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My son brought home a flytrap...



My 6 year old just brought a venus flytrap home from summer camp.  In searching out info on how to keep it alive, I came across this forum and I hope you can answer a few questions.  I've seen some conflicting information; and I want to be sure I'm doing the right things for this plant.  My son would be devastated if "Vennie" died, and besides, it's a really neat plant.

1.  It's in a home-made terrarium made out of a one liter soda bottle.  In browsing this forum, I see that some of you keep your flytraps in terrariums and some do not.  I've read on the 'net (and care tips on this site) that it's good to keep it in a covered container--but that seems not to be the consensus here.  I live in Wisconsin, and it's hot and humid now, but will be dry and cold later...is it best to leave it in the "terrarium"?  You can take the top off it.  I wouldn't mind moving him to a nicer looking container...what do you suggest?  Do VFTs transplant well, or will it be unhappy if I move it?  He's currently in what looks like peat moss, with about 3 inches of pearlite in the bottom.  I've been keeping the mixture damp.

2. I have a supply of Reverse Osmosis water.  Is this OK for him?

3.  Can he eat other insects besides flies?  Can we feed it spiders/ants/etc?  How much should we give it?  I read that they eat two-three flies a month, will it hurt it to give it more than that?  I know, no people food.

Any other advice you can give us will be much appreciated.  I'd like to keep "Vennie" happy!
It sounds like you could put "Vennie" outside. No terrarium will be needed. Put him in bright shade right now and in a month put him in full sunlight. No terrarium will be needed. Watering is simple just leave the pot in a tray of water.( about an inch of water) When all of the water is gone fill the tray up again.

I wouldn't transplant him until next year. By then you should have the hang of growing them and it will put him through less shock.

Reverse Osmosis water is, the main thing is that the water is as pure as possible. So never fertilize him.

Before you feed him I would let him grow and recover from the shock of being in a new home.
Hello & welcome.
1-VFT (venus Fly Traps) Can do just fine without a covered container, but to answer another of your questions, avoid transplanting it as it will possibly send it into shock. If you can, maybe leave just a crack open at the top so it will get some air movement & help prevent rot. Also, do not put it in direct sun if the cover is all the way on, because it will cook. It is fine to leave it in there like I said, but remember it will need a dormancy. To provide this, either slowly adjust it to the refridgerator, & keep it in there for 3 months or so, or even better, if you have a sunny windowsill that stays around 40-no more than 55 degrees or so keep it there for around 3 months. Your watering sounds fine, since they do not like being permanently water logged that much.

2-Reverse osmosis water is fine, so is distilled water or rain water.

3-Yes they can eat more variety than flies. Mine has caught ladybugs, gnats, spiders & such before. Ants may not work as well, because they secrete an acid when disturbed that will kill that trap, but not the plant. Feeding is not nessesary because they are still pants & can photosynthisise, but you can feed them & I think you will be surprised how many bugs it will catch by itself if you leave the lid off.

Here is just about the best site I could find for VFT cultivation, not to menchn the "plant care" secion at the top of the page. Here is the link: http://www.sarracenia.com/faq.html

Take a lood around there & you will have many questions answered.
Yea... I am not sure of the weather in wisconsin, but if its the same as the carolina's you can leave it outside ALL YEAR...
Good thing.

One thing you didnt' mention... What is it potted in? I mean, the medium... If it is in regular potting soil, DO trasplant it right away. For the same reason you dont use tap water, you don't you regular potting soil. Minerals... Peat, with various additives (perlite, silica sand, vermiculit, etc... no compost or soil though&#33
is a mix that is most likely acceptable, and you could also include, or replace peat with Long Fibered, or living sphagnum moss...

I hope you enjoy the new plant as much as you son does...
I'm sure you two can work together on it...
Thank you so much for all of the advice!! I expect his potting medium is OK, it looks like moss and it's quite "branchy" looking, so perhaps it's the long fibred type you mentioned. They did this at the local museum, so I hope they knew what they were doing. It's probably good advice to leave him in his soda bottle terrarium for now. I expect that poor Vennie is already in shock, I can't imagine that the 6 year olds doing the transplanting were all that gentle. The top of it does lift off. It's not pretty, but it is functional.

Thanks again for all your help---I expect I'll be back when it comes time to put him to sleep for a few monthes in the 'fridge.