Researcher John Gottman published an article about the “four horsemen” of the human relationship apocalypse, those being the things people do in a relationship that both create illness in relationships, and indicate that there are problems. They are: Criticism, Defensiveness, Stonewalling, and Contempt, with the last one being the most indicative that things are not going well.
It got me thinking, what are the 4 Horsemen of your relationship with your Venus Flytrap? In other words, what are the worst ways to treat a Venus Flytrap that will lead to its demise?
Here’s what I came up with:
1. Denial (of authentic Venus Fly Trap needs)
Many people really super want their Venus Flytrap to be a swamp plant because that’s how it’s been imagined to them in the media. But it is SO not. And if you provide your Flytrap with swamp-like conditions, like constant water immersion, darkness or poor light, and little air movement, you are surely triggering one of the 4 Horsemen of the Venus Flytrap Apocalypse. Denial of a Flytrap’s authentic needs isn’t helping anyone in the long run. Venus Flytraps are NOT swamp plants, please release into the ether this very interesting but very inaccurate representation.
2. Unrealistic Expectations (of Venus Fly Traps)
Probably due to “Little Shop of Horrors”, a lot of people think that Venus Flytraps are very large plants. And that they talk, and eat people. No, just kidding on the last one, ha. Anyway, Venus Flytraps are very small plants, even at their most mature generally growing to be 5″ wide or tall, with 1.75-2″ traps.
If you are expecting your Venus Flytrap to grow larger than it naturally will, you might try some dangerous stuff, like fertilizer, which of course has minerals that will kill a Venus Flytrap. Some people who are super-experts can apply tiny bits of fertilizer to help a Flytrap grow, but all you’re doing is speeding up growth a little bit; the Flytrap will grow to the same size on its own, just in a bit longer time period. No need to sprinkle it with death-dust aka fertilizer. Even if you do fertilize intelligently and it works, you’ve now got to re-pot sooner, because the minerals toxify the growing medium much faster.
If you can appreciate the realistic size and growth of a Venus Flytrap, you and your Flytrap(s) will be happier and healthier.
3. Inattentiveness (ignoring your Venus Fly Trap for too long)
Just like in any relationship, if you ignore your Venus Flytrap for too long, you could miss signs about what it needs and what’s happening with it, how it’s doing. Venus Flytraps will tell you what’s happening with them, in plant-speak.
For example, if their foliage is getting thinned out and weak, they’re not getting enough UV light, and outdoors is about the only place you can get the unfiltered UV light they need. If your Venus Flytrap starts getting funky new growth that is stunted or in odd shapes, it is telling you that it needs a re-pot, or possibly miticide. If it won’t grow up and outward, it is telling you it is potted incorrectly, too low below the surface, and the traps can’t come out like they should. And if you’re not paying attention, you might miss that your Flytrap needs more water, or less water, or a re-pot, or more sunshine.
Just like in relationships with humans, if you pay attention to the needs of your Venus Flytrap, you will be rewarded right back with a happy healthy companion that/who can give back to you. The circle of attention-life!
4. Overattentiveness (helicopter-parenting your Venus Fly Trap)
Yes, that’s right, you can over-attend to your Venus Flytrap. If you super over-think it, you will overdo it. And you’ll subject your Venus Flytrap to all sorts of weird experiments and stimuli that you’re hoping will help your Flytrap, but really all you need are the 4 basics: outdoors sunshine, mineral-free water, mineral-free growing medium, and not overwatering but of course never dry growing medium.
I’ve seen and heard of people doing outrageous things while overattending to their Venus Flytrap. Cutting Flytrap roots to make them even like bangs, fertilizing with all kinds of toxic stuff, moving the Flytrap around all day long, feeding the traps constantly with all manner of odd insects, feeding with hamburger meat, potting in uber-expensive obscure growing mediums… Well, you get the point.
It’s great to pay attention to your Venus Flytrap(s), but they really just need the basics. Just like humans need the basics: to be seen, heard, and feel like they matter…outside of that, just let us watch our Netflix already, ha.
Venus Flytraps – lifetime companions
Venus Flytraps can be lifetime companions if you treat them right, and isn’t that cool that they can technically live forever? Wow. And they’ll gift you back with those happy smiling traps, beautiful looks, and fascinating trap-action. Here’s to a good relationship with your Venus Flytraps!
1 thought on “The 4 Horsemen of the Venus Fly Trap Apocalypse”
really great read Leah! I’ve done my fair share of helicopter parenting…