Venus’s flytrap

 

 

Before the era of Great geographical discoveries and exploration of new continents, the Europeans probably even had no idea about the existence of carnivorous plants, which include such exotic flower like a Venus flytrap. Compared to him many times sung by poets thorns have roses – it’s just gentle stroking of a loved one. The basis of the power of Venus’s flycatchers are insects and molluscs and occasionally small animals. The nature is rich in carnivorous plants, so their representatives are of genuine interest as something new, unknown, unusual, and – to be honest – tickling the nerves. Of course, finger Venus flytrap won’t bite, but the mere awareness of the fact that you have at home is a plant-predator that makes you feel if not favourites, then at least original and eccentric . And as you know, healthy eccentricity is appreciated by many, and the British, for example, it is generally almost a national character trait…

«Where did…»

The birthplace of venerini flycatchers (still call it sundew, a dioneya and Dionaea muscipula) – poor nitrogen American swamps of the Atlantic coast, located in Florida, new Jersey and North and South Carolina. There, and it was discovered in 60 of the XVIII century. It was lack of nitrogen, whereby the synthesis of proteins, and caused the formation of flower traps-petals: not getting the desired item from the ground, the plant just has to get him another, not so peaceful way. And formed on the blades of the leaf are the hairs, the stimulation of which of the various unwary insects lead to its immediate collapse, active work and growth of cells and the digestion of «production». Biologists have two versions of the origin of this effect (he is in the formation of an electrical pulse resulting from the movement of calcium ions), but we’re not here to lead them – our paper is not devoted to this.

Venus's flytrap

Venus flytrap.

Interesting and quite confusing the etymology of the name. The Latin word Dionaea is Dion, a character of Greek mythology, which is relatively not understood even by the ancient Greeks. Some authors attributed it to titanium (deities of the second generation, the children of Uranus and Gaia), others to oceanides (nymphs, daughters of Ocean and tepid). As the okeanida Dion was attributed to the connection with Zeus and the birth from it of the goddess of love Aphrodite (in Roman mythology her counterpart – Venus – was assigned the role of the goddess of plants).

This is probably the myth and layering it on the Roman perception of the goddess and inspired unknown to English botanists, lovers of mythology, to relate the Dion with Venus, since the first part of the name in the Russian version («Venus») is a clear translation of the earlier English-language version of Venus (in English «the Venus flytrap» the Venus flytrap sounds like with different spellings). And that’s why Venus had the honor to give your name carnivorous plants – this is probably a mystery to psychiatrists, psychologists and writers, because the answer is clearly hiding in the field of subliminal symbols, perceptions, and aspirations.

But here we risk to delve in the entertaining wilds versions, so sorry to leave this area and return to the biology and horticulture at home and finally only say that the second part of the name – «Flycatcher» – was the result of misspelling a scientist-a botanist of the word «trap» in Latin. But, again, it is also the only version…

Dioneya in nature

But the appearance of the flower very reliable, and no ambiguity there and can not be. This is a small, up to 20 cm tall, perennial herb with a rosette of 4-7 heart-shaped leaves, arranged by floors, one above the other, with the edges of the teeth and grows from a short underground stem bulbous. The length of the leaves depends on the time of year and is usually from 3 to 7 (or even 10) inches, and those the most terrible leaves-traps appear at flycatchers after it Bud.

Venus's flytrap

In their natural habitat flower is different enough staying power and adaptability to seasonal temperature fluctuations. However, rare severe frost – this is for a death even in the presence of snow, which the flytrap absolutely not terrible. The temperature of its habitat in General typical of temperate Maritime climate – from +9 to +26 degrees Celsius in summer and 7 degrees in the winter. For these reasons, the dioneya can not meet, say, in Russian marshland.

American winter for flowers – a period of rest: it still only the bottom leaves, and he falls asleep. In the spring, like other plants, dionee SAP flow begins, the leaves grow again, and along with them there are small white blossoms on long stems-stalks. After flowering the leaves turn into the aforementioned traps that attract insects scented, pleasant smell. Interestingly, the Flycatcher «can» for half a minute to identify caught in its aromatic network of the victim and will never confuse a fly with a drop of rain.

