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Ask questions about how to grow and care for Venus Flytraps

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By xr280xr
Posts:  2805
Joined:  Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:29 pm
#265437
This is probably one of the most common questions asked here and I'd like to suggest a sticky be added with a comprehensive answer to it. It doesn't have to be this post, but here is my attempt:

"Should I cut off my venus flytrap's flower stalk?"
The answer is there is no right or wrong answer. It's up to you! But here are some factors to consider to aid in making your decision:

Do you want seeds?
Probably the most important question to ask yourself first is, "do I want seeds?" If the answer is no, then it is in the best interest of your plant to cut off the flower stalk. Growing flowers and seeds uses quite a bit of energy. This is something that is often overstated. It's not like the plant is going to commit suicide just to bloom and grow seeds. It's just that if you snip off a flower stalk, your plant can put that energy towards growing more and/or larger traps over the growth season!

If your plan is to grow flytraps from seeds, make sure you're up for for it before committing to letting your plant bloom. Some good news: VFTs can self-pollinate (help them out with a small paintbrush!) and the seeds do not require a cold stratification period. But VFTs grow from seeds very slowly and will be very tiny for the first couple years. After a year, the average VFT rosette will be only around the diameter of a penny (2 cm). It can be 3, 4, 5 years or more until a seed-grown VFT reaches it's maximum size. Also, did you know seeds aren't the only way you can grow new plants using a flower stalk? More on that shortly.

Another thing to consider is that flowers don't guarantee you'll get seeds. I've tried to get seeds from Botanical Wonders (death cube) plants at least 3 times and have failed to get any seeds. Certain cultivars (especially some of the really funky looking ones) have deformed flower parts and are not capable of pollination.

"Will allowing my VFT to bloom harm it?"
As mentioned before, this threat is often overstated. Blooming only poses a threat to a flytrap that is already in poor health or otherwise very weak, which is frequently the case for beginners. An unhealthy flytrap is usually better off devoting all of its energy to recovery. For this reason, if you're a new grower and possibly don't yet have a keen enough eye to know whether your flytrap is in less than good health, it might be best to snip off the flower stalk(s) for your first growing season or two. I promise, you will have another chance to see those flowers!

"How do I care for a flowering VFT?"
Venus flytraps don't require any special care while flowering! Continue following the care instructions given on Flytrapcare.com including as much direct sun as possible.

"What if it's fall?"
Sometimes venus flytraps will send up flower stalks in the Fall. It's usually best for your plant to cut these off because the cold of winter usually comes and prevents them from flowering or setting seeds.

"What if I just want to see the flowers?"
This is a perfectly fine reason to let your VFT flower! It will frequently be shot down by us long-time growers because we've seen flowers before and we like our plants to be as big and luscious as possible by Fall. VFTs will often grow from a new, or multiple new growth points after they have finished flowering and these plants will initially be somewhat small. Other times they will resume growing normally just less vigorously than they would have had they not grown the flowers. If you're ok with that, then go for it!

"How and when do I cut the flower stalk?"
If you decide to cut off your flower stalk, the sooner you do the less energy your plant has wasted on a part you're going to just cut off. However, flower stalks are capable of being planted and growing a clone of your plant so you can wait until its 1-2 inches long to give the stalk a better chance of surviving. Try to cut it, with a sterile tool, as far down towards the plant as possible. I like to use little pocket knife scissors. Sometimes there will be new traps also emerging around the flower stalk so be careful not to cut them off. You can then stick the cut end of the flower stalk into soil and wait for weeks-months for new plantlets to sprout. I've found damp sphagnum moss and high humidity to be the most successful but many growers simply place it in the soil next to the parent plant whatever the medium may be. Thicker flower stalks (3-4 mm) also seem to have greater success than thinner ones. In a successful case, you will probably see much of the flower stalk turn black starting at the top, but you'll know it's going to succeed when that blackening stops progressing and part of the stalk remains green. Then its just a matter of patience. There are many other threads in this forum with tips on getting a strike from a cut flower stalk.
xr280xr, xr280xr, xr280xr and 5 others liked this
By Big-Jack
Posts:  349
Joined:  Sun Jun 12, 2016 7:46 pm
#265481
Thanks for the advice. I always cut my flower stalks off as soon as they appear and throw them away on rhizome plants (like rhubarb) because they will concentrate all of their stored energy that year on reproduction instead of growth. Once they flower and make seed the mother plant is pretty much drained and done growing for the season. If my VF's send up flower stalks again next year I will cut them off and stick them in the soil like you say. If they grow a new plant, great ! If they just rot away in they ground I not really out anything since they would have been pitched anyhow.
By VFTom
Posts:  3
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:02 pm
#267483
Hi all,

I've inserted below a picture of my Venus Fly Trap and having read this article, I'd be grateful of any advice about what I should do with the flower stalks.

