Feed Me, Seymour!

We had to pick up flowers for a relative a few days ago, and since it wasn’t the kind of occasion that required an all-out $75 spending spree at the florist, we just hit the supermarket for one of the cheaper bouquets that come wrapped in the less-glossy paper. And thank God for that. Our local supermarket has a fairly small flower section, but somehow, in the midst of all the “Happy Birthday” planters and little pots full of bamboo sticks with the requisite not-quite-Buddha statues, there was a section full of Venus Flytraps.


My first experiences with Venus Flytraps came by way of elementary school plant sales. I’m sure the plant sale is a familiar enough entity to most of you. For whatever reason, parents and students alike were invited into a plant shop converted from a science classroom, where we could buy flowers, seeds and all kinds of greenery for no steadily apparent reason at all. It was nowhere near as joyous as the school’s annual book fair, but any opportunity to skip class and blow Mommy’s money was a welcome one.

There wasn’t a heck of a lot for young, male horticulturists to indulge in at the plant sale. Even if some of us found the blazing yellows of a well-watered daffodil assortment striking, it’s not like we could’ve admitted that in front of our buddies. No, at the plant sale, it was all about the Venus Flytrap: God’s gift to every small boy who didn’t want the social connotations involved with buying a “sissy” plant.

The Flytraps we got back then came in containers somewhat similar to the one seen above, but the plants inside were always young and weak. I’ve read enough about Venus Flytraps to know that this particular fashion of distribution goes against every expert’s rules on how to keep ’em alive, but somehow, the traps in this container looked healthy, active and ready to rain fire on any bug stupid enough to mistake them for lawn chairs.


Kind of pretty in their own little way, aren’t they? They need to be. Ugly plants might not seem as inviting to the many bugs that help make up a Venus Flytrap’s diet. The “trap” mechanism is amazing. When I gently flick the scary hairy fangs of the plants, the traps immediately slam shut. What’s a mere novelty act in my kitchen is actually how the Flytraps survive the “lean years” in their native environments: Bugs land in, shimmy around, find themselves trapped and are then slowly digested until nothing but a hunk of chitin (which looks like rat shit, but is actually an insect corpse) is leftover. If I was going to pick any plant to write about during the Halloween season, it had to be this.

Be warned: There are a ton of kits available that claim to let you grow your own Venus Flytraps, never mentioning how difficult this is for a novice, especially with the tools and directions supplied in such kits. It’s not an impossible mission for anyone who spends a bit of time studying up first, but don’t be fooled by those kits just because they’ve got neat graphics of killer plants on the packages. Even if you buy one “live” like this, you’ll still need to research a bit if you want your traps to live longer than a week. You can’t just throw it under the faucet and feed it dead bugs every few days, unless, by some chance, you’ve accepted an underworld bounty and have been charged with killing as many Venus Flytraps as possible.

As a second caveat, note that you’ll tend to consider your Venus Flytrap as being more “alive” and “feeling” than most other plants. There’s just something about them that makes you believe in all that shit about plants liking soft music. You’ll probably cry and consider holding a mock funeral when they die, so if you’re particularly prone to depression or separation anxiety, you might want to pick a plant that’s a little less awesome.

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140 Responses to Feed Me, Seymour!

  1. Spruce says:

    Almost as awesome as pirhanna plants. But hey get points for actually existing outside my video games.

  2. JLAJRC says:

    If one of the flytraps die, does the enture plant die or just that particular flytrap? Cause one of them looks dead already.

  3. Matt says:

    I’m no expert, but judging from the photo, it looks like the traps can lose a brother but keep on truckin.

  4. J. Pope says:

    Wow, your flytrap looks lovely! I’ve got a flytrap that I named Rasputin, but he doesn’t look as good as yours.

  5. Evin says:

    What, no video of them catching bugs? I am disappointed, Matt.

  6. Darth Poop says:

    I had a flytrap a couple years ago. It died. :(

  7. Veronica says:

    I had some of those once. they died. I threw away.

  8. kingchachi says:

    OMG I have almost zero halloween spirit this year. I need to go to a haunted house asap. Maybe it’s because it was 80 freakin degrees yesterday. If I feel this way about Christmas I don’t know what I’m going to do.

  9. Matt says:

    At least, by Christmas, it should be COLD.

