Venus fly traps!

The musings of Carnivorous Plant addicts!

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So...my passion for venus flytraps started a couple of years ago when I saw a big and beautiful VFT at a friends house. I went home and started to search on the net about this plants...The next day I went to a local garden centre and bought three typicals, repotted them and waited to see if they would survive. In about a week new traps started to grow and I was happy like a child :-)))  My only problem was that in my country the dionaea typical is the only type you can get...thank god for the internet. I found the VFT Shop and Chris Klein site and started to buy different clones, then I found some forums and started to swap plants...it's fun to get in touch with people that have the same passion and to  exchange experineceswith them. Well last sunday was repotting day for my plant. Thei're all stil dormant and without their original colouration. I can't wait warmer days when the dormancy will finish and the plants will develope bigger leaves and traps and thir amazing colouration.  Here you have the photos of my babies:  akai ryu  all red  B52  big mouth  bohemian garnet (red sawtooth)     claytons volcanic red cudo clumping cultivar cupped trap  dentate dingley giant dracula F3  fused tooth  gold strike  olive green purple giant red burgundy red cupped trap red fused petiole red line red piranha  red road/oxford  rouge sombre  royal red UK sawtooth I UK sawtooth II  wacky traps   An now...there are approx. a hundreed baby dionaeas of all types waiting for me to plant them (I've recived the package from the VFT shop today...but they'll wait untill tomorrow to be potted because I don't have time today- they're so little and it'll take a lot of time to plant them...) I'll post the photos in the next days :-)    
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Today is February 14th and I made my first tissue culture attempt on November 18th, so it's been a few months now since I made my first attempt at tissue culture.  I learned quite a bit and had moderate success germinating seeds in vitro, but explants are a different story.  Micropropagation is quite hard!  All of my explants were unsuccessful because the plant material died.  Here are the sterilization techniques that I used:For seeds:1) 10% bleach for 15 minutes2) Rinse in sterile water3) Transfer to media For tissue:1) Dip the cutting in the 90% alcohol quickly. Hold it above the alcohol to let any excess drain.2) Drop the cutting in 3% peroxide for 2 minutes3) Drop the cutting in 10% bleach mix for 15 minutes4) Drop the cutting in sterile water for 10 minutes5) Drop the cutting in 2% PPM (plant preservative mixture) solution for 30 to 60 minutes6) Transfer to media  Things I learned from my first attempt at tissue culture: PPM (plant preservative mixture) is toxic to small Dionaea explants at 2% concentration.  I'm fairly certain that a 30 to 60 minute soak in 2% PPM is what killed my explants and caused extreme phenolic oxidation.  However, it could also have been that I over sterilized the tissue. Seeds are quite easy to sterilize.  I had no contamination of Dionaea seed and only minimal contamination of Sarracenia seed. Something that I did prevented nearly all of the Dionaea seed from germinating.  My guess is one of four things: 1) The overnight soak in Gibberellic Acid (GA3) prior to doing the sterilization wasn't good. 2) The fact that the media I sowed the seed on was a little too hard which prevented the seeds from soaking up the nutrients in the media. 3) The seed wasn't viable to begin with. 4) I over sterilized them (not likely). Well, after waiting for months, I've only had 3 out of 30 Dionaea seeds germinate and they just germinated within the last couple of weeks (sometime near the end of January).  After seeing how well hackerberry's (Jun) in vitro seedlings are doing after replating, I'm planning on replating mine in the next couple of days.  I just wanted to take some photos now for a bookmark.  Here they are:  A germinated Dionaea Seed:Another Dionaea seedling:One More: And onto the Sarrs.  Here is some Dana's Delight seedlings: and two shots of my best two jars of Sarracenia oreophila: Hope you enjoyed the photos!  Next time you see these little guys, they'll be in new cultures on new media and hopefully growing like crazy!
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Well, now that some of my plants have started growing again and some of them actually put up flower stalks, I decided to go ahead and make my second attempt at tissue culture with new explants.  I made my second attempt on February 11th, 2009. Last time I did tissue culture, back in November 2008, I created the media, gathered the explants and did all of the sterilization in the same day.  It was way too much work.  So this time I decided to make the media one day and do the explant gathering and sterilizing the next day.  It worked out really well!  I made the media on Monday, February 9th and then gathered the explants, did the sterilization, and put them in vitro on Tuesday, February 10th.  Breaking it up into two days made things much easier. This time I actually made 3 liters of media and each batch was slightly different.  All of them had 1/3 Murashige & Skoog (MS) because I used one 1L packet and split it evenly between 3 1L containers.  Also, each liter had 20g of table sugar.  Other than those similarities, all of the other ingredients were different.  Below is a summary of them.  I used one drop of food coloring this time in two of the 3 liters to be able to tell them apart: Blue formula--------------------- 1/3 MS 2 Tablespoons sugar 1 ml BAP pH = 5.6 Yellow formula--------------------- 1/3 MS 2 Tablespoons sugar 1 ml PPM 5 ml BAP 0.25 ml IBA pH = 5.6 Clear formula--------------------- 1/3 MS 2 Tablespoons sugar 1 ml PPM pH = 5.6 I put 50ml of each formula into baby food jars until there was no media left to distribute.  Then I added one level measuring spoon "pinch" of agar to the jar, capped it, and then put it in the pressure cooker.  After bringing the pressure cooker up to full pressure, which is 15PSI, I leave it going for 30 minutes and then turn off the heat.  I do 30 minutes because I live in Boulder, Colorado where the elevation is 5300 feet above sea level.  