FlytrapCare Carnivorous Plant Forums

Sponsored by

Discuss fertilization techniques here. For advanced growers only!

Moderator: Matt

By plantfreak1
Posts:  259
Joined:  Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:00 am
Hey everybody! im a total nube at growing vfts. iwas curious if u can feed VFTs plants or veggies to make them grow better. any suggestions would be appriciated.
By Dubstep13
Posts:  1165
Joined:  Sun May 22, 2011 9:15 pm
no u cant! lol feed them nothing they will be fine! put them outside and they will eat when they get hungry trust me. one night and they will be fed outside
Dubstep13 liked this
By plantfreak1
Posts:  259
Joined:  Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:00 am
couldnt it be possible to feed them types of plants with small amounts of nutrients for a method of fertilization?
By Eric
Posts:  1143
Joined:  Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:23 am
Well VFTs require further stimulation from their prey in order to complete the digestive process. Since leaves don't move when inside of the trap the plant will reject it and open again without digesting said plant material.
By dmagnan
Posts:  603
Joined:  Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:37 pm
well it's a completely different protein, lipid, and mineral profile so I'm guessing that it would either be detrimental or sort of a wash. Can I ask why you wouldn't just let them eat insects outside?

As Dubstep said, they can eat nothing and still grow, though they won't be as healthy or vigorous. But if you feed them something that's not moving (dead insects for example), you can trip the trap, and then 5 minutes later gently squeeze the traps to stimulate further closing and digestion.
dmagnan liked this
By Jaws
Posts:  1296
Joined:  Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:11 pm
Interesting idea but not one i share personally, its like some veggie owners of dogs who think its ok to try and feed them just veg.

Dogs eat meat, VFTs eat insects.
By BradR
Posts:  450
Joined:  Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:00 pm
I have had success feeding VFTs Tofu, which is soybean curd. It is high in protein and very low in fat, just like insects. It's easy to keep in the fridge and cut into small cubes of what ever size is needed. You just need to give the traps a little message to get them to seal.

BradR, BradR liked this
By Leilani Kimiko
Posts:  61
Joined:  Fri May 17, 2013 6:38 pm
I have 4 flytraps which have been on a vegetarian diet for over a year. I recently posted a comparison of wheat germ nutrients vs shrimp at ... 20351.html.

I also recently posted a photo of a plant with very large traps. It is not a special plant, just the type you buy at Home Depot. The trap was 1.05" end to end when I posted the photo. Now I have a bigger trap at least 1.1" on the same plant. It's had nothing but wheat germ and alfalfa since it came out of dormancy a few months ago.
Leilani Kimiko liked this
User avatar
By Dr GreenThumb
Posts:  457
Joined:  Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:15 pm
Fly traps were designed to eat insects and other small pray, a vegetarian fly trap is a abomination, lol
By Leilani Kimiko
Posts:  61
Joined:  Fri May 17, 2013 6:38 pm
Well, my "abominations" have had flower stalks cut off a few weeks ago and just today I noticed that 2 of the plants have new stalks. And one of the plants has 2 flower stalks the same size growing right next to each other simultaneously, so it must be pretty darn healthy.
I don't forbid them from eating insects, I just don't like doing the catching. There isn't much to catch in the house so if I'm going to experiment, and I am, then they eat what I give them. They seem to like it.
By Oblivion
Posts:  1247
Joined:  Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:32 pm
you don't feed the plant anything.

if its getting good light, pure water, and in a good media it will have very responsive traps and devote some of its energy to catching and digesting prey.

