Friday, February 15, 2013

Plant of the Day

Venus Fly Trap

This is perhaps the most interesting and alien plant we have in the greenhouse - the carnivorous plant Dionaea muscipula, more commonly known as Venus' fly trap.

Carnivorous plants are a group of plants that survive in nutrient-poor soil and obtain many of their essentials from living animals (usually bugs). They have evolved over the years to develop unique mechanisms to trap their prey, from pitchers to sticky dew to the famous trapping technique utilized by the Venus fly trap.

Venus fly traps, like all carnivorous plants, are very slow growing, and it would take 2 years for a fly trap to grow to an appreciable size from seed! Thus, most people avoid growing them from seed and buy the plants instead, but both paths are a bit pricey. Carnivorous plants take a very long time to flower, and it drains a lot of energy from the plant, so cut the flower off when you see the stalk forming unless you want the seeds.

Our Venus fly trap is growing in a homemade terrarium with long fiber peat moss as the growing medium. The terrarium keeps the humidity high and the peat moss provides a low-nutrient substrate. Some of the peat moss began growing, as you can see in the pictures.

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