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Monday, July 17, 2017

A Very Unfortunate Moth

I have really been enjoying my Venus Fly Traps.  In the past, I have tried a few and they didn't live very long.  It is sort of like buying an ant farm; a short-lived novelty.

My understanding of Venus Fly Traps was that they lived in shady bogs in upper Southern States.  So I kept them on East windowsills and caught a few flies to feed them.  They would last a couple months and fade away.

So, this year, when I some some for sale, I researched what they needed.  To my surprise, a site said at least 4 hours direct sun and more was better.  Plus NO tap water.  I knew they didn't want fertilizer (that why they catch insects), but they also didn't want dissolved minerals in the water.  Distilled water was best.

I was so surprised, I checked other sites and even asked about it on a forum discussing carnivorous plants.  I always do some research before asking a question at a specialty site.  Otherwise, you tend to get condescending replies.  But it WAS trustable verification.    So, armed with good information, I have kept the plants in larger pots than they came in, on the sunny deck.

I caught a few flies to feed them at first (I good at that).  But I quickly noticed that there were a lot more closed traps with something in then than the few flies I fed them.  So it really is true they can catch all they need. 

In fact, one plant is healthy enough to be sending up a flower stalk.  The forum recommends cutting the flower stalk to save the plant the energy required.  But given that the plants have doubled in size and have almost all of the dozen or more traps full, I think I will let at least one bloom to see what the flower looks like.

All well and good...

But I'm posting this to show one very unfortunate moth.  It must have landed on a trap with its wings up because they were outside the closed trap.  If the wings had been closed, it probably would have pushed its way out the side.
BTW, the part about them wanting distilled water worried me.  I'm not someone who buys water in bottles.  So I was pleased to discover the stuff costs 88 cents per gallon at Walmart.  I bought 2 gallons.  I used a half gallon just soaking the peat moss mix.  I had to keep preventing myself from soaking the peat moss in regular tap water out of habit, and I had to keep reminding myself not to water the Venus Fly Trap pots "as usual" when I am watering the deck flowerpots.  But it is a habit to skip them now.

One good thing is that rainwater is just fine.  Not rain off the roof, just direct from the sky into clean buckets.  3 well-rinsed kitty litter tubs collect more mater from an inch of rain than you might think, ans we got 2.5 inches here in one storm early this months.  I now have two 1 gallon jugs filled with rainwater now, and it only takes about a cup to keep them wet each morning. 

I still feed each trap with a fresh-caught insect every couple of days just to watch the traps close.  It doesn't seem to be necessary, but that's most of the fun of having the plants, so I do it.  Plus, it seems like sweet revenge to see the traps close on a small caterpillar I pick off a veggie in the garden.

1 comment:

Megan said...

The pic suggests that your plants are very healthy - well done!

Sydney, Australia