The Venus flytrap is almost certainly the best known of the carnivorous plants in the world. Even among those who are less fond of botany or gardening, there is practically no one who does not think of one of these plants with the unmistakable toothed claws when it comes to carnivorous plants.
It is a plant that is easier to grow than it might seem due to its striking appearance, and it is one of the simplest carnivorous plants to care for. If you want to learn how to take care of the Venus flytrap, join us in this article, as here we show you a care guide for the Venus flytrap .
Characteristics of the Venus flytrap
The Dionaea muscipula , called Diana flytrap in some countries in South America and more commonly known as Venus flytrap is one of the types of carnivorous plants flagships. It is the only species that makes up the genus Dionaea, which has its origin in North Carolina.
Its leaves, which grow from a buried rhizome, form a rosette with a length between 3 cm and 8 cm, which grow horizontally. At the time of flowering in spring, it gives rise to a flower stalk that grows from the very center of the plant, which is up to 20 cm in height and with a striking small white flower at the end.
There are numerous cultivars of this plant, with different colors and sizes in the traps , which are its main visual attraction. Also, did you know that with proper care, it can live more than 20 years? If you want to know more about this fascinating carnivorous plant, read on and learn about its basic care.
The traps of the Venus flytrap and its feeding
The insect traps to hunt are the most distinctive feature of the Venus flytrap, for which many recognize. These are shaped like a mouth and are formed by two leaves ending in a kind of teeth and with sensitive hairs inside.
When the plant feels pressure inside its traps, it closes them by means of internal water pressure, in a very fast movement lasting a tenth of a second. This, however, results in a great effort for the plant, so if it closes without trapping anything, the stress load is very great, so avoid touching the traps of the plant so that they do not close in vain. .
Each trap can be closed about 5 times, after which it will dry out and should be pruned and removed. If it doesn’t catch anything when it closes, the trap will open again in about 12 hours, whereas if it has caught an insect, it will not do so until its soft parts have been digested.
But what do carnivorous Venus flytrap plants eat ? They feed on nutrients from the soil and water, like all plants, only they can also hunt small insects and digest them to increase their supply of nutrients. They don’t need them, but they will be healthier and stronger if they do.
When a Venus flytrap catches a live insect , its movements cause the release of the plant’s gastric juices, so putting a dead insect inside will not do any good. Once digested, after 2 to 3 days, the plant will have absorbed its assimilable parts, leaving only the exoskeleton in its trap, which should be removed very carefully with tweezers, avoiding at all costs touching the trap so that it does not close. .
Location for the Venus flytrap
These plants appreciate a moderate exposure to the sun , requiring a semi-shade exposure outdoors or indirect incidence indoors, with a window covered by a thin curtain.
If you get used to the plant slowly and progressively, we can slowly give the Venus more exposure, until reaching 6-8 hours a day, which are ideal, although always in the morning, before the intense midday sun. If you grow her indoors in low light, use a cool bulb that gives her at least 13 hours of light in close quarters.
Watering the Venus Flytrap
It is very important not to water the Venus with tap water due to its high content of lime and other components. Always use distilled water, rainwater collection or osmosis product . You can buy it in most specialized establishments if you don’t have a way to collect or distill it yourself.
It is advisable to water the plant by placing a dish of water under the container, thus allowing the soil to absorb the moisture through the drainage holes. In the warm months, let the water in the dish dry for no more than a day or two and renew it, while in the cold months you can give it up to a week of dryness. In dry climates, they may need to be sprayed with water spray.
Substrate and compost
The substrate for this plant needs a very good drainage and a light composition. A mixture with two parts of peat, one of perlite and half of sphagnum will be ideal for all its properties.
The plant does not need compost , since it extracts the equivalent of the insects it hunts. Outdoors she will catch them in her traps herself while indoors you may need to help the plant by depositing small live insects like flies in her traps.
Reproduction of the Venus flytrap
The Venus plant can reproduce asexually by carefully separating the suckers from the rhizome. Once unearthed the separation can be clearly seen, and you will only have to gently extract them and plant them in a new pot or plot of land, preferably in semi-shade so that it has time to recover from the transplant.
Why does my Venus flytrap turn black
A black Venus flytrap can be caused by several things:
- A trap that has exhausted its lifespan will naturally dry out and die, with absolutely nothing negative.
- If you have exposed your plant to too intense a sun it will also damage it, so it is possible that it will burn and dry out.
- Another common mistake is to water the plant with running water, which will damage it and can even kill it.
- Applying compost can also damage it and turn it black, as the roots of these plants are very sensitive, and compost can burn and kill them.
- In addition, in winter these plants lose their leaves, which darken and dry out, which is also normal, although you should never expose them to temperatures below -3 ºC, not even occasionally.