Habitat

Where do Venus flytraps come from?

Venus flytraps come from swampy areas of the United States of America (USA) or more specifically, swampy areas of the states of North Carolina and South Carolina. Green Swamp in Brunswick and Columbus counties of North Carolina is the best known area for finding large numbers of Venus flytraps, however much of this areas has been destroyed by humans and it is possible that this amazing area will be eventually destroyed. For more information about the conservation of Green Swamp please visit the What’s so special about Green Swamp in NC?website.

If you want to see Venus flytraps in the wild, there is a preseve setup at Carolina Beach State Park for viewing these wonderful plants in their native habitat.

 

Removing Venus flytraps from the wild is strictly illegal. They are endangered and should never be removed from their native habitat.

 

Venus Flytrap Potting Mix

There are a wide range of opinions on what the best potting mixture to use for a Venus flytrap is. However the one thing everyone agrees on is that the soil must be low quality. You can’t use rich, nitrogen filled soils as your plant will not like it at all. Venus flytraps evolved to catch bugs as a response to low soil quality and they don’t cope well when they’re out of their usual environment. And whatever you do, don’t add any fertilizer as you will likely kill your plant.

If you purchased your plant from a garden store and aren’t sure of what soil to use for repotting, it is often a good idea to keep using the soil your plant came in. Garden store workers are often uneducated in Venus flytrap maintenance, so be wary of any store assistants recommending you to use a particular potting mix. Some store assistants do know about Venus flytraps, but most assume that they are like any other plant and recommend incorrect soil mixes which can kill your plant.

 

Should you pee on your Venus flytrap?

This is a follow up to my previous post on not using tap water.

It seems that some morons out there have been thinking up some truly stupid ways to purify water. Including the following:

  • Urinate on your plant
    Oh for the love god no! Urine is often described as ‘clean’ due it not containing dangerous bacteria. However, it is still packed full of all sorts of metal salts which will likely kill your plant extremely quickly. Plus it’s disgusting, so don’t do it. If you have ever recommended this technique to anyone, then please slap yourself across the face now as punishment!
  • Leaving water to stand over night
    This may get rid of a tiny amount of surface chlorine gas, but 99% will remain and at worst some water will evaporate and you will concentrate the remaining inorganic contaminants. So basically you will likely make your water a pinch more toxic by doing this!
  • Boil your water
    Jeepers! This is even worse. Yes you will remove a simdgen of chlorine, but you are still concentrating all the inorganic contaminants which will kill your plant, so don’t do it.
  • Use a coffee or paper funnel type filter
    Argh! Well at least this one doesn’t make things worse, but it certainly doesn’t help. You are just wasting your time. These are sieve type filters which can not filter out chemicals. The chemicals are too small to be blocked by a simple sieve system.
  • Collecting water from your fridge
    Well this is a little weird, but may actually work. The water your fridge creates is condensed from the air, so technically should be void of almost all inorganic contaminants. This sound difficult though and I can’t imagine the average fridge would create a huge amount of water anyway.

Another good way to purify water which I didn’t mention in my previous post, is to use a reverse osmosis unit.

 

Water, water everywhere, but nothing for my flytraps to drink!

Most tap water supplies in first world nations is treated with chlorine and/or fluoride and often contain large amounts of calcium and magnesium. These chemicals are toxic to Venus flytraps, in fact they’re probably not much good for plants in general, but Venus flytraps are particularly sensitive to chemicals in their water supply and it’s use can slow down the growth of your flytrap and sometimes even kill it.

If your plant is kept outside and there’s plenty of rain water available then you wont have any problems. But if you are in a dry spell or your plant is kept inside, then it’s a good idea not to use tap water for your plant.

Other options instead of using tap water are:

  • distilled water
  • rain water – collecting from your roof is usually quite easy
  • bottled filtered drinking water – expensive!
  • filtered tap water – make sure it’s a good filter though

Filtered water normally contains some chemical residues, but not enough to cause grief for your Venus flytrap. Spring water often contains significant other minerals so isn’t recommended, but is still a better option than using tap water.

 

Should I repot my Venus Flytrap?

Well the first question to ask is why do you want to repot? If your answer is because the pot your plant came in is small and you ‘think’ your plant will grow better by repotting, then the answer is most likely no, don’t repot.

Venus flytraps do not need much room for their roots to grow, they’re quite happy living in teeny weeny pots (4 cm x 6 cm is usually big enough) and most pots bought from garden shops usually come with pots around this size or bigger. Repotting your Venus flytrap can shock it and slow down it’s growth, or even kill it.

Having said that, there are good reasons for deciding to repot, including improved soil aeration and possibly faster growth. A larger pot can often help protect your plant during freezing temperatures, although you should always protect your plant from freezing temperatures as they don’t like it.

