGHT, you mix it as per instuctions (at 1/2 strenth) and apply it to the leaves with something like a Q-tip.
    When your plant has recovered you can choose to "harden it off".
    This means that you adapt it to your climate.
    How you do this is as follows:
    1) Raise one corner of the dome about 1 inch and leave this in place for about 3-4 days.
    2) Raise a second corner for the same amount of time.
    3) Raise the last two corners for the same amount of time.
    4) Remove the dome.
    If the plant looks a little unhappy or starts to wilt a little you can get your clean pure water and mist the plant to help with the humidity adjustment.
    Your plant should adapt fast and grow.
    Note that these plants have dormency in the wild, if your area gets snow and gets cold you can put the plant in a sheltered unheated area such as a garage or a workshop for the winter.
    The dormency is set off by cold temps (about 40-50 F) and the shortened sunlight hours.
    Dormency starts at about Halloween and ends by the latest at Valentines day.
    It is a good practise to repot your plant with fresh soil about once a year (when dormency ends).
    Since the plant is nearing Halloween, I would just grow it under the compact fluoresent light and put it out in a cold area next year.

    I think thats about it, get some of that soil mix ASAP though, you dont want ANYTHING that can leach minerals to the root system.



  • lleopardggecko

    First of all, welcome to the forum!

    As far as your new Venus Flytrap is concerned, don't pay attention to what the directions on the pot say. They're usually quite a bit off in terms of what it takes to keep a VFT (or any carnivorous plant) alive for very long.

    Let's start with water. Use only distilled water (can be bought at any grocery store) or rain water (less common, but some people have it). Take those pebbles out of the water tray and sit your VFT pot in it. Fill up the tray with about an inch of water, submerging the bottom of the pot in it. The general rule of thumb with the water tray system is to fill it up and don't fill it up with water again until the remaining water has evaporated (usually takes a few days depending on how hot it is). The reason for this is that Venus Flytraps don't like to be waterlogged for too long and this will keep them happy. You can also occasionally water from the top to help air get into the soil. If you do this, take care not to let water hit the traps or they will close.

    Moving on to light...Venus Flytraps LOVE bright light. They get direct sun in their natural habitat in North Carolina, so keep your new plant in a sunny window or somewhere outside where it will get a good 6 hours of direct sun (minimum). Now if you choose to keep your plant outside, you'll need to adapt it gradually to being outside in full sun (since your plant has been sitting in Wal-Mart for who knows how long). Keep it in the shade a few days, move it to a sunnier location the next, until you have it in full sun. If you just stick it outside in full sun right now it'll get burnt and might not recover.

    You can feed your Venus Flytrap any variety of insect, as long as the bug is about 1/3 the size of the trap you're feeding. Insects that are too large have a tendency to rot the trap. Feed your plant about one bug a month. More won't hurt it, but since traps tend to die after they catch too many insects you can easily end up with a trapless plant if you're not careful! DO NOT GIVE IT FERTILIZER! Insects are its fertilizer. Regular fertilizer will kill it.

    The dormancy time for Venus Flytraps starts around Halloween and ends around Valentine's Day, so you still have a while to wait until it has to "hibernate." Oh, if your plant came in some kind of humidity dome, take it off! It'll only encourage fungus and mold, plus Venus Flytraps do well in lower humidity.

    I hope this has helped! Good luck with your VFT :)

  • lleopardggecko

    Hahahaha, Sheldon! You beat me to it! Oh well, just extra information :p

  • necro1234

    Lol na buddy, I thought the person had used "pebbles" for a potting mix!!, lol I guess thats what happens when I dont have enough sleep or COFFEE!!,lol
    Only saw now that the pebbels where under the pot, oh well.



  • lleopardggecko

    Hahahahaha! It's all good Sheldon. At least they know not to use pebbles for potting mix ;)

    Dang, I haven't talked to you in a good long while! How have you been? Also, how are your plants doing?

  • necro1234

    They all good.
    I learned a valuable lesson with my VFT's, NO they dont like outside in Utah,LOL
    They went down pretty quick but they still "ok", I just brought them in the unheated garage and set them on a very sunny windowsill.
    The problem was that they were drying out badly, I think the outside scortch of sun and dry air was just too much for them to handle, even when I tried to adapt them to it.

