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rwharold
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Mr. Light Grow Light

 
My latest collection obtained from California Carnivores. Sitting on my very bright sunny window sill growing under a Mr. Light Plant Grow light. Any tips on feeding? Are live mealworms okay?

 

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Hi Richard. Thanks for the compliments. These two plants comprise my "current" entire CP collection that were hand picked for me by Peter D'Amato of California Carnivores. For the Dionaea muscipula 'Ginormous', I had purchased a supply of mealworms and I fed two traps one worm each two days ago. They closed instantly, and are now digesting their first meal in their new home.  After researching the care and feeding of mealworms, I am storing the mealworms in my refrigerator for 7 days to delay their growth cycle and will remove them every 7 days to allow them to warm back up and to feed with fresh food for 24 hours, then again feed 1 each to two more traps, and then return the supply to the refrigerator for another 7 days. Comments? For the Drosera capensis 'narrow red', I have ordered a Flightless Fruit Fly Culture named Drosophila Hydei which are supposed to be 1/8th inch in size. What would be your recommendation on feeding (how many flies and how often)? Should some of your other readers be interested in the "Mr. Light Desktop Plant Grow Light", it can be ordered from: http://www.buyplantlights.com/desktop-plant-light-with-flexible-arm.html - I have it plugged into an automatic on/off timer programmed with my local sunrise/sunset times. I think that the combination of my sunny window sill and the grow light, they should have enough light to simulate their natural outdoor growth cycle. I look forward to your comments. Best regards, Richard

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Hi there, and welcome to the forum.

 

You'll probably find that the sunny windowsill is able to deliver enough light for the plants without the grow light, but extra light can be useful for some plants in the depth of winter.

 

You'll no doubt know this, but Dionaea go dormant over winter. Photoperiod is a big trigger, but you might want to let it experience a dip in temperatures to trigger dormancy too. That said, mine slow down and go dormant with temperatures of well over 15C ... shorter daylight hours and decreased watering seem to be enough.

 

I keep mealworms for my amphibians, and the fridge method should work fine. You could also keep some separated as a breeding colony ... they're pretty low-maintenance. However, you'll probably find that, given VFT's limited appetite, you have way too many mealworms at any given time. Same with the Drosera: fruit flies are probably not worth the effort. It should be able to catch small flies by itself, or you could put it outside in a sunny location until the weather cools down. If you really want to feed Drosera, fish flakes and the like usually work well, and aren't as fiddly or smelly as Drosophila cultures.

 

Good luck!

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Hi there, and welcome to the forum.

 

You'll probably find that the sunny windowsill is able to deliver enough light for the plants without the grow light, but extra light can be useful for some plants in the depth of winter.

 

You'll no doubt know this, but Dionaea go dormant over winter. Photoperiod is a big trigger, but you might want to let it experience a dip in temperatures to trigger dormancy too. That said, mine slow down and go dormant with temperatures of well over 15C ... shorter daylight hours and decreased watering seem to be enough.

 

I keep mealworms for my amphibians, and the fridge method should work fine. You could also keep some separated as a breeding colony ... they're pretty low-maintenance. However, you'll probably find that, given VFT's limited appetite, you have way too many mealworms at any given time. Same with the Drosera: fruit flies are probably not worth the effort. It should be able to catch small flies by itself, or you could put it outside in a sunny location until the weather cools down. If you really want to feed Drosera, fish flakes and the like usually work well, and aren't as fiddly or smelly as Drosophila cultures.

 

Good luck!

Thank numpty,

 As far as the photoperiod goes, I constantly readjust the grow light on/off timer to my current sunrise/sunset times, so they will get shorter and shorter as the seasons progress. Concerning the mealworms and fruit flies, I have already made the investment, and I will just have to live with them, culling out the amount as time progresses. Do you have any advice on the feeding frequency of each plant? Best regards, Richard

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Do you have any advice on the feeding frequency of each plant? Best regards, Richard

 

You don't need to feed very often at all, though new growers with few plants tend to enjoy watching them eat! It's more like giving vitamin supplements, really. If you've given your VFT a couple of medium-sized mealworms, that should be enough to last a good while ... perhaps until dormancy. Same for Drosera: a scattering of fruit flies every month would be fine, in my opinion.

 

Watch the fruit flies though ... they can be a little difficult to control. Perhaps chill them in the fridge for a minute or two before sprinking on the Drosera.

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You don't need to feed very often at all, though new growers with few plants tend to enjoy watching them eat! It's more like giving vitamin supplements, really. If you've given your VFT a couple of medium-sized mealworms, that should be enough to last a good while ... perhaps until dormancy. Same for Drosera: a scattering of fruit flies every month would be fine, in my opinion.

