There are some very unique and different plants in the world, and many gardeners and horticulturists prefer to collect different kinds of plants. One of the plants that you might have heard of is the Venus Flytrap. It’s not like any other plant, and its unique array of features easily sets it apart from almost all other kinds of plants.
Most plants make their food through photosynthesis, which is a natural process that uses the light of the sun to break down nutrients. The Venus Flytrap, on the other hand, literally “traps” insects in its leaves and slowly digests them. It is an interesting example of plant morphology, and the way different kinds of plants have had to adapt in different environments.
This is classified as an “insectivorous” plant, which means that it feasts on insects, and is one of the only examples of a plant that is carnivorous. But, you should know that just like most other plants, the Venus Flytrap also gathers its nutrients from different gases found in the atmosphere. They also get nutrients from the soil, but because they are generally accustomed to growing in marshy and poor quality soil, these nutrients are not enough to sustain the growth of the plant.
As a result of that, the Venus Flytrap needs to get its nutrients from other insects. Although there are several other carnivorous plants that live in different parts of the world, the Venus Flytrap is generally native to the boggy regions found in parts of South and North Carolina.
Because most people were so fascinated with what the plant had to offer, it wasn’t long before the Flytrap was being cut down and people were taking it away to keep them in their house. It’s obviously a great addition to any garden, and it is definitely going to turn heads due to its unique structure and appearance.
But, the excessive cutting reduced the population of the plant by a considerable margin, and as a result of that, the Venus Flytrap was actually about to become extinct. Growth is now controlled, and the plant is generally found in greenhouses nowadays.
However, if you have a Venus Flytrap in your house, you should know that the plant needs to be cared for. Most people don’t understand how to properly care for their Venus Flytrap, and end up suffering the consequences later on. Over the passage of time, one issue that might arise is that the plant might start turning black.
The leaves of the Venus Flytrap generally open, and if you look closely, you will notice very sensitive hairs on them. These are also known as trigger hairs, so whenever anything touches these hairs, they instantly make the leaves close up. In fact, it takes less than a second for the trap to close up, thus trapping any insect that was sitting in the middle. The plant also detects if the object isn’t food; it will eventually spit it out after a while.
There are finger-like projections growing around the sides of the plant. These will prevent larger insects from being able to escape from the plant. As the trap shuts, digestive juices are released from the plant, which are used for dissolving the softer innards of the insect.
The tough, outer parts of the insect are not absorbed, and once the whole absorption process is completed (usually takes anywhere between five to 12 days), the plant simply absorbs all of the digestive fluid again. The leftover parts are released from the plant. It’s a pretty unique way of digesting nutrients from the environment.
But, as mentioned above, you might start worrying when the plant begins to turn black. This happens due to a variety of reasons, and it’s important that you understand why the plant might begin to turn black over the passage of time.
Here are just a few reasons why the Venus Flytrap might start to turn black.
1 – Overfeeding
One of the main reasons why your plant might begin to develop black traps over the passage of time is due to overfeeding. If literally every single trap on the plant is fed separately, there is a strong chance that the plant will begin to turn black. Each of the traps that are closed require a considerable amount of digestive energy to extract the resources.
Digesting all of the food is going to require a huge amount of energy, and it’s one of the reasons why the plant begins to turn black. When the traps begin to turn black, it’s a clear indication that certain traps are dying. This happens because the plant tries to concentrate its growth on the remaining traps.
Another reason why the plant might begin to die is due to the overload of nitrogen. If you want to save the plant and prevent this from happening, the best thing to do is stop hand-feeding your plant for at least a month. You need to give the plant enough time to recover on its own, and maybe let it catch its own food for a while.
2 – Eating Something Oversized
If you look at the Venus Flytrap closely, you will realize that the size of the traps is accurately adjusted based on the needs of the plant. To digest the insect that gets trapped successfully, the plant needs to properly close both sides of the trap. But, if there is a leg or a wing sticking out and the leaves do not close properly, there is a chance that the trap is going to turn black and die eventually.
If you are going to feed the Venus Flytrap by yourself, you need to be careful that you choose insects of an appropriate size. Ideally, the insect you feed it should be one third of the size of the trap. This is a fair ratio, and it’s going to ensure that the traps never get stuck. There are going to be times where two insects might get stuck in one trap. If that happens, your only option will be to leave the plant alone.
3 – Stress
Yet another reason why the plant might begin to turn black is due to the excessive amount of stress that it takes when the plant is moved or repotted. Most people don’t realize this, but the plant can suffer due to an excess of stress. If the plant was recently repotted or moved to a new surrounding, it might just be suffering from stress. If that’s the case, the only thing you can do is wait it out.
In most cases, traps tend to die when the plant is moved to a new pot, and it’s normal. You just need to give the plant an adequate amount of time for it to settle. If you want to reduce potting stress, one of the things that you can do is wait it out until the end of dormancy before you decide to go ahead. This is going to bring down stress considerably and make it easy for the plant to settle into its new surroundings.
4 – Improper Container, Water, or Soil
The Venus Flytrap receives most of its nutrients from the insects that it eats up and digests. If the plant is placed in a nutrient-rich soil, it’s really not going to fare well. Ideally, the best kind of soil for the Venus Flytrap is the peat moss. It’s readily available, and works like a charm with the plant. You might want to consider using perlite or silica sand to aerate the soil.
If you make the mistake of adding fertilizer to your plant, you will probably cause it to turn black. Instead, you need to avoid doing that. There is no need to add any kind of nutrients into the mix, or any kind of fertilizer. The plant is going to grow on its own and will get its nutrients from the environment.
Also, avoid using regular potting soil, because that can be detrimental to the health of the plant. When it comes to water, you should know that the Venus Flytrap is slightly sensitive, so using tap water might not be the best idea. Instead, you should consider using distilled water for the plant.
If the water has 50 ppm of total dissolved solids, it’s fine to use, but anything more, and you will have to avoid using that. These are just a few things that you should know about taking care of the Flytrap. Another thing to know is that from time to time, certain traps might turn black and die. This is perfectly normal, and you will notice new traps taking their place within a few days.
As long as the plant gets its fair share of nutrients and is cared for properly, it’s going to remain healthy. It’s a wonderful addition to any greenhouse or garden too!