Tag: seeds

Carnivorous pitcher plant flower. Sarracenia "Hummer's Hammerhead".

How to tell if a Sarracenia flowers is pollinated

This will be a quick post, but one that I hope is useful to you readers! Sarracenia  are among the easiest carnivorous plants to hand-pollinate and hybridize. With patience and care, it’s fairly simple to create a brand-new, genetically unique plant. Many growers have registered their hybrids named after their spouses, children, or in remembrance of people who passed away. It’s quite romantic, actually!

Hand-pollinating Sarracenia is a pretty simple process. This post from The Pitcher Plant project explains it really well. In this post, I’m only looking to expand on Brooks’ information a bit and provide some more visuals!

So it can be a good six months or more between pollinating the flowers and harvesting the seeds. That’s a long time of not knowing! The clues are the ovary of flower. Go back up and read the post I linked above if you have no idea what I’m talking about!

After the pollen is spent, and all the flower petals drop, you’ll be able to see the ovary clearly.

This is what a pollinated ovary looks like:

Pollinated Sarracenia flower by The Carnivore Girl

Notice the ovary is round and covered in a scaly texture. It’ll start to look like this about a month after pollinating. By early fall, it’ll start turning brown.

To compare, here is an un-pollinated ovary:

Sarracenia flower un-pollinated by The Carnivore Girl

Notice how the shape is more sunken-in and not as round as the pollinated ovary. It also has a smoother texture, and not the bumpy surface.

Final notes:

  • Just because a flower was pollinated, doesn’t mean it’ll produce viable seed, if any seed at all. I’ve cracked open swollen ovaries to find big, fat nothing inside. Sometimes, you gotta try more than once, if you know what I mean.
  • Deformed flower parts, and trying to pollinate past the fertile window will decrease your chances of successful pollination.
  • Timing is pretty important. Flowers have a very short fertility window after opening. I’d say you want to pollinate no more than two weeks after flowers are fully open and dropping pollen.
  • If you apply pollen to all five stigmas, and do so several times, your odds of getting seed is pretty good.
  • If you have lots of natural pollinators like bees, you may have some surprises on your hands! Some people like the control of hand-pollinating, but unknowns  are fun too.

If you’re new to pollinating Sarracenia flowers, I hope this post has been helpful to you! Please share it via the buttons on the left if you think other people will find it helpful too. 🙂

Catch you next time!

The tiny, pink flowers of carnivorous sundew, Drosera nidiformis. Click to see more!

Should you start with seeds or adult plants? See the pros, cons and my middle finger!

It’s an age-old questions: should you start plants from seeds or buy adult plants? Both have perks and draw backs, especially in the carnivorous plant  world! You can grow herbs and vegetables from seed and be harvesting them in the same year, but carnivores don’t really work that way. Read on to find which method is best for you!

Bailey's face tea cup as a Venus flytrap planter.

Pros of buying adult plants

  • Instant gratification! You want to admire a beautiful plant every time you look out the window? Boom, there it is! No waiting for seedlings to mature, someone did the work for you.
  • Adaptability. A decently healthy adult plant will adapt to new growing conditions fairly quickly. Even if it’s stressed or weakened slightly from shipping or just adjusting, it will bounce back if given favorable conditions.
  • Generally, caring for any plant is simple if you’ve done your research and provide what it needs. It’s like following a recipe. There may be a lot of ingredients, but do your best to include them all correctly and it’ll turn out alright. I usually recommend adult plants to new growers for this reason. 

Carnivorous plants often enjoy the outdoors all year round!

Cons of buying adult plants

  • Adult plants are more expensive than seeds, but this is kind of a given. You’re buying a plant that definitely exists rather than plants that have the potential to exist.
  • Honestly, there are very few cons. Most plants sold commercially are established and mature because of how convenient they are.

