Planting or transplanting a Venus Flytrap
Venus Flytraps can be transplanted at any time of year, during dormancy or during their active growing period, with minimal disturbance to their growth, if the transplanting is done gently and within a relatively short time. Venus Flytraps that have been uprooted for several days (such as when they are shipped from a supplier) may in contrast require 2-4 weeks to recover and reestablish themselves, but unlike some popular plants, Venus Flytraps are not particularly prone to transplant shock unless they are weak or their growing conditions are much different after transplanting.
A Venus Flytrap, uprooted and ready to be transplanted
To help a Venus Flytrap to reestablish itself after transplanting, while its roots adjust to the new soil and become efficient again at keeping the plant hydrated, give it plenty of bright light but keep it indoors for a few weeks, away from the direct sunlight and wind outdoors.
Transplanting a Venus Flytrap immediately (within a few minutes to a few hours) after uprooting it has the least harmful effect. If the planting must be delayed, a Venus Flytrap may be submerged in a bowl of distilled or other pure water, or wrapped in a fresh, clean paper towel that is dipped into or moistened with pure water and placed inside a plastic bag, and then placed in a refrigerator for up to several days, although this is not ideal. Do not leave a Venus Flytrap at room temperature for longer than several hours before planting it, as this can encourage fungal growth and infection especially of the tenderest, most vulnerable parts of the Venus Flytrap, the newly forming and emerging leaves at the center of the growing crown.
How to Transplant a Venus Flytrap, Step by Step
There are many ways to transplant a Venus Flytrap, and each grower has his or her own preferences. The step-by-step procedure illustrated here is simply one grower's typical method, but it should serve as a helpful demonstration of the transplanting procedure.
Before beginning the transplanting process, make sure that the growing medium to be used is lightly moist. Both wet and completely dry soil are harder to transplant into; soil that is just moist is easiest to move, to make a hole in that won't collapse, is easier to sift around the roots and rhizome of the plant than overly wet soil is, etc.
The small Venus Flytrap in the dark pot at lower right in the photo below is just emerging from dormancy with vigorous growth. It will be much larger in just a few weeks, and it is obvious upon inspection that it has outgrown its container. It has produced a couple divisions which will be separated from the parent and transplanted later. The mother plant (the most mature Venus Flytrap) will be transplanted into the light-colored container beside it in the photo, which is a medium-sized (16-ounce U.S. measure) styrofoam insulating beverage cup with several holes punched near the bottom for drainage.
A workbench with everything ready for transplanting to begin.
A few taps on the bottom of a container is often enough to dislodge the growing medium and root ball of the plant.
The Venus Flytrap is removed from its previous container.
The roots of a Venus Flytrap can break fairly easily, so be careful not to pull on them too much. Gentle taps on the soil are often all that is required to remove most of the soil.
The old soil is gently removed from the Venus Flytrap.
Once the soil has been removed, any natural divisions the plant has produced can be gently separated to be transplanted later.
The divisions (baby plants) are separated from the mother plant, to be potted later.
The Venus Flytrap can be soaked and rinsed in water in order to remove stubborn soil and to expose the rhizome so that it can be cleaned of any dead leaves and tissue. Small scissors and tweezers (forceps) are very handy for this cleaning.
Soaking the Venus Flytrap in water helps to remove the remaining old soil and helps to rehydrate a Venus Flytrap that has been uprooted for longer than a few minutes (such as those that have spent some days in shipment).
While the plant soaks, the new pot is filled with soil.
Pack the soil a little to help prevent the soil level from sinking too much when it is watered and as it settles over time.
The new soil is packed lightly.
A potting stick (in the photo below, a sturdy bamboo chopstick) can be used to make a hole for the Venus Flytrap. Moving the stick in a horizontal rotary motion helps to increase the hole to an appropriate size for the root mass.
A hole being made into which the Venus Flytrap will be transplanted.
Lower the Venus Flytrap roots into the hole made for them. Some dry medium thrown onto the wet roots can help prevent them from sticking to the sides of the hole and help them slide into the hole more easily. The planting stick (the bamboo chopstick) can be used to gently nestle the roots and rhizome into the hole.
The Venus Flytrap is lowered into the planting hole.
It's important to be careful and gentle in order not to damage the Venus Flytrap.
The Venus Flytrap is nestled into its new container.
Usually, the growing medium needs to be compacted a little and new medium added to refill the pot. A little gentle pressure on the center of the Venus Flytrap (the growing crown) can help to prevent it from rising while the soil around it is compacted.
Gentle downward pressure on the center of the Venus Flytrap can help hold it in position while the soil is compacted.
Don't compact the soil too much; just gently apply moderate pressure all around the rosette (the radiating leaves of the Venus Flytrap).
Compacting the soil around the Venus Flytrap.
Gently lift the leaves of the Venus Flytrap without lifting the entire plant from the soil (see photo below), in order to place more growing medium around the plant and under the leaves, to keep them at soil level or above. This is especially important for Venus Flytraps that have a prostrate growing habit (the leaves of which grow horizontally on the surface of the soil rather than more upward) because Venus Flytraps' leaves can develop a strong downward curl, especially during and just after dormancy. So placing a little soil underneath the leaves helps to keep them elevated (leaves with a downward curl will tend to bury themselves in soil that is very loose and soft).
If this is hard to do without fear of breaking the crisp and brittle leaves, allow the Venus Flytrap leaves to dry a little in shade first (while spraying the roots every few minutes to keep them from drying too much, or placing a moist paper towel over the roots). This will usually make the leaves a little limp and easier to lift and place soil beneath. Care must be taken to keep the uprooted Venus Flytrap out of the sun and the wind. Allowing the leaves to dry a little inside the home would be safer than doing so outside.
More growing medium being added to compensate for the soil compaction.
A turkey baster makes an easy and precise watering instrument.
Preparing to water the Venus Flytrap.
After nestling the Venus Flytrap into the soil of its new container, compacting and adjusting the height of the soil, water the transplanted Venus Flytrap thoroughly. The roots at this stage will be much less efficient than they were in the old soil, so they will need some help to keep the plant adequately hydrated. A newly transplanted Venus Flytrap will benefit from a few extra waterings (more frequently than established plants receive) for the first two to three weeks.
Water the transplanted Venus Flytrap thoroughly.
A spray bottle of pure water can help to wash bits of remaining soil from the leaves of the newly transplanted Venus Flytrap, and to rinse debris from the sides of the container.
A spray bottle of pure water helps to wash and clean debris from the plant.
It's done! The Venus Flytrap has been successfully transplanted into a larger container with more room for its roots to grow, because Venus Flytrap roots are unbranched (just single roots) that grow almost straight downward, not outward diagonally. Job well done!
The Venus Flytrap successfully transplanted.
The same Venus Flytrap about five weeks later, adapted to the new soil and pot and growing well after being transplanted