Venus flytrap - plant predator on the windowsill
Venus flytrap, or Dionea - the most popular, bright and relatively unpretentious plant from among carnivorous indoor predators. She became famous not only for her ability to eat insects. The inimitable beauty of brightly colored traps turns it into an extravagant and highly decorative room decoration. Exotic baby requires a special approach to care, and the conditions for it are not easy to choose. Sun-loving and hygrophilous, it fully justifies the reputation of the plant not for everyone. But it is better to choose a Venus flytrap for acquaintance with carnivorous indoor plants.
What does the legendary Venus flytrap look like?
Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) - a slow-growing plant capable of living for several decades from 5 to 10 cm high. Dionea forms a compact rosette of 5-7 leaves growing from an underground shortened bulbous shoot. With age, forms groups with daughter sockets. Folded leaves, a bizarre lanceolate-keeled shape, often with an asymmetrical serrated edge, up to 7 cm long.
Dionea is a carnivorous, but not losing the ability to photosynthesis plant. Trap valves at the top of the leaves develop after flowering. There are varieties with directed vertically or horizontally, painted in saturated purple or green tones of leaves.
The "traps" of venus flytraps are very decorative. The expanded mutated leaf blades seem to be folded in half - they consist of a pair of half-leaves, resembling a plant version of mollusk shells. When open, the trap flaps bend outward. After closing, they bend, forming a cavity inside.
On the edge of the sash are decorated with dense, sensitive teeth-outgrowths and almost imperceptible glands that secrete insect-attracting sweet nectar on the rims with a very pleasant aroma. The inner "edge" consists of triggers - hairs, hypersensitive to mechanical irritation.
The flowering of the dionea is unexpectedly beautiful, but weakens the plant and it is better to prevent it. In the spring, at the very beginning of growth, low-flowered inflorescences with simple white wavy flowers rise to a striking height of up to 50 cm on thin peduncles.
Artificial pollination allows you to get seeds. They easily wake up from boxes, lose germination after 4 months and are stored only in the cold.
How does a plant feed on insects?
Flytrap veneres feed on ants, bugs, spiders, grasshoppers and flying insects without reacting to tiny midges, dirt, dust, debris and water. Their protection against false positives is unique. Traps are closed only if the mechanical stimulation of the triggers is repeated five times, with an interval of up to 20 seconds and at least 2 hairs.
At first, the teeth of the trap close loosely to prevent over-etching of too small victims. If there were no insects inside or they got into the gaps, the trap opens in half a day and the plant does not waste power in vain. But larger production is not so lucky.
As soon as the insect touches the bristles inside the leaves several times, feasting on the nectar of dionea, the traps collapse more tightly and with a sufficient size of the victim, the slow process of overtaking prey begins.
It is very complex: recognizing the victim and changing the composition of the enzymes depending on its type, the venus flytrap first drowns the insect in the digestive juice, kneads it, and then sucks the nutritional juices.
The entire process of etching takes from 7 to 14 days, after which the trap opens, and only the dry chitinous skeleton of the victim remains on the hairs. After 3-5 feedings, the trap dies. It is because of this restriction that it is not worthwhile to launch a bewitching “collapse” just for fun.
Growing conditions for indoor dione
For dionea, it is necessary to recreate the natural humidity and lighting of the fertile swampy American savannahs, which is very difficult to do in living rooms.
Lighting and placement
At the slightest shade or reduction in daylight hours, instead of large and bright traps, this predator produces miniature, green leaves with very long cuttings devoid of red color in the alignment and teeth along the edge, withers and weakens. Bright sunlight is a vital condition for the normal development of dionea.
Even in winter, it is necessary to provide 4-5 hours of sunlight for a venus flytrap. Artificial illumination is permissible and even desirable in bad weather, until the optimal daylight hours are from 14 to 16 hours in the summer and from 8-9 hours in the winter.
The way the plant reacts to direct rays must be monitored: the southern and midday suns can cause burns.
The plant does not like turning and shifting with respect to the light source.
Temperature and ventilation
Venus flytraps prefer stable heat during the period of active growth with minimum rates of 22 degrees in the summer. They tolerate heat well in not very dry air and with abundant watering. For normal development, you need to withstand the cold dormant period from mid-autumn to March with temperatures from 5 to 12 degrees Celsius. Lighting in winter is very important. Overheating and overcooling of pots are unacceptable.
For dionea, access to fresh air and accurate, drafts-free ventilation is critical (regular even in florariums and shop windows). In summer, for natural nutrition, dioneas are most often placed in the fresh air, choosing warm and secluded places without direct sun.
Dionea care at home
Stable soil moisture and no top dressing are the key to longevity of dioneas, who do not always justify their capricious reputation.
Watering and humidity
Watering for dionea is carried out mainly in the lower way, but classic neat watering is also acceptable. You can water the plant through the pan, while drying, pouring water to a level slightly above the bottom of the tank. You can use containers with automatic irrigation or periodically immerse the pot to nourish an earthen coma.
Excessive moisture is unacceptable, but soil moisture should be stable, medium, and not light, with a careful drying of the top of the substrate. In winter, watering is corrected for temperature. Venus drought flytraps do not like, dropping leaves.
For dionei, only irrigation with warm water is permissible. It should be soft, optimally rain or distilled, at the same temperature as air.
For a venus flytrap, medium or high air humidity is required with indicators not lower than 40% and an optimal value of 70%. With careful monitoring of stable soil moisture, drier air can withstand. Humidifiers, simple sprays, and installation of pallets with wet moss or pebbles are also suitable for a venus flytrap.
Feeding for dionea
There can be no talk of any classic top dressing, even as a supporting measure for dionea. Venus flytraps feed on insects in the warmer months. They only need 1 insect in 4-6 weeks, in fact, they are content with 2-3 flies for the whole summer. Dionea winter without food.
Insects for feeding can be found in the departments of the aquarium, but it is not necessary to artificially feed the plants, because it is enough to put the bushes in the fresh air in the summer or place the dione in the room without protective screens on the windows.
Feeding with worms, slugs, and especially meat and other products is unacceptable.
Transplant, containers and substrate
It is better to transplant a dionea every year, after the completion of wintering, in extreme cases - every 2 years. Plants are gently reloaded into new containers, avoiding contact with leaves and traps.
Dioneas are grown only in substrates with lowered pH values of 3.5–4.5, peat-containing or inert, coarse, loosening soils that do not condense — special soils for carnivorous plants, a mixture of perlite, coconut fiber and sphagnum or quartz sand and peat. In extreme cases, dionea are planted in the soil for rhododendrons with the addition of perlite.
Plants are planted in deep enough, equal in width and height pots. The minimum depth is about 12 cm, for adult dione the standard is 20 cm.
To adapt, you need to increase air humidity and put the plant in shade.
Diseases, pests and growing problems
Predatory veneres of the flycatcher can be affected by aphids, mosquito larvae, and thrips, which multiply rapidly inside traps. Excessive moisture in the soil can cause the spread of rot. They treat Dionea with narrow-acting insecticides or fungicides.
Reproduction of a venus flytrap
Dionea seeds are sown in the sand-peat substrate superficially, under glass or film, contain at high humidity on the sunny windowsill. Shoots appear after about a month.
Adults, large bushes with several growth points every 3-4 years can be divided. Daughter plants developing on the sides of the maternal outlet should have several strong roots. The cut of the processes is carried out with a sharp blade with the treatment of wounds with coal. In no case should you start the mechanism of "collapse" of traps.