Pros of growing from seed

  • Seeds are way cheaper than buying adult plants. They’re more of a time investment, but if your can for your seedlings all the way through adulthood, you can have dozens of plants for next to nothing.
  • Being a proud parent! Truly the best thing about growing from seed is seeing those little sprouts for the first time!  Watching your seedlings grow up from “birth” is a great feeling that never goes away, no matter how many seedlings you’ve raised. That sense of pride and satisfaction is simply awesome.
  • The possibility of creating something new and never seen before. This is especially for those who enjoy a god-like power trip! Learn the basics of hand-pollination and you can make hybrids and crosses that have never been done before. This can lead to making plants with completely unique traits have never been seen before! Imagine registering your own unique cultivar! I dream about this day. Don’t lie, you know you have too!
sarracenia-seed-germination (1 of 1)
Sarracenia seed germinating. This plant could be the next ‘Adrian Slack’!

Cons of seed-growing

  • The waiting. Oh god, the waiting! It can be months before you see any sign of germination and of course, you have to keep watering it with no sign of germination in sight because what if it finally sprouts tomorrow? Or next week? You can drive yourself crazy just waiting to see any sign of life. Especially if you have to stratify the seeds too! That add another 4-5 weeks of torturous waiting. And then the wait is anywhere from 4-7 years for most plants to mature. Yay!

I think this video I posted on Instagram sums up the feeling pretty succinctly.

  • The set-up involved. Most adult plants, to a certain degree, can adapt to new conditions pretty easily. Seeds cannot adapt. Most have to be humid and warm at all times. You have to maintain these conditions or they will almost certainly die. Oh, but you can’t allow for any mold or algae or that will kill them too! Imagine watering and maintaining a small patch of dirt every day for two months and seeing nothing change. That’s what caring for carnivorous plant seeds is like.
  • Seeds are a much bigger gamble. Buying adult plants is more of a “what you see is what you get” experience. Not so with seeds. There is always a chance of seeds being not viable or fresh, but you can’t tell unless you sow them and see if anything happens. You will almost never get 100% germination. And unless you’re careful, there’s a good chance of someone scamming you. Read my post on spotting scammers and making sure you get legit seeds.
Young Venus flytrap seedlings grown in a space bucket.
Venus flytrap seedlings

For the reasons stated above, I generally recommended starting seeds to growers that have some experience with adult plants first. Growing from seed is like the next level up in the carnivorous plant hobby. Do it if you want more of challenge and a test in patience!

That being said, some Drosera species are ridiculously easy to start from seed. Below are some suggestions:

Drosera spatulata, spoonleaf sundew, uncurling a little red flower stalk.
Drosera spatulata unfurling a flower stalk, which will produce many seeds!

All of the above Drosera have seeds that germinate fairly quickly and easily. You can become overrun with baby Drosera if you take too much care of them!

Thanks for reading! I hope this post was helpful to you. Do you have a preference of starting from seed or adult plants? Let me know in a comment!

Looking to buy carnivorous plant seeds? Read this before you get scammed!

I’ve seen this happening a lot recently, and it’s super disappointing. More like downright shitty.

New growers often want to try growing carnivorous plants from seed, which is great! They look online and buy some cheap seeds without a second thought. If the seeds grow at all, they are usually not the plant the seller claimed it to be.

I feel really sad when looking through the #venusflytrap hashtag on Instagram and see an excited post from a new grower captioned with “Look, my Venus flytrap seeds are growing!”,and more often than not, the plant is not a Venus flytrap at all.

It’s an intentional, age-old business model to sell cheap substitutes to people who don’t know any better. And it doesn’t just apply to handbags!

In this post, I’ll be showing you how to spot and avoid the scammy sellers, and where to buy legitimate carnivorous plant seeds! Here are the main clues you should look for when buying seeds.

1. Pictures

Many listing use stock photos of plants. Beware of photos that contain orchids or other non-carnivorous plants, such as these.

$_57 (1)

 

Beware of listings that also show a “mix” of carnivorous plants, advertising a mix of seeds. No carnivorous plants from different genera should have their seeds mixed together, ie: sundews, Sarracenia, and Nepenthes. They all have different requirements and no seller worth their salt would mix the seeds. The seller is simply lying.