This is my first ever VFT so after (accidentally) letting the two stalks flower, I'm quite surprised that it's still alive! What I'd like to know is, would it be okay to carefully cut the stalks at the base to get rid of them. The white flowers died and turned black a few weeks ago now, but the stalks still seem healthy. Healthy or not though, I think it would look better and be easier for me if I were to get rid of the stalks. They look ridiculous :lol:

Any thoughts?

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By Matt
Location: 
Posts:  22266
Joined:  Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:28 pm
#267484
VFTom wrote:Any thoughts?
Those flower stalks are already on their way out now. Best to leave them on the plants until they turn completely black and shrivel up. Flytraps definitely get a boost from the re-absorption of nutrients from the flower stalks.
Matt, momchi liked this
By VFTom
Posts:  3
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:02 pm
#267486
Matt wrote:
VFTom wrote:Any thoughts?
Those flower stalks are already on their way out now. Best to leave them on the plants until they turn completely black and shrivel up. Flytraps definitely get a boost from the re-absorption of nutrients from the flower stalks.
Thanks, Matt, for your prompt reply! Any idea on how long that might take? 2-3 more weeks perhaps? I guess it would be kind of interesting to watch them shrivel. Cheers.
By VFTom
Posts:  3
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:02 pm
#267489
Matt wrote:
VFTom wrote:Thanks, Matt, for your prompt reply! Any idea on how long that might take? 2-3 more weeks perhaps?
Hard to say, but I'd say that's a good guess :)
As I said, it's my first and only VFT so it's nothing more than a guess! Thanks again :)
By coorkie
Posts:  4
Joined:  Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:12 am
#283876
So... My King Henrys haven't produced buds nor flowers (which I wouldnt mind if they did tbh), just stalks... They've been in dormancy (I live in Northern California) and have grown these stalks while dormant.. Will these stalks sprout buds at the ends (Id love to have seeds of these babies) or should I just cut them?

The actual traps have sprouted because of the recent weather (they've been getting lots and lots of rain water what w/ the crazy recent rain storms/floods up here) until I finally decided to move them inside a week or so ago.

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By Branmuffin
Posts:  394
Joined:  Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:29 pm
#283877
This is about the 2nd strangest thing I have seen involving a VFT....

Are you sure that's not something else growing right next to the VFT? That does not look like a flower stalk and I surely have never seen one grow a dozen stalks off a small plant like that.
By coorkie
Posts:  4
Joined:  Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:12 am
#283878
Branmuffin wrote:This is about the 2nd strangest thing I have seen involving a VFT....

Are you sure that's not something else growing right next to the VFT? That does not look like a flower stalk and I surely have never seen one grow a dozen stalks off a small plant like that.
Oh really? Maybe I got a weird plant lol. Well its growing straight out the middle of the plant so Im just assuming its coming from the same roots as the vft! and when I wiggle the stalks at the base (i was trying to see if I could trim them off/uproot them) it seems like the whole plant, baby sproutlings included, kinda wiggle with it.. So I just have no idea :?

Wait what was the 1st strange thing? Now, Im curious..
By MichaelGuardian
Posts:  278
Joined:  Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:45 am
#283892
coorkie wrote:So... My King Henrys haven't produced buds nor flowers (which I wouldnt mind if they did tbh), just stalks... They've been in dormancy (I live in Northern California) and have grown these stalks while dormant.. Will these stalks sprout buds at the ends (Id love to have seeds of these babies) or should I just cut them?

The actual traps have sprouted because of the recent weather (they've been getting lots and lots of rain water what w/ the crazy recent rain storms/floods up here) until I finally decided to move them inside a week or so ago.

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That is pretty weird, it looks like someone cut off the ends of the flower stalk. Are you sure that it is in fact a vft?
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