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Rich Z's Blatherings Since Connie and I have retired the SerpenCo business, topics here will focus on topics of a more personal and general nature.

Carnivorous Plants
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Old 03-21-2019, 09:07 AM   #1
Carnivorous Plants

It seems to me that I remember you mentioning that you keep carnivorous plants. Do you still have any? My son and I were talking and he said he always liked the Venus Fly Traps but never had success keeping them. It's been many years since I kept them, so I didn't have much advice for him. The only thing I do remember was that I kept mine warm with high moisture.
Old 03-21-2019, 09:23 PM   #2
Rich Z
Yes, I still have them. Here's some pics I took a few years ago ->

But they are beginning to be overrun with the sundews I also planted in those tubs. I never realized how quickly and profusely sundews will spread! I sure hate to have to weed the sundews out, but they are going to choke back the venus fly traps unless I do. Maybe I need to start another tub or two just for them.

Anyway, the venus fly traps and sundews are putting up seed stalks already.

They actually do very well outside with no real maintenance. Just set them up in some sort of tub set in the ground with drainage holes such that the medium (50% peat moss, 50% sand) won't stay soaking wet, but there will be moisture always available for the roots to reach. Do NOT water them with tap or well water!! This is important! Only use rain water or during drought situations, use distilled water. No need to cover them to retain humidity. They really don't need it except when they are newly sprouted seedlings, and then only for maybe the first season. Venus fly traps are found naturally along the coast at the border between North Carolina and South Carolina, so over wintered in cold temps doesn't bother them too much. They may die back a little, but they will come back in full force the following spring. if you have them outside, they will catch all the insects they need all by themselves. Basically just keep them from drying out completely during dry spells, and just stand back.

Seeds are easy to propagate. Get one of those seed starter kits, mix together a medium of 50 percent peat moss (make sure that the peat moss doesn't have any additives for fertilization) and sand. Moisten the medium, sprinkle a few seeds on top of the mixture in each cup provided in the kit, and then put a cover on it to retain moisture. Do not put them into direct sun, or the heat build up in the sealed unit will kill the seeds. Just a shady spot outside where they can get reflected sunlight will be just fine. Once they have sprouted, you can remove the cover and put them in the sun. Then cover them back up over night if you are now keeping them in direct sun. I have pretty close to 100 percent success with any seeds I have tried to propagate. But the young plants can dry out quickly while they are small and the roots shallow, so they do need some TLC for the first year or two.

You can normally find grown venus fly traps at Home Depot or Lowes in the Spring months, but bear in mind they have normally been grown in a hot house. If you want to expose them to direct sun, do so gradually so the leaves will harden off. Otherwise they will burn and be damaged. But the new growth will come back fully hardened off against sunlight, and then you no longer have to worry about the sun. Further south, you may want to put a piece of netting overtop of the plants to try to filter out the harsher sunlight a bit, but I'm not sure it will really bother them any. I did that for the first year or two, as all the purchased plants I got were acclimating themselves, but no longer need do that. They get full unfiltered sunlight and do just fine.

Hope that helps.
Old 03-22-2019, 11:39 AM   #3
Thanks for the tips. I may try the Venus Fly Traps in my garden. That watering tip is probably why I didn't have success with them in a vivarium, as I used tap water when the soil dried out, and they gradually died out.

Speaking about garden plants, I got some seeds of the Moringa oleifera imported from India. I sprouted about 20 of them and thankfully they survived the cool temps in my garden and are growing nicely. Quite an interesting plant/tree.
Old 03-22-2019, 04:50 PM   #4
Rich Z
Not sure why the mineral content of tap water would kill them. Logically you would think it would just make them grow bigger and better. But apparently this is not so. Matter of fact, I have tried to grow venus fly trap and sundew seeds in regular soil, just for the heck of it, and have yet to have any seeds produce seedlings. None. So apparently they need the poor nutrient soil type too.

But yeah, I've heard of a lot of people killing off venus fly traps by using tap water on them. Seems like everything I have ever read about them expresses this warning, but I guess many people just don't believe it. Even had a local nursery around here who set up a little bog area with venus fly traps, sundews, and pitcher plants, but they put it on the regular watering system that went to the rest of their plants. I told them they needed to use distilled water or rain water, but the guy acted like he doubted such a thing. Well, within a year, they lost all those insectivorous plants.

Old 03-22-2019, 06:44 PM   #5
Don't know if you read on the news that they arrested a N.C. man for harvesting Venus Fly Traps. I read they are charging him with 73 felony counts. Yikes.
Old 03-22-2019, 07:49 PM   #6
Rich Z
I can't imagine why someone would bother collecting them out of the wild. You can buy them at Home Depot or Lowes when they have them for about $6 each. So they are buying them for a LOT less from someone. Probably can get them bulk mail order for a buck or two. If you buy seeds and have some patience, you can get them for practically nothing.

Heck, there is supposed to be a place not far from me where years ago someone started a colony in a boggy area out in the wild. I believe they are thriving quite well there, from what I have heard. I never really went looking for the place, but I understand it is near a small town called Hosford.

And I believe there are several others like that as well.

So I can't see where there is enough money in them to be stealing them. Especially with such a stiff fine attached to them. It's not like they are particularly rare or anything.

I bought a bunch of small traps from various sources a few years ago, and now am getting enough seeds that I could see no reason to get any more of them. Not unless my sundews completely overwhelm them, of course.

And btw, not much sense in paying a lot for some of the specialty ones people are selling. Apparently such traits do not breed true from the seeds. You would have to propagate that trait from cuttings from the original plant. That is not something I have tried, however.

That being said, every once in a while a plant I grew from seed will wind up looking like it has something different going in. One had HUGE traps even when it was just tiny. Have to check, but he might be covered with sundews right now.

Oh yeah, if you look you might find ads for people out of China selling blue venus fly traps. Just walk away from that. Best I have been able to determine, it's a complete scam. IMHO.
Old 03-22-2019, 11:20 PM   #7
The guy said he was collecting them and selling wholesale to another guy who was retailing them. Don't know if that guy was busted too. Hard way to make a living, a few bucks at a time.

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