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  #1  
Old 08-20-2006, 08:47 AM
Shakes Shakes is online now
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Anybody ever grow a Venus Fly Trap? (Successfully?)

For some reason I've got a wild hair and I really want to try growing one of these things.


I was thinking about getting one of those glass enclosure things. I forget what the hell they're called. They're like aquariums only except for plants?

Anyway I was wondering how hard it is to grow one.

And what would happened if I fed it Miracle grow. Would it get REAL big like "Lil' Shop of Horrors?"
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  #2  
Old 08-20-2006, 08:53 AM
Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party is online now
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I used to have one. Mine did fine in the kitchen window. It caught insects occasionally. I don't think it needed anything particularly special doing to it.

It survived until my Dad decided it needed pruning
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  #3  
Old 08-20-2006, 08:58 AM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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I had one years ago, it did ok until I fed it ground turkey.

I'd seed my swamp with them if they'd survive the harsh New England winter. That would be freakin' cool - having a swamp full of them.
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  #4  
Old 08-20-2006, 09:00 AM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHAKES
I was thinking about getting one of those glass enclosure things. I forget what the hell they're called. They're like aquariums only except for plants?
The word you want is terrarium.
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2006, 10:46 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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There are some pages online devoted to the growing of carnivorous plants. I think this (http://www.sarracenia.com/faq.html) is the one I'm thinking of. According to people who know, it's harder than that little instruction sheet suggests. I've been following their instructions and have had one pretty healthy for a couple months, although it recently caught a fly that was just a little much, I think, as one of the traps seems to be dying of it. In the winter there will be more sunlight for it in my windows. Then again, they're from here and the climate, even inside my house, is probably more what they like than in other places. If I had an area wet enough I'd grow them outside.
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2006, 10:51 AM
Dunderman Dunderman is offline
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I had one once. It actually took very little maintenance. It just stood in the window, got some water, and caught its own food.

Then something happened. A stalk emerged from its center and shot up to a height of 40 cm or so (the plant itself was maybe 7 or 8 cm in diameter and only about 2 cm high). The stalk eventually withered, and after that the plant was dead. We referred to it as the plant committing suicide.

I've never got an explanation for this.
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  #7  
Old 08-20-2006, 10:55 AM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia
...it recently caught a fly that was just a little much, I think, as one of the traps seems to be dying of it.
That may be perfectly normal. The traps each have only around two or three uses in them before they die off. This is the reason most VFT growing guides tell you to resist "playing" with the traps by making them spring with a finger or something. It stresses the plant's energy reserves and weakens it.
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  #8  
Old 08-20-2006, 11:00 AM
levdrakon levdrakon is offline
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They don't require additional fertilizer other than the occasional little insect, so don't use the Miracle Grow. AFAIK, they can't even use it and you'll probably just kill it.

They don't even need that many bugs. You can stress the plant by lovingly catching lots of flies and cramming them into every available trap, and the traps are only good for a couple trappings, then they tire out & die.

Don't feed them hamburger, etc. They don't get hamburger in nature.

They like warmth & lots of humidity while they're growing, and you only want to use rainwater and/or distilled water. No city water.

They'll like a cooler dormant period in the winter.
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  #9  
Old 08-20-2006, 11:01 AM
levdrakon levdrakon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Priceguy
I had one once. It actually took very little maintenance. It just stood in the window, got some water, and caught its own food.

Then something happened. A stalk emerged from its center and shot up to a height of 40 cm or so (the plant itself was maybe 7 or 8 cm in diameter and only about 2 cm high). The stalk eventually withered, and after that the plant was dead. We referred to it as the plant committing suicide.

I've never got an explanation for this.
That was a flower, and the plant was evidently happy enough. Unfortunately, it didn't bloom for you. If it had, you might well have gotten seeds.
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  #10  
Old 08-20-2006, 11:02 AM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Priceguy
I've never got an explanation for this.
The stalk is the plant's flowering part. It's supposed to grow a bunch of flowers on top of it--it grows high to keep the pollinators from being consumed by the plant (and in turn, keeping the plant from overeating). This flowering stalk takes a lot of energy to grow, and the plant needs extra care during this time. Even healthy plants often come close to dying during or shortly after flowering. See here. The best thing is to prevent the flowers from forming by pruning the stalk as soon as it appears, as well as any subsequent stalks which regrow.
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  #11  
Old 08-20-2006, 11:39 AM
Ogre Ogre is offline
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Two words. Peat. Moss. Flytraps are native to Piedmont sphagnum bogs, which are by nature quite nutrient poor. This is pretty much the entire evolutionary reason they adapted to supplement their diet with live animals. My flytrap pots have a deep layer of sand in the bottom for drainage, a layer of rich humus, then a thick layer of peat moss in which the flytraps themselves are planted. They like plenty of water (but drainage is CRUCIAL,) and a warm, humid environment. If you keep them in a terrarium, you'll probably have to introduce flies into it by hand eventually.
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  #12  
Old 08-20-2006, 11:51 AM
irishgirl irishgirl is offline
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I bought mine specifically to catch flies, which it was very good at.
It seems to have caught too many, and most of its little traps are quietly dying.
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  #13  
Old 08-20-2006, 04:18 PM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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ThinkGeek has a Desktop Carnivorous Plant Set.

# Each Complete Kit Includes: Growing Dome
# Planting Mixture
# Carnivorous Seed Pack:

* Venus Fly Trap
* Yellow Trumpet
* Hooded Pitcher Plant
* Purple Pitcher Plant
* Pale Trumpet
* Temperate Sundew Plants
* Cobra Lillies
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  #14  
Old 08-20-2006, 09:27 PM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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I suggest reading The Savage Garden by D'amato if you're interested in carnivorous plants.
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  #15  
Old 08-20-2006, 10:09 PM
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
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I've owned a couple over the years and they always came in a small plastic pot with a clear cover over them to retain moisture. And they always died. The one that I *did* get to live and thrive, I took off the plastic cover and set the pot in a saucer of water and made sure to keep the saucer filled. I think the humidity off the saucer was better for it than the super-wet confines of the plastic lid.
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  #16  
Old 08-21-2006, 11:14 AM
Lionne Lionne is offline
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Wow, I'd forgotten all about these plants! I'm definitely buying one or two...I get those little drain flies and cannot get rid of them for anything.
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  #17  
Old 08-21-2006, 11:17 AM
Dunderman Dunderman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jophiel
The one that I *did* get to live and thrive, I took off the plastic cover and set the pot in a saucer of water and made sure to keep the saucer filled.
Mine came with a saucer and instructions to keep it filled with water, and it thrived until it committed suicide as per above. Thanks Q.E.D. and levdrakon, by the way.
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  #18  
Old 08-21-2006, 11:24 AM
Crotalus Crotalus is offline
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Ogre has mentioned the factor that made the difference for me with carnivorous plants, including pitcher plants, sundews and flytraps. I used soil and sphagnum moss from a sphagnum bog. Peat moss or sphagnum moss over potting soil should work.
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  #19  
Old 08-21-2006, 12:06 PM
levdrakon levdrakon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Priceguy
Thanks Q.E.D. and levdrakon, by the way.
You're welcome. If you do have some success with a Fly Trap and decide to branch out into other types of CPs, I have to recommend one of my all-time favorite plants. When I was in Germany, I grew a nice, large healthy Sarracenia purpurea. The red coloring on the leaves looks exactly like the tops of the pitchers are engorged with blood, being filled by blood-filled veins running up the sides. The flowers are fantastic. Here's a pic of some s. rubra flowers which are more representative of what it looks like when the plant is in full bloom.

