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Having taken the right steps to nurture your Venus flytrap, it is only natural to wonder how long the plant will live. Not surprisingly the answer is not as straightforward as it seems. Health and its environment are factors of course, but there is more to it than that.
Healthy Venus flytraps can live for up to 20 years or longer. This plant can also be cloned by producing new growth centered on the original. Clones have the same genetic makeup as the original, so Venus flytraps can theoretically live on indefinitely.
How Long Can Venus Flytraps Really Live?
According to the latest research, Venus flytraps can live up to a couple of decades or longer. But scientists are still not sure and it is possible many of these plants have an even longer life.
If we limit ourselves to just one specific Venus flytrap, a 20+ year lifespan is a good estimate. But under certain conditions, Venus flytraps can survive indefinitely.
Each Venus flytrap leaf can grow roots. Since these are connected to the other leaves, it can be considered as the same plant. Venus flytraps discard old leaves and produce new ones constantly, so as long as conditions permit the plant will live.
Vegetative propagation or Venus flytrap cloning allows you to reproduce the plant repeatedly. The clone shares all the characteristics of the original so you can keep your Venus flytrap alive indefinitely.
The easiest way to clone a Venus flytrap is through leaf pulling. Here are the basic steps.
- Uproot the plant until the rhizome is visible.
- Find a healthy looking leaf attached to the rhizome.
- Pull the leaf off in a downward motion. Try to include as much of the rhizome as you can.
- Remove the trap from the leaf.
- Plant the leaf in a pot. Use soil that is appropriate for Venus flytraps, such as peat moss and perlite or Leaves and Soil Mix.
- Give it 12 hours of sunlight. Water the soil until it is moist.
The last step is patience. It might take a couple of months before anything grows. It usually takes a couple of years for a leaf pulling to grow into a mature plant. In comparison, it takes five years for seeds to fully grow.
The point is that cloning redefines how long Venus flytraps can live. If the plant has a specific trait you like, cloning allows you to replicate this over and over.
Are Venus Flytraps Hard to Keep Alive?
Venus flytraps have earned a reputation for being difficult to cultivate, but is this true? Certainly if you read online forums, a lot of new growers have problems. But while these plants have particular needs, keeping them alive is straightforward.
Venus flytraps are easy to grow if you know the right steps. Use nutrient free soil and avoid fertilizers, and always keep the soil moist. Give it 6-12 hours of sunlight and feed it 3-5 bugs a month and Venus flytraps will grow healthy. The following are essential to make Venus Flytraps live longer.
Venus flytraps may be different from other plants, but they do share the need for sunlight. 6 hours is the minimum but if they can have more that is better.
Keep your Venus flytrap away from direct sunlight during summer. The heat might burn the leaves and cause problems. You may place the plant directly under the sun if it is not too intense, but otherwise avoid it. You can also use indoor T8 lights like Barrina Plant Grow Lights.
As the plant approaches dormancy, less light will be needed. When it emerges from dormancy after 3 months, slowly acclimatize it to the light. Start with a few minutes a day and increase gradually over a few weeks.
Water and Soil
Never use fertilized soil. The typical soil used for houseplants will kill Venus flytraps so avoid those at all costs. It is also a good idea to repot after the plant comes out of dormancy.
One of the things you will learn about Venus flytraps is that they need plenty of water. In fact most people believe it is nearly impossible to overwater a Venus flytrap, but it is. This is one of the reasons why Venus flytrap growth can turn black.
If you want to avoid complications, use the tray method. Plant your Venus flytrap in a pot with drainage holes and place it on a tray. Pour an inch of water in the tray.
Check the pot every few hours to see how much water is left. Refill the tray when the water level drops considerably.
There is no hard rule on how often you should fill the tray. Water dissipates quickly during summer but less so in the fall. Also note this method should not be used when Venus flytraps go dormant.
The best thing you can do when Venus flytraps go dormant is to be patient. The only thing you have to do is water the soil every 3 to 4 weeks or so. Bring the plant indoors if it gets too cold, but if not you can just leave the plant where it is.
Venus flytraps do not need to eat during dormancy. You should not be alarmed when leaves fall and the plant shrinks as it is normal. Just wait until spring and your Venus flytrap will rise again.
We use the term nutrients because insects are not Venus flytrap food. Their food is glucose which they produce through photosynthesis.
Insects as well as frogs, caterpillars and other small creatures have nitrogen, potassium and other elements Venus flytraps require. Houseplants get these nutrients in soil but since they are not available for Venus flytraps, they resort to feeding on bugs.
Venus flytraps will not die if they cannot eat bugs. But depriving them of nutrients hampers growth and makes them vulnerable to disease.
Outdoors, Venus flytraps will have their fill of insects. If they are indoors, you can give them dead or freeze dried bugs, mealworms or fish flakes. These plants will still consume them but you have to manually stimulate the trap to get it to close.
How Long Do Venus Flytraps Live Indoors?
There is a common belief that indoor Venus flytraps do not live as long those grown outdoors. But is there any truth to this?
Venus flytraps indoors can live as long as their outdoor counterparts. The plant needs four things: sunlight, water, soil and nutrients. If you can provide these consistently, indoor Venus flytraps can live for many years.
Many indoor Venus flytraps die because they are not nurtured properly. While these plants have specific requirements it is not that difficult to follow.
The steps given here should be followed if your plant is indoors. A lot of potential problems can be avoided if you list the items the plant requires.
Take lighting for instance. Natural light is best, so place your Venus flytrap on a window porch where it can access light. You can also use artificial light but make sure the plant receives 12 hours of it daily.
Water should not be a problem indoors either. The rule is to keep watering until the soil is moist, but do not submerge the soil in water. If you press your thumb on the soil, it should feel damp, but water should not seep.
Indoor Venus flytraps do not have as much access to bugs compared to the outdoors. But you can feed the traps dead bugs, live or freeze dried.
Be careful not to overfeed your traps. The frequency should be one trap every 7 to 12 days. That is how often outdoor Venus flytraps usually eat so you just need to follow that.
The biggest threats to indoor Venus flytraps are pets and repeated poking. Do not poke the trap to see if it can bite (it cannot). If you have pets, place the plant somewhere that is out of their reach.
Researchers are still trying to figure out how long Venus flytraps can live, and if we include cloning the situation gets more complicated. But the bottom line is with proper care, Venus flytraps will survive for many years.
My fascination with carnivorous plants began many, many years ago with Venus Fly Traps. Now I am more than happy to impart what I know with other enthusiasts and those who are curious about meat eating plants.