Venus Flytrap Seeds are easy to germinate and grow, and Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) seeds can be shipped from the U.S. and many countries to anywhere else in the world (so long as the destination country has no law against it).
In the northern hemisphere, the Venus Flytrap flowering and seed-producing season is generally about April to June. So by late June or early July fresh new seed should be available. If the seeds are stored appropriately in a refrigerator, they will germinate just great for at least a year after harvest.
Germination of Venus Flytrap Seeds
Step-by-Step Instructions to grow Venus Flytraps from seeds:
- Start by preparing your "soil." You can use the same soil that is the growing medium for adult Venus Flytraps, which consists of sphagnum peat moss that has been rinsed of minerals (run Distilled water through it and let drain out 4 times), with other ingredients optionally added, such as silica sand (NO beach sand) or perlite. No "potting soil" and no Miracle-Gro because they contain minerals that will kill Venus flytraps.
- Next, prepare a growing container. This container is meant to keep the seeds moist and warm, but should allow for air circulation. A good easy choice is a Tupperware-type container, in which you poke holes in the top cover, and also the bottom portion. This allows for drainage of water out, and also ventilation for air circulation and for excess heat to escape from inside the container (see above photo). As an alternative growing container, you may also use any regular pot or planting container, and cover the top with a clear plastic bag.
- Moisten the growing medium with Distilled Water and place the growing medium into the container. Now you are ready to plant the seeds!
- Do NOT bury the seeds. Seeds are not planted underground. Instead, you will scatter the seeds on top of the moist growing medium, and then sift a very fine dust of sphagnum peat moss over the seeds. The very light dusting helps to retain moisture and keep the emerging root from drying out and becoming calloused and stunted. The dusting also helps give the seed something to push against as the root emerges and seeks to dig itself into the medium instead of merely pushing itself along the soil surface. However, the seeds should only be very lightly covered, or they may not germinate.
- Spray Distilled water on the dusting of peat moss to moisten it and the seeds, and cover the container with the vented lid. Once most of the seeds have germinated, within 4-6 weeks, the covering can be permanently removed.
- Place your germination chamber somewhere with bright indirect light. The container should not be placed in direct sunlight because it will overheat both the air and soil inside and may damage or kill the seeds and germinating plants. Bright indirect light is best. Once most of the seeds have germinated, you can remove the container cover and gradually give the seedlings more and more direct sunlight. Grown Venus flytraps require a lot of light, around 3-4 hours a day of good light as a minimum.
- During the germination period of about 13-35 days, the growing medium should be kept moist and warm. To water the seeds, you can either 1) use a spray bottle to gently wet the soil surface and continue to spray to saturate the medium until some water drains out, or 2) place the growing container in a container holding Distilled water, and allow the soil to suck water upward through the drain holes in the bottom of your growing container.
- Always ensure that the soil surface is moist so that a newly emerging root has water to pull from, and continues to grow. Use mineral-free water ONLY: Distilled water, reverse-osmosis water, or clean rain water. (Later when the seedlings are transplanted out of their temporary germination chamber, the water content should be lowered and the plants allowed to have more air and less water in the soil. Venus Flytraps, once they are past the tiny seedling stage, grow very healthy in just-moist rather than soggy or saturated soil, although care must be taken so that the soil never completely dries out.)
- Your growing container should be humid, which is automatically accomplished for you through the covering on the container. Though the interior of the chamber should be humid, you should lift the lid of the container at least once a day and fan the air for a change of fresh air and prevention of mold. (Though the humidity needs to be higher with newly germinating seeds, your later developed and transplanted Venus flytrap plants do not require higher humidity).
- Keep your growing container at a warm temperature. The optimal temperature to germinate Venus flytraps seeds is above 78 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (24-32 or more degrees Celsius/Centigrade. Seeds kept at much lower temperatures than this will take longer to germinate (3-5 weeks versus 13-15 days) or may not germinate at all if it is too cold. You can germinate seeds in temperatures somewhat lower than the optimal, but they will take longer to germinate.
- Later, once your seedlings have germinated and sprouted, they can be transplanted to a more permanent uncovered container. The best stage to transplant them is usually after 2-3 weeks of growth in the germination container, or when the "cotyledons" (the two first leaves, the seed leaves) are almost fully extended out of the seed and the first tiny true trap leaf is forming. At this stage the plant has a base and tiny root that can be transplanted, which helps to anchor the plant in its new growing medium and helps it to adapt to conditions of lesser humidity and more light. An easy way to transplant is to use a moist wooden toothpick. Poke a tiny hole in the new and rinsed-of-minerals growing medium for the plant, gently lower the toothpick into the soil near the plant and lift it out of the soil with the root intact, transfer the plant to the tiny hole in its new growing container and gently orient it properly (leaves up, base and root down) then very gently settle it into the new hole with the toothpick a very light touch of a finger, lightly covering in any gaps with growing medium.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
- Should I do stratification? -- No, not for Venus Flytrap seed. Stratification is the process of keeping seeds cold and damp for several weeks or months, and for Fall-blooming plants stratification can simulate a winter for the seeds, which are used to germinating the following Spring. But Venus Flytraps bloom in the Spring, not the Fall, and their seeds do not need to be stratified. Instead Venus Flytrap seeds are accustomed to germinate within days (usually 13-25 days) after they fall to the ground during the summer, the rate and speed of germination increasing with warm temperatures. Therefore, Venus Flytrap seeds should not be stratified, although if they are not sowed immediately they can be stored in the cool refrigerator to help them remain fresh longer and increase germination when sowed at a later date.
- How do I store seeds? -- To store excess seed for later germination, place them in a small plastic bag in the refrigerator. Squeeze out the excess air from the plastic bag, to keep the seeds drying out. Keeping them cold helps prevent them from trying to germinate prematurely (warmth stimulates germination) and helps keep them fresh, and keeping them from drying out too much keeps them fresh longer and keeps their germination rate higher. If harvesting your own seed, allow the newly harvested seeds to dry in a small open container for 2-3 days before storage in the refrigerator, to keep them from developing mold (freshly harvested seeds are moister).
- When can I buy Venus flytrap seed? In the northern hemisphere, the Venus Flytrap flowering and seed-producing season is generally about April to June, so by late June or early July fresh new seed should be available. If the seeds are stored appropriately in a refrigerator, they will germinate just great for at least a year after harvest. Here is a link to buying Venus flytrap seeds from FlytrapStore.com: Venus flytrap seed at FlytrapStore.com
- How do I pollinate and harvest my own seeds?
Unless you plan on harvesting seed, we never recommend letting the flower stalk grow on your Venus flytrap plant, as it will sap a great deal of energy, and the plant will not do very well that year. If you do decide to let the flower stalk grow and bloom, this will typically occur in the Northern Hemisphere anytime between February and May. The flower begins to be receptive to pollen only 1 to 1.5 days after the flower opens, so older flowers (1-1.5 days old) need to be pollinated with the fresh pollen from a younger flower, preferably one that has just opened.
Seed production in Venus Flytraps
To pollinate the flowers, you can use a small artist's brush. Brush the "anthers" (the antennae radiating around the fuzzy yellow "stigma" at the center of the flower) of a young flower to acquire some pollen. Then, transfer that pollen to the stigma at the center of a slightly older flower (1-1.5 days older) by brushing it lightly onto the stigma. You can do this a few times if you wish, as long as the stigma is receptive, which is still receptive if it is still fuzzy and the flower is open. Once the flower is pollinated, the petals will begin to die off. For more detailed information on pollinating and harvesting seed, click the following link, which will open in a new browser window (click on the photo to magnify it to full size): Venus Fly Trap seed production