In this photo, the colors of the pinguicula (middle left) and sundew (lower right) have been photoshopped. They are not naturally those colors, and the sellers are intentionally being deceptive.

$_57 (2)

 

Seriously? It’s like they’re not even trying with this. (All these photos ARE pulled from actual Ebay auctions!)

$_12

 

You should also have an idea of what the seeds you’re looking for look like. This is an image from an Ebay listing claiming they are Venus flytrap seeds. I am 100% certain they’re not. $_571

The images below are actual Venus flytrap seeds from Flytrapcare.com. You can see how they are shiny, black, rounded at one end and pointy at the other, not uniformly rounded like the photo above. They are also extremely tiny.

Flytrapcare.com
Venus flytrap seeds – Flytrapcare.com
Flytrapcare.com
Venus flytrap seeds – Flytrapcare.com
Drosera capensis seeds
Drosera capensis seeds
Nepenthes seeds. Sarracenia.com
Nepenthes seeds. Sarracenia.com
Sarracenia seeds. CPPhotofinder.com
Sarracenia seeds. CPPhotofinder.com

 

2. Price & amount of seeds

100 seeds for under $1.00 is usually BS and too good to be true. A pack of Venus flytrap seeds is usually between $10 and $15 for 15-30 seeds. Sarracenia seeds are usually sold in 15-30 seeds per pack as well. Most sundew seeds are extremely tiny and estimated in amounts of 50-100 (unless it’s a rare species). Sundew seeds will also be among the cheapest at $2 to $5 per pack.  Drosophyllum and Roridula seeds are among the few often sold in small lots of 5 or 10. Nepenthes seeds are sold in pods, and prices will vary depending on the value of the species.

3. Location

You can bet on seeds from China and Hong Kong being completely fake. Even for a cheap price, it’s simply not worth the risk. Some sellers in the US and UK will also scam you, so read the language carefully in the listing and look for certain red flags.

If you see this photo, do not buy the seeds.
If you see this photo, do not buy the seeds.

4. Language

Here are a few headlines from eBay auctions that would make me steer clear from those listings:

  • Carnivorous Plants Seeds Mega Mix 420+ seeds (Drosera, Nepenthes, Sarracenia) (this seller is advertising a mix of seeds, which is a huge no-no.)
  • 100 pcs catching plant enchantress Carnivorous desk Pot Bonsai seeds (this doesn’t even make sense. Enchantress? Desk? Bonsai? None of those words belong in a carnivorous plant seed listing)
  • 10 X Dionaea Muscipula Giant Clip Venus Flytrap Seeds Bonsai Plants Flower Seeds (Again, the word Bonsai doesn’t belong in there, and I don’t know what the word “Clip” is referring to)

If seeds are being advertised as “fresh”, look for a collection date. If there isn’t one, you should be highly suspicious. If you contact the seller, they should be able to tell you.

 

So where can legit carnivorous plant seeds be bought?

First, I recommend joining the International Carnivorous Plant Society. Though joining, you gain access to their seed bank and support carnivorous plant research and conservation. The North American Sarracenia Conservancy also has a seed bank available to members, though I’m unsure if it’s currently updated.

You can also check in with your local carnivorous plant society! See if they have a seed bank, or if any other members want to trade seeds at meetings. We at the BACPS just started holding informal meetups to swap propagation material! Encourage your local society to do the same!

There are also many online communities where members are happy to give, trade, or sell seeds. Some of the most active are listed below.

Finally, you can also purchase seeds from the many online carnivorous plant retailers. Here is a list organized by country. 

Keep in mind that many temperate plant species are available seasonally. Venus flytrap seeds are just approaching harvest season in the northern hemisphere (June through August) and more will be available for sale in the late summer/early fall months. Sarracenia seeds will be available in the fall to early winter months. Tropical sundew seeds like Drosera capensis are more likely to be available year round. Nepenthes seeds are generally harder to come by, due to needing a male and female plant to cross-pollinate.

