Dionaea (Dionaea muscipula) is a rare and protected plant of the Rosyankov family that uses insects for food. Better known as the Venus flytrap. Scientists explain the Latin name (mousetrap) by an error in describing the species.
Exot is characterized by an original appearance, behavior unnatural for plants and an unusual way of feeding. A bewitching sight is the hunting of a predator. This process will not leave anyone indifferent.
The height of an adult Dionea is 10-15 centimeters. A rosette of four to seven leaves is located on a short bulbous stem. In May-June, you can see the peduncle. At its top, a scutellum inflorescence is formed, consisting of white flowers (their diameter is about a centimeter), emitting a sweet pleasant aroma. Flowering lasts one to two months.
When the dionea has faded, traps grow on the tops of the petioles (they stretch in length by 8-15 centimeters). They are formed by two green flaps that can slam shut. In bright light, the inner walls take on a reddish color. Valve edges are covered with bristles and have triggers. When triggers get annoyed, the trap is slammed shut. There are glands in the cavity, the function of which is to synthesize nectar, which serves as bait for insects. When the victim falls into the trap, a digestive secretion begins to be synthesized. Food is digested for one to two weeks, after which the flaps open and await the next victim. When the trap eats two or three insects, it dies off in most cases. But some traps manage to digest even 7 victims.
In nature, the peat bogs located in the southern part of North America serve as the home for the predator. To make up for the lack of nitrogen, he catches slugs, hunts for insects.
The Venus flytrap is one of the most popular indoor plants. It is grown by flower growers all over the world.
The genus Dioneus is monotypic - it contains only one species (Venus flytrap). But breeders have created many varieties.
Features of home care
The insectivorous plant is quite capricious. But if given the right care, it will grow and develop magnificently.
Location and lighting
One of the main conditions for maintaining the well-being of Dionea is bright lighting (it should be diffused), natural or artificial. In the morning and in the evening, exotic plants need direct sunlight. With poor lighting, the leaves turn pale and stretch.
An ideal spot for a tropical predator is a window that faces east or west. The southern window sill will also be an excellent choice, but at noon you will have to shade the flower.
Do not unwrap the Dionea often, which has a stressful effect on it.
Plants located in the florarium require supplementary lighting. A phytolamp is suspended above the flower (at a height of about 20 centimeters) to provide 14-16 hours of daylight hours.
The flycatcher belongs to heat-loving plants. During the growing season, the optimum temperature is 22-30⁰C, it may rise to 35-38 degrees, which does not affect growth and development. But such a temperature should not be maintained all year round, in winter it is necessary to lower it to 8 degrees.
Dionea does not tolerate stagnant air. Therefore, systematic ventilation is necessary, but without a draft.
In summer, if possible, you should take the Dionea outside. In this case, she will not have to be fed. The predatory plant will independently provide itself with food, hunting insects and spiders.
How to water
Exotic needs an increased level of humidity, which is why it is best to keep it in a florarium.
The soil in the pot should not dry out, which can cause the traps to die. In order for the flower to receive a sufficient amount of water, it is advisable to place it in a tray filled with water.
If overhead irrigation is used, it is recommended to cover the soil with a layer of sphagnum to prevent soil compaction and provide oxygen to the roots.
In summer, dionea needs to be sprayed regularly.
In nature, an insectivorous plant grows on very poor soils, as a result of which the roots have lost the ability to assimilate mineral elements. Therefore, exotic rain, distilled or filtered water is watered, but not tap water.
What to feed the flycatcher
Insects and spiders serve as food for the predator - they make up for the plant's lack of nitrogen. The victims must be alive (the shutters react to movement) and small (they must occupy no more than a third of the trap's internal space, otherwise the shutters will not be able to close).
Do not give dionea beetles covered with solid chitin, as well as gnawing insects - they can turn from victims into pests and damage the trap. Feeding with meat is categorically contraindicated, which will lead to the appearance of rot and the development of diseases.
The predator only eats organic matter when it is hungry. When overeating, Dionea can get sick. Therefore, they feed her no more than twice a month, each time placing food in different traps.
It should be borne in mind that:
- large insects take longer to digest than small ones,
- in old traps, digestive juices are formed more slowly than in young ones,
- in the cold, the digestion process slows down.
Do not tease the plant again by touching the trap. If the flaps are often closed without receiving protein food, then they will soon lose their performance and turn black.
You cannot feed a flower if it:
- sick or very weak
- have recently undergone a transplant or have experienced stress,
- grew in poor light or excessively high humidity.
In the last days of September, Dionaeus stop giving organic food.
Soil and pot
To prepare a soil substrate, quartz sand is mixed (instead of it, you can take perlite) with double the amount of peat. Previously, the sand must be boiled in a distillate, and the perlite must be kept in water for a week, periodically replacing it.
If you plant an insectivorous plant in a nutritious soil, then it will get sick.
The pot should be chosen narrow (no more than 12 centimeters in diameter), but deep - the roots penetrate 20 centimeters deep. It is desirable that it be light - a dark color attracts the sun's rays, which can lead to overheating of the roots.
Despite the fact that the tropical exotic is very fond of heat, its roots suffer from overheating.
Planting and transplanting
Transplant the flycatcher as needed, preferably in the spring. When transplanting, you must act very carefully so as not to damage the fragile roots. First, the plant is removed from the old pot and the soil is shaken off the roots. If the substrate adheres tightly to the roots, then they are placed in water for a couple of minutes. Then the bush is placed in a pot and covered with soil mixture, without ramming. Water well.