At sea level, I would do 25 minutes. After letting the pressure cooker come back to near room temperature, I remove the jars one at a time and swirl them sufficiently to make sure the agar is evenly distributed throughout the media.  Then I put them in the fridge to cool and solidify. This time the media turned out darn near perfect!  I was very happy with myself on that point. In addition to the media, there were several other things that I ran through the pressure cooker in order to sterilize.  These items include: Pint size jar half full with H2O2 3 pint sized jars of 10% bleach 3 pint sized jars of sterilized water 5 tall baby food jars with sterilized water forceps, scalpel, and wire for sowing seeds All of these items were left in the pressure cooker overnight and carried into the sterile working area the next morning just before I started sterilizing the explants.  The forceps, scalpel and wire were placed in 91% alcohol to keep them sterile. In order to gather the explants, I decided to repot my oldest Venus Flytraps that were growing the most this early in the year.  Most of them were already putting out significant growth and some of them had quite large flower stalks.  I gathered a couple dozen or so of the newest, largest leaves from the plants and all of the flower stalks that had grown, which was about 6 flower stalks. When gathering them, I gently pulled the leaves and flower stalks all the way down to the bottom of the rhizome and then off.  One of the flower stalks was already nearly 6 inches tall!  It is important to note that these plants had been indoors since October with the exception of a few days that were very mild and I put them outside.  Gathering tissue that grew indoors gives you a significant sterile advantage to tissue growing outdoors.  Outdoor tissue is much dirtier and therefore harder to sterilize.  Also, all of the tissue was at most 4 weeks old, another advantage when it comes to easier sterilization. This time I decided to leave the explants much larger than I did in my first tissue culture attempt.  The first time, I cut the explants into 1.5cm to 2cm, or 1/2" to 3/4", pieces. This time, I left all of the leaves the same size they were except I removed all of the traps.  The flower stalks I cut into 3cm to 4cm, or 1" to 1.5", pieces. Here are the sterilization procedures that I used:For leaves==========1) Wash thoroughly in soapy water with my hands and made sure free of all dirt, etc.2) Rinse under running water (about 30 minutes) with a mason jar with cheese cloth on top placed under sink.3) Transfer to bowl and carry to work area.4) 5 minutes in H2O25) 10 minutes in 10% bleach (6 minutes for small pieces)6) 5 minutes rinse in sterile water For flower stalks=================Identical to above except 6 minutes in 10% bleach instead of 10 minutes. If the pieces of tissue were small, I would soak them for less than 10 minutes.  This sterilization technique seemed to work well.  After 4 days in vitro, the explants are still very green and healthy looking.  In fact, it appears that the flower stalks are actually bending toward the light! Today is Saturday and I put the explants in vitro on Tuesday.  I can't see any contamination yet, but I can see some phenolic oxidation on a few of the explants, but it's not terribly severe like it was the first time I tried tissue culture.  I am VERY optimistic this time about getting an explant to take!  So here are some photos that I took today (Saturday) after 4 days in vitro: You can see some cloudiness around the base of the leaf in photo 2.  That is phenolic oxidation, or sometimes called phenolic bleeding.  It is also apparent in the last photo directly above.  However, it's not that bad in either case and those are the worst two cases I have of it this time.  I think this bodes well! I'm planning on leaving the cultures in the dark until Tuesday.  That will be one week after I put them in vitro.  Then I'll move them to my terrarium which is on a 16 hour photoperiod.  I sure hope that I get ONE of these explants to take!  I'll post again soon with any further updates. UPDATES:February 20th Update
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Well, at least I think it is a huge pitcher. I've had my Nepenthes sanguinea since March of last year.  In the time that I've had it, it's put out about 7 pitchers.  Most of them were about 4 to 5 inches, but this latest one is over 7 inches long!  Have a look: I think that's pretty big and I'm pretty excited about it!
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Proud new mommy of a vft and am excited to meet you all and learn all i can for my new little guy.   Wish me luck! Thanx, ~Teen
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Hi Everyone! I woke up this morning and discovered that Winter is still here.  These are some pictures that I took.      This is the backyard really getting hit hard right now!
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Wheee~ Spring will soon arrive, and I'm getting a new plant! It's a cupped venus flytrap. I read some comments, and I thought it'd be a good idea to buy one from this site:  http://cobraplant.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=25_11&products_id=68   So, apparently, it will be shipped tomorrow, and hopefully arrive on Tuesday. I am very eager to see it. :D But, regardless of my happiness, one of my friends thought it'd be a good idea to ask Matt, since his cupped V.F.T. is currently not doing anything. So.. Wish me luck!!   Carolyn
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Posted by on in MyBlog
As I repotted my plant I found that I had three seperate plants.  All I hope now is that they will survive in the Sphagnum Moss I potted them in.  
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I am just now starting my carnivorous plant collection, but there really aren't that many good websites out there. The ones that are easy to find have bad plants and some of them don't exist at all! They are just frauds. Thanks to a few suggestions, I'm going to rate the websites I've ordered from based on experience. If you would like to add anything about experiences with a particular website, please leave a comment and I'll figure it in! Websites will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5. A website with a score of 0 means that they did not communicate and the plants were not received. The websites are in order from best to worst.

