Carnivorous Plants/transplanting fly traps
QUESTION: Hello! I just ordered some Venus fly traps and want to put them all together in one pot. They will live in my house under a 42 watt florescent compact light bulb. I've not received the video on fly traps yet but someone at a carnivorous plant seminar told me this would work. How soon can I transplant them to the bigger pot? I only ordered 3 but Jacob told me my 14" pot could hold about a dozen so I will likely be ordering some more! Thank you!
ANSWER: Hi Brenda,
I'm glad you have the volume #1 DVD ordered. That will give you hands-on information on growing North American carnivorous plants.
A 42 watt CFL will barely be bright enough, and you'll need to have it fairly close to the plants (6" or even a tiny bit closer). If there's any way you can have them outside for the summer, that is going to be a much better option. Venus Flytraps and most carnivorous plants are full sun plants. That translates to them needing the same amount of sun as a vegetable garden. Insufficient light is the #1 cause of problems.
You can transplant the plants as soon as you get them. This is the perfect time of year for it since they are just coming out of dormancy.
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QUESTION: Thank you, Jeff. I think I can do 6" away for the light. Would you recommend a higher watt bulb? How many hours of light do they need? I bought a timer for them so I don't forget to turn it on and off. I really prefer to try them inside if I can get the artificial light to work for them. They are so small and will get lost in my garden. Plus I'd like them to help with some house flies...even if it is only a little. :) Thanks so much!
42 watt is toward the upper end of what's available in most stores for CFL without going to horticultural units or Metal Halide. It will work. You'll want your light on for 14 hours a day for the growing season, then down to 8 hours for winter. It will be important to have the plant someplace cool to cold for winter.
If flytraps are deprived of dormancy (like trying to keep them growing all year) they will usually die. I often tell folks that if you're set on having Venus Flytraps indoors, it's good to consider them an annual. You'll get one good season of growth, then they often die in winter. If you can find a cold window to put them in, that will sometimes do the trick.
I often like to describe this situation this way. Imagine you want to grow strawberry plants in a windowsill or indoors under lights. The reason for this is you want to be able to pick fresh strawberries in the house. Yet if you tell almost anyone this, the response you're going to get is, "Don't be silly, strawberries belong outside." For the very same reason strawberry plants have a hard time indoors, Venus Flytraps do to.
If you really want a plant to help with houseflies, the best approach with cp is to grow some Sarracenia outside in your garden, then once a week or so during the summer, bring one in overnight. Put the plant near a light overnight, and it will clean out many flies by morning. S. flava, S. leucophylla and S. alata are very good for this. For something that you can keep in a window all year, (provided it's very sunny) consider sub-tropical Cape Sundews. They catch flies frequently, along with fungus gnats and other little bugs.