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How to divide a Venus Fly-Trap

Dividing a Venus Fly-Trap is actually pretty straight forward. This article will provide you with what you need to know in order for the job to be done efficiently and properly. Don’t let the task spook you. The best way to learn is get in there and give it a go. Learning how to divide your plant is well worth the learning curve. The benefit of division is restoring vigour and growth to the plant. Plus you increase your collection.

Division is ideally done late winter. That said, I have divided many a Venus Fly-Trap successfully during the growing season. Be prepared for your plant to suffer a minor amount of setback though. If the weather is hot when you divide your plant, you may consider giving the plant a two or three recovery time before introducing it back to full sun. Reducing the initial sun by half and then introducing more each day is more the adequate.

The first question you need to answer is can your Venus Fly-Trap be divided? Not all Venus Fly-Traps are candidates for division. It largely depends on the age of the plant and how long it has been in its pot for. It’s easy for the trained eye to spot a Venus Fly-Trap which can be divided. What you’re looking for is multiple growth points. The easiest way to tell is to follow the traps down to where they emerge from the rhizome. Division is possible if all traps don’t originate from the same place. Another sign that a Venus Fly-Trap can be divided is to look for smaller traps. These traps will be very small compared to other traps and will likely be bunched or occurring in and around the same spot. The Dionaea ‘Big Mouth’ below has been in it’s pot for about 12 months. Division is taking place during dormancy in late August 2017.

Dionaea ‘Big Mouth’ ready for division

Dionaea ‘Big Mouth’ ready for division

Dionaea ‘Big Mouth’ ready for division

Dionaea ‘Big Mouth’ ready for division

The next question is do you have all the right equipment and material? It is not uncommon for “single” mature plant to be divided into four or more plants. You will need enough pots and carnivorous plant mix to accommodate all of your divisions. The carnivorous plant mix needs to be low in nutrients, acidic pH, water retentive and have good porosity. You can buy the right carnivorous plant mix from us or make the mix yourself by mixing different ingredients in the right ratio. Running out of material half way through a job is frustrating and dangerous to your divisions. The ideal pot for Venus Fly-Traps is plastic and at least 70mm. You will also need plenty of suitable water for carnivorous plants. Make sure all materials and equipment are clean and ready to go before you touch a plant.

Standard Carnivorous Plant Mix

Standard Carnivorous Plant Mix

Take the plant from its pot by turning it upside down while supporting the plant with your hand. The plant will easily slide from the pot. Remove as much of the media from around the roots as possible without damaging roots. Gently break media up and allow it to fall off. You may find it helpful to pour water over the roots to help dislodge any stuck media. The idea is to remove as plantsmuch of the media as possible for visibility. You need to be able to see the white rhizome and roots of the plant in order to see where the plant divisions are. Don’t worry if traps are set off during this process. It can be unavoidable but they will re-open by the next day.

You can see individual clumps of plants in the two photos below. They look like small “bunches” of flowers. They form the basis of division. Each clump will be / is a new plant. The clumps will want to come apart really easily with gentle teasing. Often the hardest part can be to separate the traps without breaking them off their stems. As the clump is gently pulled and teased into individual divisions it is a good idea to wash and hydrate each division in a bowl of clean rainwater. The water helps remove the last of the old media and also stops the plant drying out while you’re working. Never use excessive force to break clumps apart or split a division where it is not already naturally dividing. Be very careful not to damage stem or rhizome by squeezing too hard when separating divisions.

Dionaea ‘Big Mouth’ clump

Dionaea ‘Big Mouth’ clump

When all of your divisions have been separated I suggest laying them out on a clean surface grouped by size. You may decide larger divisions are planted individually while smaller divisions are planted in a community pot. Or you may use a different sized pot depending on the size of the division. Either way you will be able to easily see what your options are.

Four larger divisions

All divisons

Two smaller divisions

Prepare your pots by filling them with media by hand. Tap the pot on a hard surface to help the media settle in. You may need to slightly top up the pot with more media afterwards. Don’t compact the media down into the pots. Make an appropriate sized hole to accommodate the plant and its roots. Long black roots can be trimmed with clean secateurs to help the plant fit if required. Do not trim any white roots. Hold the plant in the hole, while supporting it in place, fill in the media around the roots. Gently press down around the hole to remove air pockets. Don’t worry if (when) media gets inside traps and on the plant. The plant will be watered clean shortly. The plant should be planted to the same depth as in its original pot. Don’t leave the white rhizome exposed above the media. Once the plant is firmly and securely in place give it a gente water. The first water will settle the media and help remove the last of the air pockets which around the plant’s roots. After an initial water give the pot a label. In our nursery we use plant codes on our labels. The codes are connected to a database. But a label can be as easy as writing the name of the plant on it. Repeat the potting process until you’ve re-potted all of your individual divisions. Once all of the divisions are in their pots give each pot a very good water. water four or five times the volume of the pot. By the end clean water should be running out of the bottom of each pot.

85mm square pot

Dionaea ‘Big Mouth’ in a pot

Watered, labelled and settled in

Potted divisions

Move your Venus Fly-Trap divisions into a bright outside area immediately. The sun might not be shining brightly in late Autumn but as much light as possible will help get your new divisions off to a quick start. Within a few months each division will have filled their pot. They may even try to send up flower spikes! In a few years it will be time to divide these Dionaea “Big Mouth” all over again.

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