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Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

My flytrap seeds arrived, and so did the peat moss! (I don't use peat moss as a rule, but I got some for these guys and to experiment with hypertufa) I didn't feel like digging out and setting up my distiller unit, so I bought a gallon at CVS (sometimes saved time/effort is money well spent). I have perlite left over from last year's DIY SIP experiment (though these are large chunk horto grade, I think it will do) I also have sand.... I think I'm almost ready.

I broke down and ordered a heating mat thermostat. I think I will wait for that to get here, then start. :-()

...I'm planning to divide the distilled water in freezer bags and freeze them as soon as I open this jug so it will keep fresh. Does this sound like a good idea?

This is my first try growing them from seeds so I,d be grateful for any and all advice and pointers. :D
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Allyn got me started in this thread :()

Subject: Carnivorous plant terrarium
Allyn wrote:I've never grown carnivorous plants in a terrarium, but I do grow venus flytraps (from seed -- not from plants collected out of their natural habitat). A consideration that comes immediately to mind would be the fact that you can't/shouldn't put any kind of fertilizer in the 'soil'. Carnivorous plants get their nutrients from what they eat and anything in the soil could harm or kill them. You'd have to pair them with something else that doesn't need nutrients in the soil, yes? If the paired moss gets its nutrients from the air, that would work as a pairing.

I grow mine in peat moss thoroughly rinsed with rain water. In the terrarium, you'd have to give consideration to drainage so the 'soil' doesn't get soggy.
Image
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

A few pointers I learned along the way (sometimes the hard way):

1) I use rainwater. I've seen other folks suggest and use distilled water or reverse-osmosis water. Don't use tap water even if you're on a well. Minerals in the water, not to mention other stuff that aren't on our radar, are harmful to the plants.

2) Rinse the growing medium thoroughly with the distilled/rainwater. (I use peat moss. I can't speak to other mediums.) You don't want any minerals or any fertilizers at all in the medium. Run clean water through and let it drain like four times to make sure nothing is left in it.

3) I prepare a small container -- like an oblong plastic margarine tub -- by putting holes in the bottom for watering/drainage and then I put holes in the lid for ventilation. I fill the container about halfway with my rinsed peat moss and sprinkle the seeds across the surface of the moist medium. Don't bury the seeds; but it's suggested to sift a fine dusting of your rinsed medium over the top (I've successfully germinated seeds with and without the dusting) and then spritz a light mist of the distilled/rainwater over the surface to dampen everything.

4) Snap on the lid and put the container where it gets bright, indirect light (Indirect if it's sunlight or right under grow lights if that's your setup. Direct sunlight can easily overheat the little seeds in their little greenhouse.) If I recall, the seeds want at least 12 hours of light. The last time I germinated seeds, they were probably getting closer to 14 or 15 hours.

5) They like warm temps -- 80 to 90 degrees F in their little greenhouse is optimal. The cooler it is, the longer they take to germinate.

6) Take off the lid once a day to air the medium. I will either mist them to keep the medium moist (but not 'wet') or I'll bottom-water the container. Either way so as not to disturb the seeds.

7) Once the baby flytraps have cotyledons almost fully extended out of the seed and you see the first tiny true trap leaf, you can move it from the nursery container to a more permanent home where the temp, moisture and humidity doesn't have to be as high as it was in the nursery. They still want a thoroughly rinsed medium and it shouldn't be allowed to dry out.

They might take a while to germinate so don't be discouraged. I've had some show life in as little as two weeks and some in the same batch took almost eight weeks. I think some of the seeds are just more obstinate than others. :) If I feel like I've provided good conditions and I have seeds that still haven't germinated after 10 or 12 weeks, I figure they're not going to sprout. I'm probably more generous than the recommendations other folks will give you. Some say anything after 6 weeks is a wash, but I have seen life in the 7th week before and when I pay as much as $1 per seed, I want to give them every opportunity.
Last edited by Allyn on Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

applestar wrote:My flytrap seeds arrived, and so did the peat moss! ....
Yay!
Image
applestar wrote: ...I'm planning to divide the distilled water in freezer bags and freeze them as soon as I open this jug so it will keep fresh. Does this sound like a good idea? ...
I don't know. Does distilled water 'turn'? I would think if there's nothing in it to go bad (ie: grow mold or whatever) it should be fine. I guess it can't hurt to freeze it as long as the water is room temp before you use it. You may end up using the better part of that first gallon rinsing the nursery medium.

