The Venus Fly Trap, known by the botanical name, Dionaea muscipula, is thought to be the first recognized carnivorous plant. Sadly, it is becoming extinct because the bogs that are their native habitats are turning into dumping grounds for garbage.
Unlike Nepenthes, the tropical pitcher plant, Venus Fly Traps are not native to tropical areas. They are native to North America. The one native habitat in the world where people can actually see Venus Fly Traps growing in the wild is in the bogs along the coasts of North and South Carolina.
Because the soil in bogs have few nutrients, these plants have developed other ways to survive. They are masters at grabbing every bit of available nutrition in the insects they eat. As a result, they only need to eat every one to two months. Once the plant has eaten, it takes about ten days for it to digest fully, the prey, absorb the nutrients and open again.
Every lobe of a Venus Fly Trap has six sensitive trigger hairs, and the trigger mechanism is activated when an insect stimulates a single hair twice. No individual trap can close more than three to four times.
Just because they are carnivorous, that doesn’t mean they eat the same kind of meat people eat. Never feed a Venus Fly Trap any kind of ground meat such as hamburger. Doing so will cause the plant to rot and die.
The Venus Fly Traps you purchase are not taken from the wild. They are either grown from divisions, or from micro-propagation, which is done from tissue cultures. Venus Fly Traps can also be grown from seed, and any trap grown from seed will have its own unique genetic makeup.
Be sure to give your fly trap at least 14 hours of sun or bright light a day. Never fertilize the plant or use soil with fertilizer in it. These plants thrive on nutrient-poor soil. Make sure your growing medium has excellent drainage to prevent rotting. Between Halloween and Valentine’s Day, it’s normal for traps to be dormant. They’re just resting and saving their energy so they can capture insects when the weather gets warmer.
Boston area residents will find it very easy to get a Venus Fly Trap, whether for yourself or to give as a gift, come to Central Square Florist. All you have to do to buy one is come in and ask, as our Fly Trap’s are purchasable in-store only.