Alright, there’s a lot of misconceptions about this topic so here’s the skinny on carnivorous plants and fertilizer. You shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet, but you know me! I’m giving you the facts and I’ll do my best to be accurate.
For the past year, I’ve been happily starting seeds and gemmae in my sweet space bucket. But since making The Carnivore Girl my full time gig, I’ve had to step up production. And my Christmas present last year definitely helped! Check out my new set up for growing carnivorous plants indoors!
That’s right, Sarracenia seedlings look like baby brontosauruses! I am always open to opportunities to compare carnivorous plants to other unusual looking things!
Pictured above is a cluster of Lynda Butt x (moorei x flava var. atropurpurea) seedlings currently growing in my space bucket. These are my most mature seed grown babies so far! I sowed the seeds on January 19th and first saw germination on February 11th. The one with the longest brontosaurus neck was the first to germinate. For a while, I thought it would be the only one to germinate! But the stragglers started popping up soon enough.
Soon I’ll be getting a small sample of Maxsea fertilizer, which lots of Sarracenia growers use on their seedlings to increase growth in record-fast time! I can’t wait to see what this baby brontosaurus will look like after a bit of a growth spurt!
What else in growing in the space bucket? My Sarracenia leucophylla “Hurricane Creek White” Clone C x Clone F were the next to germinate! I’m very excited to have seed-grown Hurricane Creek Whites! It’s an honor to help propagate a plant that’s sadly gone extinct in the wild.
I have two more sets of seeds which haven’t germinated yet. Hopefully we’ll see those soon in a future post!
As an experiment, I also have seeds outside that have yet to germinate. I’m curious to see how much faster or slower space bucket germination is vs. outside, natural light germination. Currently I’m giving my space bucket seedlings 19 hours of light. For both inside and outside seeds, I’m spraying the surface once a day and keeping them in a tray of water. Which will germinate first? Time will tell!
Do you have any seedlings growing inside or outside right now? What’s your set up like? Tell me all about it in a comment!
Happy belated New Year, everyone! One of my goals this year is to grow more plants from seeds, which until later in the year, needs to be done indoors. That has its own set of challenges for me.
Originally, I didn’t think growing plants indoors would be an option for me. I live in a small apartment and have a cat that dominates the one good windowsill! When I tried growing seedlings inside out of the cat’s reach, they almost immediately started growing mold, eww! There was no good air circulation in that room, but I couldn’t put them anywhere else where I could have enough light and the cat couldn’t reach.
My awesome husband read about space buckets online soon after I moved my seeds inside, and built me one for Christmas! If you can fit a five-gallon bucket near an outlet in your home, you have plenty of space for this DIY indoor growing setup! If you or someone you know is a little handy, I highly recommend building one of these! Clearly, I was a good girl this year. 😀
Space buckets require a bit of research and planning, depending on what kind of plants you’re growing in them. By and large, they are used for growing marijuana, so many guides are tailored towards that. Mary J is not my plant of choice, as you might have guessed! My main purpose for it would be starting seeds and possibly keeping small, tropical carnivores (ie: drosera or cephalotus).
To make any kind of space bucket, a few things need to be considered:
- Keeping light in, which ensures the plants get as much light as possible. This usually involves covering the entire outside of the bucket in black duct tape, and covering the inside with reflective Mylar.
- Light itself. Your choices are essentially LED, compact florescent lights(CFL), or a mix of both. LEDs produce less heat, cost less energy over time, but tend to be more expensive up front. CFLs get hotter, are cheaper up front, but may cost slightly more over time than LEDs. Like with any indoor lighting, you should research what light color temperature works best for the results you want. I keep it simple and aim for 6500K, which is equivalent to outside daylight from the sun.
- Placement of lights. If you are using compact florescent lights on the lid for example, your plants may need to be elevated on some kind of platform in order to get the most photosynthetic benefit they can. But a few strings of LED lights can be wrapped around the inner walls of the bucket, and are therefore already closer to the plants. If you want, you can use both!
- Air circulation. The bucket needs areas cut out for two fans, an intake and exhaust fan. The intake is placed in the side of the bucket, while the exhaust is placed on the lid or near the top. Most often, CPU cooling fans for computers are used.
- Power supply. Space buckets need power for the lights and the fans, which sometimes can be bought with their own power supply. The power supplies then need to plug into a power strip that will plug into an outlet, which powers up the whole thing! You can decided if you want to control power to lights and fans independently of each other.
- Keeping everything in place! You will need some heavy duty zip ties and strategically drilled holes to keep everything firmly attached to the bucket and to minimize light leaks.
So here is mine! It’s pretty basic, as far as space buckets go.
Many building guides use two buckets stacked within each other. The outer bucket serves as a drainage tray, and the inner one is the actual “pot” with holes drilled into the bottom. Mine does not have a drainage tray or holes drilled, as of yet. My current plants are just sitting at the bottom of the bucket. Currently I have a pot of drosera omissa x pulchella grown from gemmae in its own pot and tray. My two pots of Venus flytrap seedlings are in there as well, with no trays.