If you are going to repot, then make sure you read the potting mix post for tips on what type of soil to use. If you are going to repot, I suggest doing it as they leaving their dormancy period (early spring or very late winter). If you must repot at any other time of the year, then make sure you keep the root system intact or your plant will probably die.

 

What to do if you use the wrong flytrap potting mix or water

Using the wrong potting mix, tap water or worst of all adding fertlizer to your plant is sure fire way to eventually kill it. However, if you have done one of these then don’t panic, there are solutions!

If you’ve been watering your plant with tap water for many months and your plant is looking a little unhealthy, then it is advisable to flush the plant 4-5 times with clean water to get rid of those horrible inorganic residues which are killing your plant. Your plant should still live and re-potting shouldn’t be necessary.

If you’ve used the wrong potting mix or even used fertilizer and it’s late winter or early spring, then just repot and your plant should be fine. If it’s not late winter or early spring you will still need to repot your plant, but make sure you give your plant lots of light, keep it watered well and make sure you follow the advice here on flytrapgrowing.info as repotting at the wrong time of year is very hard on your plant. If you used a water soluble fertilizer such as potassium nitrate then you should be able to rinse it out with a good rinsing of water; fill your pot up with water and let it drain 20x or so to remove all of the fertilizer.

 

Flytrap Watering

If you are growing your plant outside, make sure it is watered regularly during dry spells. Venus flytraps do not like being dry. Don’t panic if your plant is saturated with water as they are used to this happening in the wild and cope with being submerged in water for weeks on end. However if they dry up they will rapidly die so make sure you keep it wel watered in dry environments.

If your plant is inside a terrarium it is advisable to keep a constant level of water in the base to ensure a high humidity and to keep the soil moist. Terrarium’s are the easiest way to maintain your plant as they have a high humidity which prevents the plant and soil from drying out.

If you have your plant inside, but not in a terrarium then you will have to be very careful about preventing your plant from drying up. The easiest approach is to keep a constant supply of water in the base of the pot so that the bottom of the roots are touching a constant supply of water. If you live in an air conditioned or other very dry environment then you will need to keep topping up with water on a constant basis.

In general you don’t want the soil soaking wet, but it must be slightly moist at all time. So in a nutshell … moist good, soggy bad!

 

Red or Green Venus Flytraps?

People often ask why their traps are red whereas their friends are green. The reason some traps are green is due to a lack of light. Healthy plants exposed to lots of light (which they love) will generally turn red, whereas those in inadequate light will stay green. The more light, the redder the traps will get.

Some varieties of Venus flytrap are more noticeably red than others, in particular:

  • Red Dragon
  • Colin’s Red Sunset
  • Red Piranha

Whereas some varieties such as Justina Davis have little or no red colouring at all, no matter how much light they get.

In general, the more red colouring a Venus flytrap has, the slower it will grow as it isn’t able to photosynthesise as effectively (photosynthesis requires chlorophyll which is what makes plants green).

 

Water, water everywhere, but nothing for my flytraps to drink!

Most tap water supplies in first world nations is treated with chlorine and/or fluoride and often contain large amounts of calcium and magnesium. These chemicals are toxic to Venus flytraps, in fact they’re probably not much good for plants in general, but Venus flytraps are particularly sensitive to chemicals in their water supply and it’s use can slow down the growth of your flytrap and sometimes even kill it.

If your plant is kept outside and there’s plenty of rain water available then you wont have any problems. But if you are in a dry spell or your plant is kept inside, then it’s a good idea not to use tap water for your plant.

Other options instead of using tap water are:

  • distilled water
  • rain water – collecting from your roof is usually quite easy
  • bottled filtered drinking water – expensive!
  • filtered tap water – make sure it’s a good filter though

Filtered water normally contains some chemical residues, but not enough to cause grief for your Venus flytrap. Spring water often contains significant other minerals so isn’t recommended, but is still a better option than using tap water.

 

Venus Flytrap Potting Soil

There are a wide range of opinions on what the best potting mixture to use for a Venus flytrap is. However the one thing everyone agrees on is that the soil must be low quality. You can’t use rich, nitrogen filled soils as your plant will not like it at all. Venus flytraps evolved to catch bugs as a response to low soil quality and they don’t cope well when they’re out of their usual environment. And whatever you do, don’t add any fertilizer as you will likely kill your plant.

If you purchased your plant from a garden store and aren’t sure of what soil to use for repotting, it is often a good idea to keep using the soil your plant came in. Garden store workers are often uneducated in Venus flytrap maintenance, so be wary of any store assistants recommending you to use a particular potting mix. Some store assistants do know about Venus flytraps, but most assume that they are like any other plant and recommend incorrect soil mixes which can kill your plant.