    My little Ventricosa has 1 full pitcher on it now and another one that is growing bigger by the day, I've moved on to sundews and Nepenthes now, the flytraps are fun but I think Ill try to grow a lot more of the Drosera and Neps.

    Also my America Pitchers are doing INCREDIBLY well outside, the S. Flava's are pushing up leaves now, guess they are getting ready for the winter to hit, cant wait to see them in the summer.
    I got my grubby lill paws on some Drosera Aliciae, they are hardened off and growing well now.



  • aashahid

    I plan to purchase a VFT within the next 2 weeks. I have read what others have written, but I still have a few concerns. I will appreciate any help I can get!

    First concern: I have an aquarium that does not have a dome. So, would it be OK to loosely wrap plastic wrap over the top of the aquarium instead of using a dome?

    Second concern: The aquarium also does not have a tray, so I would always have to water from the top. Without a tray, I fear that the roots may rot. Is there something else I can use instead of a tray? How about using a mesh screen over some stones, as a base under the Sphagnum Peat moss? If that is not good, what else should I try?

    Third concern: Since fall is so near (Ohio), I plan to keep my new VFT inside until next spring. This brings me to the problem of food. Since flies are scarce during the winter months, where can I expect to find such tender delicacies?

    Thank a Bunch for your assistance

  • tommyr_gw Zone 6

    VFTs really should not be kept in a terrarium. They like full sun and good air circulation. They also require a dormant period from about halloween through Valetines day. During dormancy they do not need food or light. Keeping them any other way is asking for death of the plant. IMHO of coarse...

    Remember too that Google is your friend! There is TONS of info on carnivorous plants on the web.


  • dr.faustus

    I just brought my first VFT,Cassandra,home and was wondering what to feed it.I live in Alabama so there are a variety of bugs..

  • mutant_hybrid

    Hello dr.faustus,

    Normally they provide for themselves. They will attract flies and gnats mostly.

    In any event, do not worry about "feeding" the plant anything but sunlight for now. They eat light and distilled water, only catching the occasional insect for fertilizer purposes.... never use regular fertilizer or potting soil on your Flytrap, they adapted to absorb nitrogen through their traps, not their roots, so it will rot their roots.

  • don555

    Hey Aashahid,

    I think an aquarium is the *perfect* way to go with VFT. I've been growing my current plants in aquariums for about 20 years. In the summer, put them outside (no cover - they will fry if covered, even if partly covered) and let them soak up full sun and eat whatever bugs they catch. In the winter, put them in a cool basement window, cover the aquarium mostly but not completely with something like Saran wrap to lower evaporation, and keep them a bit on the dry end of what is done outside in the summer (I find it's easy to forget about them for weeks on end when they are set aside for their winter rest, so reducing evaporation with a cover will prevent ugly surprises like severe drying out).

    They don't need any food in winter... they are dormant! But they do need some light... yes, you can keep them in the fridge with no light and still have live bulbs in the spring, but they will be much weaker than plants that have undergone a more natural dormancy of cooler temps and lower light, ie like normal winter in their home range in North Carolina.

    As for water, during rainy periods outdoors, my plants sometimes end up completely submerged for days at a time. Doesn't seem to bother them at all. When I get around to it, I just tilt the aquarium to drain out the free-standing water. For the most part though, I live in a dry and cool climate, so I usually end up watering the plants (with rainwater). In an aquarium with roughly 5" of long-fibre sphagnum as the growing medium, I usually water the plants when the saturated level drops to the bottom of the aquarium (moss still moist, but not saturated with water), and then I add water until the saturated zone is within and inch or two of the moss surface. This tends to prevent weed growth, and seems to invigorate the flytraps.

    Hope that helps,

  • dr.faustus

    Thank you. How often does is need to be outside? I'm gone most of the day and would like to make sure my vft is getting enough to survive.

  • don555

    Do you mean how often does it need to be outside to catch flies to survive? You can grow them for years without ever feeding them, so they aren't going to starve without insects, maybe just get a bit bigger with them. They aren't super fly magnets, so you pretty much have to leave them outside all the time if you want them to catch a steady diet of insects.

