venus flytrap

From a botanical point of view, the Venus flytrap Dionaeag muscipula belongs to the sundew family and is actually a carnivorous plant. It was first mentioned as such in around 1768, its original home is the USA and especially North and South Carolina. It was native to the city of Wilmington within 100 kilometers. Only years later did it make its way to northwest Florida.

Carnivorous plants (canivores) are not necessarily very sensitive and picky about their location in nature. Since it came to our regions at the beginning of the 20th century, it has been able to adapt more and more to different environments. Nevertheless, it remains an exotic plant, which for this reason has a few special requirements. As you can imagine, it is persistent, which is due to its origins, because at home it has to cope with poor soil and water conditions. There were also bush fires there, which she didn’t mind because the roots go deep into the earth.

As a result, in the course of evolution, a clever system has developed in the root area of ​​the plant, which makes it possible to skillfully suck up the water from the soil and also give it a firm hold. The main root dies after germination, making way for smaller runners that are fibrous and fine. These roots are deep enough in the earth to be able to sprout again if the plant is destroyed above the surface of the earth.

venus flytrap special feature

When the trap snaps shut

The plant obtains the necessary nutrients exclusively from the folding traps, for which the leaves of the Venus flytrap were equipped. As you can imagine, these are not just leaves that collapse when a fly hits them. In this case the Venus flytrap could probably pull open the door for a very long time, nothing would happen.
On the one hand, the inside of the flap turns bright red when exposed to sunlight to simulate a blossom, and on the other hand, a kind of nectar is also formed. Both together are irresistible for insects, so that the Venus flytrap rarely goes hungry. So that the prey doesn’t get away scot-free, nature has come up with a trick.
The fine bristles on the edges of the leaves serve as sensors, which when touched by an insect – or alternatively by a curious human finger – close to form a trap. The plant also has a useful side effect, it destroys flies and other animals that people do not welcome on their window pane and flower window sill. It may not have a particularly good appetite, but it does dispose of annoying hums.

The best location in the apartment

The Venus flytrap needs a lot of light to thrive. You can get a sunny window seat, ideally a south-facing or south-west / south-east orientation of the window. She is used to warm temperatures and can live very well at 20 ° up to 32 °. However, if it is in a terrarium or under glass, the temperature can quickly get too high, so caution is advised here.

As with all plants, the location determines the well-being, as does the right care. In our living rooms, the conditions from which it originally came do not prevail. This is particularly important to note:

  • It needs a lot of light and cozy warmth
  • The water must be available in a special way
  • The Venus flytrap wants to take a winter break

While the demand for light and sun can be met quite well by the plant holder, the subject of water and winter break is a bit more difficult. Many a plant has not survived a winter on the windowsill, but with the right care tips it should work well.

The right water – very important for the Venus flytrap

Even if the plant itself is robust, when it comes to water, the little monster turns into a mimosa. She doesn’t like to be watered just like the flower lover knows it at all. The water should rather pull up the pot and earth from below so that the roots can pull the refreshing water out of the earth from below, as in nature. To do this, you put it in a coaster that has been filled with up to 2cm of water. This allows the plant to supply itself with water according to its own needs. If the water is used up, she should take a “drinking break” of 2 days so that everything can dry off again.

However, tap water should not be used for watering if it is very calcareous. Distilled water is sometimes recommended, but it is completely lacking in nutrients.

Tip: Rainwater is low in calcium and rich in nutrients, alternatively use still mineral water.

humidityThe right humidity is also part of the optimal keeping conditions. It copes very well with values ​​between 50% and 80% air humidity in the room.

The soil in which it is planted should be a mixture of peat and sand. Special mixtures for carnivorous plants are also available in stores. Under no circumstances should it be fertilized, this does not correspond to its natural origins.

Open air
It should only be placed in the garden when the climate is consistently mild. But it can be placed in the sun in summer to treat it to a bit of nature. However, this should be done slowly and not suddenly in the hot midday sun.

The Venus Flytrap and the Seasons

The Venus Flytrap and the Seasons

The Venus flytrap wants to hibernate, and this is a time when caring for it could become a little tricky. The owner recognizes the beginning of the “personal” hibernation of a Venus flytrap from the fact that the plant forms lots of small traps. Then it’s time to move them to a cooler place than before. However, the temperatures should not drop below 5 °, they cannot tolerate frost. The problem is that there should be no significant temperature fluctuations. A winter garden would be ideal if it could be kept at a constant temperature; the Venus flytrap should not stand directly in the sun when it is resting. Another reason for the plant to die is drafts in winter. Therefore, it should not be in the immediate vicinity of a window that is opened for this purpose.

