Potting an Apothecary Flytrap
So, it’s time to pot your Apothecary flytrap. You will only need to provide three things: a gallon of distilled water, a large Ziploc bag and forceps (tweezers) capable of reaching the bottom of the apothecary bottle. If suitable tweezers can’t be found, a large paperclip may be bent accordingly, etc.
Our goal will be to get the plant from its bottle into the pot in a sealed plastic bag within about 5 minutes of unsealing the bottle. We are not worried about contamination at this point, but we are concerned with the plant drying out. Why? Because the plant has been grown in 100% humidity for its entire life, it hasn’t developed the ability to deal with dryer air.
For this reason, we will move the plant into a pot in a plastic bag and then, over the next 2 weeks, open the bag once or twice a day to allow it to acclimate to lower humidity (more on this below).
Prepare the soil – In a bowl, mix the provided soil with enough distilled water to thoroughly soak it. It should be ‘muddy’ before proceeding. ONLY use the provided soil. Normal soil will kill your flytrap. See this soil guide for more information.
Place the black square of weed cloth into the bottom of the pot, place the pot on a saucer or something to catch water, then fill the pot with the wet soil.
Break the seal on the glue holding the cork in place. You may need to run a hobby knife between the glass and the cork or simply break the cork away in pieces. Any method is fine.
Using the forceps (or your tool of choice), reach into the bottle and patiently flip the plant over as your break it loose from any remaining gel. We want to pull the flytrap through the opening upside down – root first, to prevent all the leaves from being ripped off when it is removed.
Slowly pull the flytrap (root first) through the opening. Losing some leaves is likely unavoidable. This wont hurt the plant.
Quickly place the flytrap into the wet soil, ensuring the root and white rhizome are completely in the soil along with about 1/8″ of the leave ‘stems.’ Quickly place the pot in a large Ziploc bag and seal it. Done! Read below to learn how to continue acclimating your flytrap to the outside world.
You must acclimate your plant to brighter light and dryer air. Once removed from the gel, the plant will need MUCH more light to survive. Your flytrap used sugars found in in lieu of some photosynthesis, but with no gel, it is now dependent on photosynthesis entirely for sugar production. Place the plastic bag containing the pot in a shaded area outdoors (in the Spring or Summer) and, each week, move it a little closer to full sun.
Also, each day for the first two weeks, leave the bag open longer and longer. At first, open the bag for 15 minutes the first couple of days (HINT: always set a timer! If you forget about the open bag, you'll come back to find a shriveled, dead plant). Gradually increase the time the bag is open until you are leaving the bag open for an hour at the end of two weeks. At this point, you can discard the plastic bag and continue acclimating your flytrap to full sun over a couple more weeks’ time. Always ensure that the soil stays wet with distilled water throughout the life of the plant – through the acclimation period and beyond.
The final step is to learn how to care for a normal Venus flytrap. Begin by reading all of our care guides found here or in the menu above. With proper care, your flytrap can last for years and will divide into several new plants over the course of its lifetime.
Please also view our video of this process: