Hungry Venus – 10 Things On How to Care for a Venus Fly Trap
After my “Venus Fly Trap Story” (find link to the story at the bottom of this hub), I have to become a good follower for the instructions on how to care of a flytrap. This mini carnivore plant looks hungrier every single day and could really be great for the banana flies in the kitchen. In other days, it is a pity to watch it with no catch. I mean, I am not really sticking around in my kitchen just to watch it move catching its prey, but this Venus Flytrap could sometimes need a little help from a friend.
“I caught a fly!”
“It better be a small one.”
So here, we feed it to one of the hungry creatures sticking out in the pot.
One time, I found an orange spotted ladybug in the kitchen, so I fed the poor little insect to the awaiting plant. Poor little guy’s juices must have gotten all sucked up and one day the ladybug had fallen on top of the damp moss all seemed light and empty. I guess it was too chunky for the fly trap.
Let’s find out how to care for a Venus Fly Trap if you’d think of growing one in your home.
What is a Venus Fly Trap?
It is a plant carnivore in its form. This flytrap is a native in the U.S. commonly inhabiting the sandy places and swampy lands of North and South Carolina. With this kind of breeding ground, the Venus flytraps have become used to its poor soil, thus a good soil rich in nutrients is hazardous that it could actually kill this ‘exotic’ plant.
Its monster-looking leaf or head is an insect trap. That's the beauty of Venus. This leaf preys on other 'indoor' insects such as spiders, houseflies and ladybugs (as I have witnessed them devoured without mercy). So far, I've not noticed any ant marching up towards the death platform. Okay, that sounds very mean. Let's proceed...These flytraps can't be choosy and only prefer a McDonalds meal, I mean, to become picky specifically feeding on flies or they'll miss lunch, perhaps go to sleep without supper.
Each leaf-like trap has trigger hairs on each lobe. The lobes produce a sweet nectar with which the insects are attracted to. Oh, the sweet-tooth insects! The teethy edge or jaw-like lining of the leaf snaps shut once an insect has become its victim.
The trap gets tighter securely clasping its victim, digesting the bug and soaking up its nutrients.
Venus Fly Trap vs Sea Monkeys
Which weird pet would you enjoy to have at home- the Venus Fly Trap or Sea Monkeys?
10 Ways How to Care for Your Monster Pet
- Look for Moss –No no no no, not Kate Moss. I can read your mind and I know you prefer for Ms. Moss, but, NOT the right 'moss'. If you are looking for peat moss the kind that is suitable for a flytrap, you need to search around and don’t be shy to ask the garden sales clerks. You wouldn’t want to end up taking home a chunk of garden peat moss like I almost did. The potted Venus Flytraps in stores already have the natural poor soil mix or organic sphagnum peat moss which is an excellent quality. A proper poor mix of nutrient will have construction sand and perlite too. Perlite particles mix in soil allows the plant to breath improving drainage. Perlite is a natural glass form of volcanic glass (lava) and is light and gritty. It contains water. When buying peat moss, make sure it is the pure peat moss which is the safest. As we are no experts, avoid the kind with fertilizer; fertilizers will burn the roots. Experts use diluted fertilizer without harming the plant, that's right because they are the 'experts'! In a proper mix soil, make sure it is ‘nutrient POOR type’ soil.
- Repotting – gradually move the flytrap into the next size pot. Never jump to a huge pot dreaming and hoping that your pet plant will grow healthy and larger quickly. The larger pots will rot the roots of the small plant thus killing its life quickly. Now, you’ll have blood in your hands (just kidding).
- Water & Moisture – Venus Flytraps like a lot of water like we do. Bear in mind that ‘only’ pure water is essential to the Venus Flytrap. Distilled water or rainwater is best and that simply connotes that tap water is not even worth a drop to try. So repeat after me…”ONLY USE pure water.” Repeat this ten times in your head. I hope you’ll remember that. Keep moist. Make sure to keep its soil damp at all times in low humidity conditions. Use pots with drain holes.
- Source of Light –If these flytraps have eyes, they’ll need a pair of sunglasses, so never under a strong direct sunlight and where it is too hot to bear. But this is not the case for matured grown flytraps which are more recipient to grow best in full sun and produce more pigment in your garden, afterall, wild Venus Flytraps inhabits the savannahs surrounded in peat and sandy soils as well as in wetlands. Though flytraps enjoy and love light, some sunshine directly coming from your windowsill is just perfect for your cute little pet. Facing the window is an ideal spot for the plant to receive a natural light source. Give it access to sunshine indoors for a good 4 hours to half a day wonderfully the early morning vitamins from the sun when the rays are not intense.
- Hungry Venus –Some conditions apply. Flytraps are stranded, not moving, nor could stretch out their arms or necks. Each adorable alien-looking trap can accept support from you by feeding it with little insects, but a trap shouldn’t be fed more than one time within a week. That will be a challenge, don’t you think? Remembering which trap had been fed last week and when you see them next, they have all or some of them have opened up? If it’s hard to tell, I bet I am confused with ours too, you can do some counting-out…“Eenie meenie miny mo, which of you traps had food a week ago?”
- Touch Me Not – Flytraps are like cousins of the Touch-me-not plants. A slight touch would trigger to shut and open within a day or two. They'll become too annoyed of you (sound familiar?) Avoid fooling a trap by a touch of your finger without dropping in a bug for food or it will snap your finger the next time you tease it. Try catching a fly with chopsticks; your flytrap pet will be amused and praise you. Too much triggering will eventually kill the flytrap. In other words, quit poking!
- Over Feeding – Too big insects are hard for the trap to digest and absorb its nutrients except if this is a wild humongous flytrap that could eat a whole zebra. If a big bug or insect prevents its trap from closing completely, likely the trap would die from catching an infection. Oh no, we don't want any virus. Just closing its trap takes a lot of its energy. Hmm, just like those monstrous gates of a medieval castle. Okay, why is this taking me to the medieval times?
- Browning & Flowering – It is okay to trim off traps that has begun or are turning brown. Do not be alarmed that your flytrap is dying. No it is not. Dying leaves are part of its growth cycle. Cut the dark leaves before it starts to rot to a full blown gangrene (you know I'm exaggerating on the latter). It is also best not to have the Venus Flytrap flower. How could a beasty plant masquerade with flowers? Its flowers take away much of the traps energy with which its energy is used to produce larger and healthier traps. As the flytrap grows and multiply from pollination, cute seedlings are formed from its roots into rosettes. You may separate these rosettes carefully in pots. Although the flowering of traps attract insects to pollinate, the flytrap can actually benefit a fiesta (good feast) after the pollination of a flower.
- Dormancy – It is a natural state that the flytrap will hibernate in winter around November until February. Move it to an area where it could get less sunlight and water less. This perennial plant is at its best during spring and summer, and retreats from its vibrancy every winter. One factor to notice is its traps close slower and does not appear hungry. It can hold on to frost but not on extended periods that could kill the plant. Let's hibernate together!
- Green and Teething – Come around springtime; give the Venus Flytrap sufficient but soft sunlight. You will also observe a change to your carnivore pet for it will be taller than the previous year. Venus Flytraps have a wide variety that ranges in colour. See http://www.collectorscorner.com.au/Carnivorous%20Plants/Venusvars.htm
Check out my "story" hub of the Venus Fly Trap at http://coffeegginmyrice.hubpages.com/hub/Monster-in-My-Kitchen-or-Samuel-L-Jackson-a-Venus-Fly-Trap-story