    If you aren't growing them outside full time, then you have to be really careful about bringing them outside. Sunlight is far more intense than inside light, even than a sunny window, so they will sunburn rather quickly if they aren't accustomed to sunlight. If they aren't used to the outdoors and you don't intend on growing them there, I would only take them out on cloudy days or put them in bright shade. If you want to grow them outside, then put them in full sun, accept the fact that the shock is going to sunburn and kill pretty much all existing traps and leaves, but they grow back fairly quickly. (Obviously, if you aren't planning on leaving them outside for months on end, then you want to avoid the dieback and regrowth thing).

  • dr.faustus

    so it would be okay if I left it on a window sill outside? I'm sorry if I'm bothering anyone,this is my first time raising a vft. -_-'

  • mutant_hybrid

    Hello dr.faustus,

    Venus Flytraps are North American natives, not tropicals, so if you live in the U. S. you can usually raise it as a potted plant with no humidity dome (they can adapt to low humidity well) in full sun outside all day (they cannot adapt to low light)... Usually it is best not to move plants around as they can suffer shock from changing environments too often too quickly.

    Venus Flytraps might need to be raised indoors in extreme conditions, like if you live in a desert or in a region that is always too hot or too cold for North American bog plants. Terrariums are usually more difficult to set up properly for Flytraps as the plants need good drainage, open air, and high light levels like a garden plant (terrariums usually are set up with too stagnant an environment that can weaken and kill Flytraps from mold and root rot). Sometimes people can make a terrarium work but it is never the rule, but the exception, for raising healthy Flytraps.

    If the plant is in a dome, slowly adapt the plant to low humidity by lifting the dome a fraction of an inch every 3 days till it no longer holds humidity, then remove it. Place the plant in a morning sun window at this time as full sun all day can cook it in a dome. Next, place it in progressively brighter all day sun windows each week until it is in the most direct all day sun window you have in your house. If possible, move the plant outside at the end of this adaptation period where it can get full sun and insects. After that, just water the plant, keep water in its tray, and enjoy how easy it is to care for a plant that fertilizes itself.

    Some tips:

    Use only mineral free water, distilled, rain, or reverse osmosis water, as hard water from the tap can kill them slowly.

    Never fertilize the plant or its soil. Insects are its fertilizer.

    Be mindful of animals and curious neighbors poking around the plant. Birds might try to eat them too.

    Ignore the silly instructions the store stuck on the side of the pot. Those instructions will do nothing but kill the plant so you have to go buy another next time.

  • organicmizzou

    I am an undergraduate at the university of MO-Columbia. For my Botany class, I am doing an experiment to measure the effects of Nitrogen on a Venus Fly trap; or how a lack of Nitrogen affects it eating insects. I am not sure if our experiment will work well being that VFT's go dormant starting about now. I was hoping that maybe we could by a VFT that isn't very old yet, and isn't in a solid cycle of winter and summer. If we could get one, say from Wal-mart, that is not very old and has been kept in light, could we possibly trick it into thinking it is still summer by keeping it in a light and temp. controlled room? Also, can they be transplanted (re-potted) easily? We're under the impression, although we haven't looked into yet, that sphagnum peat moss, which is recommended for it, is very high in Nitrogen. Would you recommend planting it in a mixture of perlite and sand, which are both, if I'm correct, not very high in Nitrogen. Or what type of soil mixture would you recommend to use where we can control the amount of Nitrogen easily? Any help you could offer would be great. Thanks for your time.

  • antechron

    Most of your questions will have to be answered by people with more experience than myself but yes, if you are going to be buying your VFTs at walmart and planting them in just sand and perlite then yes you can easily make it think it is summer. As long as there is bright direct light, and temperatures warmer than 60F the plant will not go dormant. One of the VFTs I just bought locally already thought it was in dormancy from the stores conditions.

    I'm not sure about the nitrogen though but it seems like sphagnum peat is low in nitrogen as using nitrogen based fertalizer can kill the plants...

  • mutant_hybrid

    Hello Organimizzou,

    Sphagnum peat moss, the dead layer of moss under the live sphagnum, is very nutrient poor. The moss produces a large quantity of iodine and is a very acidic environment that inhibits bacterial decay of matter into nitrogen byproducts.