For this build, we decided on two sets of LED strips wrapped around the inside to provide side lighting with minimal bulk and less chance of overheating. You can’t really tell this photo is underexposed. This thing is BRIGHT! It actually hurts my eyes to look at directly. Don’t stare at the sun in the bucket, kids!
So how well does it work?
I haven’t started actual seeds in the bucket yet, but the pygmy drosera gemmae germinated super quickly! In less than a week, they were producing carnivorous leaves. When I first sowed them, I put a plastic sandwich bag over their pot to keep humidity up. I took it off after each baby plant had about 4 carnivorous leaves. I keep water in their tray and spray the surface every other day to keep them moist. They look nothing short of happy and dewy! This week I’ll be moving them to the outside greenhouse to enjoy the cooler weather.
Quick note: I have to credit Devon of Sundews Etc. for the original idea of adding a top layer of silica sand for the pygmies. Definitely looks much nicer than the flytrap pots!
As for the Venus flytrap seedlings, the mold is totally gone! The previously stunted seedlings seem to be happier and are producing actual full traps now. However, I’ve also noticed some leaves dying back. I tried acclimating these to the LED light slowly, but it still may have been too much at once. There is still enough new growth though that I’m confident the strongest seedlings will bounce back. With the pygmy drosera pot needing a tray, I unfortunately can’t fit trays for both of the dionaea pots in the bucket. So I am top-watering them as carefully as I can, about once a day. The fans can dry out a pot pretty quickly if it’s not covered for humidity, or doesn’t have a tray.
We decided against UFO lighting and placed the exhaust fan on the bucket lid, though my husband would still like to add a few more LED strips to the inside of the lid. I actually wouldn’t mind a CFL or two in there if we can fit them. A slight increase in heat would help with faster seed germination. Current high temperature in my bucket is around 74 to 76 degrees F, and low temperatures are between 63 and 65 F. Once I take the pygmy sundews out, I wouldn’t mind bumping it into the low 80s for the Sarracenia seeds going in there next!
You will most likely need to do some shopping, but you can easily build a bucket for under $100. It’s way cheaper than most indoor growing systems out there!
- Spacebuckets website
- Step by Step building guide
- Space bucket community on Reddit (lots of marijuana photos ahead!)
Ultra basic shopping list
- five-gallon bucket (this black bucket may give you an edge with controlling light leaks)
- Light (either an LED UFO, or LED strip, or Compact Florescent or a mixture! These lights linked are 6500 K daylight balanced, but your specific needs may vary)
- Mylar blanket for maximum light reflecting inside the bucket
- Two cooling fans for air circulation
- Humidity thermometer (I love this thing! Nifty tool for checking your high and low temperatures and humidity)
- Power strip (this puppy needs power after all!)
- Light timer (I still need one of these! I keep the bucket on during the day for roughly 14 hours, and just turn off the power at night.)
I’m excited to show updates throughout the year of my various bucket projects! If you have any further questions, leave a comment and I will do my best to answer! I did not do any of the building though, so if you have building or tool-related questions, give me some extra time to consult my handy handsome husband! 😉
Ah yes, my Venus flytrap seedlings and my sundews are the only plant in my collection getting any attention lately. Dormancy, you are so bittersweet, and I’m going to be saying that all winter long!
In my last seedling update, I showed their little trap leaves for the first time and also moved them inside to grow under a bulb. The move to indoors has had advantages as well as drawbacks.
On the plus side, they’ve been growing a lot bigger and faster since moving them inside! The red seedlings actually have 1-2 traps instead of little red nubs. And the Fused Tooth x Fused Tooths have at least 3 traps and growing more constantly! I’m planning on feeding them very soon and seeing how much that boosts their growth.
While the Fused Tooth x Fused Tooth seedlings look relatively normal as far as baby flytraps go, the red seedlings are looking a bit unusual. I didn’t even notice until I zoomed in and cropped the photos. This first one looks downright deformed. It may be damaged, though I don’t see how that would happen.
This second seedling has pretty distinct, short cilia, much like Sawtooth or Dentate-styled cultivars. The rear trap (focused on the second photo) looks like it barely has any cilia at all!
Only time will tell though! The next update and beyond will show more traits as they become clearer.
The only downside to growing indoors has been the mold. You can see a bit of it on the soil surface in the photos. It’s not out of control or anything, just frustrating and unsightly. I have put the seedlings outside occasionally for some air circulation, but I know drastic temperature changes aren’t good for them either. I’m looking into options for improving air circulation inside. A fan makes sense but it would make the room cool, and I like being warm. 😛
I’m sure I’ll figure something out. Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for an exciting holiday GIVEAWAY in a future post! And join the email list to be notified when the post goes live!
It’s been a while since my last Venus flytrap seedlings update, and there’s been a lot of progress since then! The Fused Tooth x Fused Tooth seedlings are so big and robust. They’ve already put out their first actual trap leaves, and some have developed a bit of red coloring as well! Check out the shots below!
It looks like the seedling below is already showing some fused, bristled cilia on its trap! The seedling in the above photo definitely has more traditional looking cilia. Only time will tell as they get older though.