Criteria
1) Plant health upon arrival
2) Plant size
3) Shipment speed
4) Seller communication

US Websites Ratings
www.flytrapranch.com: 5 of 5
www.kyleskillerplants.com: 4 of 5
www.flytrapshop.com: 4 of 5
www.connerscarnivores.com: 4 of 5
www.californiacarnivores.com: 4 of 5
www.dangerousplants.com: 4 of 5
www.bugbitingplants.com: 3 of 5
www.flytraps.com: 1 of 5
www.tropicalcarnivorousplants.com: 0 of 5

Australian Websites Ratings
www.triffidpark.com.au: 4 of 5

Canadian Websites Ratings
www.keehnscarnivores.com: 4 of 5

Hello everyone! Since my dear friend Linton gave me feedback on one of his favorite Australia based sites, I thought it might be time for an update! I transplanted my plants back into their terrarium a bit earlier than I should have, but now that I'm finished with that,I'll start ordering and rating sites for you again.

 Keep in mind, I only rate US websites, so if there is a website that is not a US based nursery, please leave a comment with your ratings and I'll include them in the ratings list. 

My next plant endeavor will be a butterwort from www.hortusb.com. Once I've decided on the specific variety and have placed my order for my lovely new butterwort, I'll update here again.

 Until then, trust the ratings of the community here and order as you see fit!