    It would be easy to keep a Venus Flytrap from going dormant by keeping the plant on 16 hours of 12000 or greater intensity lumen florescent light about 1-2 inches from its leaves. If you can provide more lumens, like 24000 or even higher, you can grow it a few inches farther from the light arrangement. Venus Flytraps are more like an outside garden plant, like a rose or tomato plant, in their light requirements. Venus Flytraps kept from dormancy often expire within a year even if healthy as they use up their rhizome starch reserves quickly, particularly if they are not getting direct, real sunlight.

    That said, Venus Flytraps tend to do rather poorly in any medium that does not contain a mix of 50/50 sphagnum peat moss and sand or perlite. The moss provides the acidity while the neutral sand or perlite provides drainage for the plant's roots and enables oxygen to seep into the moss around the plant.

    Transplanting Venus Flytraps is easy so long as you have unfertilized peat moss from the dry bales and unfertilized perlite from dry bales as well... the small bags will often contain fertilizer and other additives that would kill Venus Flytraps in a few weeks. Moisten the moss/perlite mix and pot the plant in it. Use only distilled, reverse osmosis, or rain water for the plant as minerals like calcium, magnesium, and regular salt (like in some water softening units) will harm and kill the plant, souring the moss and making it more alkaline.

    Basically, Venus Flytraps do not need insects to survive, however; that survival would be rather like someone with anemia that does not get enough iron. Flytraps that catch insects tend to grow larger, grow more leaves, and grow more flowers, producing more seeds during blooming season in April.

    Here is an abstract describing such an experiment:

    Have fun with your project.

  • alvis_frink

    Hello all!
    I bought 2 VFT plants at a local supermarket, both in little 3 inch pots with clear plastic cups over them. One I keep at work, and it seems to be doing OK; the 2nd one I repotted into a domed plastic terrarium I bought from Dunecraft. The one at home isn't doing well after I repotted it (did Ok for about a week) as the leaves have mostly all now turned black. I keep it on top of my fridge (for the warmth; my house temp is usually 68-70 F) but admittedly it doesn't get a lot of light up there, other tha the florescent lights that I have on at night in the kitchen. I knwo i should give it more light, but I'm now confused about the humidity requirements. Most websites say they need humod conditions, but from what you've all said, i think maybe I'm hurting them by keeping them covered? What is the idea humidity level for them? I've also purchased a new plant from California Carnivores, it's a nice health looking plant, but now i'm afraid of repotting it (I also got a bag of 50/50 mix of peat and perlite).
    Thank you, all! Nice to be in this forum!

  • mutant_hybrid

    Hello Alvis Frink,

    This time of year they should be going dormant soon anyways, so warmth is not needed. That Dune**** thing is the last thing a beginner should try. It is just a commercialized setup for generating money for big business, not neat plants for hobbyists. The success rate of such terrariums is in the single digits out of 100 percent even for intermediate level growers... the seed quality deteriorates over time and their is no telling how long the seeds have been hanging around in stagnant warehouses.

    In any case, humidity can be as low as 15-30 percent for many North American carnivorous plants, Venus Flytraps included. Terrariums just cause stagnant conditions that mold enjoys. Terrariums also have an annoying habit of building up too much water as they cannot drain... no drain holes in the bottom. This can waterlog plants and cause root rot. I have seedling Venus Flytraps, Pitcher plants, and Sundews that I have grown with no humidity dome at all however; I do have about 50 percent humidity in my apartment. The reason people worry about humidity levels is that the plants start covered and when they open the domes the plants dry out or wilt in hours due to transpiration... it is like how you feel if you start off in a hot room and suddenly jump into a tub of subzero water... you would freeze to death in minutes if you did not suffer a heart attack first. Slow acclimatazation is key with plants when changing environments like heat and humidity levels.

    An open pot with drain holes and a large tray with an inch of distilled, or other mineral free water is best. Slowly remove the domes from the Venus Flytraps over the course of two weeks, raising them a fraction of an inch every three days till they are open to air and no longer keeping humidity in. the plants will be adjusted to low humidity in your home environment by then and you can throw the dome away forever.

    Venus Flytraps will die in low light conditions when they are not dormant as they are plants that require very high light levels. They simply run low on energy and expire. Terrariums reduce the amount of light you can give them as they overheat to easily. Open pots will allow you to set up the plants outside where they can get the direct sun they need to survive. Humidity and heat are not the issues killing the plant, it is low light. If inside growing is the only option for you, you will need to obtain florescent lights of 12000 or more lumens and place the Venus Flytraps as close to the lights as possible for 12-16 hours a day... mine are an inch from 12000 lumens. Since the plants are weak from being in low light you will want to forego dormancy as they might expire anyway from no energy. Just keep them alive through next year and allow nature to take its course for dormancy next year with the plants in a window or outside if possible.