Man, I miss that plant. Alas, I just don't have the conditions to grow them where I am now.
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  #20  
Old 08-21-2006, 12:46 PM
Grossbottom Grossbottom is offline
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Originally Posted by LunaV
Wow, I'd forgotten all about these plants! I'm definitely buying one or two...I get those little drain flies and cannot get rid of them for anything.
Are those the fat slow little black flies that leave a tiny black smudge on the wall when you smack them? Oi, where do those come from? The drains...? I've only ever had them in my new place, and they're annoying as hell. A few geckos have moved into my bathrooms to hunt these things, but no matter how many we kill more show up a couple days later.

I'm thinking of bringing in some jumping spiders, but maybe some flesh-eating plants would be better.

Anyone know if venus flytraps can survive at 68-70 F?
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  #21  
Old 08-21-2006, 01:35 PM
SmartAleq SmartAleq is offline
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I got my flytrap/sundew combo planting from a guy in Beaver OR who had a whole greenhouse full of various carnivorous plants, including one VFT he bought in a tiny two inch container many years before--when I saw it, it was in a gallon pot and it was huge! Probably fifty or sixty trap jaws on it, some of them two inches long--I didn't walk too close to that one...

Anyway, he emphasized the need for the right planting mix, which was basically a combination of sand and sphagnum moss. The plants need the soil to drain even though they like their feet wet. I was told to let it sit in water all the time and it loved the conditions. It would die back in the winter and I'd put straw mulch over the pot (only time it's okay to let it go dry at the roots) and it survived several snowstorms outdoors. I had it for several years, it did flower more than once, but it finally just croaked for no real reason. All in all, about the easiest houseplant I've ever had, short of lucky bamboo.

Very rewarding plants, overall--definitely give them a try!
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  #22  
Old 08-21-2006, 01:37 PM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grossbottom
Anyone know if venus flytraps can survive at 68-70 F?
That's close to the minimum temp they like. Below 70 they will start going dormant and most of the foliage will die back.
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  #23  
Old 08-21-2006, 01:38 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grossbottom
Anyone know if venus flytraps can survive at 68-70 F?
Yes, but they're not happy about it and they won't grow well and the traps don't work as well. They like warmer temps, between 75 and 85 F. If you grow them in a terrarium, you can use the heat from your lighting to keep them in this range.
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  #24  
Old 08-21-2006, 01:52 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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I was answering right and left untill I saw that Levdragon already had.
No fertilizer, pinch back the bloom, don't feed meat, don't play with the traps. They have a limited number of closings.

I got some through the Winter in mid Arkansas, Zone 7. I bought some on Ebay raised from seed in my area. The ones from WalMart did just as well when I found the right amount of drainange in the tubs.
Peat moss and sand in buried tubs. They want to have their feet wet, but they don't want to be in standing water for they will rot in the Spring. They need to go dormant for the Winter.
I also recommend The Savage Garden.

I covered the tub with a plastic lighting grid to keep the !@#$%^& armadillos off.

Various Sarracenia do very well in the tubs. I ignore them except in drought conditions. More peat moss in the Sarrs that the VFTs.
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  #25  
Old 08-21-2006, 02:21 PM
js_africanus js_africanus is offline
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I worked at a greenhouse. The owner was born and raised in a greenhouse. He bought his own business in another town, and bought from his folks, using their operation, 6 acres under glass, for growing and warehousing. His grandfather invented many new flower breeds.

