Starting plants from seeds is a whole different ball game from buying and caring for an adult plant, but it doesn’t have to be hard! I just sowed mine yesterday and took photos along the way to show how easy planting Venus fly trap seeds really is!
Step 1: Write out your labels!
It may seem like a no-brainer, but this is super important! Do this before anything else! When all your seeds look exactly the same when they germinate, I guarantee you will forget what they are. Even if people (ie: me) intend to label their seeds, they get excited about starting and forget. It’s a good habit to do this step first. Make sure to include the date!
Note: I also planted drosera filiformis seeds with my flytraps, but seed sowing for these is exactly the same.
Step 2: Prep your media (soil)
You can start seeds in the same soil mixture as adult plants. For this set of seeds, I used a 50/50 mixture of peat moss and rinsed horticultural sand. You can also use perlite in place of sand, which is what I normally use, but I’m trying out sand for seedlings due to the smaller grain sizes. The sand and peat moss I used are pictured to the right. Peat moss should be available in just about any gardening store. Sand however, may be harder to find. Look for “silica sand” or “horticultural sand”. “Play sand” is not often recommended because you can never be sure what the sand grains actually are. Buy play sand at your own risk!
Rinse your sand or perlite in distilled water. I did this by just pouring water over it in a container, swirling it around, and carefully dumping the water out. Repeat until the water looks clear (took about 3 times for me). This is to wash away any mineral residue that can harm the plants. Some people rinse their peat moss too, but I’ve never done this and it has never been an issue for me.
Once your sand is washed, add an equal part of dry peat moss. Add some distilled water and mix it all together. If the peat moss still has dry spots, keep adding water. You want it to be thoroughly soaked.
Step 2.5: Add soil to your pots
When the sand and peat are mixed thoroughly and evenly, gently pack handful of the mixture between your hands. This squeezes out some excess water and compacts the soil. Then fill up yer pots to the brim! I used 4-inch plastic pots, which you can get super cheaply on Amazon. Pots this size will allow me to keep seedlings in them for about two years without needing to transfer them. If you have larger pots, you can compact the soil by filling the pot and gently pressing down on the soil. Don’t worry about compressing it too much, but remember the sand will keep the soil aerated as the seedlings’ roots grow. Don’t forget to add your labels!
Step 3: Sow your seeds!
If you bought your Venus fly trap seeds, they most likely came in a pack of 30 or less. I had two different packs, one which had 10 and the other had 15. With a small number of seeds like this, I recommend sowing each seed individually spread out across your soil. It may seem tedious, but this will keep seeds from clumping together in one spot and gives each one a better chance of germination. You can pick them up by hand or use some flat-ended tweezers (be careful not to crush them!) Place the seeds on top of the soil. Do not bury them. You can sift a thin layer of peat moss on top if you want. This will help retain moisture and give the baby plant something to push against, which will help drive the roots solidly into the soil. If you do this, use a spray bottle to spray distilled water over the top of the soil until it’s thoroughly wet.
Step 4: Warmth and moisture!
Your seeds are sown! Now you need to keep them warm and moist at all times until germination. There are several ways to do this. Ideally, you want to keep your seeds between 78 and 90 F (25 – 32 C). They will germinate faster if they are warmer than room temperature. Keep an eye on the surface of the soil and do not let it dry out. Spray the surface with distilled water, or you can cover the top with some clear plastic to increase the humidity. Fresh air flow is still important, so make sure to remove the plastic periodically, or you will start to see mold grow on the soil. Do not cover the seeds with plastic if they are ever under direct sunlight. They will easily overheat and die. Seeds don’t need any direct sunlight at all for that matter. Bright but indirect sunlight is ideal.
For many people, keeping the seeds near a bright windowsill works well. You can also keep them under a daylight-balanced light bulb set on a timer (12-16 hours of light will do). Thanks to my warm local climate, I’ve decided to keep my seeds outside during the day and then bring them inside at night. In my area of California, temperatures are currently in the high-80s to low-90s F. I’m keeping my seeds on the second shelf down from the top of my mini-greenhouse. They will be shaded by the plants on the top shelf, which receive direct sunlight. When temperatures cool down in the next month or two, I’ll put the plastic cover of my greenhouse back on for seedlings and non-dormancy plants.
Step 5: Patience!
Patience is probably the biggest key to planting Venus fly trap seeds. They can begin germinating in about two weeks, although 3-5 weeks is more typical. Keep following step 4 and eventually you will get baby plants! However, keep in mind that seeds become less viable as they get older. If the seeds are over 1-2 years old, they will take longer and have a lower germination rate. Fresh seeds are best!
I’m experimenting with new techniques for this batch of seeds and will keep y’all updated on how it goes! Hopefully this post sets you on your way to planting Venus fly trap seeds! Feel free to comment with any further questions if you have them!