The Venus flytrap is considered a carnivore. However, it’s not just their diet that is special. Here you will find everything you need to know about the Venus flytrap.
The Venus flytrap ( Dionaea muscipula ) comes from the sundew family ( Droseraceae ) and loves meat on their diet. It originally comes from North America, but today it is also very popular with us. The carnivorous Venus flytrap is a highlight for many children, but it is also absolutely fascinating for all the young at heart hobby gardeners among us. Gardender reveals the most compelling facts about the carnivorous Venus flytrap and explains how you can successfully keep it at home too.
Venus Flytrap: A Brief Profile
The Venus flytrap originally comes from North America, more precisely from North and South Carolina. Since it was first mentioned in 1768, it first migrated within the USA to Florida, and then to Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. In the meantime, the Venus flytrap has adapted to many environments but is still considered a great exotic species.
Venus Flytrap: The Catch Leaves
The greatest peculiarity of the Venus flytrap is probably its catch leaves. When they are open, they resemble a wide-open gullet that waits greedily for its prey. Fully developed catch leaves have a red border in the middle or are completely red in color to simulate flowers and thus attract prey. The so-called “folding trap” closes in less than a tenth of a second after receiving a stimulus – with which the Venus flytrap performs one of the fastest movements in the plant kingdom. The movement that the catch leaves perform is not active, but passive. The pre-tensioned blades are kept open due to their special curvature. If an insect keeps touching the fringe hairs, the latch relaxes and strikes.
As the name suggests, the prey is caught by quickly folding the catch blades. The signal that triggers the stimulus mechanism is triggered by touching small feeler hairs (three to nine) on the edge of the leaf. After the leaves have closed, the prey is broken down via secretions and digested, so to speak. When this process is complete, the catch leaves open again and the Venus flytrap is ready to catch new prey with its catching device.
Buy Venus Flytrap
Venus flytraps are now available to every well-stocked plant specialist. Of course, you can also order plants or seeds online. When buying on-site, however, you should pay attention to a few important details of your desired plant. Above all, the catch leaves are an important indicator of whether the plant is healthy: they should be open and have a bright green glow, then you can assume that no one has touched the catch leaves for fun and has triggered the mechanism without real prey.
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Because the catch leaves can usually only repeat the closing process six to seven times, which is why every empty closure means a weakening. A pre-grown plant costs between four and five euros, seeds are available for three to four euros per ten seeds (often including growing substrate).
Venus Flytrap Flowers
The Venus flytrap forms its flowers in early spring. The special thing about it is the extremely long flower styles, which often protrude 30 cm above the rest of the plant. This large distance between the catch leaves and the flowers has the advantage that pollinating insects do not accidentally end up on the menu of the Venus flytrap. The color of the flowers is white and their diameter is between two and three centimeters. You can find more information about the flowers of the Venus flytrap here.
Propagating Venus flytrap: harvest and sow seeds
First of all, your Venus flytrap can be propagated by the seeds that arise from the flowers. The most important thing is that the flowers have actually been pollinated. If you want to be on the safe side, you have to pollinate the flowers yourself with the help of a brush.
As soon as the pollinated flower has dried up, you can assume that the seed is also ripe. To harvest, simply cut off the flower and tap it lightly over a plate or bowl. You can also cover the dried flower with a plastic bag and wait until the seeds leave the flower capsule on their own way.
Note: Until the seeds can be sown again, you should store them in a cool and dark place to keep the germination capacity as high as possible.
The right time to sow the seeds of your Venus flytrap is early spring. It takes almost nine months from harvest to sowing your own seeds. The most important things about sowing the seeds in brief:
- Fill the pot with plant substrate (peat-sand mixture)
- Moisten well
- Distribute seeds on the surface (light germinator)
- Lightly press
- Put plastic bags on top if necessary
- Choose a sunny location
Note: It is completely normal for the plants to germinate after 20 to 30 days. So don’t be alarmed if your seeds don’t emerge right away. If it takes even longer, the reason may be that the seeds are too old. Always use seeds from the previous year to propagate your Venus flytrap.
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Increase Venus Flytrap by division
Propagation by division should ideally also take place in early spring because then is the time when you would normally repot your Venus flytrap anyway. In doing so, one does not multiply offshoots in the classic sense, as is often wrongly assumed, but only divides the rhizome. This is an underground sprout axis that can always sprout anew. How to divide Venus flytraps:
- Carefully remove the Venus flytrap from the pot
- Gently pluck the leaves and stems apart so that you get small individual plants
- Make sure that there are enough roots on each branch
- Place cuttings in the plant substrate
- Ensure adequate exposure to the sun
Venus Flytrap: The Right Earth
As a carnivorous, i.e. carnivorous plant, the Venus flytrap is an exotic plant among our indoor plants. That is why it makes special demands on its plant substrate. Conventional substrates are not suitable for the cultivation of the Venus flytrap. It gets most of its nutrients from the decomposition of prey in its catch leaves, which is why most substrates have too high a nutrient concentration for the Venus flytrap. The most important thing, however, is good substrate permeability.
The Venus flytrap grows best when it grows in a substrate that is tailored to it, such as Floragard special soil for carnivorous plants. Due to their acidic pH value and the small number of nutrients, carnivore soils are perfectly adapted to the needs of the peat plant. In addition, the special soil supports a balanced water balance, which the Venus flytrap benefits.
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Pour the Venus flytrap: keep waterlogged instead of dry
Unlike many of our beloved garden and potted plants, the Venus Flytrap loves it overly damp, not to say wet. It has proven useful to place the plants in their pot on a matching saucer, in which there is always some water.
Feed the Venus Flytrap
The Venus flytrap is not particularly hungry, which is why it catches enough prey without your intervention. However, if you would like to initiate the spectacle yourself, nothing speaks against it. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when feeding your Venus flytrap.
- Do not put your finger between the catch leaves
Every closure of the fishing device without live prey wastes energy and means one less closure that the Venus flytrap can make for its care. To satisfy the understandable curiosity, however, it is okay to snap the catch leaves shut with the touch of a finger.
- Do not feed dead insects
The digestion of the Venus flytrap only starts when the prey sends out enough stimuli due to the constant movement. If you kill the prey beforehand, the end of the catch leaves is like an empty end and only means an unnecessary expenditure of energy.
- The right size is crucial
For the mechanism to work properly, the size of the prey is crucial. Animals that are too small can often escape, animals that are too big can fight their way free or die without being able to be digested. As a rule of thumb, the prey should be about a third of the length of the catcher to ensure effective digestion.
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Repotting Venus Flytrap: When and How?
The Venus flytrap should be repotted at least once a year. You can tell when the time is right that the pot is completely covered with roots and that the above-ground parts of the plant are already protruding from the side of the pot. Depending on the season, it is best to decide in favor of repotting in early spring, because then the best framework conditions exist to enable the Venus flytrap to get off to an optimal start after the stressful repotting.
For repotting, prepare a new, larger pot with a fresh substrate, in which you then carefully move your Venus flytrap. You must use a suitable substrate, as the Venus flytrap makes special demands on its soil. You can buy special carnivore soil in specialist shops, or you can mix your own personal carnivore plant substrate.
Venus flytrap in winter
The Venus flytrap is frugal, but under no circumstances does it want to forego its winter rest. As soon as the newly formed catch leaves are no longer as strong as before and no longer have a red inner seam, it is time to move your Venus flytrap to its winter quarters. A suitable place is, for example, an unheated staircase or a basement room with daylight. In any case, the temperatures in the winter quarters should not fall below 5 ° C.
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