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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Wow, Allyn. thank you so much for posting detailed tips! Image


Image *

The way I heard it, distilled water is like a vacuum, and "nature abhors a vacuum" as they say. But maybe I'm thinking about it in terms of contact lense care (sterile) and it doesn't matter as much for carnivorous plants since rainwater is obviously teeming.

---
* http://caccioppoli.com/Gif%20animated%2 ... trap_3.gif
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

They are EASY to start. Keep moist, do not cover the seeds. bright light. That's it! There should be a Carnivorous plant section here!

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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

applestar wrote:Wow, Allyn. thank you so much for posting detailed tips! Image


Image *

The way I heard it, distilled water is like a vacuum, and "nature abhors a vacuum" as they say. But maybe I'm thinking about it in terms of contact lense care (sterile) and it doesn't matter as much for carnivorous plants since rainwater is obviously teeming.

---
* http://caccioppoli.com/Gif%20animated%2 ... trap_3.gif
Distilled water is fine. Do NOT use tap water if it's above 50 ppm tds.

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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

:clap: Image :clap:
image.jpg
I started them on Jan 24. Now that I'm sure this set up is working, I sowed the rest of the seeds in the other 2/3 of the container today. :-()

p.s. @tommyr -- What do you use to test for that? (Chemistry is not my strong suit....)
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Image
Woohoo!

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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Image EIGHT babies now. I'm so happy Image
image.jpg
I have the seed starting tub with drainage holes and vent-holed lid inside of an Unvented second food storage tub for insulation since the windowsill heating pad on thermostat (set to 88-90°F) is turned off at night (thermostat sensor registers as low as 62°F when first turned on in the morning.)
image.jpg
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

That is so cool! I am so excited for you. :)

When they start getting proper traps, you can start feeding them. I use freeze-dried bloodworms. These, in fact:
Image
Another brand I used to use had the worms pressed into little wafers. I like brands like this one better because the worms are individually freeze-dried, so I can pull out as many worms as I need to feed the available traps.

I put the dried worms on a lid (like a margarine tub lid) and drop a few drops of distilled/rainwater/reverse-osmosis water on them and give them a moment to reconstitute. Then I touch one with my finger (it's wet so it sticks) and then roll it between my fingers to make a little meatball.

Baby traps will be very tiny, so make really tiny meatballs -- about a third the size of the trap. I touch the end of a toothpick to the meatball (again, it's wet, so it sticks) and then gently wiggle the meatball end of the toothpick in the trap. Tiny hairs in the trap detect movement and the trap closes. Wiggle it a little more to simulate the movement of an insect struggling in the trap and then withdraw the toothpick. Hopefully the hairs on the rim of the trap will skive the meatball off the tootpick.

The bigger the trap, the more efficient the closing and skiving action, so be patient with little baby traps. They close slower and not very strong. If the trap doesn't seal, you'll need to help it. You can take the pads of your fingers and gently press each side of the trap all the way closed so it seals. The trap has to seal so digestion takes place.

And that's it. :) Each trap will digest three or four (or five, I dunno) meals and then it stops working, but the plant is constantly making new traps (unless it's dormant). I try to feed each plant a couple times each week. Once they get big enough to catch their own meals, you won't need to feed them. They get more nourishment from crawling insects than flying ones, if it matters.

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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

:bouncey: Hurriedly making note to go to the pet shop at first opportunity :bouncey:

Thank you so much @Allyn! I can't wait for them to grow their first traps! :clap:
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Did I mention I also tried starting some of the seeds using Spoonzip/(spoon in zipped seed bag) method?

I noticed today that some of them had sprouted :D
image.jpg
...started on 1/28 so about 23-25 days for those. Less heat retention in the tiny zip bag may have contributed, although I did double bag.
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

That is excellent! :) I haven't tried any method other than the one I described. How do you feel this one works compared to the other method as far as success? I know it's too early to reach any real conclusions, but how do you feel about it?

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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Allyn wrote:That is excellent! :) I haven't tried any method other than the one I described. How do you feel this one works compared to the other method as far as success? I know it's too early to reach any real conclusions, but how do you feel about it?
Hey Allyn. I wanted to think about it a bit before answering, especially since I wasn't sure if the result you saw in the photo above was enough to say it works. But I checked them again today -- and I will post new photos tomorrow but -- I would say the method I'm calling "Spoonzip" method (spoon in zipped seed bag) works well enough, but maybe not AS WELL as the container.