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Hello everyone! There are a few good things going on at the moment, the one I feel most excited about is that Mordecai (my bedridden drosera venusta) has begun it's new life! There is a small leafling growing in the empty pot where sphagnum moss has begun to thrive in my terrarium. Gweneveire and Beauregard are thriving at the moment. They are beginning to spread across my terrarium as we speak. For those of you who don't know, Gweneveire and Beauregard are a small bundle of drosera spatulata 'frasier island form' and drosera capensis 'alba'. The root cutting that I removed from Vladimir has yet to sprout which I find a bit disappointing. I was hoping that I could have a successful baby VFT growing, but I'm new to this. When I first received Lorraine and Radcliffe, they weren't in that great of a condition (neither was Gweneveire and Beauregard mind you) Radcliffe has many sticky pads available to him now. He is yet another drosera spatulata 'frasier island form' received in a postal mishap. Lorraine is dying I think...Before she completely disappears from her lovely place I might have to transplant her to a pot for safe keeping. I hope she gaines her health back soon.  I'm thinking of ordering a butterwort soon. it would be a nice addition to my terrarium. I guess I will just have to wait and see how my money situation works out. I have a bit of money in my bank account, but it might be spent on concert garb or something of the sort. If you would like to see photos of my babies of late, please follow the link: http://flesh-cladmonster.deviantart.com/gallery/#Plant-Babies
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This is my Venus Fly-Trap 3 weeks after a got it from a Garden centre.  Its in its dormancy at the moment.  If anyone knows, please can you tell me the species of this plant?   
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  This was my Mutant plant but now its turned into a Pip-Squeak because of it domrancy period.  Hopefully it will make a bigger come back in the Spring of 2009!!  
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On December 10th, I got some new Dionaea to add to my slowly growing collection.  I am now the proud owner of the following Dionaea cultivars: 'Clayton's Red Sunset' " Crested Petioles", "Gold Strike" and 'Royal Red'  "Cross Teeth" "Long Red Fingers" and "Pink Venus" All of the plants were in the middle of their growing season when I received them, but since it is the middle of dormancy here, I wasn't sure what to do with them.  I decided to go ahead and put them on my unheated, south-facing porch with the rest of my plants that are in dormancy.  I'm hoping that they aren't too shocked by this and that they come back in the srping time.  I'm pretty excited about expanding my Dionaea collection and I can't wait for spring to arrive to start watching the growth patterns of these new plants.  Also, I'll probably order some more plants in the spring time and that will be even more exciting!
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Well, I have successfully started seedlings in vitro now.  For those of you who don't know what tissue culture is or what in vitro means, tissue culture is growing plants in containers where disease and pests can't get to them.  In vitro literally means "in glass." On November the 18th, I made my first attempt at sterilizing Dionaea plant tissue and seeds along with s 3 species of Sarracenia seeds. I am using the kit ordered from Dr. Carol Stiff's website: Kitchen Culture Kits.  Basically I followed the instructions for preparation of the media except that for carnivorous plants, the media needs to be at half strength.  The media formula is: 1) 1 liter of distilled water2) 1 packet of standard Murashige and Skoog (MS) Once I have all of this mixed together thoroughlly, I pour 500ml into another container and add the following to each container:3) 500ml of distilled water4) 2 tablespoons of table sugar5) 1.5ml of PPM6) 3ml of BAP (leave out for seeds)7) enough baking soda or vinegar to get the PH to between 5.6 and 5.7This creates a 50% MS mixture. Sarracenia seed needs to be stratified.  In order to avoid a 4 week stratification period, I used Gibberellic Acid or GA3.  I soaked the seed in GA3 for 24 hours prior to sterilizing.  I also did this with the Dionaea seed just to test it out. I was very successful at sterlizing the seeds with only 3 jars contaminated out of 30 or so, or about 10% contamination.  