What's the best way to take care of a carnivorous plant, like a venus fly trap, inside a home? It is important to feed the plant bugs regularly or will it catch enough on its own? Thanks for any help you can give!
So you want a Venus flytrap for your character, that’s neat!
I’m going to cover a little of the basics here about carnivorous plants because their diet isn’t the only thing your character will have to be mindful of, because these little beauties don’t just thrive anywhere. It’s really important that your character makes their little plant friend feel at home!
Let’s start. Now regardless of which plant your character chooses they’ll have to shop for a few things first, if they want to provide for any carnivorous plant at all. Here’s a small list of things they will need:
- A glazed or plastic pot for planting.
- Clean sand, moss (can be more than one kind), perlite and fibre to fill their pot. These will have to mix later to make the soil. The general idea here is that much water is needed so you want things that soak up lots of water. There may be slight differences in the ratio between different plants, but overall it’s more important they’ve got the key ingredients.
- Distilled water or something to catch rain water in for watering.
- A small supply of insects to feed the plant. (Freeze-dried insects from a pet shop or wingless fruit flies will do perfect, keep in mind the size of the plant, as they don’t do well with big chunks. They need to be able to close their mouth.)
- A plate for the pot to rest on, needs to have some extra space. Usually used for catching surplus water, here it will work as a water supply for thirsty plants.
These plants need to stay wet (aka don’t let it dry out) and away from what your character might have learnt is good for plants (and actually is in most cases.) Tap water, clay pots and regular soil can easily kill them because they naturally grow in soil low in nutritions. So your character won’t be fertilising them. Ever. If they are an expert they miiiiiight give it a careful try, but even then it’s risky because these plants are just not used to it.
Your character might also want to buy a humidifier to place next to their plant, but usually the wet soil-mix will do. For a flytrap though they could follow through with that idea, these little plant friends need as much as up to 80% humidity. Whether or not room temperature will do depends on the plant, and place your character lives at. (Around 24°C or 75°C never lower than 18°C or 65°F at night for a flytrap.) Those who require other climates should be avoided unless your character can provide for them accordingly of course.
I’m going to say this again: Their plant fried needs to stay hydrated. The reason it gets a reprise here it because while that sounds like a no-brainer, a lot of their watering schedule will depend on how warm their home is. The warmer it is, the easier the soil dries out. The drier the soil, the lighter it is. The plate I listed comes into play here, as your character can use it to easily determine whether or not water is needed. Wet soil won’t soak up more water, so the whenever the plate empties the plant has been drinking and they can refill it.
Your character should keep it in a lighted room, no not artificial light – outside light. Outside from beyond a window. Just light, no harsh, direct direct sun unless your character’s plant friend requires it. The general rule is that a room with a window, not located to the north, will do perfectly fine for most plants. Sunlight all day through a window is like a magnifying glass on a plant hill for the plant. It’s a no-no for their flytrap and possibly all other plants they own.
At best their plant is kept in an environment that already supplies it with insects, a normal home however does not and requires feeding. Despite their name however carnivorous plants aren’t really that hungry, a lot of them won’t want to be fed more than once or twice a month. A Venus flytrap falls easily into that, as it only needs to be fed every other week. It should definitely not be fed more than once a week, your character will have to remember not to overfeed them.
A single trap actually catches no more than a few bugs before it is replaced by a new one.
As a general rule it will be easier for your character to nurse a plant lacking water, food or fertiliser back to health if it shows any of the corresponding signs. That being said, both is stressful and unhealthy for the plant, chances are just slightly better in terms of recovery.
When winter comes around a lot of plants, even indoor plants go into dormancy which requires them to still cared for by your character, they will have to do everything of the above, just… less. They’ll have to keep the plant a little cooler, water it a little less, feed it a little less or not at all (can’t feed something with no mouth.) Some indoor plants of your character might defy this schedule and need regular care, as for any plant they keep they should always cut off any brown or dried leaves and flowers or buds to ensure their plants aren’t wasting energy on them.
On a last note, if your character prefers the traps over flowers, they can pinch the flower stem when it starts growing. Because making flowers requires a lot of energy and otherwise the traps won’t develop as well. If they do like the flowers, they can keep them and allow pollination outside or by rubbing two flower-heads together. A seed pod will form and your character can pick it and spread the seeds on their soil-mixture to have more cute, little baby flytraps. Raising them however will take their patience as it can take up to three years for them to grow into an adult-sized plant.
I hope that was helpful!
- Mod Jana