As you may know already, I tried using the Spoonzip method last year to start tomatoes and peppers. And I had great success and spectacular failures. Only first time last year, and I don't believe any technique can be evaluated from just one time trial since you need to LEARN the ins and outs of it first

-- A technique can't be blamed for operator error -- one of my pet peeves with instructional blogs and especially YouTube videos in which they start out by saying "this is my first time doing this..." ...PARTICULARLY when they don't come back and provide a self evaluation of what THEY did wrong or HOW things can go wrong even if they succeeded... But I digress. :oops:

I think Spoonzip is a smaller -tiny- environment which make it more difficult to control EVEN/STABLE temperature and moisture. NUTRIENT is another issue for other seeds, but I realized this is where VFT and other carnivorous seeds would have and advantage since you truly don't need to fertilize them.

Spoonzip is a fantastic technique for saving space for growing a LOT of different varieties and keeping them securely labeled and keeping track of them. (This is where I went WAY overboard last year with the tomatoes and peppers and -seriously- overwhelmed myself :roll: ) if you are using the method to grow a large number of Spoonzipped seeds, it's actually easier to control the environment because you can keep them together in a larger container that will maintain thermal mass.

Spoonzip is a great way to SEE the seeds actually germinating. Tonight, I saw that quite a few more of the seeds on the spoon have tiny white radicles/root tips showing even though they haven't sprouted anything green yet. (I'll post a macro photo tomorrow -- I'll be able to see better how *well* they are doing then. That's another issue, germinating and sprouting are different stages in the seedling development. Some germinate but fail to sprout. I don't know for sure if this is the norm but we just never see that with seeds sown in soil mix, or if it's due to the unstable Spoonzip environment.

BTW I want to clarify that I used unrolled REAL cotton ball (not synthetic fiber) for the Venus flytrap seeds (I need to find where I got that idea from and give credit... Found it :arrow: YouTube video below). I have yet to find out how easy or difficult it will be to remove the seedlings from (or with) the cotton fibers and plant.

The Spoonzip method I used last year for tomatoes and peppers originally was described as using "kitchen paper" for the moist medium, but I found Bounty paper towels to be too strong and found paper napkins from takeout/fast food places were variable -- still working on finding which works best. Printer/copier/office papers actually works well because they fall apart into pulp with no directional fiber to catch/break the tender roots.

(And that's another thing -- the extra, sometimes mind-numbingly delicate step/procedure needed to transfer the tender seedlings to a larger container of real/appropriate growing medium.)


Venus Fly trap in 80 days - YouTube :arrow: https://youtu.be/GIEBZE8hKYQ
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Latest update photos. ...may come back and add more comments later...
image.jpg
TOP-RIGHT PHOTO: ...Note the brand new germinating seed discovered in the upper portion while photographing... :-()
image.jpg
Oldest seedlings are unfolding traps on their first true leaves...


"Spoonzip" (link to my summary evaluation last post on 1st page)
image.jpg
Five are sprouting out of TEN. 10th seed isn't in the picture because it was stuck to the seedzipbag :roll: A couple more may have germinated, but it's hard to tell due to unusual root structure. First clue is the seeds start to stand up on the pointy end.
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

This is awesome. :) I read with interest your post about the spoonzip. I didn't have time to compose a reply yestersday, but I'm watching your progress.

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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Time for another Venus Flytrap update! :-()

I pricked out (literally -- with a toothpick) and Uppotted the biggest three from the Spoonzip and 7 or 8 from the seed starting container. The biggest ones have developed toothed traps! Image
image.jpeg

image.jpeg
I used 5:3:2 mix recommended on the seed supplier's website. 5 peat moss:3 white sand:2 perlite, and topped with sphagnum moss sold for orchids, all washed 4 times with rain or distilled water.

Ha! While writing this, I realized that the location where I left my cute little set up gets direct sun and will cook the precious babies! :eek: …I forgot because it's such a dreary, overcast day today. I'll need to move it to a different location.
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

This is so exciting. :) Your first baby traps. :-()

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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

...and the little trap has opened! :D (But I haven't had the chance to go to the pet store.... I wonder if there's one in the direction I'm going today.... :? )

I found a Build-a-bear bridal veil to use for the direct sun problem. The elastic loops for the ears work perfectly to keep it secured on the knob of the cheese tray cover. :()
image.jpeg
Thanks so much, Allyn! :-()
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Image

Hmmm... Ones left in the seed starter without transplanting seem to be doing better. Maybe because they have remained in the heat mat.

Have not tried to feed them yet. Those traps are way too little for my clumsy fingers.... :roll:
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

That's a nice bunch of baby flytraps you have there. :)

When they're teeny like that, I use a toothpick and a magnifying glass to feed mine. You don't have to; you can wait until they're a little bigger. I cut the bloodworms into tiny pieces, hydrate them and feed the traps with a toothpick. My fingers aren't the determining factor for me; it's my eyes. I have to use a magnifying glass or I just can't see to do it when they're that small.