I hope this post helps you in your search for carnivorous plant seeds! I try to keep my cool but it’s honestly frustrating to see so many new growers get led astray by these scams. Please do your research and have a healthy amount of skepticism! When in doubt, ask people in the online communities if they have experience or opinions of a particular seller.

Have you ever accidentally bought fake seeds? Is there anything else people should look out for? Leave me a comment with your experience!

Also please share this post so more people are aware of the scams and learn to get their seeds from better sources. Thank you! 😀

On Sarracenia rhizomes, look for firm, white or pink tissue as a sign of a healthy plant.

New blood in the carnivorous plant collection, including my first ever Nepenthes!

Recently I attended my first BACPS meeting, which was more of a casual, informal meetup. It was also located at a beer garden, so I had no excuse to say no! And I’m so glad I did! Not only did I add more plants to my collection, but I met lots of lovely people who I immediately felt at ease with. There were seasoned growers and newbies alike, and it was wonderful talking to all of them! It felt so good to truly geek out and talk about these plants that are a huge part of my life. I can only talk so much to my husband, friends, and coworkers before they start cutting off my drinks (kidding, mostly)!

Among those I met were fellow blogger Devon of Sundews Etc., who kept pushing  Drosera scorpioides gemmae on to me and everyone attending! 🙂 I must have taken at least five packets from him. After my first love affair with pygmy drosera, I couldn’t say no.

I also met the lovely Apache Rose, who is often seen in the Facebook carnivorous plant groups. From her I got teeny, tiny, adorable Pinguicula pirouette leaf pullings and my first ever Nepenthes! It’s a cutting of Nepenthes “bong bong” (ventricosa x bongso) x bongso. I have been keeping it on my windowsill and surprisingly, my cat has not been hostile toward it! So far, she’s willing to share “her” windowsill with another living object. I wonder how many plants would be her limit? Only one way to find out! 😉 I really hope I can see some pitchers on this little guy soon! Nepenthes "Bong Bong" cutting

I also got several Drosophyllum seed packets (in fact I think I accidentally stole all of them. E-mail me if you would like one!). This is another plant I’ve never grown before, and am very intrigued by. Scarifying the seeds increases germination, how interesting is that? That means scratch up the outer shell of the seed with something abrasive, like a nail file.

In case I haven’t hammered on it enough, I’m going to again. You NEED to join your local Carnivorous Plant Society! I may just be spoiled by the awesomeness of the BACPS members, but I can’t emphasize how much I had and what a great group of people they were.

Of course, this girl can never have enough Sarracenia. I recently bought three gorgeous and good-sized rhizomes from a kind fellow in a Facebook group. And because carnivorous plant people are so awesome and generous, I ended up with four rhizomes. My freebie was Royal Ruby x Judith Hindle. Yes, as in Phil Faulisi’s Royal Ruby! I’m just giddy.

Sarracenia rhizome with many small growth points
S. Blackened Redfish (aka Ritchie Bell)
On Sarracenia rhizomes, look for firm, white or pink tissue as a sign of a healthy plant.
Royal Ruby x Judith Hindle!
On Sarracenia rhizomes, look for firm, white or pink tissue as a sign of a healthy plant.
Sarracenia alata “Maroon Throat”. Look at all those growth points!
On Sarracenia rhizomes, look for firm, white or pink tissue as a sign of a healthy plant.
Sarracenia “Godzuki”!

I potted all four rhizomes together. I can’t wait to see a bunch of really unique pitchers all clustered  together! I’ve also been wanting to decorate and dress up my potting vessels lately, so I put this little guy in the center. 🙂 Soon he’ll be nicely shaded by tall, towering pitchers!

This Buddha statue will soon be shaded by tall, carnivorous plant pitchers!

In my tiny patio of a carnivorous garden, I must keep a delicate balance between too many, just enough, and not enough plants! It’s difficult to do when I always want more! Now that I’ve added a bit more, I must see what I can let go! My Sarracenia flava “Cuprea” divisions are doing well and I will likely be selling some very soon! Make sure you sign up for my email list to be the first to know when I’m selling plants! Enter your email below!