  10. trotskyismyniece says:

    I remember being in elementary school, and a kid who was prone to telling obvious bullshit stories always swore you could buy venus fly-traps at the local supermarket. He may not have been lying about that after all. I guess if there is a halloween plant, other than pumpkins, it would be the venus flytrap – but i just can’t get into the feel of halloween looking at them. In fact, I can’t get a feel for halloween at all this year. It’s way to warm, and I don’t like it. Damn global warming. Everyone buy the fancy spiral lightbulbs, and maybe we’ll get october weather next year.

  11. Dio and Lex says:

    This last summer, I got a packet of seeds for the sensitive plant, you know, those plants that curl up when you touch them, for an anime movie promotion. I figure they’re as hard as the Venus Fly Trap in raising from scratch. I always thought those were tropical plants, so when it does get cold over there, are you going to bring them inside, Matt? I haven’t the foggiest of how to even keep those things alive.

  12. Bryan says:

    I finally got my Halloween spirit last night. I was near suicidal too from the dearth. The leaves have finally started falling/changing, I saw Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D, and I’m going to another horror movie tonight (The Tripper!). I’ve got one good week in NYC.

  13. kittymao says:

    I had a venus flytrap once. it LIVED!

    no. it died too. sorry for the buildup.

    I image the’re kind of like orchids- they need to be humid and warm- like a schteamy bathroom or something.
    And yeah- you all need to get in the spirit! It’s a week away. A WEEK AWAY!
    I went to a punkin patch last Saturday and already carved a punkin!
    I’ll probably do one tonight too.
    yaay!

  14. Cricket says:

    I am going to take my daughter to see Nightmare 3D tomorrow night at my IMAX. That might be the kick I need to feel Halloween goodness on my insides.

    I love the flytrap but don’t think I have any bugs to feed it. We have a pest control service that comes monthly so we can kill the food supply for the scorpions that invade if you have any. Matt, do you think they like scorpions?

    A few things I have been pondering…What do you suppose Knacks, Mary and Kuse are doing for Halloween? Do you think Mary dresses up all cute or do you think she goes for the slutty outfits? I wonder if they do the “couples” outfits or if they do their own thing? Ho-hum, I miss them. :-(

  15. Mandi says:

    I’m not too afraid of ridicule to admit that I would cry like a little girl who had to shoot her rabies stricken golden retriever in the head if I ever bought a Venus Fly Trap and it died.

    :(

    /8 Days till the wedding!
    //HOOOOORAY!:)

  16. Bill says:

    I like the dead one. It looks so disturbing. Once these things are done circling the drain they may for a pretty cool decoration.
    Great job Matt!

    Congrats Mandi!

  17. wolfeditor says:

    They DO seem more alive. First thing I noticed was the dead black one and felt weird looking at it.

    Speaking of the weather.. getting tired of mowing the lawn well beyond the season needed for it (in NY). I heard it’s called a golden summer or something. Which means what, we’ll have a rusty winter? Or some other antonyms of golden and summer?

    …YEAH, ANTONYMS

  18. Larry says:

    Matt!

    Will we be getting even a single Ghost with the Most comic this year?!

  19. Bill says:

    Larry, click on the photos on the Ghost Dot article.

  20. Jeffininer says:

    This is probably the coolest Venus Fly Trap I’ve ever seen. The ones that I always saw at Roses and K-Mart were sad, pathetic plants that were just in reach of death’s door.

    The other item that I LOVED getting as a kid were the Mexican Jumping Beans. They were so much fun :-)

  21. Toxikfoxx says:

    Had my first real Haloweenish expierience of the season Sunday. My sister had a Halloween party for my Niece and like 20 of her friends. We setup a path in the woods around her house and proceded to scare the living crap out of 7 – 10 year olds for an hour. Nothing like running around in the dead of night in a Gorilla costume weilding a chainsaw to get the juices flowing.

  22. Joker says:

    Wow, Venus Flytraps are CREEPY!!!

    That is the scariest thing I’ve seen so far this Halloween season. Incidentally, I must have one. You can get them at most Grocery Stores?

  23. Dr Worm says:

    oh i still morn the day my mother killed Audrey III while i was at college… i havent been able to buy a new Flytrap since. the only other plant i remotely cared for was Lumpy Jones who i killed decorating for christmas. :sniff:

  24. Chris says:

    Had one of these when I was a kid. It didn’t last long, but in the few short weeks it lived it worked its way up to being one of the coolest things I have ever owned. I’ve had cats and dogs and fish, and you know what? Fuck fauna. Venus flytraps are the best pets in the world.

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