Propagation of Venus Fly Traps

There are two basic ways to propagate your Venus Fly Trap:

  1. Sexual propagation
  2. Vegetative propagation

 

Sexual propagation

Let's start with a detailed image of how to pollinate Venus fly trap flowers and produce seeds (click on the photo to magnify it to full size).

Sexual reproduction in Venus Fly traps is no different than that of any other flowering plant. If you know anything about sexual reproduction of plants through flowers, then this will be old news for you. If you don't however, then let me give you the basics of plant sex. First, let's start with anatomy:

 

Venus Fly Trap Flower - photo courtesy of Robert Ziemer

 

 

The basic idea of pollinating a flower is that the pollen from the anthers that are on the top of the filaments (stamen) must come in contact with a receptive pistil. The pistil is the greenish round thing in the center of the flower. At the top of the pistil is the stigma. A Venus Fly Trap stigma is receptive when it looks fuzzy. If you look at the above photo, you can see the little yellow balls (anthers with pollen) at the end of the stamens. You will also notice that the stigma looks fuzzy and is therefore receptive. So, if you were to take a cotton swab or toothpick and touch it to the anthers and then touch it to the stigma, this would result in fertilization. If you inspect the pistil after fertilization, you should be able to see the pollen in contact with it, but you might need a magnifying glass to actually see it. An alternative and less tedious way of pollinating the flowers is to just take two flowers that have receptive pistils and rub them together. It isn't absolutely necessary to pollinate the flowers yourself. If you are growing your Venus Fly Traps outside, it is likely that an insect will do the work for you.

Venus Fly Traps can be self pollinated, meaning that you can fertilize the pistil with pollen from its own anthers. However, most growers of Venus fly fraps agree that cross pollinating plants results in more seeds and a better germination rate of the seeds and more robust seedlings. Cross pollinating means that you take the pollen from the flower of one plant and fertilize the pistil of a completely different plant. When I say completely different plant, I mean not another flower on the same plant or not another plant that is genetically identical.  However, I haven't noticed any significant difference in seed set from self-pollinated flowers when compared to cross-pollinated flowers.  Both seem to set seed quite well.  But there are certain varieties of Venus fly traps that never seem to set much seed.

A few days after fertilization, the flowers will wither and die. Once the entire flower and stalk are dead and black, carefully examine the material left where the flower used to be. If you were successful in pollinating the flower, you will have a little pod full of 20 to 30 shiny, black seeds about 1.5mm in length. If the pollination attempt was unsuccessful, there will only be dead plant material.

 

Venus Fly Trap seeds emptied from a pod Venus Fly Trap Seed on a millimeter scale

 

If you were lucky enough to get seed, sow it immediately. The longer you wait, the less viable the seed is. Most carnivorous plant seeds need stratification (a period where the seeds are kept cold and wet), but Dionaea muscipula seeds do not. After about 100 days, Venus Fly Trap seed viability begins to decrease. The seeds can be preserved for up to a year while still germinating at a high percentage rate by putting them in an air tight container and in the refrigerator, but the germination rate will be less than if they are sown right after the seed pods open.

 

Venus Fly Trap Seed Germinating Venus Fly Trap Seed Germinating

 

Related article: Growing Venus fly traps from seed

Sow the Venus Fly Trap seeds on the surface of peat moss or a mix of peat moss and sand or perlite. Keep the humidity high and the media moist at all times. Try to keep the temperature between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep the humidity high, it is best to grow then in a terrarium or in a mostly-sealed container in direct sunlight. Be sure not to let the seeds get too hot though if you put them in direct sunlight. You will have to open the container often to prevent cooking them. Alternatively, you can just leave the container open and mist the seeds a couple times a day. Make sure the soil always stays moist. Try to give them at least 13 hours of sunlight or fluorescent light a day. They should germinate between 15-30 days after sowing, though it could take a couple months.

If you plan on attempting to sexually propagate Venus Flytraps, be sure to read this excellent writeup of how to grow Venus Flytraps from seed.

 

Venus Fly Trap Seedlings one month after germination.

 

Venus Fly Traps are very slow growing. It takes between three to five years to raise mature plants from seeds. The first year of their lives, Venus Fly Traps will be very tiny. It is possible to speed up their growing process by skipping dormancy the first year, but they will definitely need a dormancy period at then end of their second year. A way to get mature plants faster and an alternative to sexual propagation of Venus Fly Traps is Vegetative Propagation.

Vegetative Propagation

Vegetative propagation of Venus Fly Traps is the preferred method of reproducing them if you want to preserve the characteristics of a particular plant, say a cultivar or other unique specimen, because any plants born out of vegetative propagation will be genetically identical to the parent plant. Also, the amount of time to get a plant to adulthood is usually one to two years, compared to the three to five years required to raise a plant from seed to adulthood. The two simplest ways to vegetatively propagate your venus fly trap are actually quite easy.

