Beware Of The Flowers.

It’s spring which means boxes of Venus flytraps are springing up in the garden sections and next to the checkouts at hardware stores everywhere. I took that picture just a couple of days ago at a certain big box hardware store—blue or orange, take your pick—and I was pretty surprised that the plants looked like they were in good shape. And this is right after I read about two people charged with stealing nearly six-hundred Venus flytraps from the wild, which, for so many reasons, is a really stupid crime to commit. About the only smart thing they did was pick the time of year when Venus flytraps typically put up flowers which makes them easy to spot. Now let me get to just some of the reasons I can think of why stealing plants from the wild is a boneheaded thing to do:

-Venus flytraps are cheap. The small boxes in the picture above were five dollars. The large boxes were seven. I’m not sure why there was a difference since you’re getting the same plant either way. Of course a major retailer is going to buy plants for a lot less than that so once you figure the costs of getting to the plants, carrying them out, packaging them, then trying to unload them at a hardware store or nursery I don’t see how they could make a profit. Or how showing up at a garden center with a truckload of plants isn’t going to prompt as many questions as someone walking into a pawn shop with a box of brand new Rolexes.

-Venus flytraps are easy to propagate if you know what you’re doing. There are lots of plant sellers that specialize in carnivorous plants—California Carnivores is one of my favorites—and none of them sell wild-harvested Venus flytraps. For one thing it’s a felony to take the plants out of the wild. For another professionals have mastered cultivating the plants and have even produced cool varieties like the dark ‘Red Dragon’ so there’s no need to take plants out of the wild. Besides…

-Venus flytraps are really popular but they aren’t that easy to grow. They need a winter dormancy, they need extremely pure water, and they like a lot of sunlight. A cultivated plant grown in a nursery, though, is going to be hardier and better adapted to being grown on a windowsill or in a home garden. Wild plants, on the other hand, are more likely to die when transplanted. This is true of almost any wild plant. Even if you’re a professional chances are you’ll have a lot of trouble recreating the exact conditions it’s used to. If you’re some amateur who goes and digs up a wild plant in a protected area all you’ve done is destroyed someone else’s chances of seeing a natural wonder. Congratulations, asshole.

So there’s my annual public service announcement: leave the wilderness as it is and if you want a Venus flytrap buy one from an established nursery. Or go with the original.

Source: Medium

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  1. mydangblog

    I didn’t know you could grow Venus Flytraps outdoors. Then again, maybe you can’t up here. I’ve always wanted one though so I’ll keep my eyes open for some at our local garden centre!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Where you are the temperature may get a bit too cold for Venus Flytraps but I know some growers who provide the “winter dormancy” by putting theirs in the refrigerator for a few months. That works in both places that are too cold and southerly latitudes that never get cold enough. But they can be a tricky plant to grow and for anyone who wants to grow carnivorous plants I always recommend tropical sundews, which can be very easy to grow and are also attractive plants that eat bugs.


    I love the attention you give to Venus Fly Traps and Uranus, Chris. Happy Spring!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I really appreciate the attention you give to my blog, Ann. I hope it helps spread the message about leaving Venus Fly Traps where they are–unless they’re at WKRP.


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