This is a series of articles designed to get you acquainted with Insectivorous plants, and reveal the secrets to growing them. It is sponsored by John Leslie.
Carnivorous plants are an unique genre. More correctly know as insectivorous plants, they trap and digest insects to get the nutrients they need. They need additional nutrients because they grow in low-nutrient bogs, and fresh water sources.
When you think of CP’s (carnivorous plants), you probably think of the Venus’s Flytrap. however, the VFT is only 1 of over 600 species! The Venus Flytrap is probably the best know CP because of its unique trapping mechanism. Additionally, because it is native to north and south Carolina, the early American colonists may have been fascinated by it, and therefore introduced it to science.
The VFT possesses an active trap. This means that it takes energy to trap an insect once it is detected. On the VFT’s trap, there are three-or more-transparent trigger hairs. If any hair is touched twice, or if two hairs are touched simultaneously, the trap snaps shut, hopefully trapping the insect inside. As the insect struggles, the trap seals. Cells grow around the margins of the trap with the fastest growth rate known to science. Once sealed, the trap secretes enzymes to digest the insect. After 4-10 days (depending on the size of the insect) the trap re-opens, and the exoskeleton of the insect remains. The trap can catch and digest insects up to 3 more times after that meal, (4 times total) It can be triggered a total of 10 times, and live for up to 3 months before it dies.
As a perennial, the VFT lives for over 30 years with proper conditions; with the maximum trap size about one inch (although the plants have been selectively bred for larger traps, up to 2 and a half inches). They start their lives as seeds. The seeds grow slowly, taking about 4-6 years to reach maturity and flower. The first year, trap size is about 1/8Th of an inch. The second year, in doubles, becoming about a 1/4 inch. It stops doubling when it reaches the 1/2 inch size. After this stage, the traps become 3/4 inch, and finally 1 inch.
In the winter, VFTs are found in a dormant state. The leaves and traps generally die, and the bulb rests and gathers strength for the coming spring. VFTs need to be kept drier in the winter than throughout the growing season or they will rot. In the spring, the VFT grows in a rosette pattern, and sends up a flower stalk. In the summer, it holds its traps erect. In the fall, it reverts back to a rosette and prepares for dormancy.
The Venus’s Flytrap, or Venus Flytrap, is in danger of becoming extinct in the wild. Poaching and habitat destruction are responsible for this. If you want to help, you should support a conservation group.
Growing the Venus Flytrap is not difficult, as long as certain requirements are met. They need full sun, distilled or reverse osmosis water, and nutrient free media, such as peat moss and perlite.
Read the rest of the series to learn more about CPs and grow them successfully.
Visit for great CP care guides, growing instructions, and supplies: Care Guides [http://www.world-of-carnivores.com/care.html] This link will take you to World of Carnivores. I am not affiliated with them in any way, but do think they have a great website!