Venus Flytrap juvenile plants – Dionaea muscipula


Venus Flytrap or Dionaea muscipula are famous and popular carnivorous plants from the subtropical wetlands on the East coast of the United states. Small juvenile plants are available for a limited time.

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These are Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula )seedlings/cuttings that are around 1-2 inches in size. These plants will grow into adult size and flower in a year or two.

The leaves of the plant emerge from bulbs that grow under the soil and at the end of the leaf, there is a trap that operates somewhat like a bear trap. Semi circular lobes fringed with hair like “teeth” form a slightly cupped shape. When an insect lands on the trap, its movement triggers the hairs and the trap springs closed around the insect. Initially, the trap closes loosely, leaving gaps between the teeth. The gaps allow prey that is too small to be nutritive to escape.

Traps that are closed like this aroud prey get further stimulated when the insect tries to escape and they close tighter, forming a seal. Special glands then secrete digestive fluid that extract nutrition from the trapped prey and it is absorbed back by the leaves. Several days later, the trap opens again and contains only the indigestible remains of the dead insect.

In the event a trap is triggered accidentally, lack of further stimulation from the insect trying to escape results in the trap opening again after some time. This prevents waste of energy from trying to digest non-food objects that may fall onto traps and trigger them to close.

Venus Flytraps are fascinating and among the most popular carnivorous plants, due to their highly showy look as well as the visible trapping of insect prey.

Before you buy, please read up on growing conditions for VFTs. Particularly temperatures. This is really basic information below.

Growing conditions for Venus Flytraps

VFTs need to grow in nutrient poor soil. They are not very fussy as to what the medium should be as long as it does not contain nutrients. I have grown them in sphagnum, cocopeat and even rockwool. Peat should work fine as well as well as peat-sand combinations or sphagnum-perlite, etc. Live sphagnum rocks, of course.

The medium is not as important as long as it is nutrient poor. Water used for VFTs must be low in TDS. Rainwater or distilled water is very good. RO water should work fine in most cases. Places with very good municipal water – for example, Mumbai or places in the mountains with a rain or snow fed water supply – should be able to use tapwater.

Keep the pots standing in an inch or so of water. Alternatively, you can topwater regularly. You can co-plant them in large pots with sarracenia or cold-loving drosera.

Venus flytraps love bright light. Give it all the good light you can. In very hot places, it may be advisable to provide some shading around noon. Keeping roots cool is important. Plants that heat up excessively tend to die out.

Winter dormancy

VFTs go dormant in the winter. As the daylength decreases, the vigor of the plant slows. traps close less and less easily and most of the leaves will die back. This is nothing to worry about. The plant can appear completely dead during dormancy. It will resume growth with new leaves in warmer weather.

This is a problem for people growing VFTs in hot climates. VFTs that are not able to go dormant for a long time soon lose vigor and die out altogether. To avoid this happening, there are two ways people in hot climates manage dormancy.

Low light, dry dormancy

As winter approaches, reduce the light available to your plant gradually. You may move it to a shadier location outside direct light. The plant will respond to this by growing progressively smaller leaves and the older leaves will start drying off. When this happens, reduce watering for the plant, take it outside any water trays and keep it in the coolest and dimmest place you are able to provide. Water sparingly and infrequently only to keep the media from drying out completely. When the plant resumes growth after several months, return it to bright light and wet media conditions. This dormancy is based on light triggers. So it is important to keep your plant dark for it to go dormant and return it to bright light to bring it back to vigorous growth.

Fridge dormancy

When the plant starts to go dormant, reduce the light it gets till it goes fully dormant. Then, you can either unpot it and keep only the dormant plant with some media in the fridge or you can put the whole pot in the fridge. With this method, it is important to keep an eye out for fungal issues and to open the bag storing the dormant plants occasionally to check. At the first sign of growth, return them to growing conditions. With this method, it is important to allow the plant to adapt to the cooler temperature gradually or you can kill the plants with shock. One way to do it can be to put the plants in a plastic bag in a larger container filled with media and put it in the fridge to cool. The media protects the plants from sudden temperature changes. Then, when the plants have cooled, you can take them out of the media and keep them in the fridge directly. Other insulating materials could also be used to provide a similar buffer.

This is very basic information. If you choose to buy the plants, you must research how to provide dormancy on your own.


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