Is there something wrong with my flytraps?

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Is there something wrong with my flytraps?

by Kjuure » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:22 am

So mid last year i got a small venus flytrap at bunnings (Australian Hardware Store). At the time it was dormant. I'm not too sure whats happening to my flytraps but they look very different. The one in the blue pot is growing well but the traps are all bunched up on the one side of the plant and the traps have begun to grow a lot smaller. The other flytrap isn't progressing as well and is a lot smaller despite me having got them at the same time. I live in North Queensland Australia so its mid summer. Is the problem the fact that I put them in a place where they don't get consistent lighting all day? I have them on the patio so that they get sun in the morning but not in the afternoon. I put them there since it's goes as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 F). One more thing, the soil is beginning to become tightly packed since i repotted them last November. Would it be good idea to loosen the medium or should leaving it be fine? The medium is 1:1 peat moss and perlite.
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Re: Is there something wrong with my flytraps?

by Doublebass1985 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:09 pm

There not getting enough light at first, yes I would break up the media. I would guess it's from the freezing and thawing during winter time did that? Or it's just too dry cuz your media looks very dry. You might be able to put them outside in thE weather with a tray underneath it.

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Re: Is there something wrong with my flytraps?

by SundewWolf » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:02 pm

They don't look too bad, but yes, they aren't getting enough light and the soil looks problematic. When peat compacts like that it also turns hydrophobic, so now when you water I suspect it doesn't really absorb properly, just runs through quickly or around the sides. I would probably repot with some sphagnum moss mixed in if you want to reuse the substrate (usually perlite is recommended to keep the soil from compacting but in your climate the increase in perlite would probably put the vft at a high risk of drying out). The sphagnum will hold water better while at the same time preventing compaction of the peat. You could also just plant in straight sphagnum moss and keep it in a shallow water tray, VFT's seem to grow way better in sphagnum than in peat.

If you're not swapping the soil for sphagnum, and keeping this soil, I would try to give it a good soak to re-hydrate the peat throughout the pot. Repotting can be stressful for them in the middle of summer, so instead of dumping everything out of the pot and stirring it up, you could also try to just take a stick/pen/screwdriver and poke a few holes around the soil... even stir it a bit to form channels (VFT roots grow straight down so you won't damage anything unless you're poking right by the rhizome) and give it a good shower to soak that soil like crazy. You could also just try to put it in a bucket and fill it with water up to just below the rim of the pot and keep it soaking there for the day.

Also: clay pots are usually not recommended unless they are glazed. The nature of the terra-cotta makes the substrate dry out faster and it can also leech minerals.
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Re: Is there something wrong with my flytraps?

by tommyr » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:33 pm

That soil looks REALLY dry. And I agree they're not getting enough light. And they never will indoors.

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Re: Is there something wrong with my flytraps?

by bananaman » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:56 pm

45°C is really hot for flytraps. They do probably need more light, but when they’re that hot they simply don’t color up very well and don’t look that healthy.

Here’s what I mean when I say they don’t color up great when it’s hot. This photo is from April 28th. The average high over the prior two weeks was 30.3°C and the average low was 14.9°C.

This photo is from July 11th. The average high over the previous two weeks was 36°C and the average low was 23.8°C.

My flytraps were received about 2 hours more sunlight every day in July than they are in April, yet the coloration was significantly worse. That’s because of heat. 45°C is a lot hotter than that. Every year, my flytraps get bad coloration in the summer, yet we only get 4 or 5 days a year over 40°C (but we do get 65-70 days a year over 35°C).

Inside, they won’t really get enough light. But outside, they will need shade in the afternoon with that kind of heat. Even 35°-40°C for long periods of time is enough to severely stress flytraps in the summer if they get afternoon sun.

Your soil is quite dry. I use a peat:perlite mix instead of sphagnum because of cost and because I find LFS is much harder to keep wet in the summer. I did get slightly better results worth LFS, but I also killed several because they dried out stupid fast once their water tray evaporated. Peat based media stays moist for longer after that happens in my experience, which is beneficial in a dry climate.

Unfortunately, peat based media is really, really hard to rehydrate after it dries out. If you grow in peat based media, it’s crucial you don’t let the medium dry out enough to get hydrophobic. I’d probably unpot them and re-mix the soil so it can be re-hydrated.

You might be having an issue with them drying out because of terracotta pots. Those are great for plants that don’t like to stay very wet, but especially when it’s hot, unglazed terracotta pots dry out way, way faster than glazed pots or plastic pots. And that’s not mentioning the issue you might have with minerals seeping out from the clay.

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