The Quest to Keep Flytraps Alive

Standing dark bronze lighted cage containing a healthy potted Venus Flytrap

I love unusual plants and animals (even though everything is unusual depending on perspective) and the Venus Flytrap has always, for me, ranked among the highest in the category of cool and unusual plants. They're not hard to find being sold either, at least not here in the US--their only indigenous habitat across the entire globe!

I've bought many through the years, fully immersed myself in gaining the proper knowledge to care for them and doing everything I thought was necessary to maintain their health, but I could never get them to survive beyond about a year at most. So I began the quest to keep a Flytrap alive long term--I was determined.

These plants live in a unique environment--bogs of the east coast region. The ground is continually in standing water, however there is little to no shade and long hot summers, that is a truly unique combination, for elsewhere that there is hot, full sun, the ground tends to dry up. That's why this plant is so unique. It has adapted to a very unique environment and, imagine the bugs! The plant evolved to capitalize on its fertilizer flying around, rather than building up in the soil.

The full sun, I thought, must be the missing puzzle piece. Even the biggest window of the brightest house could not replicate a full--all day-- southern sun. I knew I needed to get a full spectrum light right above the plant, but also, I want it to look good as a part of my home decor. I assembled the first lighted plant cages as prototypes to explore a solution. Over a year later, I'm happy to report, the plants are thriving!

Flytraps aren't the only plant that loves living in these cages. I've had great success with rabbit's foot ferns, Nepenthes (tropical pitcher plants) and Sundews. An educated guess is that, any low-growth-profile and shallow rooted plant would do well in these. A plant that grows tall, would probably outgrow the enclosure rather quickly. In fact, my fern got so bushy in there, that it had to be removed. Likewise, a shallow pot is necessary, so a deep-rooting plant will outgrow this set up quickly as well. Those high-reaching and deep rooting plants however, tend to grow easily in a window or porch--they don't generally need the specific conditions a lighted cage will provide.

Other plants (though I haven't yet tested) that I suspect would do well in a lighted cage include: low profile succulents (cacti,) certain epiphytic plants ( like Staghorn Fern or some Orchids, etc.) all non-aquatic carnivorous plants and so many more--experiment! Have fun! 

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