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Hi guys,
I recently got my first fly trap, although i have been fascinated by them for quiet awhile now. They are not so easy to come accross since i live in S. Africa and people with first hand information on them is also a hard find. I've been looking around on the net and found there is no shortage of information...its just all a bit confusing and some of it clashes with other. I have some basic questions, some of which involve what has been said on this board and i don't quite understand.
1. I understand about dormancy in winter, but why are people placing their traps in the fridge?
2. Are fungacides a DEFINATE must, or only for use when fungus is noticable?
3. Do i need special lighting for my trap, or is daylight sufficient?
4. I've read that the tray should ALWAYS be full (with rainwater if possible), but the temp. gets reasonably high here and sun scortching...The water i place in the tray in the morning is all evaporated or soaked up by the afternoon. What should i be doing?
5. Is it possible to over-feed the trap, and how often should i catch something?

- I know these may sound like pretty stupid questions, but any answers or directions to good websites with help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys,
I'm not going to try to answer all of your questions- but a good source of information is the Carnivorous Plant FAQ. I can't remember if that is the title, but its got a ton of information if you haven't seen it already.

Welcome to the forums! If you'll take some time to browse through these forums you'll probably find the answers to most of your questions. There's tons of info on dormancy, lighting, watering and so forth to be found here. The people here are very well informed and are happy to help. Good luck.
Hi. I'll try and give you a few answers:

People in the northern hemisphere are putting their plants in the fridge because they need about 3 months of cold weather. The fridge is the best place to put them if it is too hot or too cold in winter outside where you live. They come from North Carolina so people try and mimic their natural climate.

Fungicide isn't a must but it's worth being safe than sorry.

Your plant will be fine with natural light - either outside or on a bright windowsill inside.

The peat the plant is in must always be wet and the best way to ensure this is if the tray is always full. If the water dries out but the peat is still wet then it's ok. You'll probably just have to refill it every evening to make sure it's ok.

What are the temperatures like at the moment? About 36 Celsius is the absolute maximum at the height of summer. 25-30 is usually ideal in the growing season. The plant should be ok in the sun at the moment but in summer or at the first signs of the leaves drooping or scorching, keep it inside.

It is just about possible to overfeed it but about 1-3 flies every couple of weeks is probably ok. You can't starve it by the way, they can survive without eating anything.
HEY!I've been to south africa for a few weeks-i went to Kruga park to go safari ing it was awsome! I went through joe burg and saw mandellas house and a witch doctors shop and all this stuff but i will stop boaring you. Yes i know how hard it is to come across cp's in africa after living in Ghana,wa, for 2 years.
Your plant should recive at least four hours of direct sunlight yeach day,at least. Morning sun is the best,you can give it a lot of morning sun but try to avoid afternoon sun which can damage your plant depending on how hot it gets in your area. It gets mild in winter there,right? I am sure it does get cold enough there for you to just put your flytrap outside for winter,just reduce it's watering to keep the peat moist,not damp. Make sure you use distilled water or rain water NOT TAP WATER!
Read around this site especially this forum for lots of help with your plant,happy growing!
Thanks for all your help guys, it's greatly appreciated. Mondo and Alvin: Summer temperatures are 23-28 and rarly reach 30, but winter nights get really cold and frost is often if not always present in the morning. So im wondering if its a good idea to keep my plant outside during winter. Winter temps in the early morning are +-5 degrees with afternoon highes in the teens. Also summer comes with alot of rain so the sun sometimes dosn't shine for 2 to 3 days at a time, this is what i was just worried about.
Thanks again guys,
Hey, before someone relplies to my last post i though i would ask another few questions so i don't have to wait so long to get my next couple answers... (yea, im an impatient plant grower...heh)
I bought a flurecent (soz bout spelling) bulb today, it's not quiet what i expected and takes the shape of a normal lightbulb, though a bit larger. The sales guy said it was specially for plant growth, and the box has lil plants on it...so i guess if you add it all up i can't be too far off. I only have a single VFT at the moment so im not too sure on when and how much light to give my plant. The box has Neodymium on it, if it makes sense to anyone please tell me. Its 100W and 230V...
1) how long should i be placing my plant in the light per day (it is summer here)
2) do i need more than 1 light bulb?
3) how far from the plant should the bulb be to avoid burning?
Thanks again


Welcome to the boards...