The leaves are «working» traps in turn: each of them is able to swallow and digest 3-4 insects, increasing in size by one quarter, and then dies and transfers its functions to another. The digestive process the flower is rather long and takes 10 to 12 days, but to digest everything, except the chitinous shell of the hapless insect, and then the leaf opens again. If the production of more traps, but are unable to get out of it, it will stick out to die, but at the same time it will begin to form bacteria and mold that will lead to decay of the leaf. That is dying, the sacrifice will take some of his guidelinesy.

But do not think like dioneya exclusively carnivorous. This is not some monster of the Kingdom of the goddess Flora. If this were so, given the speed of digestion of the prey, she would very soon have disappeared as a species. Like other plants, Venus flytrap receives food and energy from the air and from the sun, and its peculiarity as a predator does not negate photosynthesis, typical of the entire plant. Just for flower insects replace lost nutrients from the earth.

Flytrap at home: complexities and peculiarities of living

The Venus flytrap uses it is so popular in ornamental horticulture and home gardening in America she was even given the status of «vulnerable», meaning that dioneya needs protection and supervision of the relevant services. However, the conventional florists and flower lovers disagree about whether the complex care and maintenance of flower in the home or not. For some, this seems simple, but for others farming Flycatcher is a complex process, as the breeding of all carnivorous plants. We, unfortunately, cannot for this reason say something definite, confine ourselves to what briefly list the main features of the content of Venus’s flycatchers at home and provide you own conclusions.

Venus's flytrap

So:

  1. the temperature in the room with dioneya must be identical to the temperature of its natural habitat, and this is perhaps the main difficulty which will face anyone who wishes to join the cohort of eccentrics – lovers contain such predator at home. To this we add one more: the flower loves the cool fresh air, but the draft for it is certain death.
  2. for flycatchers require moderately bright diffused light for 4-8 hours a day. Valid short exposure to bright sun, but not summer, otherwise the soil will quickly dry up and become so hot that dioneya will die. Summer flower can be outdoors, but its habitat should be shaded. The ideal, according to many, the option of placing dinei is protected from the midday sun aquarium or terrarium, but some experts do suggest to grow it in florariumov (special closed glass vessels), arguing that there Flycatcher is fully revealed and manifests itself in full force. By the way, a terrarium is good because it can leave the dioneya even in the winter. The main thing to remember with all plotoyadno plants a few hours daily food sunlight is more important to him than all the caught flies, mosquitoes and other insects combined. The best place for it is Eastern, Western and southern sills. If next to them will be also a source of fluorescent lighting, it will be just fine; if not, then nothing to worry about. To understand whether the lack of the Flycatcher sunlight or not, on the following basis: if the color of her traps became dull, and the leaves are thinned and stretched, so the lighting is not sufficient and need to take appropriate action.
  3. water the flower should be temperate in spring and summer. Relative to water, which can be used, experts have different opinions. Some say that you cannot use tap or bottled water because it has lots of additional chemical compounds, which are not always beneficial for the plant, and recommend watering a flytrap only rain, distilled or filtered water. However, Western growers exclude from this list the rainwater and attribute this to the fact that in itself it contains a high concentration of metal salts. If it is being stored in metal vessels, the amount of salts increases and is detrimental to the plant.
  4. with moderate watering, the soil should be constantly wet, as on the lovely «heart» flycatchers swamps. In General, high humidity is an important element of a successful content dianei at home. We must remember that the key to cultivation of any exotic plants in non-native latitudes he is a scrupulous reconstruction of the conditions of its native habitat, and Flycatcher – recall – native subtropical wetlands, also located in a temperate Maritime climate. From this we can conclude that the importance for the flower water and humidity. However, this is not to overdo it: water, of course, a good thing, but to stagnate in the pot it should not, otherwise the roots will rot flycatchers, and – «goodbye flower». That is, the pot where you plant your dioneya must have good drainage. Sometimes his bottom is filled with a small layer of expanded clay, but not all growers are recommended to do so due to the fact that expanded clay will attach to the basis of excessive alkalinity. Humidity is achieved by periodic spraying of a flower. By the way, in creating a moist environment will help the aquarium. Well, besides the humidity, the flower is still necessary and good circulation.
  5. the best soil for Venus flytrap – the one that is poor in nutrients (like swampy), but has good drainage. Therefore, the best option is a substrate composed of one third of quartz sand or perlite (volcanic rock origin) and two thirds of sphagnum moss. Also a good mixture of peat, perlite and sand in the ratio 4:2:1 with a small addition on top of the sphagnum moss to prevent drying of the soil. The pot must stand on a pallet, where in the summer you can pour water to a height of 2 cm flower can independently regulate the supply of moisture to the roots. Absolutely can not add to soil mix lime and fertilizer from the roots of the plant rot.