    As a first repotting you can simply press the sides of the pot slightly and knock on the bottom as you hold one hand over the plant and turn it upside down... the entire pot of soil can be knocked loose and you can repot it with new moss/perlite as filler around the old moss in a larger pot. That will reduce stress on the plant to almost none.

  • alvis_frink

    Thank you, MH for the information!
    I've since purchased another plant, from a nursery out in CA, and I've also bought a plant light (an 'Intelligent' one) and so far it is doing well..The other ones I got from the supermarket have unfortunately given up the ghost, and upon inspection, there was no viable bulb left in either of them (there was actually no identifiable bulb at all). I did what you suggested with my new plant (slowly acclimating it to a lower humidity level) and it's been over 2 weeks now and it still looks healthy. Again, I greatly appreciate your help and look forward to further participation in this forum! Cheers!

  • alastair_leung_gmail_com

    hello all!
    I've been trying to find a place to put my VFT for a proper hybernation period. It's the winter time right now, and temperature wise, I can fluctuate on average around 27-0F (-3 - -17C) Leaving it in the garrage might end up causing the water and moisture in the moss to freeze. Is there another method to cool things down to an appropriate temperature?
    A friend of mine bags the pot, puts it in a plastic container, seals the lid, leaves it outside in the cold, builds a make-shift "igloo" around it with snow. He says it works, but he's only had his fly trap for about 1 season. Would any of you recommend this idea?

  • mutant_hybrid

    Hello blp,

    There are several ways to provide dormancy for Flytraps. They can survive freezing temeperatures down to 20 degrees or so, but usually are insulated by moss, ground, other plants, and so forth. In a pot, freeze drying can occur, so you will have to provide an artificial indoors environment in an ice chest or in the refrigerator, or provide a well insulated environment outside. The idea your friend uses sounds good, but you really would not need to seal the container so much as just provide insulation. A bucket filled with mulch would help out. So would a garage. Just place the bucket with the potted plant in it in the garage and cover the plant with a layer of mulch and a tarp. Additionally, you could wrap the bucket with an old blanket or towel for added protection from very cold weather. check the plant every week or so to provide just a little water, enough to keep its soil barely moist, and to check for and protect against mold.

    Indoors, you will have to work harder to keep the plant alive. I use an ice chest with 5-8 frozen water bottles touching the pots of my dormant plants. I open the chest by day and place it in a window and change the bottles every 12-24 hours to keep the temperature chilled to at least 50 degrees, or better yet, to 40 degrees. The problem is you will have to remember to open and close the chest and replace the ice bottles.

    A cold window in your region would work well too. Just check your house for cool rooms where a cold draft drifts in from a window and place your plants there for dormancy. In your region just leave them about 6 inches to a foot from the window, far enough not to freeze solid but close enough to feel the cold, and perhaps wrap the pot in a towel if it gets too cold in that window.

  • blp0

    Thanks Mutant Hybrid! I'll go try that method out. Even though the VFT is hibernating, do you suggest that there should still be airflow with the moss?

  • mutant_hybrid

    Hello Blp0,

    Airflow always helps out with keeping fungus down as moving air blows spores away. Stagnant air allows spores to settle and start growing. The problem with winter wind is that they can dry out unprotected bog plants. It becomes a balancing act in colder regions since you need to insulate the plant with tarps, mulch, or other considerations, increasing stagnation near the plant, while trying to reduce infection at the same time.

    If you have a cold attic or cool window in your home it would save you a lot of trouble. You could just leave it open pot and keep an eye on it, letting it get what light it can from the window.

  • alvis_frink

    As a bit of a follow up and to add more confusion (on MY part, anyway!) to the dormancy issue...
    My VFT that I bought from CA. Carniv. (see above posts) is doing very nicely, thanks to Mutant Hybrid's helpful suggestions. I have it on my desk at work under a fluorescent lamp, and the only problems I have is trying to keep my co-workers from sticking their fingers in the traps!
    I was considering trying to give it a dormant period, but a couple of weeks ago, it began to send up flower stalks! I cut them off before they got more than 1/2 inch high, but I took that to mean that it was feeling feisty and wasn't looking to go dormant, so I'm going to leave it for now and see if I can coax it along until next winter without a dormant season. Perhaps more the fool I, but I'm loathe to start messing with it now since it's doing so well (it's put up at least 5 new traps since I got it).