but if any one of light/water/soil are of poor quality then you'll notice the traps are sluggish or don't close, and it wont catch or digest prey. It will spend all its energy just to survive, rather than thrive
By Leo756
Posts:  764
Joined:  Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:42 pm
Leilani Kimiko wrote:Well, my "abominations" have had flower stalks cut off a few weeks ago and just today I noticed that 2 of the plants have new stalks. And one of the plants has 2 flower stalks the same size growing right next to each other simultaneously, so it must be pretty darn healthy. ... ml#p180873
By plantfreak1
Posts:  259
Joined:  Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:00 am
I think you are really onto something Leilani. This may be something as controversial as the coffee fertilizing method, but eventually more people have experimented with it and have seen results. What needs to be done is a long term test between 5 groups of similar sized and aged plants in all the same growing conditions. Group #1 would be the control with no ferts at all. Group #2 would be insects. 3 would be orchid fertilizer. 4 would be coffee. And 5 your vegetarian method. Several plants per group (10 would be great) and before and after pictures would need to be documented month to month from beginning to end for a few years. Everyone's opinions will vary, but in the end there would be physical proof of the superior method of fertilizing.
I would love to do the experiment myself, but lack the large amount of plants. I hope someone can do a similar experiment soon so we can all grow our plants the best we possibly can, but in the end, many of us became interested in these plants because of their insectivorous nature. And if we take that away then some of the novelty of having these plants is lost and they wouldn't be doing what they evolved to do.
plantfreak1 liked this
By Leilani Kimiko
Posts:  61
Joined:  Fri May 17, 2013 6:38 pm
Thank you Plantfreak for being on my side, or at least open minded enough to consider alternative ways of dong things.
You're right, a well planned experiment comparing different things would be best but due to the size and possible complexity it would need to be done by someone with a greenhouse. It would be nice if some adventurous company would donate the plants (in the name of science.) Even with things like water quantity, % humidity, light intensity, day length, soil composition and such all made identical, there would still be complicating factors because for these plants, the "food" is the fertilizer. Plus, other things besides foods can also be given as fertilizers either to the soil, the leaves or the traps. Then you have to decide which food/fertilizer you want to compare and give reasons why. So finding the ideal food or fertilizer or method of application is a very large task that would have to be greatly simplified to be do-able.

In my case, I just like to experiment and this was one of them and I'm just reporting that it has been successful. I'm not trying to push my ideas as being better than anything else, it's just that by feeding them like this they seem to be getting a good array of amino acids, vitamins and minerals, plus I don't have to deal with bugs and it's cheap and easy. 'Cause that's the kind of girl I am, haha. If I someday find something better (along with the nutrient breakdown to do a good comparison) I'll change, but for now I like wheat germ and alfalfa. I can even put the same wheat germ on my cereal in the morning and share breakfast with my plants. I'll bet nobody does that with bugs.

While we're on the subject, I don't "know" but I suspect, that fertilization through the traps is probably the best way to go since the roots are too sensitive, foliar feeding can be tricky, but the traps are meant to handle many things. So, for those who want to continue feeding their plants bugs, but also want to supplement with some kind of fertilizer, here's a suggestion. You could make a very dilute solution of your fertilizer of choice,then feed the plant your bug of choice, and before the trap sealed completely, use an eye dropper to put a small drop of fertilizer solution inside the trap with the bug. I haven't tried this, but I like the idea.
By plantfreak1
Posts:  259
Joined:  Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:00 am
I have heard of something similar before. The bug can provide the necessary stimulation to close the trap, while the ferts can provide more nutrients than the bug alone. I'm considering trying a bit of wheat germ on my next open nepenthes pitcher too. Hopefully I get some good results.
Seedlings with brown flytrap

Hi everyone! Been a while since I've posted here […]

New donation

I don't use maxsea but I use a similar 20-20-20 […]

This request is over two weeks old. If confirmatio[…]

SASE received. Order is fulfilled. Return envelope[…]

Berrybob's grow list

Updated. First heli and first tubers.

New to live sphagnum

I would just use it for the top. It would probably[…]

Insoluble Chicken Grit(Granite)

Thanks! How long have you been using it and what[…]

That's a lovely plant and a great photograph. It c[…]

Support the community - Shop at!