How to Pollinate a Venus Flytrap

Overview

With crimson paddles lined with sensitive "teeth" instead of more conventional blossoms or leaves, the Venus flytrap looks like a collection of opened mouths waiting to devour their prey. And Venus flytraps do devour any hapless insects that happen to land on their leaves, which spring close, trapping the prey, which is eventually digested for the nutrients it provides. This carnivorous characteristic makes Venus flytraps an unusual but popular houseplant. Venus flytraps can be propagated from seed. In order to obtain seeds, the flowers must first be pollinated. In the wild, insects and wind help pollinate Venus flytrap. At home, you can help out the process.

Step 1

Allow flowers to appear on a pair of Venus flytrap plants. Most growers pinch off these flowers to prevent the plants from being weakened by the flowering process. But you must have the flowers in order to produce the seeds needed for new plants. If you only have one plant, it can self-pollinate, but two provide a stronger genetic line.

Step 2

Collect the yellow pollen from the center of the flower on one plant with the cotton swab. The pollen is clumped at the end of slender filaments that ring the center of the flower.

Step 3

Transfer the pollen to the center of the flower on another plant (or another flower on the same plant). Distribute the pollen all over the greenish bulge in the very center of the flower. You can use the tip of a knife or your fingernail to scrape off some of the pollen if it clings to the cotton swab.

Step 4

Examine the flower with a magnifying glass to verify that pollen was transferred. You should see what looks like yellow dust on the center of the flower.

Step 5

Pull out another cotton swab and collect the pollen from the filaments of the flower you just pollinated and transfer it to the flower that donated the pollen for the first pollination.

Step 6

Wait. The flowers will shrivel up and turn black. When they flowers are completely black, pluck one off and carefully look inside. You should see a couple dozen shiny black seeds. The pollination was successful.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton swabs
  • Magnifying glass

References

  • University of Wisconsin: Venus Flytrap
  • International Carnivorous Plant Society: Venus Flytrap

Who Can Help

  • Fly Trap Care.com: Propagating Venus Flytrap
Keywords: pollinate Venus flytrap, Venus flytrap plants, Venus flytraps propagated from seed

About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.