I was a little less successful at sterilizing the Dionaea tissue and had about 20% contamination there.  However, after a month, it appears that I might have over-sterilized the Dionaea tissue that wasn't contaminated.  Nearly all of it looks black now with little to no sign of life.  I'll probably leave it in the containers for another month to see what happens, but I'm not hopeful.  Below are my sterilization techniques for this first attempt. For seeds:1) 10% bleach for 15 minutes2) 2% peroxide for 2 to 3 minutes3) Rinse in sterile water4) Transfer to media For tissue:1) Dip the cutting in the 90% alcohol quickly. Hold it above the alcohol to let any excess drain.2) Drop the cutting in 3% peroxide for 2 minutes3) Drop the cutting in 10% bleach mix for 15 minutes4) Drop the cutting in sterile water for 10 minutes5) Drop the cutting in 2% PPM (plant preservative mixture) solution for 60 minutes6) Transfer to media I think my downfall in the sterilization of the tissue that lead to tissue death was that I let it soak too long in the PPM (plant preservative mixture).  I know that some people that do Dionaea tissue culture don't use PPM at all.  Next time I think I'll cut the PPM soak time in at least half.  I'll probably shoot for a PPM soak between 20 and 30 minutes. I got the majority of my seed from the International Carnivorous Plant Society seed bank.  I got 1 packet of S. leucophylla "Hurricane Creek White", one packet of S. oreophila and one packet of Dionaea muscipula.  I also had a Sarracenia "Dana's Delight" that flowered this year and produced a ton of seed I placed all of the tissue culture vessels 4 inches under grow lights in my terrarium.  Within two weeks of placing the seeds in vitro, I noticed that some of the "Dana's Delight" seeds were starting to germinate.  It's been over a month now and quite a few of the "Dana's Delight" seeds have germinated, but not much else has happened.  I've noticed one oreophila seed germinated and nothing else.  No leucophylla or Dionaea seed has germinated yet.  It might be a little early still.  I'm now wondering if the seed from the ICPS seed bank was old.  I harvested the "Dana's Delight" seed myself, so I know that it is fresh.  It could be that the ICPS seed was over a year old.  I hope not. In any case, below are a few photos of the "Dana's Delight" seed and one of the oreophila. Not that you could actually tell at this point, but the first 3 photos are of "Dana's Delight" and the last one is of the lone oreophila seed that germinated:  A "Dana's Delight" seed that I accidentally sowed too deep in the media:  Another "Dana's Delight" seed that germinated. Below is an oreophila seed germinating.  The only one so far.
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Sometime in July I snipped off a couple of flower stalks from my 'Cupped Trap' plants.  I cut them into pieces and stuck them in some peat moss topped dressed with long fibered sphagnum moss and put them in my terrarium.  This is what those flower stalks look like right now: There is also another piece of flower stalk laying flat on the moss, and it show signs of nubs starting, but it hasn't produced any leaf growth yet.  This seems to be the case to me.  In my experience, the flower stalks that are stuck upright in the ground in the same manner that they were growing on the plant produce leaf growth the quickest. I also took some pullings from my 'Sawtooth' and 'Fused Tooth' plants back in October when I repotted them.   I basically pulled off any traps that were turning black.  I pulled them off as best as I could all the way down to the base of the rhizome.  Any white part of the rhizome that was attached, I snipped off and put in some long fibered sphagnum moss and stuck in my terrarium.  After a couple month in the terrarium, here's what I see: That's just 3 pices of plant tissue that are showing growth.  It's pretty cool to see that coming off of plant tissue that you would normally just throw away!
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I just want to show everyone what I'm doing with some of my spare Dionaea for Winter Dormancy. I have then outside, against the wall, wrapped in bubble wrap and covered with pine needles. They have been this way since we got our first frost in late September. So far so good! The plants don't look too good because they are in a deep dormancy but they are surviving.  I live in zone 6 Northern Arizona  and our nighttime temps get into the low teens and that is why my Dionaea are wrapped in bubble wrap and covered with pine needles.As the months progress, it should get into the single digits and I hope my Dionaea make it? I have 6 typicals and 2 Red Piranhas in the pot. Giovanni
