Venus Flytraps (Dionaea Muscipula)
Long fiber sphagnum moss is the preferred potting medium used for Venus Flytraps.
We also use peat that has no fertilizer/mineral additives in it, mixed with rinsed sand and rinsed perlite. Our carnivorous soil mix is roughly 2 parts peat: 1 part sand: 1 part perlite.
The only water to use is Distilled water, Reverse Osmosis or Rain water.
DO NOT use tap water, well water, spring water, drinking water or anything with any additives (I.e. Minerals or electrolytes, etc.), always check labels. These will kill your plant. The rule is generally, if you can test your water below 50ppm it is permissible. Our plants never remain in anything above 20ppm. Our Reverse Osmosis system water ranges 1-3ppm for comparison and the average tap water in the USA seems to be 200 ppm or higher in many areas.
Use a non-porous, food grade bowl that is no higher than your pot as your water tray, or
No clay or terracotta.
Keep water tray filled about 1/3 way up (if being kept outside) the pot with distilled water. (If you are in a high heat area, you can fill 1/2 height due to the daily evaporation). Depending on your specific environment, adjust this as needed.
Fill 1\4 of the way up if being kept indoors. Although you can allow the DISH to run out before refilling, NEVER ALLOW THE PLANT AND SUBSTRATE TO GO DRY.
In the winter months outdoors less water is needed as less evaporation takes place.
Venus Flytraps are actually originally native only to North and South Carolina, USA. So when caring for the plants, it's easiest to remember they are actually open air bog plants from the sunny Carolinas.
Flytraps love sun and enjoy longer days of direct sun, 8+ hours per day. They NEED a very minimum of 5 hours of unfiltered sunlight per day (on window ledge there should be no screen, no shading trees, no blinds, no tinted windows). Remember the East facing windows are best through summer, and South through winter, NEVER grow your Flytrap in a NORTH side window. That being said, outdoor growing is HIGHLY recommended whenever possible. For some this means all seasons except the worst of winter.
Here in South Carolina, Venus Flytraps native area, in the peak summer months, they will endure a UV index of 11 or more regularly and high temperatures. During periods where temperatures are regularly 90°F or more and a higher UV index, such as our latitude and lower, a 40% shade cloth or equivalent can be used and is suggested.
To Feed Or Not to Feed?
You may feed your plant 1 live insect per week per whole plant if you are keeping it indoors. If you do not feed it at all, it will not die, it will grow more slowly. They are great at catching their own food if outdoors, so no need to feed.
Each season Venus Flytraps make different shaped leaves/traps. Peak sized and looking traps for the season depending on environment is usually June or July (for example June for us in SC, July for our MI friends).
If your Flytraps have a leaf and trap or two blackening, don't worry, this is normal. Normally don't pick the black leaves off until they can be easily removed with no resistance (unless you see mildew/mold/disease etc). The plant is re-absorbing the nutrients from the "dying" leaf/trap. As long as there's new healthy leaves with traps emerging from the center, there is nothing to worry about.
Venus Flytraps shed more leaves and traps than usual in early fall. When they go dormant in late fall / early winter they will shed almost all of their leaves and traps. Some cultivars will also show various colors through fall.
*No we dont suggest terrariums, as again, Flytraps are open air bog plants from the Carolinas.
Every winter Venus Flytraps need to go dormant based on the sun's photoperiod. If you grow your Flytraps outdoors and you get more than a light frost where you live (20°F or below for more than about a week is too much), put it inside and keep it within 1 inch of a sunny windowsill for the winter, if you are able. Do not put it back outside until the last frost is over. In their native zone in winter for example, there's only about 15 or so nights of frost per year, rarely going below 30°F and the temp is normally back up to 60°F or 70°F by noon.
If you live in an area with only light frosts such as this, you can leave your Flytraps outside year round.
When Flytraps go dormant their fall leaves dry up, most leaves/heads turn black and they grow small leaves/heads (or none at all) for the winter. During this time they put energy into growing their rhizome. They are supposed to die down every winter. Some will look very rough. They will regrow every spring bigger and better, usually creating small "baby" divisions of themselves into more small plants, as well as flower. We suggest cutting the flower at the base if you want the plant to spend its energy on producing more traps. Or enjoy the flowers! When flowering ends, any that pollinated will produce shiny black tear drop shaped seeds. Some time after, the plant will normally resume spending its energy on creating more traps again. Peak sized and looking traps for the season depending on environment is usually June or July (for example June for us in SC, July for our MI friends).
King Sundew (Drosera Regia)
Sun: Sunny windowsills in direct sunlight, minimum 5+ hours. Also can be grown in a greenhouse, or outdoors within the temperatures of 35°-85°F. They enjoy a drop of 10°-20°F at night and in our estimated favored temperatures for these Kings is 55-60°F night to 70°-75°F day. Though photoperiod will still determine growth habits.
Water: Distilled, reverse osmosis, or rain water. Tray watering method
Temperature: temperatures seem best in the range 40°- 85°F
Dormancy: none needed
Soil: We use a mix of 3 parts peat, 2 parts perlite, 1 part sand. Or long fiber sphagnum moss with perlite. Rinsed tree fern pieces can be added.
Do not add Fertilizers or minerals
Sundews - Cape, Threadleaf, Forked, etc (Capensis, Drosera Intermedia, Filiformis, Binata/Multifida)
Sun: Sunny windowsills in direct sunlight, minimum 4+ hours. Also can be grown in a greenhouse, or outdoors within the temperatures of 35°- 90°F
Water: Distilled, reverse osmosis, or rain water. Tray watering method
Temperature: temperatures best in range 35°- 90°F
Dormancy: Intermedia, binata and filiformis will go dormant in winter, capensis and multifida will not survive frosts and should be taken inside.
Soil: We use a mix of 3 parts peat, 2 parts perlite, 1 part sand or long fiber sphagnum moss with perlite
2 parts peat
1 part silica sand
1 part perlite
Temperatures: 40° - 90° F
Sun : Full to Part sun, some shade.
Water: water tray method, keep soil wet by having the tray's water level half the height of pot, using distilled, reverse osmosis or rain water.
North American Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia)
Substrate: we use 2 parts peat, 1 part sand, 1 part perlite.Temperature: 25° - 90°
They can take a brief freeze and a brief heat spike but will otherwise need protection from the elements.
For cold below 25° you can move to a garage or other protected area.
You can also mulch around your Sarracenia. Mulching the bog garden with at least 4" of mulch and providing insulation that way, depending on the severity of the winters in some environments with less frost may be sufficient to protect your plants.
For heat, sun shades can help.
Sun: full sun. Minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight.
They may burn a little around the edges where the nectar is, this is normal and nothing to worry about. Outdoors is the preferred place to grow Sarracenia as their light requirements are very high.
Water: They must always be sitting in water, generally water level is quarter to half of the height of the pot. The water tray must be re-filled after it runs out, the plant substrate should NEVER GO DRY.
Distilled, reverse osmosis or rain water only.