The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 12

Q: Why is my plant growing so fast, or producing a clump of a million leaves?

A: You might notice that in the FAQ I say a Venus flytrap typically has anywhere from several to perhaps a dozen or so leaves. But sometimes newly purchased plants have far more traps, practically a hundred of them, forming a big mound. These traps are always smaller than normal. What's the deal?

Such plants are probably fairly fresh out of "tissue culture." This means that until fairly recently, they were in a laboratory setting, in dishes of nutrient-enriched agar, stuffed with hormones. There were rapidly growing in their dishes, as scalpel-wielding technicians sliced them into rapidly growing fragments.

Prior to sale, the plants were dropped into peat pots and acclimated to life outside the bubble. If your plant is producing scads of traps, it may be one of these fresh plants, still riding high on the momentum of its earlier tissue culture lifestyle. It will continue to do so for several months still. Exactly why this occurs is not understood. Maybe the plant is thrilled not to have parasitic bacteria or fungi living in it? And why does the plant eventually return to normal growth rates---does it in time become infested by these bacteria and fungi from its environment? Or is this all due to the hormones and nutrients the plants were getting while in tissue culture?

I've noticed that plants fresh from tissue culture are also more resilient to horticultural errors. So don't get too cocky with your plant---as it descends from its tissue culture high, it might become more delicate. You know what that means, right? It means if you cultivate the plant poorly, it DIES!

Page citations: Personal observation.

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Revised: 2018
©Barry Rice, 2018