Photo by: Roberto Lumbreras
Growing a Venus flytrap is nothing like growing your sunflowers or lilies. The most obvious difference is the fact that the Venus flytrap is carnivorous and sometimes eats nearby insects. Another difference is that you actually don’t want your Venus flytrap’s white flowers to grow.
You shouldn’t let your Venus flytrap flower. The growth of these white flowers requires a lot of energy and nutrients from the rest of the plant. This can slow down the growth of your flytrap for the rest of the season. The stalk of the flower should be cut once it’s a few centimeters long.
If this is your first Venus flytrap, there’s still a lot for you to learn as you watch your plant grow. So, let’s go over the key details of your Venus flytrap’s flowers and the case for and against letting these flowers grow.
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Getting to Adulthood
When you decide to plant your own Venus flytrap seeds, you won’t be seeing these white flowers for a good amount of time. In fact, it might take up to 4 years for your flytrap to enter adulthood and begin flowering.
But, getting to “adulthood” means taking good care of your Venus flytrap for several years in a row. You need to make an active effort to simulate the natural environment of this plant species.
So, let’s go over some tips to make that a reality before we worry about the flowers:
- Be sure to keep your Venus flytrap in a humid environment with wet soil.
- Avoid exposing your Venus flytrap to direct sunlight to prevent burning it.
- Allow for additional drainage to avoid sitting water.
- Make sure your flytrap always has fresh air circulating the room.
- Give your flytrap rainwater rather than regular tap water.
Now that your Venus flytrap is an adult, you need to keep an eye on the growth of those flowers we just talked about.
The Growth of the Flower
Unless you specifically know what to look for in the beginning stages of the Venus flytrap’s flower, you might only realize the flower is growing after it actually blooms.
But, if you’re watering your Venus flytrap consistently and keeping it in good health, you should be able to notice the growth of these flowers when they’re just a few centimeters long.
Unlike regular flowers, the flowers of a Venus flytrap come from a completely different stem at the base of the plant. At first glance, It looks like a thick green stem with a bulb at the top.
The stems of these flowers usually begin growing in the spring months.
If you’ve never grown your own Venus flytrap in the past, you probably want to cut the flowers before they actually grow and bloom. But, if you’re attached to your new favorite plant, you’re probably a little reluctant to snip the flower.
Here’s Why You Should Cut It
As somebody who’s never grown this plant species, you might be missing the telltale signs that your flytrap is actually sick or undernourished. So, letting these flowers grow might take some much-needed energy away from the rest of the sick plant.
This growth might just kill the Venus flytrap that you spent over four years growing. Now, your only options are buying Venus flytrap seeds and starting over from scratch or investing in an adult plant to avoid this altogether.
But, that’s not the only problem with letting the flower grow.
Even if your plant survives its first flowering, there’s another issue at hand: Slowed growth. Since so much energy went into growing these flowers, it might take your plant several seasons or even an entire year to recover from this energy expenditure.
That once-flourishing Venus flytrap is now growing slower than ever.
How to Do It
The best part of cutting these Venus flytrap flowers is that it’s not hard at all. But, time is definitely of the essence in these situations.
Remember - This will probably have to be done once a year in the spring if your Venus flytrap remains healthy.
Here are some tidbits of advice for cutting your Venus flytrap’s flowers:
- Cut the stalk as soon as you notice it growing to avoid wasting your flytrap’s energy.
- Be sure to cut each flower as close to the soil as possible (a few centimeters).
- Make sure you’re cutting the flower’s stem, not pulling it out at the roots.
Once you have a little more experience with this type of plant species, you might be able to get away with letting the flower grow. Yet, there’s a lot that you need to know about that.
Not To Cut….
The white flowers of the Venus flytrap aren’t just there to look pretty. Just like any other flower in the universe, you can actually pollinate the Venus flytrap and possibly yield some flytrap seeds. That means you can turn your single Venus flytrap into an entire indoor garden.
When It’s Okay to Let the Flowers Grow
In most circumstances, it’s not recommended that you let your Venus flytrap’s flowers grow. But, that’s not the case if you’ve worked hard to learn about the plant species and how to keep it as healthy as possible.
Here are some signs you’re a good grower and might be ready to keep those flowers alive:
- Your flytrap is never overrun by dark or black leaves.
- The leaves and the stem of your flytrap never appear to be dehydrated or wilting.
- Your flytrap actually is capable of growing flowers every spring.
- You’re keeping it healthy and in the perfect environment (not using tap water, keeping the soil moist, and keeping it out of any direct sunlight).
If you really want to try your hand at gardening, a healthy flytrap and yearly flowers are the perfect opportunities to try pollinating your plant and getting seeds.
How to Pollinate Your Venus Flytrap
Since you have an indoor Venus flytrap, you’re probably wondering how this plant is supposed to be pollinated in the first place. The good news is - You don’t have to bring any honey bees into your living room.
The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out how your Venus flytrap works. Here’s how you can self-pollinate your flytrap:
- Using a toothpick or another pinpoint item, scrape a little pollen from the tiny little appendages on the central portion of the flower.
- Apply this pollen to the middle of the flower (the larger round section in the middle).
That’s really all it takes to pollinate your Venus flytrap. Now, you’re probably wondering where the seeds actually are.
That’s going to take a little bit of time.
You’re going to notice that the flower that you pollinated slowly darkens over the next several weeks. This is a normal part of the process and doesn’t mean that you pollinated your Venus flytrap incorrectly.
After a bit of time, there should be several dozen tiny black seeds on the flower.
The thing, there’s no set answer to the question from the beginning. Whether or not you let your Venus flytrap flower will come down to your level of experience and how confident you feel.
Beginners should cut the flowers as soon as the stems begin to grow. An unhealthy Venus flytrap and flowers that require a ton of energy to keep alive will be the end for your adult flytrap.
More advanced growers can allow these flowers to grow and even pollinate them to get new seeds. You can then use these seeds to plant more.
- National Wildlife Federation: Venus Flytrap
- Tom's Carnivores: The Venus Flytrap
- SF Gate: Stages of Growth for the Venus Flytrap Home Guides
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Venus Flytrap
- FlytrapCare Carnivorous Plant Forums: SHOULD YOU CUT OFF YOUR VENUS FLYTRAP'S FLOWER STALK?
- Sarracenia: The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 12