  • mutant_hybrid

    Alvis Frink,

    Yeah, long photoperiods in winter fool the plant into thinking it is spring and it misses dormancy, which might cause it to use up its energy reserves before next winter. Hopefully it will get enough light to buld up some reserves so it will survive, but that is usually not the case when grown indoors.

  • drwurm

    Alternatively, you could just stick it in your refrigerator for dormancy.

  • garyfla_gw

    Always find the eternal debate interesting on the culture of these plants.yet always overlooks the obvious. lol They are unique in many ways and have adapted to live in a very limited range. This adaptation also means they CAN'T live in other ranges. So all thats necessary is to google their natural climate. You CAN'T grow these at all if you don't get very close to the natural habitat. You can use all kinds of artificial ways to arrive at these conditions but it's still the same. You can provide artificial seasons so on.
    To me one of the most remarable things about VFT is how unadaptable they are. Guess that's why they don't grow coast to coast lol. gary

  • hunterkiller03

    Well... Venus Flytrap has been found growing successfully recently in the panhandle in Florida and it seems this is a natural introduction by birds droppings. But in other sites the VFT has been artificially introduced in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and has become successfully naturalized.

    If VFT are easy to grow, then why is it that only it has been found mostly in the Carolinas states? There is a hypothesis IÂve heard years back is that the plant was almost pushed to the brink of extinction by the advancing glaciers in the last Ice Age. It was just luck the glaciers ended where today is North and South Carolinas. It isnÂt that they have adapted to live in a certain range. Many people grow their VFT in different conditions and seem to tolerate them well, like low humidity or low light conditions. Just as long as the roots arenÂt allowed to dry in their media, they survive.

  • mutant_hybrid


    Good thinking. I find that it is usually a combination of explanations that aid in determining why something occurs, particularly in nature.

    I have not read that article about Flytrap colonization yet. It does make sense though with the recent changes we have been having in the climate. Birds (certain birds that find Flytraps tasty might only be just arriving where Flytraps grow or might be changing migration patterns) and human interference would introduce the plants to new locations... particularly people that think their dormant flytrap is dead and throw it out in a boggy enough area with an old flowerstalk attached for instance (or dump sites in other states where debree gets kicked up by wind and carried to potentially suitable regions). In addition, so far as exploration is concerned, not only are new species being discovered, but established species can be found in previously unexplored areas. The Flytrap simply has been in an island of boggy area that suited it with no easy egress (until humans interfered or birds changed their flight "plans") to other potentially suitable boggy areas, however; I have heard that many attempts to intentionally colonize them in other areas have failed, though I have not personally seen any reports of such.

    The Ice Ages have a profound effect on virtually all species on Earth, so it is highly likely that the Flytrap's evolution was at least partially dependent upon how the last Ice Age progressed.

    Where was this article located?

  • hunterkiller03

    That's the problem, about the VFT range, I heard years back on a TV show. I have tried researching through the library and recently in the internet about the reason why the VFT is only found in North and South Carolina.

    About where the VFT have been introduced, I googled it. Barry Rice in his website talks about it.

  • chunkychocobo

    I have a few questions. Firstly, will a "plant light" be sufficient light during the long winter in my area? I have a box lined with tinfoil and the light hangs in the top. Second, will the VFT be able to survive and thrive on crickets from the pet supply store (the only bug we really have indoors are a few measly spiders and the occasional big icky wolf spider) or should I spend some extra time developing mealworms and ants? Third, where is the best place to get a VFT? All I seem to be hearing in this thread over and over is that Wal-Mart is a horrible place to get a VFT due to the conditions they are kept in and the completely off-track instructions they give out with them. Thanks in advance for any help!

  • petiolaris

    Actually, this is a lousy time to buy a VFT, especially being a northern tier hobbyist. VFT's are really NOT an indoor plant. They need direct sunlight, more out of proportion to most other carnivorous plants (American pitcher plants also need to be outside). Also, this is the time of year that temperate plants go through dormancy.