 

Watch the fruit flies though ... they can be a little difficult to control. Perhaps chill them in the fridge for a minute or two before sprinking on the Drosera.

numpty, Thanks for the tips. Good suggestion for the fruit flies! Take care, Richard

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Should just add to that last post - and it's probably obvious - don't chill the whole fruit fly culture, just the few you've tipped out as feeders.

 

I think I kept D. melanogaster (the smaller of the two common flightless species) and they can get everywhere if you're not careful ... so be ready to get the lids on quickly when you're removing some!

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Should just add to that last post - and it's probably obvious - don't chill the whole fruit fly culture, just the few you've tipped out as feeders.

 

I think I kept D. melanogaster (the smaller of the two common flightless species) and they can get everywhere if you're not careful ... so be ready to get the lids on quickly when you're removing some!

numpty, Since I will be receiving the larger Drosophila Hydei wingless fruit flies, do you think that they will be a little easier to control? I am a little uncertain as to exactly how to manage the few that I would need for the feeding of the Drosera capensis. Can I just reach into the container and grab one with tweezers and then transfer to the sticky surface? Or do you have another suggestion? About how many of the flies should be used for one feeding and at what frequency? Weekly, biweekly, or? Also, since the Drosera doesn't go dormant in the winter, I assume that I should continue the feeding schedule. Correct? I apologize for so many questions, but after searching the internet, I just couldn't find any advice on the exact procedure to use. That's why I am using this forum looing for someone who has had the actual experience. Take care.

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Though I never kept them, I should think that D. hydei will still be a prolific wanderer. I don't want to make it sound like they're impossible to handle though! Plenty of people keep them for dart frogs and the like. You'll get the hang of it if you want to stick with them.

 

I did feed spare fruit flies to some of my Drosera back in the day, but I had pretty dense carpets of D. spatulata, burmannii, adelae and some pygmies, so just sprinkled them on. The leaves of D. capensis are a bit sparser. You could certainly transfer them with tweezers, though it would be a bit labour-intensive. As I mentioned, you might find fish flakes an easier alternative in the long run if you really want to feed Drosera.

 

As for how many insects a plant actually needs, that's a difficult question. Outside on the patio, my Drosera will get a steady sprinkling of gnats and flies. No idea the exact number though ... two or three small flies on each leaf every week? My experience is that it's more important for seedlings to be fed ... I've had baby Drosera waste away in the absence of food.

 

Good luck!

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Though I never kept them, I should think that D. hydei will still be a prolific wanderer. I don't want to make it sound like they're impossible to handle though! Plenty of people keep them for dart frogs and the like. You'll get the hang of it if you want to stick with them.

 

I did feed spare fruit flies to some of my Drosera back in the day, but I had pretty dense carpets of D. spatulata, burmannii, adelae and some pygmies, so just sprinkled them on. The leaves of D. capensis are a bit sparser. You could certainly transfer them with tweezers, though it would be a bit labour-intensive. As I mentioned, you might find fish flakes an easier alternative in the long run if you really want to feed Drosera.

 

As for how many insects a plant actually needs, that's a difficult question. Outside on the patio, my Drosera will get a steady sprinkling of gnats and flies. No idea the exact number though ... two or three small flies on each leaf every week? My experience is that it's more important for seedlings to be fed ... I've had baby Drosera waste away in the absence of food.

 

Good luck!

numpty, I received my supply of D. Hydei wingless fruit flies today, and I now regret my decision. They indeed are very hard to capture and use. I wish that I had received your advice earlier before I ordered them. Do you have a brand of fish flakes that you would recommend? On another issue, I did manage to "feed" my D. capensis 'narrow red' two semi smashed fruit flies which stuck to the leaves, but they have not curled around the flies. I was under the impression that sundew leaves curled around their prey. Is that not true with this variety? Cheers!

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numpty, I received my supply of D. Hydei wingless fruit flies today, and I now regret my decision. They indeed are very hard to capture and use. I wish that I had received your advice earlier before I ordered them. Do you have a brand of fish flakes that you would recommend? On another issue, I did manage to "feed" my D. capensis 'narrow red' two semi smashed fruit flies which stuck to the leaves, but they have not curled around the flies. I was under the impression that sundew leaves curled around their prey. Is that not true with this variety? Cheers!

 

I'm sure fish flakes usually come with about the same ingredients. I'm afraid I can't remember which brand I used.

 

The curling of Drosera leaves is to maximise contact with the prey item. In my experience it usually happens for larger flies; it would presumably be an unecessarily large energy output to curl around something tiny like a fruit fly.

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