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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Wellll...... That was as far as I got. :(

...They started dying off, then mass collapsed. :roll: ugh. It seems like I can keep most things alive or at the very least keep them from dying, even if they don't thrive or grow to their potential, but OBVIOUSLY, I need more practice with these.

So I spent the summer VFT-less, then couple of weeks ago, They had a cute little display of tiny pots of Venus Flytraps at Whole Foods. I walked by them, then went back.... :lol:

Rather than the pots with one big and strong plant in each, which I suppose are what most people would have reached for, I rummaged and found the pot with absolutely the most number of plants crammed in together :()

Since they settled in, I fed them some bugs, which they have mostly successfully digested. So, today, I separated them and repotted/uppotted them. They were originally in pure sphagnum moss.

Image
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

I had noticed teeny tiny flea beetles in the Venus Flytrap pots a few days ago. They were crawling around INSIDE the traps, but were too small to trigger them.

They are no bigger than tiny black specks. At first I thought they were mites, but most Venus Flytrap care descriptions only mention red spider mites. Then when I tried poking at them with a tip of a pin, they JUMPED!

I tried dusting with DE without much hope because DE is not always effective against near-microscopic pests. They just pushed past the dust particles. Someone at a carnivorous plant website mentioned using neem oil, so I filed that away as a possibility while inspecting closely every day to see if the plants are deteriorating. I thought I saw a springtail as well, but search indicated that they are not too big of a deal, with repotting as best course of action if too numerous.

Then today, I saw a tiny skinny black something crawling on the surface next one of the pots and reflexively squished it... THEN realized it was a teeny tiny wasp -- most likely a parasitic wasp, and these two VFT pots are the only plants in this room and it looked fresh. Since I'd already killed it, I was trying to feed it to one of the baby traps, when ANOTHER ONE started buzzing my face. (oh yeah I felt REALLY bad that I accidentally killed one of its sibs) ...it was so persistent that I had to desist trying to feed the dead one to the plant. LOL

Image

Now, since only bugs in these pots I've seen are about a dozen flea beetles and the lone springtail, I searched to see if any parasitic wasps prey on flea beetles. I was hoping this is true because my eggplants out there are being turned into lace by flea beetles... Enough that I had tried using DE on them as last resort -- didn't help much -- too humid and dewey due to cooling temperatures.

But YES! Looky here:
Flea Beetles | VegEdge
http://www.vegedge.umn.edu/pest-profile ... ea-beetles


Microctonus vittatae Muesebeck is a native braconid wasp found more commonly in the eastern half of the U.S. Female M. vittatae can lay fertile eggs without mating; therefore, male M. vittatae are very rare. Not only is the adult flea beetle killed with the emergence of M. vittatae, but the larval wasp sterilizes the female flea beetle while developing in her body. M. vittatae is a major player in controlling the striped flea beetle north of the Mason-Dixon line.
Hopefully these ARE my tiny Garden Patrol against flea beetles and the fact that they came in with the venus flytrap means they are already in deployment out there :-()
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

They died, yes? Not just went dormant? I think you mentioned before that you know they go dormant when it gets cool and the daylight gets short.

I lost almost all my flytraps this summer. :( Turns out that chickens really like the traps. I saved a pot with a few babies in it, but the rest of the plants were dragged around the yard by the chickens playing Keep-Away with each other.

Keep us posted on your new batch. :)

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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Yeah, they died pretty early on in the summer -- drought? Too much rain? Too much sun? Not really sure.

...chickens probably thought they were green aliens from space. :lol: :> (eh hem. sorry to hear that -- your chickens seem to be rather mischievous... Are they ALL like that?)
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

I didn't realize I hadn't posted an update. :oops:
Here's how they look now. I divided and uppoted the smallest into another water bottle SIP. I think they DO prefer deeper root space, even though they seem so shallow-rooted. I'm pretty happy about their progress so far, considering all of these originally came in that little orange plastic pot.

Image

As I mentioned elsewhere, they are catching food, including some of my Indoor Garden Patrol ladybugs. Today, while I was checking the repotted plants, I watched a ladybug manage to get its HEAD TRAPPED :shock: Apparently, the lure -- I think its something sweet -- the traps exude inside them is also atttractive to the ladybugs, because this one kept sticking its head in the tiny trap until its was triggered into closing. But the trap was only as big as the ladybug's head, and it was able to brace its legs against the outside rim of the traps and yank its head out. :lol:
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Oh! Good show! That's funny about the ladybug. The trap will probably get big enough to eat the whole bug soon.