How to feed the dioneya

We should stay on feeding, because here you can wait for several surprises. No, the flytrap will not be at night to turn into a living being, and to chase you around the apartment, snapping petals Aki jaws. But amid all the above, some of the nuances of feeding the flower of a predator can really be surprising.

Venus's flytrap

For example, for all its carnivorous dioneya can do without live food within one to two months. This is another proof that it is not a good life feed herself so that’s unnatural for decent plants way. At home Venus flytrap can be fed at all once a week or even ten days (some growers even suggest to carry out feeding once in two or three weeks), it is sufficient to feed only one or two leaf trap. Mining, of course, must be alive to the process of artificial feeding to mimic the diet of flycatchers in native swamp. However, in your power to adjust the size of insects. We talked about what happens to a bird if it swallowed something flying, which is more than twice the size of her trap, so we need to ensure that the victim freely fit in the petal.

Here is a brief product list, which you can feed the dioneya:

  1. fly.
  2. mosquito.
  3. spider.
  4. any insect of small size, except those listed below.

The rate of feeding – one unit of any of the above of the product in the specified time period.

But the list of «products,» which in any case can not feed a Venus flytrap:

  1. bugs.
  2. caterpillar.
  3. larvae (although the Internet can be found the opposite opinion).
  4. the bloodworms.
  5. earthworms.
  6. meat in any form.

If you grow dioneya in paludariums (transparent reservoir, with signs aquarium and terrarium with artificial habitat), the feeding problem is solved very simply – through the release of small black flies or mosquitoes inside the space. In this case, the plant to decide when it is best to receive from your bounty. Too often, however, this needs to be done – with heavy use of the traps she dies due to the fact that spending too much energy on opening and closing. If this happen, you need to cut the lost, to be able to develop new shoots.

Do not feed the dioneya in the following cases:

  1. winter.
  2. if she is sick or weak.
  3. and if grown in conditions of excessive for it humidity and lack of sun.
  4. if stressed for any reason (it can be, for example, sunburn or fertilizing the soil from which you were warned all the experts).
  5. and if it was recently transplanted and the roots have not settled into a new substrate.

Feeding you need to stop at the end of September while reducing the temperature of the air and turning his flytrap into a state of rest.

 

Reproduction and transplantation

It is believed that no matter how treat dioneya at home she will not live long, so if you become attached to her soul, so that you don’t want to leave, makes sense time to propagate the plant. There are several ways of reproduction:

  1. roots.
  2. dividing the Bush.
  3. cuttings of the leaves.
  4. seeds.

Harder and longer just to copy the flower seeds. But «difficult» does not mean «impossible.» The first step is to carry out artificial pollination of spring flowers, transferring pollen from the stamens to the pistil with a soft brush or cotton swab. About a month after this procedure appear tiny seed pods. After maturation, seeds are harvested and planted in the greenhouse or in a pot on a specially prepared wet soil mixture of sand and sphagnum (the ratio 30% to 70%), does not start, and sprayed from a spray.

The distance between the seeds is not important: they still will not all germinate. Pot or greenhouse is placed under the lamp of artificial light or under bright ambient sunlight and maintain temperature at +21-24 degrees Celsius. After 15-20 days the seeds sprout and from this point it is necessary to control soil moisture and prevent it drying out. When the seedlings grow up (it will happen in two to three weeks), they are carefully transplanted to individual pots for 3-4 pieces each and have patience: seedlings need about three years to grow to the size of the adult flower.

