Well known for their quick movements, relative to others in the plant kingdom, and their insectivorous trait, Venus Fly Traps are one of the most popular plants across the globe. Their traps are expertly designed to close only when prey is inside the trap. The bristles and hairs are remarkable feats of nature at its finest, acting in ways that are almost entirely unique to animals.
Dionaea muscipula (Venus Fly Trap)
Hardiness Zones: survives 5-6 with appropriate protection, best suited to zones 7-10 (keep temperatures from 21-35 Celsius (70-95 Fahrenheit) at all times, keep about 5 Celsius (40 Fahrenheit) during winter dormancy)
Height: 13-27 centimeters (6-12 inches) tall
Diameter: 13-20 centimeter (6-9 inch) spread from the crown/center of the rosette
Growth Rate: fairly slow
Root System: can propagate by dividing rhizomes in spring, fairly shallow root system
Subspecies: ‘Akai Ryu’ (also called ‘Red Dragon’, produces notably red stems and traps), ‘Trichterfalle’
Tolerates: moist, boggy soils, acidic soils, poor nutrient soils, few disease or insect problems
Problems (major): Aside from being threatened or vulnerable, these are pretty tricky to grow. Getting the right conditions can be a challenge.
Problems (minor): Aphids, spider mites, black spot
Poisonous: not presumably
Soil requirements: The soil MUST be consistently moist, mixed peat moss and sphagnum moss, acidic, humusy, unfertilized, damp, and swampy.
Air requirements: High humidity is necessary for these to survive.
Watering requirement: These plants absolutely must be in consistently moist soils.
Sun requirement: full sun or part-shade
Common prey: small insects and arthropods, primarily aerial prey
Type of carnivorous plant: Venus Fly Trap (snaps shut to capture prey)
Time required to consume prey: roughly 4-10 days to completely hydrolyze and digest prey
Sphagnum/peat moss preferred: a 50/50 mix of sphagnum and peat moss
Symbiotic/Mutualistic relationships: none currently known
Medicinal uses: Contains “naphthoquinones”, which may be potentially valuable for medicinal purposes.
Leaf shape: Basal petioles give way to hinged the lamina, which include 2 elliptical-shaped halves where insect consumption occurs. The laminae are typically green on the outside, red on the outside, and contain several “hairs” which serve as tripwires inside. There are roughly 12-22 bristles on the outer portion of each trap. If an insect touches two or three hairs, the trap snaps closed, capturing prey. NOTE: The leaves may die after closing anywhere from 3-7 times; do not tease them.
Leaf size: 2-11 centimeter (1-5 inch) long petioles, 2 centimeter wide traps (laminae)
Flower structure: blooms in May and June, 5 white sepals and petals
Flowering frequency: Venus fly trap flowers are cup-shaped and white. The flowers are in groups of 4-10 in the umbel (an inflorescence where the flowers diverge from a central point) that extends up to 12 inches tall. Once pollination and fertilization occurs, small, black, egg-shaped fruits are produced. Germination and growth to a respectable size, however, takes several years.
Bulb/tuber: forms rhizomes that may appear bulb-like
Each plant contains no more than seven leaves, consisting of the primarily photosynthetic petiole and the digestive lamina. The “traps” may close within half a second if two or more of the hairs are stimulated in short succession (electric impulses are responsible for the closing of the leaves).
Usually grown as a house plant for its extremely interesting, quick, insectovorous “hunting”. Although they require several conditions to survive, they continue to fascinate people around the globe.