I missed your reply last time:
applestar wrote:.......chickens probably thought they were green aliens from space. :lol: :> (eh hem. sorry to hear that -- your chickens seem to be rather mischievous... Are they ALL like that?)
Yes, they are all like that--a truly strange combination of curiosity and scaredy-catness. They are afraid of anything new, but have to investigate absolutely everything.

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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

So, how are they doing?
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

They -- my VFT's right? Not Allyn's chickens? -- are doing well. In the last ten days most of the traps have caught something and each container has one or two spent traps (traps turning black) that need to be clipped off, with brand new traps starting to open.
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Yes the VTF's... It amazes me that you people can do that - weird seeds to maturing, healthy weird plants.

My guess is Allyn's chickens are just like the others I have encountered - noisy, nosy, often in the way, sometimes a bit aromatic, and if they are not annoying you, you had better go check on them... sort of like when kids get quiet. :lol:
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Thanks, but I want to emphasize that the plants I'm posting about now are store bought seedlings because mine died. But this is good practice for me and maybe next time I can do better -- there are some interesting variations and mutations that some enthusiasts are carrying forward :cool:

Here they are in the Winter Indoor Garden. I opted not to put any of them in dormant state this year and that may or may not be a good idea, but they are experiencing night time temps as low as 50's and, even though inside the plastic covered shelves, the one closest to the northwest window in the largest pot has probably had severe chills when lower half of that double-glazed window was encased in ice with outside temp in the negative single digits. We can sometimes still get temps like that into early Feb. Most likely definitely as low as 40's during the coldest early morning before the lights turn back on, but once the lights are on, the enclosed shelves are warmest (and can be maintained at mid 70's to low 80's with front flaps secured -- hence designated "Winter Paradise" :wink: ).

The single in the hanging SIP is probably staying the warmest average daily temp, and catching bugs flying up around and against the lights. Big bulges that are being digested I think are ladybugs. :roll:

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I'm wondering if the VFT's grow larger with deeper root space, so I'm not going to uppot the ones in the small plastic pot and if I do, will continue to pot in shallower container.
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Allyn
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

I'm not sure about root space. I've never planted them in anything deeper than a Solo cup. I saved three plants from last year's poultry-apocolypse but I'm considering buying started plants this year instead of doing seeds. I like doing seeds, but I don't feel like I have the time this year to do the long germination thing and then feeding the itty-bitty traps.

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applestar
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Update --
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...would you agree I should snip off that flower stalk to preserve the plant's energy?

When you groom them, do you just snip off the spent trap heads or the entire petiole?
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Allyn
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

First, I gotta say, I love the paper-clip hanger. :)

I clip off the whole petiole after it turns black. There is still photosynthesis happening on the parts that are green, so I leave them. Once the whole petiole turns black, I clip it off. Other folks have a different opinion. They'll clip the trap when it turns black and then clip the petiole later when it turns black, or clip the whole petiole when the trap turns black. There doesn't seem to be one 'right' way. I just find the flytraps seem to do better when I leave them alone -- well, other than giving them rainwater and a bug now and then.

If you don't want seeds, you can go ahead and clip that flower stalk.

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applestar
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Thanks! ...about the petioles, I was thinking along those lines, too. Since the traps are meant to supply nutrients to the rest of the plant, maybe as long as the petioles are green/healthy, the plant continues to suck whatever nutrients are left in the blackened trapheads? I think I will wait until the petiole fails, too.
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applestar
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Again, these are NOT the ones I started from seeds but the ones I divided from the store bought cluster pot.

...they are barely surviving. I thought there were none left in the bigger plastic container, but looking at the photo, I think I see one little teeny tiny trap in the middle....

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— they are in the Garage on the V8 Shelf (GV8S) and temperatures hovered at and just below freezing during the deep freeze, which should be just about right for their necessary winter chill. So hopefully, they will come back in the spring. I keep a bucket of melted snow/ice for watering them.
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applestar
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Venus Flytraps are still hanging in there (along with marjoram) on the storage shelf across from Garage V8 Nursery with just a double t12 fixture to supplement. This might be a viable solution for overwintering them.
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applestar
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

...and the Venus Flytrap in the hanging water bottle self-watering container is still alive, although not thriving. I may try uppotting it to a 2L soda bottle version since I have heard that they like plenty of root space.

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TomatoNut95
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Re: Carnivorous plant - Venus Flytrap from seeds

Wow. VFT's look seemingly picky. If I get one it probably wouldn't last as long as @Applestars.

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