Dionaea muscipula, or Venus's Flytrap, is a low growing perennial herb native to coastal bogs of North and South Carolina. Leaves will reach up to 5 inches (13 cm) long with flat, winged petioles. The blades are reniform (kidney-shaped), 2 lobed with the lobes hinged and fringed with stiff cilia. The upper surface has 3 sensitive hairs that when stimulated by insects cause the lobes to close together quickly (much this closing happens within ~1/30 of a second). Plants are easy to grow and are great plants for terraria. They are hardy in USDA zone 8, but growing them in nature may be a challenge because of their need for low nutients and low pH -- difficult unless you intend to simulate their natural bog environment.
Blooming Time: The small white flower is ¾ of inch (2 cm) across.
Culture: Dionaea muscipula need full sun to partial shade to high indirect lighting and a humid atmosphere with a moist to wet soil. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 3 parts of peat moss to 1 part course sand. In a terrarium, at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of horticultural charcoal is needed to form the base, before adding the soil mix. If grown in containers, the container should be placed in a tray with at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water at all times. Water must be distilled or rain water because they do not tolerate city or hard water. Do not fertilize or this will also damage the plants (if they live, they will not produce traps). During the winter months, they should be allowed to go dormant. Plants need to have winter temperature of 45-50° F (5-10° C) or the small bulbs should be lifted and stored in moist peat at a cooler temperature.
Propagation: Dionaea muscipula are best propagated from seed. Seed germinates in 30-90 days at 75-80° F (24-27°C).
Dionaea muscipula was featured as Plant of the Week March 19-25, 2004.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.