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I made a trade recently with a friend and I got two new clones. They are so cute! I got a Venus Fly Trap 'Royal Red' plant, two Venus Fly Trap "Maroon" plants and two typical Venus Flytrap plants. Here is a photo of all of them in their new home:   The 'Royal Red' is in the lower left corner, the right side of the pot is both of the "Maroon" plants and then the two typicals are planted really close together in the top left corner.  I'm so happy to have new plants!
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Well, dormancy has for sure set in now. There are a lot of traps dying back on my plants and they look pretty sad. Below are some photos of them.   Notice all of the black traps. Pretty sad looking, huh? Just a month ago they were so beautiful, now they look like they're dying. Such is the life of a Venus Fly Trap! Well, since I didn't want to look at all of the black death, I decided to do some trimming. Here are some before and after shots: Actually in this first photo above, I had already trimmed up the 4 plants on the left side of the container starting with the lower left plant. The above photo was taken a couple of weeks after the trimming. I haven't done any trimming since that first trimming session. As you can see, there isn't much more foliage turning black since they were trimmed 2 weeks ago. I think it's interesting to note that within a span of 4 weeks or so starting at the beginning of October to the beginning of November, nearly all of the dying back and blackening of the plants occurred. Since the first of November, not much more dying back has happened. It seems like the onset of dormancy hits the plants hard for a month or so, then they go into a phase where they don't change much. The blackening actually started sometime in September, but accelerated rapidly during the month of October. Now I'll be counting down the days until spring arrives. Last year, my plants started showing new growth in February. I hope that it starts that early again this coming spring. Especially since my new hobby of tissue culture requires new growth to harvest in order to have success!
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I thought I would show some photos of seedlings from seed that I sowed back in mid-August and also some shots of my dormancy set up. During dormancy, I keep my plants on an unheated south facing porch. If the sun warms it up too much, I will keep the windows open, but usually it's pretty cool out there with temperatures between 30F and 60F, which is perfect for dormancy. If you look at the weather in Wilmington, North Carolina (where Dionaea are native to), the average high in December is 60F and the average low is 38F. And in January, the average high is 56F and the average low is 36F. The temperatures on my unheated porch match the averages in Wilmington, NC well. Here's what it looks like: I also have some plants on the floor because I ran out of windowsill room (as you can see).
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I let all nearly all of my typical Venus Fly Traps flower and produce seed this year. I didn't realize how much seed this would produce! I didn't actually hand count it, but I had to have somewhere around 2000 seeds. I couldn't decide what to do with all of the Dionaea muscipula seed that I harvested this summer. I sowed about half of it immediately and put it in my terrarium. Those seedlings look great now. I considered sending some of it to the International Carnivorous Plant Society seed bank, but they typically have a ton of Dionaea seed. I thought about giving it away, but I never advertised it. In the end, I decided to sow it as well. Now I have what I would guess to be well over a thousand seedlings (I'd say 90% of the seed germinated) that I planted at various times. Below are some photos of the ones I planted last: In the above photo, I like how they look like they're wearling little black hats because of the seed pods on them. Above is one of the more quickly growing seedlings. All of the little green specks are seedlings! There are a few seedlings there huh?
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