New pitcher forming on a Sarracenia, North American plant plant.

 

Starting seeds in a five-gallon bucket

Limited Indoor Growing Space? Make a Space Bucket!

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.

Space Buckets: a DIY indoor garden
Lookin’ pretty spacey!

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.

A space bucket is DIY indoor garden that fits in compact spaces!
Here you can see the main power strip, and power supplies to the fans on either side.

 

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!

Starting seeds in a five-gallon bucket
LED string light for top/side lighting. Drosera omissa x pulchella grown from gemmae, and Venus flytrap seedlings.

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.

Drosera omissa x pulchella. Pretty little pygmy sundews!
Pygmy sundews growing from gemmae in my space bucket!

Pygmy Drosera omissa x pulchella

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.

A dark red Venus flytrap seedling putting out a new trap!
Several dead ends, but new growth looks good! The future is bright.

 

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!

DIY indoor growing setup for under $100
Looking through the exhaust fan on the lid.

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!

Useful resources

 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! 😉

 

Free Carnivorous Seeds! Drosera Filiformis “Florida Red”

It’s finally here! My first giveaway through my blog!

dancing-jackolantern

I received a generous amount of Drosera filiformis “Florida Red” seeds recently, more than I need! I split the pack into roughly 3 equal parts and want to pay forward two of them. Each pack has at least 100 seeds. According to ICPS, these seeds do not need stratification before germinating. While these are temperate drosera, they only need a very mild dormancy, and some do fine without a dormancy at all.

Pictured below are the exact seed packs you will receive!

Drosera Filiformis Seeds Drosera Filiformis Seeds

Disclaimer: I received these seeds from a forum user giving them away. I can not verify how fresh or viable these are. 

Rules

  1. There will be two winners. One pack of seeds per winner.
  2. United States entries only. At this point, I can only ship seeds within the US. I apologize!

Enter through the form below and the winner will be picked next Wednesday November 5th. Good luck everyone! 😀

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Venus Flytrap Seedlings Update (I’m a Proud Mama!)

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.

Venus Fly Trap Seedling

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.

Venus Fly Trap Seedling

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!

Venus Fly Trap Seedling

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.

Pot of Fly Trap Seedlings

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!

Growing Venus flytraps from seeds is a lengthy process, but so rewarding!

OMG EXCITEMENT! We Have Venus Fly Trap Germination!

Fly Trap Seed Germination Fly trap seed germination

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!

Update! See their first leaves here!

An Easy Guide on Planting Venus Fly Trap Seeds

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!

Carnivorous Plant Seed LabelsStep 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) Peat Moss

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 Horticultural Sandpictured 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

Carnivorous Seed PotsWhen 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!

Venus Flytrap Seeds
For reference, my ring is 3mm wide. Seeds are tiny!

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.

Carnivorous Plant Seed Setup
My current setup. Sunny up top protects the seeds down below!

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!

Carnivorous Plant Seeds Up Close! (Spoiler: they look weird!)

I love microscope photography of just about anything. Botanical illustrations are also totally my jam. Turns out carnivorous plant seeds look SO COOL up close! I found these articles on the structure of different seeds while writing my post on joining a carnivorous plant society. I’ll post a few images here, but I highly encourage you to check out all the pictures and information on your own. These articles are free to the public! You don’t need to be an ICPS member to access them.

Here are the links to Article 1 and Article 2.

Keep in mind, this is older information from 1983. But if you’re into seed-growing, it’s  still relevant and super fascinating information! Check out some images below!

Drosera Gigantea Seed

A drosera gigantea seed looks like a big ol’ peanut!

drosera-seeds

Drosera seeds are so tiny to the human eyes, who knew they all looked SO different!

Pinguicula Seeds

Pinguicula seeds, on the other hand, pretty much all look like peanuts. The author mentioned that they were much harder to tell apart.

It’s so much fun to see things we wouldn’t ordinarily see. Gotta keep that curiosity alive! Hope y’all enjoyed this quick post!