Sunday, 13 December 2015


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Venus fly traps (Dionaea muscipula) are carnivorous plants native to subtropical wetlands on the East Coast of the United States. In order to secure additional nutrients in the poor boggy soils the plants catch small insects such as beetles and spiders.  Their clasping leaves have a trapping structure which is triggered by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces. When an insect or spider crawling along the leaves contacts a hair, the trap closes if a different hair is contacted within twenty seconds of the first strike. 

I have always been fascinated by venus fly trap plants, ever since I was a kid and used to catch flies to feed to  it.  But they never seemed to last more than a month or so before they died. However it is possible to grow venus fly traps successfully, both indoor and outdoors. 

Firstly it is important to mimic their natural growing environment. Venus fly traps are bog plants, liking wet conditions away in a sunny position, although not in direct sunlight as they will scorch.  They grow in moist, acidic soils in full sun, but will not survive the cold weather in the UK so bring them inside during the winter. They need a period of winter dormancy when they appear to be dead and the leaves may die back, but are merely resting.

Venus flytrap thrives in poor, acidic soil with good drainage. Avoid planting it in regular potting soil: Instead use a blend of one-third sand and two-thirds sphagnum peat moss to provide the best drainage and moisture retention. Do not add lime to the soil and never fertilise the plant.

If your Venus flytraps don't show a pink interior or if the plants have long, spindly leaves, they are not getting enough sunlight. Keep the environment humid and the soil moist but don't let the plants stand constantly in water. Grow them in a pot with drainage holes.Use rain or distilled water to take care of your Venus fly trap, because tap water is often too alkaline or may contain too many added minerals.

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