The two basic ways to vegetatively propagate your Venus Fly Trap are:

  1. Leaf pullings
  2. Multiple growth points

 

Leaf pullings

To take leaf pullings from your plant you have to uproot the plant and expose the rhizome. Then you should look for a leaf that is on the outside of the rhizome that is very healthy. Firmly grasp the leaf and give it a gentle jerk downward. The goal here is to try to get as much of the white part of the rhizome as possible where the leaf is attached to the main plant. Trim the trap off the leaf and place it in the soil that you typically use for Venus Fly Traps. Keep it very moist and give it plenty of light, at least a 13 hour photoperiod. Be patient. It takes a long time, up to 2 months, to see any growth. The first growth will look like little nubs and then it will turn into little leafs. See the images below.

 

Uprooted Venus Fly Trap and rhizome Three Leaf Pullings

 

 

Tiny nub on Venus Fly Trap Leaf pulling Venus Fly Trap Plantlet starting on a leaf pulling

 

It is important to note that leaf pullings should only be done with healthy plants and not with any plant that is flowering. It is possible to do leaf pullings with a sickly plant, but the success rate will be lower than with a healthy plant. If you take good pullings from a healthy plant, your success rate should be 75% or greater.

Flower Stalks

If you choose to not allow your Venus Fly Trap to flower and cut off the flower stalk, be sure not to waste it! It is possible to use the flower stalks like you would leaf pullings. Once you snip off the flower stalk as close as you can to the base where it is growing out of the center of the plant, if you stick the base of the flower stalk in the ground, it will likely start growing plantlets where it is in contact with the soil.

 

Plantlets on a flower stalk. Seedlings in the foreground.

 

I have had great success just sticking the flower stalk into peat moss in an upright position, just like it was growing out of the plant. I have only had moderate success when laying the flower stalk on its side. I also attempted to cut a longer stalk (3 or 4 inches) into 1 inch pieces and stick each of those into the ground. The best success I've had is by simply cutting the stalk when it is between 1 inch and 3 inches high and sticking it straight into the ground.

Multiple growth points through natural division

The simplest way to propagate Venus Fly Traps is to just let them grow! Venus Fly Traps naturally propagate by forming a second growth point in their rosette. You can tell when this has happened because the leafs become crowded and they seem to be growing out of two or more center locations. Once you see that your plant has formed a second rosette, leave it alone until the following spring when it is time to repot. In the spring, when you go to repot your Venus Fly Trap, you can separate the two rosettes. If the new rosette hasn't had a chance to form its own root system, it's best to leave the two plants together another year until the new plant has a chance to take root. Separating the two plants too soon can result in the death of the new plant.

Tissue Culture

Another way to propagate Venus Fly Traps is through tissue culture, or in vitro propagation. This method is for the advanced cultivator who has access to a laboratory or wants to try challenging work at home. The plants don't grow in any kind of soil, but rather in petri dishes. Venus Fly Traps can be propagated through tissue culture by using seeds, leafs or flower stalks. Tissue culture is the fastest way to produce a lot of plants and is the preferred method of rapidly propagating genetically identical plants, such as Dionaea muscipula cultivars.

The basic idea for plant tissue culture is to sterilize the tissue and container first in a solution that usually contains alcohol, peroxide and bleach. Then the tissue is placed in a growing medium that is basically a hormone shake. It contains lots of vitamins and other goodies that the Venus Fly Trap needs. The tissue is left in this medium until good leaf formation has occurred (somewhere between eight and 16 weeks), then it is moved to its standard media.

For more information about tissue culture, be sure to see the article on Plant micropropagation.


Comments   

#55 owen 2014-02-22 04:15
I've been growing a range of cp's for over 25 years. Your information is excellent. I have watched plenty of youtube clips, some from self claimed experts that horrify me. Well done!
#54 Mitchell 2013-09-27 05:40
Thanks to your excellent site I have discovered that my 3 year old vft can be turned into at least 4 plants. I have noticed that there are at least 4 healthy looking rosettes, which, come next spring will be repotted as 4. I would never have thought to do this. Thanks ;-)
#53 gareth 2013-04-12 01:37
Hay thanks for the info I'm going to try all of the above
#52 Izzy 2012-07-31 08:42
wait VFT can sexually reproduce??? HOW??? can someone please tell me?
#51 Neat 2012-04-12 16:45
Great article! Thanks for writing it.

And now I know I've been wasting my flower stalks.
#50 Gabe 2012-03-30 00:29
Wow! this site is so cool! I couldnt name 1 fact listed here! Thank you so much for all the info.:-) It has helped me care for it. without it my venus flytrap would be dead. But I must be confused. I read these plants can grow out of another one next to it but it can grow seeds as well.
So does it have 2 ways to grow, or am I carzy?

