I read somewhere that it is highly inadvisable to let a vft flower as it takes so much energy. Since I got my plant six months ago, it has sent up two flower stems both of which I cut off. I don't want my vft to die from flowering, but I am really curious to see what it will do when it flowers. Does anyone know how much damage flowering can do to my plant?
When it warms up your way, do you have a place to keep your VFT outside? I grow mine in a 1/2 peat/perlite mix in full sun outside (sometimes they are sold in pure peat or Sphagnum moss and they can get soggy. If they get too wet the crown will shrink). They actually don't do as well as they could, because in Florida they don't go semi dormant like they should. If my plants are healthy, I let them flower away. It is exciting getting seeds and seedlings. :)
I just bought it last September, and I haven't been thinking about sticking it outside. I was just going to keep it as a houseplant. I might have to check what temperatures they like and maybe I will put it out this year. It is still in the plastic container I bought it in (plastic tube with a lid with holes) - is it worth replanting if I want to put it outside or should I leave it be in its container? Do I just replant it like I would any other plant?
I would replant it immediately in a mix of 1/2 peat and 1/2 sand or perlite. Most nurseries plant them in long sphagnum moss or pure peat, and both may eventually cause the roots to rot. Make sure none of them have fertilizers added. It is very difficult in my area to find peat and perlite without fertilizers. I have to be careful. If there are fertilizers or the plant is too wet, you will see your VFT start to shrink (the roots are dying). Repot immediately. The plants need to be very moist all the time, but not soggy.
When you have the mix, add distilled or rain water (no spring or tap). Mix it with your hands until it is very moist. I would get a 3" pot and put the mix in, put the plant in and put the pot in a saucer of water.
We call the domes the VFT are in, "Domes of Death" because they breed mold and fungus. The VFT needs air circulation. It is a myth that they need super high humidity and if it is sitting in a saucer of water, it has enough humidity. Because your dome has holes, your plant probably would be fine with the dome removed straight away. Otherwise it helps to slowly remove the dome over a couple days, raising up a bit at a time. Before I did research, I used to keep my VFT in domes in the house, and assumed since they were sold like that, they needed the domes. They always died. Now my VFT are beautiful. My biggest problem is keeping them adequately watered. In the summer Florida can be hot and dry. I keep them in trays with 2" of water that evaporates in two days.
My favorite CP provider is cobraplants.com in Oregon. Jacob and Jeff grow the VFT outside during the winter. This is the caresheet from their website. The pretty VFT at the top is the same VFT that you see when you scroll down with several inches of snow and ice in the saucer. The VFT appreciate being cold and dormant. I have problems because it is too warm in Florida to continue their dormancy. As soon as it is 40 F outside, I would put the VFT out. Did you have it in the fridge during the winter? If the plants don't go dormant in the winter, they eventually become exhausted, shrink and sometimes die. http://cobraplant.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=8&zenid=ebb16f3392023271325b3862b772e101
VFT are native to North and South Carolina near the coastal areas -- so Zone 7 and 8. They experience cold, mild winters, with freezes and snow, and hot summers. (I used to live in NC.)
Most VFT will not survive long term indoors -- they must get full light (like tomatoes) and have a 3 month dormancy. And I think they can grow for 25 or more years if cared for properly. Unless they were well mulched, I wouldn't keep yours outside after it hits 0 C, I would bring it in, spray it with fungicide and put it in the fridge or a cool basement til spring. But I wouldn't keep it as a houseplant. I know people do, but long term the plant will be happier and healthier outside. I would even get more plants. I usually keep 3-4 plants together in a six inch pots. They look great in big clumps.
And Carnivorous Plants can't be planted in the ground, unless you make a special bog for them. They need nutrient free soil and rain water. Any nutrients and the plant will wither. The sunlight provides the food, the occasional insect is the vitamin. :)
Did you see my VFT in another thread? They're not beautiful yet, because they are rescues, but wait til you see them this summer. :)
I will have to start searching for repotting mixture ingredients so I can replant it. I really hate the container it came in. There are cartoon flies everywhere and you can't see the plant unless you look from above. I'm sure glad I took the top off when I got it.
Is there such a thing as too hot for a VFT? It sometimes reaches 40C (104F) here in the summer, but it usually isn't long lived. Do they like full sun or part shade or does it depend on what the temperature is doing?
I have problems with humidity here too. I feel like I water plants, turn around, turn back, and water them again.
Is there any particular brand of fungicide that is particularly good for carnivorous plants? Also, should I water the plant when it is dormant in the fridge? If so, how often? Is there a particular month that is optimal for putting the plant into dormancy and how do I go about it - just stick it in the fridge or do some acclimatization?
I look forward to seeing your VFT later this year :) I should take progress pictures of mine.
Safer's fungacide is great, and I also use Neem. You can also keep them in an unheated garage or basement during the winter.
VFT experience temps as high as yours rarely in NC. In Florida we are usually 94-96 F in summer (for many months) with 99% humidity, so it feels like 105-110. Mine are in full sun and they love it. Keep your VFT in 1-2" of water and don't let the water dry up. I usually fill my trays to 2" every two days. Use only rain or distilled water. It is a big chore.
Your VFT will need to adjust to the high temperatures, so that's one reason it is a good idea to get it outside as soon as the temps are above 40 F. You may not want to stick it straight out in 40, if your house has been in the 60-70, put it in an unheated garage to keep it protected as you adjust it to the temperature. When you put it out originally put it in partial light to get it used to the sun, then gradually move it to full sun over a week and keep it there all summer. It will grow vigorously. Just make all the changes slowly.
A plastic or glazed ceramic pot, instead of a Terra cotta will help with the evaporation. Just make sure there are holes in the bottom to keep the water wicking into the pot. If you get a hard rain, make sure your plant doesn't get soggy. The crown does not want to be soggy.
Don't feed it or snap the traps while it is adjusting to living outside. Once it is outside and growing, you will see many insects in the traps.
If you have any black leaves you can cut them off. When you put it in the warm full sun, it will reward you. :) I also put a layer of river rock on the surface of the soil (away from the growing points), because it helps keep the squirrels out and the rocks keep a little of the water from evaporating.
You will find perlite in almost any garden supply store and the peat is Canadian peat. :) It should be easier for you to find than it is for me. :)