Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:29 pm
"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.
S. leuco "H.C. White"
D. muscipula: "Microdent", "Dentate"
C. follicularis: Hummer's Giant