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Ask questions about how to grow and care for Venus Flytraps

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By Horseflesh
Posts:  10
Joined:  Thu Jun 15, 2023 8:14 pm
#436556
I have kept Venus flytraps before, but all I did before I knew better was leave them in the little pots that they came in, and over-water them. Still, they lasted about a year before croaking.

Recently, I got another plant and decided to do some actual research. I repotted the plant in a 3.5" tall plastic pot, with commercial carnivorous plant soil mix (peat moss and perlite). After doing this it began to droop and previously healthy looking stems and traps started to blacken.

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I knew the 3.5" pot was still maybe not big enough so today, a couple weeks later, I was able to rehome the plant in a 7" pot. The poor plant still looks worse than it did two weeks ago, with more browning and dying traps.

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Through this whole time the plant was kept on a covered patio facing east, with a few hours of direct morning sun. Overnight temperature has been no lower than 48F since I got the plant.

I guess my biggest question is this: Is the die-back that I see typical for rehoming the plant, or is there another problem, like overwatering?

My next biggest question is: Is it OK to keep this 7" pot in a dish with about an inch of water? If not, how should I water it?

You are going to ask about water quality. I confess I am not using distilled water, but my tap water is only 35 PPM TDS. Here's a complete water report. (I had this on hand because I brew beer, and you want these details.)

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I realized distilled is the gold standard but from my reading it also looks like people are having success with <50 PPM TDS. In any case, if my water is not ideal for long term care, is it so bad that it would kill the plant in a month, when I have kept a flytrap alive for a year in the past?

Thanks for y our help!
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By Panman
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Joined:  Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:41 pm
#436558
Some thoughts. First, what kind of light is it getting. The leaves look like it may not be getting enough light. Next, where did you get this soil? I have seen "carnivorous plant" soil that had fertilizers in it. When you wet the soil, did you mix the water in or just put the soil in the pot dry and try to add water? Peat moss needs to be mixed in order to get it to absorb water. You should be fine leaving that large pot in an inch or so of water. I see you are recycling pots. Did you wash the pots before using them? You may have fertilizer contaminating the pot.

My two biggest guesses are soil not getting wet enough, or not enough light.
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By Horseflesh
Posts:  10
Joined:  Thu Jun 15, 2023 8:14 pm
#436559
It is getting morning direct sun, but only for a few hours. It gets diffuse sun for most of the day because the patio cover is translucent. I can move it to another spot where it will get 6-8 hours of direct light, though.

The "Perfect Plants" soil mix I am using promises it has nothing else in it but moss and perlite. (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B089H2R9GZ)

When I did the first repot into the 3.5" pot, I did mix water into the potting soil in a bowl, making sure it was all moist. In today's repot I moved over the whole contents of the little pot, which was moist, into the new pot. I did NOT hydrate all the new soil since the plant moved over in a big mass of already moist soil. I thought that pouring water over plus sitting in the dish would be enough to get it hydrated quickly.

Fertilizer residue in the pot is something I had not considered! Great idea.

I'll go dump the pot, rinse it well, then make sure all the soil is rehydrated. Do you think I should give it more light now too?

If none of that helps maybe I should consider the soil contaminated by fertilizer and start over.

Thanks!
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By optique
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Posts:  1843
Joined:  Fri May 24, 2019 11:15 pm
#436561
It does look like the peat is dry. If i had to take a wild guess the plant was light starved and was moved to brighter light and it burned a little. Just by seeing the super wide stalks with burns on the edges that's what it looks like to me.
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By Horseflesh
Posts:  10
Joined:  Thu Jun 15, 2023 8:14 pm
#436562
The peat you see in the bigger pot picture above WAS dry on top, you are right... But until an hour ago, the plant had been in a smaller pot that was moist all through.

Now, the plant is in a 7" pot (which I rinsed in case it had fert residue), I mixed all the soil with water so it is evenly hydrated (not just the soil around the roots), it's in a water dish, and it's in a spot with much more sunlight.

Nothing to do now but wait, I guess!

Thanks for the help, keep your fingers crossed...

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By Panman
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Joined:  Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:41 pm
#436567
Regarding your name, here is my horseflesh. They are too busy eating to pose for the camera.
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By andynorth
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Posts:  1152
Joined:  Fri May 12, 2023 9:08 pm
#436686
I used the refrigerator dormancy for my VFT's for the first time this past year. After bringing them out they did awesome under artificial light. I messed up and placed them outdoors a little too soon and they burned and began dying off. I clipped all of the yellow and black from them, placed them back in the greenhouse under lights and they are slowly recovering. I learned a valuable lesson. Do not put them outside without acclimating them slowly to the direct sunlight.
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By wcrosman
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Posts:  393
Joined:  Thu Apr 14, 2022 2:03 am
#436690
I had issues with my last perfect plant carnivorous media purchase. It kept leaching something out. Typically 180 tds. I would flush it and a couple of days later back to 180.

No issues with the first batch I bought.

Might be worth checking.
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By Horseflesh
Posts:  10
Joined:  Thu Jun 15, 2023 8:14 pm
#436704
wcrosman wrote:I had issues with my last perfect plant carnivorous media purchase. It kept leaching something out. Typically 180 tds. I would flush it and a couple of days later back to 180.
Can you explain how you tested that? Any soil runoff seems like it would test high because it's full of particles, but I never tried it.

I'll check it out but the same bag was used for my pitcher plant a few years ago and it seems to be OK, so hopefully the soil is fine.
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By wcrosman
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Posts:  393
Joined:  Thu Apr 14, 2022 2:03 am
#436705
I flushed water through the soil of the potted sundew and captured it in a bowl every couple of weeks. After I swapped out the bad soil I haven’t had an issue with high tds after flushing.

That said if you used your bag on another plant then this is not at all likely the problem.
Horseflesh liked this
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By Horseflesh
Posts:  10
Joined:  Thu Jun 15, 2023 8:14 pm
#436775
It's been a week since I first posted and repotted. The plant looks about the same to me, but it isn't getting any worse. The biggest traps that were turning brown seem to have halted their decline.

New traps are growing, which is good I guess. (Though prior to my posting here, new traps also grew but died before maturity.)

The soil feels moist to me, but not so moist that it leaves any moisture on my skin when I poke it. You can see that some algae is growing on top so it definitely isn't dry.

The moisture meter reads 32%. It was calibrated to this specific soil but I still don't really know if that number is trustworthy or not. Once I figure out what the right moisture level is visually, it should provide a consistent reference number, though.

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My pitcher plant is happy at least!

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By Horseflesh
Posts:  10
Joined:  Thu Jun 15, 2023 8:14 pm
#441157
Time has passed and my flytrap seems to be pretty happy now, having even flowered once. I haven't given it any special care other than keeping it in the sun and making sure the tray is full of water. You can see it's been eating yellowjackets too. :D

Fall is cooling off rapidly though, and it's starting to rain a lot so I have had to move it under the patio cover to keep it from being flooded. With the sun almost gone I guess it will be time to bring it inside soon. I have a bright spot under a plant grow light prepared.

If I can keep it alive over the winter I'll try getting some seeds from the bank for next year.

Thanks for the help!
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