His folks insisted he carry venus fly traps, so he did. But he never sold one. He simply refused to sell the plants to anybody because they were so difficult to keep.
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  #26  
Old 08-21-2006, 02:47 PM
Lionne Lionne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grossbottom
Are those the fat slow little black flies that leave a tiny black smudge on the wall when you smack them? Oi, where do those come from? The drains...? I've only ever had them in my new place, and they're annoying as hell. A few geckos have moved into my bathrooms to hunt these things, but no matter how many we kill more show up a couple days later.
They are the tiny flies that I always find around the drain, most likely because there's food residue stuck in there somewhere. If I don't empty the trash for a few days, they congregate there too. They're attracted to organic matter, and I've seen them flitting around my plants. I don't want to get rid of my plants, and even though I never leave food out and always make sure the sink is clean, they always appear.
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  #27  
Old 08-21-2006, 04:11 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Probably fruit flies.
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  #28  
Old 08-21-2006, 04:24 PM
levdrakon levdrakon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia
Probably fruit flies.
If it's what I'm thinking of, it's these guys. The only place I've ever had them was when I was younger & living in an old house in San Diego. Pesky little buggers but they did mostly hang out around the kitchen sink drain.
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  #29  
Old 08-21-2006, 04:34 PM
Cluricaun Cluricaun is offline
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I was under the assumption that you weren’t supposed to buy VFT’s because they were being over harvested from their narrow natural range and could disappear from nature. I’m almost certain someone told me that at some point and time.
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  #30  
Old 08-21-2006, 05:20 PM
THespos THespos is offline
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I got one to do pretty well by planting it in a pot with holes in the bottom and then suspending that pot in a larger one filled with water. I put it close to the window in my room in my fraternity house and made sure there was always water in the larger pot. It took off.

The plant did really well until I moved it to a coffee table and a prospective pledge passed out mid-sentence and did a header through the table. He recovered. The Venus Flytrap did not.
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  #31  
Old 08-21-2006, 05:26 PM
Grossbottom Grossbottom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levdrakon
If it's what I'm thinking of, it's these guys.
That's them. They aren't even competent flies! So slow and bumbling it's a wonder they evolved at all. They hang out in the guest bathroom, but maybe I should put a terrarium on wheels so it's mobile. I'll call the terrarium: Attack Force Delta. Plus, then I could roll it out on the balcony to take on the skeeters.

Do you have a recommendation for a store bought terrarium with the lights and/or heater I'd need? I found a how-to guide on building one, but I don't trust myself with electrical wiring.
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  #32  
Old 08-22-2006, 07:21 AM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grossbottom
I found a how-to guide on building one, but I don't trust myself with electrical wiring.
Is that on line?
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  #33  
Old 08-22-2006, 08:00 AM
Grossbottom Grossbottom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carnivorousplant
Is that on line?
Here it is: http://www.sarracenia.com/faq/faq6010c.html
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  #34  
Old 08-22-2006, 08:11 AM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grossbottom
Thanks!
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  #35  
Old 08-22-2006, 09:00 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Those are weird flies! I don't have any flies like that, they look like anime flies!

Yes, you should never buy a Venus Flytrap harvested from the wild. Plants grown from seed or cuttings are fine, though. It goes without saying that should you find yourself in the Great Green Swamp where they're from, you shouldn't take one home with you.
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  #36  
Old 08-22-2006, 09:44 AM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia
It goes without saying that should you find yourself in the Great Green Swamp where they're from, you shouldn't take one home with you.
Please don't do that.
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  #37  
Old 08-22-2006, 03:38 PM
The Man In Black The Man In Black is offline
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Hi, I have been reading posts on this site for a few weeks, and have finaly decided to join (And I will most likley join for the year too).


I always wanted to grow a Venus Flytrap, but it's just one of the things I never got around to doing. I read through most of the info on www.sarracenia.com about Venus Flytrap's, but I still have some questions. Am I better off growing them from seeds, bulbs or buying an established plant? Am I really better off buying pre-planted ones, or should I plant them myself? I think I have an old fish aquarium. Would it be a good idea to turn it into a terrarium?


I am sorry for all the questions. And thank you for your time.
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  #38  
Old 08-22-2006, 03:43 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carnivorousplant
Please don't do that.
Don't not take one home?
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  #39  
Old 08-22-2006, 03:57 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q.E.D.
Don't not take one home?
My apologies, I missread your post.
You are a gentleman and a scholar.
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  #40  
Old 08-22-2006, 04:07 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Man In Black
Am I better off growing them from seeds, bulbs or buying an established plant?
VFTs are easy to start from seed, but take years to grow.
They can't live year round in a terrarium, for they need a dormant period.
Try and find a copy of The Savage Garden.
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