P.S. your website is the best of all the others ive ever seen!
#49 Hayley Sunderland 2012-03-13 16:27
OMG Have always loved carniverous plants. Was so lucky that i didnt kill mine,with letting it flower. Years ago i use to cut the flower off i new there was a good reason for it. But with having a family, some things go askew. But back on track now, thankx so much for an informative site.
#48 steve_d 2012-01-23 11:18
To Jader-- There is a lot more information and a lot of people you can communicate with and ask questions of at the FlytrapCare Forum (http://www.FlytrapCare.com/phpBB3/)
#47 Jader 2012-01-23 10:44
Hey, first of all, congrats about this website!
Well, I'm from Brazil and i dont speak a good english but, I'll try write what I want. I searched everywhere informations about Dionaea, because I wanna do propagation and stuff, and here I found it! Of course was a little hard translating a few words, so I could understand and I'll try tomorrow! Actually, I have two plants and I'm afraid that I can kill it if propagation doesn't works (weather here is a little different, by the way), but I'll try!
Thank you very much! And congratulations !
#46 ray 2012-01-08 02:48
My Venus flytrap has a black dot in the middle WHY IS THIS HELP?!?!
#45 sjham16 2011-10-05 19:12
Hey thank you this was very useful my plant has 2 seperate growths point;-) and i was about to repot

On the Up rooted flytrap rhizome thing can you circle the ones that are leaf pullings? Thanks great article btw :D
#44 shanik 2011-10-02 16:15
wow so usefull thanks for the help
:P8):o:sad:;-):-):-);-);-)
#43 CPcaregiver 2011-08-30 14:28
this article has been very useful,I hope soon i will multiply my collection!
#42 Vic Karch 2011-05-02 19:18
I just finished read your info on the venus Fly Trap. I found it very informative and would like to Thank You guys very much for the info.
I just purchased my first plant the other day at Walters Green House here in Brantford Ontario.
I think there a real cool plant and it should be interesting to see these little guys grow.
One question my nephew had and got me wondering. Do they really eat flies?
Thanks again Vic.
#41 Danster 2011-04-25 18:46
Hey, this is really helpful. Thanks! Some of my plant's traps are turning black...do you recommend pulling off the affected traps, not the whole leaves, since they will die anyway and waste energy in the meantime, or just letting nature run its course? Thanks!
#40 steve_d 2011-03-02 18:02
Kenneth asks: "i dont know if its a flower its about 2 inches.what type of soil do i put it in? Sphagnum moss and Peat?"

Questions are answered in the FlytrapCare Forum (http://www.flytrapcare.com/phpBB3/) This area is for comments only (not questions). ;-)
#39 Kenneth 2011-03-02 17:48
HI i have a Venus fly trap,and i'm not sure if a Flower is growing so i dont know if i should cut it off, it looks like it can open up and has four sides roundish sides.the plant is Very healthy but like i said i dont know if its a flower its about 2 inches.what type of soil do i put it in? Sphagnum moss and Peat? Thank you
#38 vicki 2010-11-02 12:59
hello I was just wondering about my Venus fly trap, it has stated to flower in October and it is getting rather cold especially in the room i have her in (her name is Audrey) and im just wondering if this is normal. Is there anything i can do for her?
Also your information really helped :-)
#37 Brian987 2010-05-25 13:39
thanks!:D
#36 Camille 2009-11-04 13:58
wow this site rocks! it made my day! i had a report to finish and i did because of this web site!!!! thank you so much guys!!!;-);-);- );-);-);-);-);- );-);-);-);-);- );-);-);-);-);- );-);-);-);-);- );-)
8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)
ya'll rock HAR D!
#35 Matt 2009-09-30 07:10
Yes, the flower will propagate the same cultivar when used for starting a new plant.
#34 Marvin 2009-09-30 06:22
Does the flower produce same cultivar of Flytrap?Imean the one chopped down and planted.TIA!
#33 Toaster and Island 2009-08-12 21:12
Were doing a project of our choice in Biology, and we chose to do cloning plants. (Venus Fly traps) So, could you give us a little idea how we can clone it? or anything you think will help us.

Toaster and Island
#32 Keondra 2009-08-03 23:58
hello i was wondering if someone can send me some fresh vft seeds please? i've been researching extensively on germination and i already have the stuff so can someone please help me. Thanks *i'm just a flickering will-o-wisp*
#31 Kai 2009-07-05 06:33
P.S I bought it in malayasia
#30 Kai 2009-07-05 06:33
My Venus fly trap is different.it reopens in a day when it closes.and when i put in a red ant it closed and some part of the trap turned grey and can it live in a country with no snow like Singapore?
#29 Jason 2009-07-03 20:40
I have just bought a venus fly trap and some mix, i will be getting it tomorrow, and because of this website i will know everything there is to know about it :-)
Soon i will be a proud owned of a venus fly trap!!!