The drainage Dionea is not needed.
After transplanting, the predator should be left for a month in a darkened warm place, providing abundant watering. These conditions will help the plant adapt.
The tropical beauty is very small, her height is 10-15 centimeters, and the peduncle grows up to half a meter in height. Therefore, flowering takes away a lot of energy from a plant (especially a young one) and inhibits the formation of traps, which is why it is recommended to cut the peduncles immediately after emergence. If seeds are needed, then the buds are left.
The predator does not need traditional fertilizers; it receives all the elements it needs for life from the insect's body.
Venus flytrap in winter
In autumn, Dionea stops releasing leaves and prepares for "sleep". To help the plant, it is taken out of the pallet and transferred to a darkened and cool enough (8-10 degrees Celsius) room. A flycatcher can spend the winter on an insulated loggia or in a basement. It can be placed in the lower compartment of the refrigerator.
Do not throw out Dionea if the leaves turn brown and fall off in the fall - it hibernates in this form. In spring, the plant will regain its decorative appearance.
In winter, the predator needs neither lighting nor food. Therefore, feeding is stopped, watering is minimized - stagnant water will cause root rot.
With the arrival of the first spring days, the dionea is returned to its original place and all traps are removed from it. Gradually resume the previous leaving.
The insectivorous plant is propagated in several ways: by leaf cuttings, by dividing the bush (separating children), by seeds, by a peduncle.
A leaf is cut from the stem and planted in a soil mixture obtained from quartz sand and peat, taken in equal proportions (one peat can be used), at a slight slope. The cut site is pretreated with Kornevin.
For the cutting, create a mini-greenhouse, covering it with a jar or cellophane. Provide it with bright diffused light, warmth and high humidity. After two to three months, root shoots will begin to appear at the base of the leaf, which indicates that it is rooting.
It is recommended to put several cuttings on rooting, as they do not take root well due to susceptibility to fungal diseases.
Department of baby bulbs
This method is most often used by flower growers due to its simplicity, speed and success.
It is advisable to perform division during transplantation. The bush is removed from the pot, the soil is removed from the roots and the daughter rosettes are separated (there are usually a lot of them) using a sharp, sterilized knife. The slices are sprinkled with crushed coal. Young bushes are planted and placed in a darkened place.
You should not often divide the bush, because of which it weakens. Dionea loves to grow up in cramped quarters with her children.
This breeding method is rather complicated and gives unpredictable results. Seedlings grow from seeds, which in most cases are unlike the parent plant, which is of particular interest to flower growers.
If you want to grow exotic seeds from seeds, you need to wait for flowering and pollinate the flowers with a cotton swab. The procedure is repeated for several days. A month later, a box filled with seeds will form at the site of the inflorescence.
Seeds should be sown immediately upon receipt. They remain viable for no more than 3 months.
Stratification will increase germination. The seeds are wrapped in moss and placed in a plastic bag, which is well closed. Placed in the refrigerator for 40–45 days.
A small container is filled with a soil substrate, which is prepared from sphagnum and quartz sand (ratio 2: 1). The seeds are treated with Topaz, following the instructions, and scattered over the surface without burying them in the soil. Moisten with soft water.
They make a mini-greenhouse and install it in a well-lit place. You can turn on artificial lighting at 12-14. The temperature should be maintained at the level of 24-30⁰С, the air humidity should be as high as possible, and the soil should be slightly damp (drying out and stagnant water are destructive for seedlings).
Seedlings will appear in 3-4 weeks. From this time, they gradually begin to accustom them to fresh air. First, the greenhouse is opened for a few minutes, and the ventilation time is increased daily. After a month, they stop closing the lid.
After a crescent, the grown plants dive into small (up to 10 centimeters in diameter) pots. Now you should be patient: babies will become adults only after 5 years.
When the peduncle grows to 4–5 centimeters, it is cut and deepened to a centimeter depth into moistened peat. Cover with a jar to create a greenhouse environment. If you constantly moisten the soil and ventilate the greenhouse, then in 1.5-2 months a green growth will appear. A month later, the "youth" are moved to separate flowerpots.
Do not throw away the peduncle if it dries up. You have to wait, and soon the babies will appear.
Diseases and pests
Although this seems paradoxical, insects sometimes attack the predator: aphids settle in the traps (as a result, they are deformed), and the mealybug sucks out the juices. In order to prevent the death of a tropical beauty, it is sprayed with an insecticide (preferably aerosol).
Too dry air in the room contributes to the appearance of spider mites. To destroy them, Dionea is treated with acaricide. Spraying is repeated 2-3 times, taking a week break.
In addition to pest attacks, the flycatcher is also susceptible to disease. If the humidity is too high and the temperature is too low, soot fungus and gray rot actively multiply. To combat fungal diseases, you will need to purchase a fungicide.
Bacterial infections are especially dangerous. A similar situation is observed if the predator fails to digest the prey. The trap turns black and rots, and the disease begins to rapidly spread further. To save the plant, the diseased trap is removed along with the damaged leaves, and the bush is treated with a fungicidal preparation.
If you water the bush with hard water, then calcium will accumulate in the soil and the leaves will begin to turn yellow. With frequent drying out of the soil, the leaves turn yellow and crumble. Direct sunlight passing through the glass causes burns, especially on young leaves.
If you surround the Venus flytrap with attention and provide it with optimal conditions, then it will decorate the apartment with its extraordinary appearance for many years.