What to Feed a Venus Flytrap Besides Flies Written by Cathryn Chaney; Updated December 27, 2018 What to Feed a Venus Flytrap Besides Flies Related Articles 1 How Does the Venus Flytrap Trap Flies? 2 Venus Flytrap Is Brown After Feeding It a Cricket 3 What Type of Flower Eats Insects? 4 Latin Name for the Venus Flytrap Native to a small area of coastal North Carolina, Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) has modified leaves that trap insects. It lives in bogs with nutrient-poor soil, so the nourishment from digesting insects helps the plant grow and flower. Venus' flytrap grows outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 8. It needs a moist, peat-based soil, high humidity, cool temperatures, sunlight or bright light and a winter dormancy period. When it's actively growing, it occasionally needs live food.
How Traps Work The Venus flytrap's modified leaves look like hinged green clam shells with long teeth and nectar glands along the edges. Insects attracted to the nectar enter the open trap to feed, activating slender trigger hairs inside the trap. If two or more hairs are touched, the trap partially closes on the insect in less than a second. The interlacing teeth keep insects from escaping. As the insect struggles, it activates complete trap closing. The leaf edges seal shut and digestive juices form from glands on the inner leaf surface, surrounding the insect and dissolving the soft inner tissues. The sealed edges keep the juices in and bacteria, which might cause rot in the leaves, out. The leaves reabsorb the digestive juices that now contain the nutrients from the dissolved insect. After a days, the leaves reopen, revealing only the insect's exoskeleton, which blows or washes away. Although the chemical changes that allow rapid trap closing are still being studied, a quick change in water content of cells in the hinge area is probably involved.
Food for Small Leaves If you have small Venus flytrap plants or you're raising seedlings, you will need small food. Only give food that can comfortably fit inside the trap. Suitable insects you might find outside include small ants or baby grasshoppers. Arthropods other than insects, such as little sowbugs, also called pillbugs or roly-polies, or small spiders, will also work. Pet stores often sell live crickets as food for pet reptiles and amphibians. Although adult crickets are too large for small Venus flytrap leaves, baby crickets are suitable. International Carnivorous Plant Society suggests trying rehydrated blood worms, which is fish food you can buy in pet stores.
Food for Large Leaves Feed larger Venus flytrap leaves adult crickets, ants, small beetles, grasshoppers, spiders, millipedes, sowbugs and suitably sized slugs. In their native habitat, Venus flytraps don't often capture flies, but instead many kinds of crawling insects, such as beetles and ants. You can also feed fresh but dead insects to your plant for ease in handling the insects. When feeding non-living food, such as blood worms or dead insects, you need to simulate what happens with living prey. After inserting the food, touch the trigger hairs to initiate partial closing and then gently squeeze the trap halves together to activate the trigger hairs again. Otherwise, the leaf reopens and rejects the food.
What to Avoid Avoid giving Venus flytraps human food, such as hamburger or cheese. The plant doesn't digest them and they cause the leaf to rot. Although wild plants may eat larger insects, in cultivation offer your plant live or freshly killed prey that easily fits into the trap when it is closed. Resist triggering the trap to close when not offering food, because a single trap only can open or close a few times during its life. Don't overfeed the plant. Two insects or small slugs a month during the growing season is sufficient. The plant doesn't need food during its dormant season.
Admin GBG Glass Box Gardeners. [br]Mod ASW Aquascaping World [br][br]Near enough is not good enough, therefore good enough is not near enough and, only your best will do.[br][br]Keith: many years ago.[br][br][br]
I've already discovered that I am NOT supposed to give it any kind of plant food. Apparantly meal worms might work... I've got some that I use for bird feed, and a colleague is going to bring some maggots in.
Lets see what happens. Once it has grown a little bit, it can (hopefully) start eating the office flies !
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