During the hibernation, the water supply is also throttled. Here, however, there are different opinions about the amount. Some plant lovers hardly ever give water, others just a little less than usual. At this stage it is enough to give water once a month. With these hibernation tips, however, it should be possible to keep the Venus flytrap healthy even during this phase.

The flowers of the Venus flytrap

The popularity of the Venus flytrap is not only due to its unusual hunger for live animals. Slightly pushed into the background, but still present the flowers that the plant develops. These sit on remarkably long stems and can tower over the plant by up to 30 cm. Another remarkable characteristic of nature should be noted here:
If the plant were to sprout its flowers in the growth area of ​​the trap flaps, pollinating insects could accidentally fall into the trap. Reproduction would not be possible naturally, and the population of important insects would be unnecessarily decimated. The flowers therefore present on the “upper floor” can be pollinated without risk. They are approximately 3 cm in diameter and white.

Each one of them is a delicate work of art. There are five small and slightly green sepals (sepals). Five white petals with a fine green veining together form the flower of the Venus flytrap.

The somewhat brutal side of the Venus flytrap

Carnivorous plants operate with different systems of traps. Thanks to the fame of the Venus flytrap, the folding trap that it owns is also the best known, although it is the least common trap in nature.

There are these types of traps in plants:

  • Latch
  • Glue trap
  • Suction trap
  • Pitfalls
  • Reusenfalle

All of them can be found on species of carnivorous plants and they all have one thing in common: They are supposed to catch food for the plant. This also means, conversely, do not feed the plant with dead flies or insects. The prey has to fidget in order to promote the formation of digestive secretions, otherwise the Venus flytrap cannot do anything with it.

The folding trap of the Venus flytrap

The folding trap of the Venus flytrap

With the Venus flytrap, the folding trap works reliably thanks to the small bristle hairs on the edges. If an insect hits the tempting middle of the pair of leaves, the two halves close and the bristles create a small cavity. Here the trapped insect is digested by a secretion from the plant. The leaf catches up to seven victims in this way, as soon as one is digested, the trap opens again. Then it is useless itself and dies.

Why does the plant have such a mechanism?

The plant secures its nutritional needs through this digestive process. However, it by no means blindly eats everything that gets into it. This is checked via receptors and if it is not the right victim, it is allowed to go back into the wild after a few hours. However, should the plant find that the unwilling guest is tasty and useful, he has unfortunately lost.
For the actual digestive process, the catch leaves of the Venus flytrap close again more tightly and then the digestive secretion can escape. It consists of proteases, amylases, phosphatases and ribonucleases. These enzymes release the nutrients from the prey and make them usable for the Venus flytrap. What she cannot digest is left over. These are, for example, chitin armor, legs, wings, etc. When the trap opens again, the remains in nature are blown away with the wind.

Special feature: the multiplication

The Venus flytrap will multiply by itself if kept optimally. It should of course have enough space for this, but this is also useful for other reasons. It divides by itself every year without the owner having to intervene. But you can also multiply them again with leaf cuttings. This leaf is clipped as deeply as possible at the base so that something from the root is still attached to it. This leaf is then put into wet peat. It takes a while before it becomes a real plant again, but it’s worth the effort.

Tip: The plant is repotted when there is not enough space in the pot above ground.

Problems with care and housing

Even with the most loving care of plants, it can happen that they do not thrive as optimally as the keeper would like to see. Beginners in particular experience it, for example, when the plant dies at the beginning of winter dormancy.

If problems arise in the course of keeping, everyone is happy if they can read the relevant tips that can help:

  • Sciarid fly larvae in the ground = transplant into a new pot, first rinse the roots under water
  • If the plant is kept too dry, it will fail = supply it with water as described
  • The peat substrate must be watered before the plant is planted because it is difficult to absorb moisture
  • Cold and humid temperatures are harmful for “outsiders” Venus flytraps, they can slowly recover in the sun

The greatest damage is shown by too much water and too much cold outside of the hibernation period. Pest infestation can always occur once, here, if necessary, a special chemical called lizetan could help. However, this should only be used in an emergency, it is not certain whether it could cause other damage to the plant.

Tip: Venus fly traps can now also be bought in garden centers or hardware stores. Costs: small plants from three euros, larger specimens from 10 euros.

The Venus flytrap has developed into a plant for lovers over the years. After the initial overexploitation of the natural plant population, the specimens offered today are produced exclusively through breeding, so that you can buy them with a clear conscience. It is already quite cheap in hardware stores, sometimes in discount stores but always available in the plant market. Those who take the tips on keeping them to heart will surely enjoy the extraordinary plant for a long time and after a while you may also find pleasure in propagating their specimen.

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