In contrast, the red seedlings have been developing a lot more slowly. They still don’t have any clear trap leaves yet. I’m not too worried though, because red plants do tend to grow more slowly. They have been turning redder and darker, which I’m hoping is a good sign!
Last weekend, I also decided to move my seedlings inside to keep them growing and developing over winter. I’m definitely not an indoor grower, so my light set up is extremely basic.
I cleared out a shelf in my bookcase and taped up some white pieces of paper to reflect light back onto the seedlings. Because my shelf is black, it would just absorb a lot of light and get really hot if it didn’t have the white paper up. With the white paper, I can use the available light to make it feel a bit brighter.
I have an 18w 5000K compact florescent bulb in a clamp lamp with a metal reflector. I’m only using that particular bulb because it was what I already had. If I were buying a new one, I’d get one that was a bit more powerful (like 24 watts), and 6500K, which is the color temperature of daylight.
Because my light is not particularly strong, I’m leaving it on for 16 hour periods. Again, I’m not a light or indoor growing expert, but if you want to try growing seedlings indoors, here’s a basic list similar to what I have:
- Daylight balanced light bulb (either 5000 or 6500K would work)
- Clamp lamp with reflector
- Outlet light timer
The pot on the far left with the bag over it holds my freshly sown Drosera filiformis “Florida Red” seeds! The plastic bag is to increase humidity for germination. Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a FREE pack of your own D. filiformis “Florida Red” seeds! Giveaway ends on Wednesday so enter ASAP!
Any questions about light, seed growing, or anything else feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a comment below. Don’t over think on lights too much! When in doubt, don’t underestimate that sunny windowsill! 😉
Aww, they grow so quickly! It’s now about two weeks after my Venus flytrap seedlings germinated, and they’re already losing the seed husks and emerging with their cotyledon leaves!
This one looks like it’s clapping above its head, so cute! You can also see another smaller seedling directly behind it, out of focus. I believe this is one of the all-red seedlings.
This is one of the Fused Tooth x Fused Tooth seedlings, and it’s big! I’m pretty sure it was the first to germinate and has grown and developed super quickly! I have a feeling its going to be a large, vigorous plant! 😀 Looks like it might even open its first trap in the next few days! I’M EXCITED IN CASE YOU CAN’T TELL.
And another seedling that’s popped up and doing nicely! Each pot has 5-6 seeds germinating that I can see. Not bad from just one of each a couple weeks ago!
Here’s a shot of the whole Fused Tooth x Fused Tooth pot. You can see the big one super easily near the top! Seriously, it’s a giant compared to the others! Look closely and you can see the other babies as specks of green.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be reducing the amount of water on these. There is some algae on the surface now that I don’t want taking over the pot.
In the next update, I’ll hopefully have some teeny, little flytrap leaves to show you! Have an excellent Thursday everyone!
Just wanted to make a quick update from my post on planting Venus fly trap seeds. The first signs of Venus fly trap germination appeared early last weekend! I believe it was Friday. The seeds were sown on September 7th, which means they took just under three weeks to germinate.
I’ll admit I was getting nervous. I saw other posts online where other peoples’ seeds showed germination within two weeks. One post even saw germination in six days! I was feeling some major germination-envy. This envy got to me, and I ended up putting my seeds in direct sunlight for a few hours every day sometime mid-last week. I think that extra heat kicked them into gear. They had only been in bright shade before.
The other growers most likely were keeping them indoors under lights on timers, probably 16 hours or longer. Honestly, that’s probably a more ideal situation for seedlings, since you have more control of their heat and humidity levels. My seedlings were definitely subject to more temperature fluctuations. I also may have left them outside at night once or twice when it got into the low 60s, oops. I’m sure that delayed germination quite a bit.
The two photos above are the only signs of germination I’ve seen so far, but I’m feeling optimistic! My method hasn’t been perfect, but I wanted to see how Nature would treat the seeds. These two are obviously the strongest of the bunch, and I hope the rest follow soon!
Who is the father? 😛
For those wondering about parentage, these seeds are from two different batches. The top image is a seed selectively pollinated from two “Fused Tooth” cultivars. Because they are seed grown and not “Fused Tooth” clones, they will be called Fused Tooth x Fused Tooth. Each seed is genetically unique, and not all will display the “Fused Tooth” traits.
The second seed is a result of selective pollination from all-red Venus fly traps, which offers a much higher probability of all-red babies! Y’all know my love for red flytraps! Again, each seed is completely unique and may or may not have all-red traits at all. It’s possible more seeds germinated, but are just hard to see against the soil if they are in fact, red!
So what’s in your germination station?
What are you growing from seeds, dear readers? Under what kind of conditions are you keeping them? Or if you’re not growing anything from seed right now, what would you grow if you could? Leave me a comment about anything at all!
If I get another batch of fly trap seeds, it will be the Giant and Superior variety, from the same breeders as my current seeds. How cool would it be to grow gigantic, vigorous, and completely unique Venus fly traps?! And 20 seeds for under $10! I better stop myself now… 😉
As always, thanks for reading! More updates on the Venus fly trap germination will come soon!
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!