The bulb you bought is commonly referred to as a Compact Flourescent. You don't need to buy special bulbs, i.e. plant bulbs, though I don't think it hurts. Almost everyone here I think can say they have had good results under a mixture of cool white and soft white. I personally am now running 1 cool white, 1 soft white, 1 sun-spectrum, and 1 plant groth each bulb is 48"s long over my 55 Gallon Tank (You know us dumb yanks, still using Imperial Gallons)
(And not the metric system either!)

Any how, your compact flourescent could do the job for you, I am not sure as I have little experience from them. Leave it on for a few hours away from your plant, and make sure it doesn't get to hot, Incandescent (Normal) bulbs put out more of their energy has heat than light, I am not quite sure how Compact Flour's do it, there has got to be a ballast some where I think, attatched to the bulb, and it must get hot.... (Anyone care to correct me? I don't mind being wrong!

Any how... with your one bulb, (More is always better with flourescent bulbs (IMHO) your going to want to use a 12 to 14 hour photo period, and your going to want to keep the bulb I think about 6 to 12 inches from the plant, not so close it burns or damages the plant, but close enough that the light waves emitted hit it with reasonable strength...

If the light is off to the side, you'll want to rotate your plant so it doesn't 'reach for the light' and have unbalanced growth.

Oh... if your plant becomes spindly, traps are malformed, i.e. tiny, and it doesn't generally look healthy, and your following the instructions you have already recieved, then it's probably a case of to little light. So you'll want to add more if that happens.

Also keep in mind, that Sunlight is the absolute BEST source of light (Cheapest, brightest, most economical source of light in the world!
) your plants will thrive in it, tips for sun: Don't cover it, it will die (No plastic humidity covers, fish tanks, humidity bells blah blah blah) Don't let it get to hot either... you'll; want to acclimate it, keep it in a shady place, especially if it's going out doors, and slowly move it to progressively brighter areas...

Where I live it get's hot enough to cook an egg in a few minutes on the side walk, for more info on growing your traps outdoors in a harsh environment (Not sure your in one) click on Plant Care and Information above, and read the article I wrote on it...

Remember, outdoors never let the tray go dry, and if it's windy where you are, sheild the plant from the wind, especially at first, as it will strip away the humidity.

Something tells me that if Cape Sundews are happy down there, then your flytraps will be to. Happy growing!

And don't hesitate to ask questions, you have come to the right place. I would also suggest reading everything you can on these forums, especially the care topics, there is some really good stuff, and you will learn anything you need to know.
wow! thanks for all the info Ram, i appreciate it greatly. The bulb i use gets bloody hot, cannot even describe it. I'm not too sure about heat being emmited from the bulb but i put it on for about 5-10 seconds and when i unscrewed it burnt my hand pretty badly (as i didnt wanna drop it)

Ill test tonight and hopefully not burn down the house. How many plants do your 3 lights and 55 gallon tank support? Also when i purchased my VFT 3 days ago one of the traps was closed, im guessing some pencil pushing moron closed it... it only started opening today and generally is opening quite slowly. I read somewhere they should open a day or 2 later after being false triggered... should i be worried?

Apart from that all my questions have been answered, thanks again everyone who helped.

  • #10
I wouldn't worry about it, traps actually GROW back open, and this is a somewhat slow process, if it has already started growing open then that's great... if it never does, or stalls, then I wouldn't worry... the worst that will happen is it will turn black and you'll snip it off... the plant will be fine if it stays closed, or if it opens, or does some weird thing half way...

Also, Since the light is already hot, I wouldn't even bother experimenting, it's not worth the trouble... just to much heat. don't risk your flytrap!