Venus's flytrap

It is much easier to propagate dioneya division. When it comes to age (one-two years), it begins to grow, thereby giving life to new plants. Your task is reduced to a minimum: carefully cut fused roots and plant out the young plants to new pots.

Transplant dianei carried out once a year (once in two years). Can be transplanted at any time of the year, but it is preferable to do it in spring during active growth. The conditions for transplant are:

  1. deep, up to 20 cm, and the narrow pot with drainage (the roots of the flower grow down).
  2. the composition of the soil: peat moss, perlite and quartz sand in the ratio 2:1:1.
  3. and the acidity of the soil in the pH range of 3.5 to 5.5.
  4. the nutrient medium should be slightly moist.

Sometimes before landing on a few minutes to soak the roots in water so it is easier to remove the remains of the old soil. After the transplant is complete, you can lift the leaves above the substrate and rinse them with the spray. During the adaptation of plants to new soil (this requires five weeks) can increase the application rate and not to put the pot in bright light.

The transplant process it is possible to combine with reproduction, dividing the plant is the mother of several parts and seedlings in separate pots.

«Venus flytrap» winter

Winter is necessary for a period of rest, which is necessary for long term survival at home (it is believed that outside of their habitat the Venus flytrap does not live long). It lasts from three to five months and begins in the fall, in late September – early October, when growth stops leaves. At the same time the bird stops to consume insects.

The rest you can pour water from a pan – flower is not in need of this amount of water, which was necessary to him in the summer and transfer the pot from the window sill in bol cool dark place where the temperature ranged from +5 to +10 degrees. Given the fact that the light for flycatchers in winter is not needed, it is often placed on the loggia or in the lower compartment of the refrigerator, pre-placing in a plastic bag. Sometimes, I advise to put a flower in the basement. Sleeping dioneya is not very attractive: the leaves become brown and almost all die, so it is often assumed that the plant died. But it is not, therefore, do not rush to throw away the flytrap until next spring. If she wakes up – well, then the flower is really dead.

In the winter you need to continue to monitor the soil and from time to time to water, but to prevent any drying out nor rotting of the roots. From time to time the plant can be put into the light, but briefly, so as not to disturb and had no time to Wake up. Another necessary action from your side in this period is a delicate cutting of the dead, but not fallen away own trap and leaves.

Actually, this all features of the winter care dioneya and over. The period of hibernation lasts from her from November to February; at the end of February when all the winter maintenance conditions are met, the plant begins growing season, and again you can gradually accustom to the sunlight, using the bad spring weather. With the lengthening daylight and warming flower can be returned to its former place or transplanted (as we have already said). Active growth of dinei begins in late may and at that time if you wish, you can put in the garden, which she herself will provide meals and generally look good thanks to its beautiful white blossoms. However, in this case does not prevent to consider some nuances:

  1. contain the plant should in a box of size 30 cm wide and 20 deep.
  2. the soil should be covered with moss.
  3. the box must be in such a place that the sun’s rays was scorching, especially in the afternoon.

Finally should say a few words about the pests. In fact, they are few, and their attacks flytrap is exposed to infrequent, if they occur, the consequences are very deplorable and disastrous. So the plant does not interfere from time to time to handle insecticidal aerosol as prophylaxis throughout the year. Most should be wary of aphids, spider mite and mealybug as well as some fungal diseases, like gray mold or black sooty fungus, caused by excessive soil moisture. If dioneya got one of these diseases, it is treated with a fungicide.

Conclusion

If that’s right, with love, with attention and care to care for dioneya, you can ensure that a Venus flytrap will bloom in the home two times a year. In nature, this doesn’t happen. It blooms for the first time in two years, and since then, its flowering occurs regularly until his death. Of course, the risk of a short life of dinei even if all the recommendations are still great. But believe me: every minute of this interesting flower in your home, will be unforgettable for you. And only depends on you whether you will be able to extend this moment for as long as possible or not.

And the simplest rule that can really help with the Flycatcher to live much longer of the period which she is offered for life in the home, is: don’t aggravate her part of the sensor (those hairs triggers) only, only to once again admire how the trap opens and closes (otherwise the bird will die), and do not overfeed her. Overfeeding is harmful to any living organism, especially a pale predatory, exotic as dioneya.

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