Carnivorous Plants/Venus Fly Trap
QUESTION: Have you ever seen a flower stalk with about 12 flytraps at the flower? It is quite a sight.
ANSWER: Hi Bob,
Yep, many times. This is called vegetative apomixis and it happens to Venus flytraps that have had a shorter than normal dormancy. I find we get it happening frequently to plants that we have forced by bringing them in from outside to a warm greenhouse to grow them earlier than normal. Once in a great while it happens to Drosera filiformis too.
Once the plantlets on the flower stalk have a root or two you can remove them and plant them. It's not unusual for the mother plant to die after this, kind of like Bromeliads. It doesn't always, but often does, so be sure and plant the babies. I will often cut off the flower if it looks like it's going to do this, but they are pretty cool looking.
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QUESTION: The winter in Florida has been above normal and the VFTs have been outdoors. Many VFTs, Droseras, and Saracenias have been blooming starting in December through February. Many of the VFTs have 2 flower stalks in the same pot. Does the mild winter prompt the VFTs, Droseras, and Saracenias to bloom sooner? Does this affect the plant's health in the future since the plants may not have had a long dormancy?
When do you expect Nepenthes to produce a flower stalk? I have mature Miranda and Alata.
Does your inventory of Nepenthes change during the year, offering different varieties?
Thanks for all you do.
It does, and it can affect some plant's health. Longer growing seasons seem to affect Venus flytraps the most. I know growers in Southern California and Hawaii sometimes loose them if they don't take some measures to hold them in dormancy longer. It makes sense since the Venus flytrap comes from the coastal areas of the Carolinas. That's a zone 8 climate, and the days will be shorter in the winter than yours, and can be fairly cold for brief periods.
Sarracenia are a bit different, however. Many of them are from the Gulf Coast, so they are used to a shorter winter. Many varieties in their native habitats will bloom in April, where here in the Pacific Northwest they usually don't bloom until May or June depending on the species. We have a couple of friends who grow carnivorous plants in Hawaii and they report that Sarracenia will go through a short dormancy in winter corresponding to the shorter day length, but then bloom a couple months later and resume growth. I'm guessing that's what you experience in Florida.
Both of the Nepenthes cultivars, Miranda, and DeRoose's Alata tend to bloom when the plants are quite large. By quite large I mean the plants will have been allowed to get several feet long. The are all clones produced by DeRoose Plants, and I'm not sure what gender the plants are.
Our Nepenthes inventory changes greatly with the onset of spring and summer. We have a very difficult time in winter maintaining warm enough temperatures and adequate light to keep them in pitcher, so our best inventory is usually late spring to summer. We've been working hard on this, but Pacific Northwest winters are so cloudy and dark it becomes a cost issue to keep enough Metal Halide lights burning to keep the Nepenthes pitchering.
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