    You can buy a typical tissue culture plant and keep it in growth mode with artificial lighting, but it will need to be put outside in the spring and given a dormancy next year.

    Crickets are fine live food for them. You can buy VFT's at online stores and then you'll know that you won't get a weak, neglected plant.

  • seismo

    I didn't buy my VFT at a Wal-Mart; my daughter bought it at a Whole Foods Market last summer. It's doing wonderfully! We kept it on the front porch over the summer; now that it's very cold outside, it's an indoor plant. It's still doing great, but I have two questions:

    1. Now that the weather is cold out, finding live bugs is very difficult at best. What other options are there? I don't live near a store where I can buy crickets or anything like that... although I can by grubs (for fishing bait) at Wal-Mart, I think. Also, are earthworms (or parts of earthworms, if they are too big) an acceptable food source?

    2. How will I know when it is ready to go into dormancy, and what should I do to help its transition to dormancy? I was going to put it in a cooler area of our home and stop feeding it... but it's undergoing a BIG growth spurt at the moment! It's got two flower stalks growing very quickly and very tall. Any suggestions on what I should do?

    Thanks in advance.

  • mcantrell

    VFTs kinda like the cold, actually... Especially in Winter, for Dormancy -- leaving it outside might have been a good option. Do you know what USDA zone you are in?

  • seismo

    I don't know much about the USDA zones, but I'm in southern Indiana and the USDA Plant Hardiness Map suggests 6a or maybe 5b. We do get cold freezes and occasional days of snow and/or sleet in the winter, so I'm reluctant to keep our potted plants outdoors.

    I also just read somewhere that letting the plant flower may kill it. It's already flowered once this summer with no ill effects; we just cut off the stem when the flower died. But there are two flowers growing on long stems now. And the plant is thriving and growing, producing many new traps. Any suggestions on what I should do, both in terms of wintering the plant and in terms of the flowers, would be greatly appreciated.

  • hunterkiller03

    The advice of not letting your VFT flower is always suggested because most people are not experienced or are new in growing CP, so these people barely have their VFT thriving. Flowering takes a lot of energy and if your plant is week, it can die. But if you have your plant growing very vigorously, theres no problem. I always let them flower, never had problems. When I was a beginner, of course I lost my pants until I was told to cut them off. Now I have no worries letting them flower.

    I had one VFT grow a flower stalk this late of the year but once I started to induce dormancy, the stalk aborted and died. That VFT is now dormant.

    To induce dormancy, just place it in a cool part of your house and give it less light. Now, most summer leaves will die and stop functioning, also your VFT will start to produce some smaller traps with sluggish movement if you trigger them. Those are winter leaves.

    Once the plant is dormant, cut down on the amount of water, just keeps its media moist to keep the bulb from drying out.

    I keep my dormant bulbs in a pot and simply place it in the coolest room next to a window. They will receive some sunlight but its not enough photoperiod to break their winter dormancy. I always let my VFT grow on the same media for 2 years before transplanting them on a fresh media. Or you can dig out your bulbs after it has become dormant, cut the old leaves to avoid rot, wrap it with moist LFS moss to keep the bulbs from drying out, place it in a Ziploc bag, and then put it in the fridge (not the icebox!).

    Always check now and then to make sure you keep the LFS moss moist but not wet and you can check on the condition of your bulb. The bulb should be white and crispy. Come spring you can plant them on fresh media to begin its new growth season.

    Good luck!

  • beecee151

    absolutely use DISTILLED WATER and one gallon goes a long way. If you want to try to collect rain water make sure its not dripping from a tree or anything but the organic waterproof collector. for a newbie DISTILLED WATER---moss should feel like a sponge with water. Underwatering will kill it. See above about hibernation. I hate these almost extinct plants (naturally) dying out much less the farmed plants.

  • graystripe101

    Can you keep a venus fly trap in your bedroom by a window where there is lots of light, or is there not enough humidity?

  • HU-214108924

    My boyfriend and I have 4 venus fly trapa, you will buy dry Blood worms and soak them in water then feed them to the plant once a month till they open up again, you will water them when the plant starts to look dry, don’t put pebbles or anything in it because that will cause it to dry out easier, here is what works we use!

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