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New to CP and very very lost


Far too old to grow up now.
Hello all,

First I would like to say that after spending the last several hours reading through posts, you people are really nice! You don't see that often.

Okay, now onto my problem. several years ago (I was somewhere around 9 years old) My mother bought me my first venus fly trap. For about 3 months I abolutley adored that plant... and then came the day that the cat decided she wanted to sit in the window where the plant was... <sob> the poor thing slid down a brick wall top side first. It didn't recover, and I am now left with the nagging fear that I will somehow break the poor little critter no matter how careful I am.

Now, 20ish years later, my fiancee knowing I like odd plants, and getting tired of being stabbed by my cacti, bought me another one. I have to admit, I am a little scared. I have heard so much in the last few weeks from supposed experts (everything from "letting them eat more than three bugs a month will kill them" to "If the moss in the pot feels wet your overwatering") I don't know who to believe anymore, and I absolutely refuse to believe the instructions that came with the plant telling me to feed it ground beef (PLEASE!! Where is a venus fly trap naturally going to eat a cow?!?&#33

From reading the posts here I have manged to figure out that
1) they do much better feeding themselves
2) damp is good, dry is bad
3) they need sunlight

I still have a few questions though,
How much sunlight? How much water? Will it be alright on a covered south facing sun porch in south florida? Is there ever a case where I NEED to feed it? And eventually, when I get over my terror of breaking it, how does one go about multiply the plant?

I  realize that most of these questions are probably answered on this message board already, however after 3 hours of searching and reading my eyes are going fuzzy and my brain refuses to process any more information.

So, it would appreciated if someone could really quickly anwer these questions so I have the answers all in one place

Thanks ever so much

Welcome to the forums Maehem!
First off, I prefer growing my CP's outside, mine seem to do much better outside, What I would do with your new VFT is ease it into the sunlight, maybe giving it about a full hour of direct sunlight for the first week or week and a half, and whatever other indirect sunlight it may recieve will be fine.

Slowly work the plant up to a maximum of about 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight everyday (this about what my CP's get now). Be sure not to just throw the plant into a lot of sun right away though, because this will lead to burning the plant out.

The water issue may be the most important of all, be sure to only use distilled water, rain water, or reverse Osmosis water. I usually water my CP's when they are out of direct sunlight, around sunset or maybe a little earlier. Put a pan of water under the plant (don't water from the top) let it sit in a tray/pan or whatever in about 1/2 inch or an inch of water. Then during the day their might be less water in the bottom of the tray and then just refill the tray everyday or every other day, depending on how dry or wet the soil is. Letting the plant dry out slightly once in a while won't hurt it, just never bone dry. Southern exposure is usually ideal for a VFT, but remember to ease your plant into the harsh sun

You won't need any type of plastic cover over your plant, unless you just bought it, then you might want to leave it on for a few days and take it off once every few hours, so it adjusts to a change in humidity. If the plant is grown outside you should never have to hand feed it, the plant will catch all the bugs it needs on it's own, however if you decide to grow it indoors, you will not need to feed it a whole lot. A VFT actually does fine with almost no bugs, but by feeding it once or twice a month your VFT may produce bigger and healthier traps. I wouldn't worry about repotting it for a while, it should be fine in the one it is in now

Hope I helped, I'm sure there will be other informitive posts after this one that will help you on anything I forgot to post. Good luck with your new VFT, I am sure it will bring you much joy. Let us know how it goes, and I hope that kitty doesn't decide to knock it over again.
Welcome to the Forums Mae  

Now on to your questions plus stuff I'm not sure you know and some stuff you do know but I'll tell it again anyhow

How much sunlight?:   As much as you can give it.  But don't do it all at once.  It should be hardened off by gradually increasing the amount of light it gets over several weeks.  Otherwise the leaves can get sunburned.  The plant will grow new leaves but it takes a while.

Will it be alright on a covered south facing sun porch in south florida?:  Once it gets adjusted to the conditions and light and barring nuisance critters, it should do well.  Mine are on the East side of my house sitting on my porch rail in full sun and seem to like it quite well.

Is there ever a case where I NEED to feed it?:  VFTs don't need to be fed in order to live.  Their leaves do photosynthesize food.  Bugs just provide that little bit of extra nutrition that allows them to get bigger and grow a little faster.

How does one go about multiplying the plant?:  You can grow VFTs from seed, but it will take 3 to 5 years for the plant to reach maturity.  You can do leaf cuttings by pealing a leaf off the rhizome (the 'bulb' ) being sure the white part of the leaf is intact.  Lay it on some peat moss face up with a pinch of peat over the base of the leaf.  Keep it moist and in bright, but not direct, light and in a couple weeks, you will see small plants developing at the base or along the edges of the leaf.  Once they develope a few leaves and some roots they can be put in their own pots and will reach maturity in about 2 years.
You can also get more plants from divisions off the main plant.  Many VFTs will form offshoots from the main plant that can be seperated from it once they have developed their own roots.  And my personal favorite is to order them.  You get nice healthy, mature plants.

Other info:  VFT's don't require a high humidity.  Mine do fine with the humidity around 35% though usually it's at least 45% or slightly higher.  If yours has a cover over it harden it off gradually to lower humidity.

People food is bad for VFT's *image of VFT chasing cow through field* and will usually kill the trap.  The rest of the leaf usally follows.

Use only distilled, rain, or RO (reverse osmosis) water on carnivorous plants.  The minerals in most tap water damages the roots.

Don't fertilize VFT's they can be killed by it.  Some people have used Superthrive with varying degrees of benefit.

Your new plant probably won't need a dormancy period this year because most plants sold in stores are tissue culture plants and haven't established a dormancy cycle yet.  Next year your VFT will require a dormancy period and also every year after that. They need 3 to 4 monthes in a cool room 45° to 60° with some sun is best.  Or you can put them in a ziplock bag and place them in your fridge.  I let Mother Nature do her thing (short days/cooler temps) and when my VFT starts slowing down and producing smaller, low lieing leaves, I know it's ready for dormancy.  If the temps get below 60° and you don't get long hard freezes where you live, you may be able to leave them outside for the winter.  They need to be kept damp but not wet during dormancy.
well all I can say is welcome to the forums
and enjoy your new plant

I think everyone has answered everything so I cant say much more howevery if someone hasent said anything plaese pm me

Thanks everyone, very helpful. Now I just have to keep telling myself that it won't break if I look at it wrong!
</span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">Your new plant probably won't need a dormancy period this year because most plants sold in stores are tissue culture plants and haven't established a dormancy cycle yet. [/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

is this true of the plants sold on pft.com? i have been wondering...