Someone gave me a small Venus Flytrap yesterday. What is the best way to care for it? I read that they need constantly damp soil with a very low nutrient content, preferably a mixture of sand and Sphagnum Peat Moss. Is this the only type of soil that will work? I found conflicting information on the best way to water them. Should I use a self-watering pot, or a saucer filled with water, or water from the top? I plan to keep it outside during summer unless we have a fly problem in the house. The temperatures range from 40-100° F during late spring, summer and fall, and from the high twenties to mid-forties in the winter. Should I bring it in for the winter, and if so, when? I read they need a winter dormancy period with low temperatures, but the information was conflicting on how low. Should I keep it in a cold area of the house or garage or just leave it outside? If I bring it inside during the growing season, will it need supplemental feeding? If so, what should I feed it?
Thanks for any answers. I may be overthinking this.
Back in the day when I had a CP collection, I grew my VFTs in a 50/50 mix of peat and 20 grit silica sand. I had them outdoors in full sun. I was inland southern Calif, so temp conditions were about the same as yours. I left them out during the winters I watered them in a tray which I topped off in the morning and was allowed to evaporate during the day. Distilled water. Generally growing them indoors is not good for them. All that said. If this is a store bought plant in one of those little dome covered cups the plant will need to be gradually hardened off to take outside conditions.
Distilled water only, if you absolutely have to use tap water, allow it to rest in a container for at least 3 days. As with most carnivoras, it should require little to no suplimental nutrients added to the soil as long as a proper grow-medium is used. Turba is a great grow medium for transplanting carnivoras and most exotics.
Always keep in mind it’s a little hotter outside now than “back in the day” :D
The two above me pretty much explained the essentials. So I’ll just add this:
I’d forgo the self-watering pots. For pots up to 8 inches I utilize dog watering bowls. I fill the bowls and allow the water to wick into the pots. I water them twice or 3 times a week depending on the intensity of the heat and rain permitting.
Anything over the 8 inch limit I break out the plastic pipes and utilize the water reservoir or bog pot method. Basically I seal the bottom of the pot and drill holes at a prescribed height along the side of the pot. I prefer to use pots that have removable plugs on the bottom to assist with drainage. To water these you just pour water into the pipe. There are many designs online to choose from.
As you may have noticed, I like to use deep pots. 6+ inches in depth. The deeper the better in my experience. The deep pots not only retain moisture longer but also keep their roots from getting too hot.
I also recommend folks use milled long-fiber sphagnum moss as a mulch layer. This really helps retain more of that precious soil moisture. Which is vital if you want them to survive those long, hot summer days.
Keep in mind, these plants do poorly in prolonged soggy conditions. They’re not like Sarracenia where they can take a bit more water. Just keep the soil damp at all times and allow excess water to drain or evaporate.
Winter temps: They can tank 32 - 25 F easily. Anything below that for prolonged periods is iffy. Although, the ones shown above took 21 F when covered in a few inches of snow.
This species is endemic to the area around Wilmington, North Carolina. The natural habitat is Pond-pine flats, where they often grow hidden under the grasses and sedges.
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