Please send me some emails about caring for the flytrap, Thank you.

By Jason
#28 Matt 2009-06-17 07:18
Yes, you can snip the flower stalk and stick it in the ground and there's a good chance that this will produce more plants.
#27 neil linson 2009-06-17 06:46
My plant is just about to flower (has 3 little bulb at the top). Its about 6ins long. Can i cut it at the base and stick it in the soil to produce little traps?
#26 Matt 2009-06-10 16:56
The rhizome end goes down in the soil.
#25 vrtlover 2009-06-10 16:30
When you cut the leaf pulling and plant it, do you put the rhizome down in the soil or up in the air with the other side in the soil?

Nice site, thx
#24 cristian nuno 2009-05-25 07:08
if i dont know anyting of how to pollinate a flower of a vens fly trap,whats the best way to cut it off if i prefer traps?
#23 demi 2009-05-17 12:50
how do you sepurate a rosette
#22 Moni 2009-04-22 20:02
Ummmm yep. Matt (i think he's my brothers teacher)based his research from my brother (blake hoggs) project. So you need to thank my brother!!! lolol no but seriously, he'd be so overwhelmed, and could likely produce myriads of more compsitions to further understand your projects if you ask him to.

Blake Hoggs Email:
blakehoggs@rocketmail.com

Thanx :P
#21 new planter 2009-03-12 22:32
I like so much for the informations regarding: leaf pullings and growth from the flower stalks, and they are very detail. its so amazing... :-) thank you for infomations. its very helpful to me.
#20 Matt 2009-02-23 15:49
Makayla,

You should ask questions in the forum. The comments section is for comments on the article. To answer your question, it generally takes anywhere from 10 days to 14 days for a trap to reopen after catching a meal. If it didn't catch anything, it will reopen in a couple days.

Matt
#19 makayla 2009-02-23 15:45
my venis fly trap is like a month old
#18 makayla 2009-02-23 15:43
ok i have this venis fly trap but i need to know how long it takes for them to open after there had a meal? i mean i've went to lots of sites but none anwsered my questions i've checked every were does any one know how long it takes so far it's been four days!:P
#17 Matt 2009-02-15 09:57
Monica,

I don't know of any sites that give greater detail than what I have written here. However, if you join the forum, you can ask any questions you have about details I am sure that I or another member on this site would be able to answer any questions that you have.

Matt
#16 monica 2009-02-15 09:22
i am doing a project for a plant propagation class where i have to write a propagation manual and i chose Venus Fly Trap. I was wondering if you could suggest some sources that would be in greater detail?
#15 Elijah Owens 2009-02-05 04:40
venus fly traps are nasty and cool because they can eat the insects for us and
#14 dave 2009-01-25 08:21
i iove this website :-)
#13 Matt 2009-01-22 13:42
I'm glad you found it helpful!
#12 Pop 2009-01-22 13:32
this was so useful, with this ill be able to bump up my science grade to an A! thx alot;-)
#11 smfiif t 2009-01-14 05:29
good information on the topic i searched
#10 tony 2009-01-12 09:36
thankyou so much for your site. my venus is about to flower and my brother in law wants a venus he is over the moon if it has babys
#9 Matt 2008-12-10 18:15
I'm happy to hear that you found the site useful! You should join the forum and tell us about the terrarium experiment in more detail.
#8 blake a. hoggs 2008-12-10 16:58
this site has been a great resource for this amazing plant im doing a experiment on "fly traps" and all the info i need is on this site thanks. its on building a terraium and testing which insect makes a venus fly trap plant grow the fastest.;-)
#7 Matt 2008-11-27 13:40
A flower won't kill a healthy plant, but if your plant's heath is marginal, letting it flower might be the death of it. You have to make a decision based on the health of the plant.

If you have any more questions, join the forum and ask there:
http://www.flytrapcare.com/phpBB3/
#6 mark_smee 2008-11-27 07:51
thanks to this website i've got my flytrap hopefully back to beening fit and healthy,this is my first try in growing one:-)
so my trap is grow a flower, ive heard that it kills the plant if i dont do something with it? shall i cut it out or leave it to died. thanks and great website
#5 Matt 2008-11-23 11:25
What are all these projects that people are doing on Venus Fly Traps?!?! I'm very interested in hearing about them. Please join the forum and tell everyone about them!
#4 Chelsey 2008-11-23 11:18
Lol This Site Helped Me Finish My Project Too ;-) Thanx A Lot
#3 Matt 2008-11-16 09:49
You're very welcome Kaya! I'd love to hear about your project. If you get a chance, you should join the forum and post about it there.
#2 Kaya 2008-11-16 08:31
Thank You!
Without this woderful website I would never be able to finish my project!
#1 ameer 2008-10-27 00:36
this web page is a very good help

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