Venus Fly Traps
Venus Fly Traps (Dionaea muscipula) are popular house plants that are also very useful. With a little bit of care, Venus Fly Traps as well as many other carnivorous plants, can become well established in our homes.
I use them in my greenhouse to help reduce gnat and midge populations. Just a few Venus Fly Traps can make a big difference if you have a fungus gnat problem which is quite common in tropical rooms. If you use carnivorous plants to naturally reduce insect numbers, you need to make sure that the plants are not overfed!
It is both very cheap and good fun to grow Venus Fly Traps from seed. The seeds are widely available on the internet – Buy Venus Fly Trap Seeds – and are surprisingly easy to grow. I’ve just bought a pack of seeds and sown them, so here’s a mini journal of how my Venus Fly Traps come along.
Growing Venus Fly Traps from Seed
The biggest considerations for Venus Fly Trap seeds are humidity and temperature. There are various ways of maintaining sufficient humidity, with the choice of substrate being a vital factor. Here are all the important things you need to know to successfully germinate and grow Venus Fly Traps.
Venus Fly Trap Compost
I don’t think you can call it compost really, as I am using a mix of sphagnum moss and sand. I use about 3 parts moss and 2 parts sand, which creates a moisture retentive yet fresh substrate in which to germinate the seeds. Sphagnum moss is an ideal substrate for Venus Fly Traps, as it contains very few nutrients and retains water well, which is an ideal combination for Venus Fly Traps.
Sowing the Venus Fly Trap Seeds
I am using 9 cm pots, filled most of the way to the top with the substrate. It is best to thoroughly soak the moss with rain water before sowing the seeds. This helps create definite contact between the seed and moss, and saves you accidentally burying the seeds in the moss, which can occur if you water them after sowing.
Space the seeds out on the surface of the moss. I’ve put about a dozen in this pot but you can put many more in if you choose. The small plants do not require a lot of room, and you will probably end up re-potting them well before they become overcrowded anyway. Once you have sown the seeds, you can cover them with a light layer of sand or vermiculite, but this isn’t generally necessary.
Bag Your Pot
I use resealable freezer / food bags to create a humid atmosphere as they are just the right size and retain enough humidity to create great conditions for germination. Not only do I bag up the pot, but I also place this in a heated propagator set to 25°C to doubly ensure that the conditions are ideal.
Venus Fly Trap Light Requirements
Baby plants need only bright indirect light. In fact, direct sunlight can cause your seeds and young plants to overheat and perish, especially if you have them in a sealed or partly sealed container. Make sure they do not come into contact with direct sunlight at all, by placing them well out of the way, but not so far that they are in the dark!
When all the plants have grown on a little, you can remove them from their protective home and expose them to more direct light. Venus Fly Traps happily grow in strong light once established.
Venus Fly Trap Water Requirements
The most important single thing you can do for Venus Fly Traps is to provide the correct watering regime. Always use rain water, which you can easily collect in a water butt or even just be keeping buckets outside when its raining. The chemicals found in tap water are detrimental to many plants, with soft water bog plants being especially vulnerable to chemicals. If rain water really is hard to come by, you can use distilled water.
Keep the seeds moist and warm whilst they germinate, airing them occasionally to deter rot and mould. To air them, simply open the bag or propagator for a few minutes every day or so. Top up the water supply if it looks like it is dwindling, although you shouldn’t have to do this very much.
When the seeds have germinated and the first traps have appeared, reduce the watering regime and allow better drainage, although you must ensure that the substrate remains moist at all times.I haven’t got this far yet, so it seems like a good place to finish off, for now.
Wait For Germination
Now comes the difficult bit. Venus Fly Trap seeds can take anywhere between 2 and 6 weeks to germinate. Check back to see if my wait has been worth it! So, I sowed the seeds on the 23rd August – read more for updates on their progress!
Sprouting Venus Fly Traps
Here they are on the 8th September, just over 2 weeks after sowing, many of the Venus Fly Traps are sprouting. This looks promising! I’m keeping them in a bag in my heated propagator, which maintains a steady 25°C and nice humidity.
Baby Venus Fly Traps
Here are my babies on the 22nd October, with the little traps actually visible now and the plants are looking lovely and healthy. I’m still keeping them in a bag in my heated propagator, which maintains a steady 25°C and nice humidity.