As for how much my tank supports, well, it's actually 4 lights, and right now it is supporting:

1 nepenthes Raflessiana
2 Nepenthes Bicalarata
3 Nepenthes Ventricosa X Maxima
1 Unknown Nepenthes
1 Nepenthes Judith Finn
1 N. Ventricosa
1 N. Truncata X Vetchie
1 N. Rocco X Fusca
1 N. Merrilliana

for or five various sundews

2 tiny little cephalotouses...

It had 2 S. Purpera's and 4 flytraps in it but all have been removed for dormancy.
  • #11
Hmmm, how anoyying. I guess ill just have to hunt for another light. Sun is back out and weather report says it should be out for the whole week which is good, you said that i should have my plant under photo using the light for 12-14hours but how long under the sun? The sun is pretty dam hot here and im afraid it might burn my plant. Mondo suggested in an earlier post keeping the plant only in morning sun, which i guess would last 5 or so hours and then bring it inside for the afternoon, would this work?
  • #12
Bulb glass getting hot is one thing but heat radiated by the bulb is another. If you put your hand under the bulb the same distance you would put it from your plant after it is warmed up.. do you feel warmth then? If its cool to ever so slightly warm, I would say it's safe to use.

  • #13
I'm a step ahead of ya Tony, thanks so much for your advice though. I tested the bulb over-night and figured if i placed a fan on it it dosn't get too hot. I was also a bit worried about the bulb melting the lamp since something in it i saw was plastic. But everything is fine now, i placed the builb about 25-30cm away from the plant but at that distance there is still a tiny bit of heat, i figure it can't do to much harm.
Thanks again,

  • #14
I hope everything works out, the photo-period I mentioned is for artificial lighting, and doesn't apply to putting the plant in the sun... which is far more intense a source of light than anything here on earth. (Of course)

Any how, check out the plant care & information section of the site, there is a write up of how to care for plants in a hostile environment, I live in South Texas, with average summer temps around 100 degrees, and an afternoon sun that will give you a sunburn clear through your skull and onto your brain... it's brutal here, and I grow flytraps and sarracenia outdoors on a covered patio.
  • #15
It's been extremly cloudy the past few days here and my plant is produing smaller leaves,i'm not sure it is because of the decrease in light or because i fed it a fly 5 days ago-i am guesing that the plant is just producing smaller traps because it is better to produce two smaller traps than one big trap-as you once posted ram-or it could be that the plant is just a bit shocked,because i read on the site who sells the plants to the shop i got it from that because they can have up to 100,000 plants at one time they can't go and find enough bugs so they give their plants very diluted fertilizer-so i'm guessing it's the first time the plant has used it's traps to get food-the plant finished the fly off in five days! I mean i have never had a flytrap that has eaten that fast before-i won't feed it for about a week just so it can realize it must eat with it's traps-i don't wanna give it intergestion!
  • #16
Yea, apparently if it hasn't been in the sun for awhile or hasn't eaten in awhile you must slowly introduce these elements to it otherwise it will take shock and possibly die. I read somewhere someone didn't feed his fly-trap for a long time, then gave it 3 or so flys and its traps died. (Maybe Ram said it...dunno)
I'm not sure if that kinda food problem would relate to smaller traps growing but im not sure on a lot of things right now.
Anyway thats all

  • #17
I didn't say that!
I can't imagine why eating would be a problem for it... it could be that all three traps were on their last trigger or something...

Any how it get's cloudy in nature, so as long as everything else stays the same, your plant should be fine when the sun comes back up...

As for smaller leaves, could it be the plant is ready to go into dormancy?
  • #18
Woops...ok then i'm not even gonna get started trying to find who did. My fly-trap has finished consuming its fly and is slowly re-opening! I'm so proud, go VFT go! If you ignore me long enough i will go away...
  • #19
Great aren't they? Your next step Mix DJ is to get some great red or dente varieties!
  • #20
Alvin you have no idea how much i want them, Its just impossible to find them here. I think i might talk to my nursery and ask them if they could order some dentes or dragons because all they got are normal VFT.
Shipping out of other countrys aint working for me seeing as shipping usuallys goes pretty high in cost and the exchange rate here to US&#36 is 10R:&#361 So i actually pay 300R for shipping which kills me.
Ill keep looking though, thanks