Q/A #4 - Red Dragon Flytrap Dying In a Glass Pot on a Windowsill.

December 28, 2022

Q/A #4 - Red Dragon Flytrap Dying In a Glass Pot on a Windowsill.

I have several of your plants and they are all doing well. But I do have a few questions about my Red Dragon Flytrap. I do know it's the dormant season, but am unsure of what to expect. My 1st question, my plant is in a glass container and inside. Is glass acceptable, a wise choice? 

This leads to my 2nd question, I can see the water level in the container. With most of my plants a high water level seems to make them happy. But my Red Dragon just isn't responding positively since I replanted it in the glass container. It seems to be dying back, the current leaves are browning. So, glass container? water level? and what to expect in the off season?

P.S. I live in Colorado in a home with little to no southerly, east or west light. Can you share some guidelines about selecting a light for my plant?
(Submitted in December 2019.)

Red Dragon Flytrap

From what I'm gathering from the photo and description, this glass container has no drain holes. That's the first problem. You always want pots that drain freely from the bottom, especially for Venus Flytraps. Undrained pots such as yours often create more problems - anaerobic bacteria and mineral buildup. Can it be done successfully? Yes, but if you're new to carnivorous plants or growing plants in general, stick with tried and true growing methods. This means using a pot with drain holes. 

This plant also looks very sun deprived. The leaves should be dark red. Flytraps require full sun during the growing season. Since it's December, however, the plant is probably in some state of dormancy, so it will naturally lose some of its leaves and stop growing new ones until spring.

Best thing to do is move the plant back to a traditional plastic pot with drain holes in the bottom, then set the pot in a shallow water tray where the water goes no more than 1/4 of the way up the pot. Add more water only when the water in the tray dries out. but make sure the soil never dries out completely. 

Since you're in Colorado and we're already in winter, place the plant in a cold window away from heat sources. Place it right up against the window pane so that it can experience the cold air. Clip off leaves that are starting to brown. Red Dragons tend to lose almost all their leaves in winter. Avoid terrariums of any sort.

Since the plant is dormant, lighting isn't an issue right now. It's only an issue when the Flytrap is actively growing. In spring, after the risk of frost has passed (late May in Colorado), place your plant outside in full sun. Sunlight will help the plant regain energy and be healthy enough to make it through another round of dormancy. 

It can handle a freeze in Fall, but because you're in USDA zone 5 (and you only have one plant), bring your plant indoors when the weather begins to drop below 20°F (-7°C). The frosty temperature and drop in daylight hours will cause the plant to go dormant. For your region, this might be in early November. When the plant is dormant, place it in a cold window just like before. 

I don't recommend growing Flytraps indoors during the growing season, even under artificial lights.Think of the Venus Flytrap as an Outdoor Perennial, like you would with a strawberry plant. Just because a plant is small doesn't mean it's suitable for indoor growing. The biggest problems I've seen growers face are getting full sun conditions and triggering dormancy artificially. Our recommendations are for outdoor growing, which is how I've been growing Flytraps outdoors for the past 30+ years. I don't have any experience with indoor growing, so I can't offer any advice on how to do that.

With that said, if you want to use artificial lights, use white LED lights, 5000K or more. Avoid so-called grow lights (the red and purple ones). Place the light about 6-8 inches above the plant. Use a timer to keep the light on 14 hours per day. Beyond that, I don't have any other recommendations.

For more information about Venus Flytrap care, vist the following resources:

•  General Flytrap Care Guide
•  Avoid This Type of Pot
•  The Ultimate Carnivorous Plant Guide for Beginners

Submitted in December 2019. The original question and response have been edited for publication.
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