Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hard core evidence for the uninitiated that Venus’s flytraps ARE NOT TROPICAL!!!!

Although this is old news for CP people, you would be surprised how many people new to carnivorous plants still think the Venus’s flytrap is a tropical plant from the rainforests of Madagascar (especially kids who got their entire natural history education from the movie Madagascar). In fact, most times I see people looking at Venus’s flytraps at a nursery, I nearly always hear someone describe them as being from tropical Madagascan rainforests and having the ability to drop dead for no reason.

frozen vft_thumb[1]

So, to help dispel this myth is a photo I took yesterday of my frozen Venus’s flytraps. Note the ice in the tray, and that the Sphagnum moss they are growing in is frozen completely solid.

My plants get these conditions many, many times every winter and thrive. In fact, I get way more VFTs than I could ever give away or sell every year. Mine are in 100 mm (4”) pots of 1:1 peat moss: sand, with two plants (including the above) in live Sphagnum moss. They are grown outside in full sun and catch their own food. The rhizomes divide and divide so much that a pot stocked with maybe 5 plants will be filling the pots by the end of the year.

Venus’s flytraps, if grown hard, are very hardy plants. They don’t die at the drop of a hat. They don’t need heated greenhouses. They don’t need terrariums. They simply need wet peat moss in summer, less water in winter, full sun year around and cold winters. If they don’t get enough cold, you will have trouble keeping them happy, like I did on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, where the winters were that tiny bit too warm. Infuriatingly, other Sunshine Coast growers there who were maybe 10-20 km away and inland a little bit had frosts and had no problems growing them.

So next time I read that Venus’s flytraps as fragile tropical plants that need hot, shaded conditions and mysteriously die for no reason, I’ll send the author this photo.