All of the plant terrariums we sell are maintenance free because they are rooted in a nutrient rich gel and enclosed in a self-sustaining environment completely devoid of bacteria or fungi. However the journey to get to this point is a somewhat time consuming and tedious one! This post shares an introduction of how we get the Venus Flytraps started in sterile tissue tissue.
We bought seeds from several unique cultivars in hopes that the seedlings demonstrate similar traits to the parents. The mother plants were 1. ) Green Dragon, an all red fly trap with a green margin on the claws, 2.) Microdent, a fly trap with very small teeth on the claws, 3.) DCXL, a fly trap that is currently recognized as a cultivar with the largest claws, 4.) Scarlet Bristle, a fly trap that is scarlet in color with saw like teeth, 5.) Schuppenstiel, a fly trap with a wrinkly skin like leaves, and 6.) Maroon Monster, recognized as the most vigorous growing red fly trap.
There are two ways to establish a sterile plant tissue culture. The first method is to take a piece of an existing plant such as a leaf, submerging it in a solution killing off the existing bacteria and mold, and then placing the plant tissue in a sterile gel where it can then grow out. This method guarantees a clone to the parent. The second method is to start out by sterilizing seeds in the solution, germinating them in a sterile environment, and then growing them out in the gel. We went the seed route and will illustrate the process throughout several blogs.
Currently we sell a seed grown B52 Venus Fly trap. We are looking to give you guys more Fly traps that exhibit unique traits. Hopefully some of the seeds we are growing out in sterile tissue culture will exhibit unique traits like their parents so all of our Venus Fly trap lovers can collect more varieties!
For our process, we first soak the seeds in Plant Preservative Mixture for 24 hours, which kills off any existing bacteria or fungi on the seed. PICTURE 1: The seeds are transferred into a sterile closed container where they are allowed to germinate under a high humidity, high light environment. You can see the seeds start to sprout in the first picture. Picture 2: As soon as the seeds start to sprout, we transfer them into gel. Sometimes the process is unsuccessful because if some seeds are not completely sterile and the gel becomes contaminated. However, we plant one sprouted seedling per container, and we only need one successful sterile induction because one seedling will eventually generated unlimited amounts via natural division over a course of several months. If you've owned a Venus Fly trap you know that a single plant will keep multiplying into many more in our terrariums!
Will be posting another picture of the seedlings at a much larger size in the coming weeks. Also if we start to see plants exhibiting the unique characteristics that the mother plant cultivars did, we will be sure to let document it in future blogs. Stay tuned!