So what should I do about that flower?
According to http://www.flytrapcare.com/venus-fly-trap-cultivation.html, “If you are growing your plant in less than ideal conditions, or you just want the biggest traps possible, it’s best to not let them flower. Try to cut the flower stalk off as soon as you notice it. Flowering robs the plant of precious energy that it could otherwise use to make itself larger or produce better leafs and traps. Also, as a flytrap grows, it will often form little offshoots with a second rosette or multiple rosettes of leaves. These offshoots will eventually form their own root systems. When you go to repot your venus fly trap you can gently pry the rosettes apart and have separate Venus fly traps. If you cut the flower off, the Venus flytrap will be more likely to divide and form separate rosettes through the growing season due to the fact it can put more energy into growing.”
Unfortunately for me, Venus was delivered with the flower stalk already developed and the buds fully formed.
Barry Rice, whose book, ‘Growing Carnivorous Plants’ comes highly recommended, states categorically that a venus fly trap should not be allowed to flower. “The process of making flowers takes a great deal of the plant’s energy. After flowering, a Venus flytrap will be sluggish for nearly an entire year. In the wild they get over this slow period very quickly. But in cultivation, where the light, humidity, and other conditions are rarely ideal, the plants may never escape this weakened state. In fact, they may even die! This is why, unless you are a very skilled flytrap grower or have spare plants to risk, I advise you to trim those flower stalks off as soon as you can. … The flower stalk will get taller and taller, … When you remove the young flower stalk, the plant may make more. Trim them off too!
Apparently, the previous paragraph is not clear enough for many of you. So let me be extra specific! See the cylindrical (rod-shaped) stalk in the [picture below]? The one with the bud at the top? This is a flower stalk just emerging. Cut it off at the base.
If you wait until the flower stalks are so tall the flower buds begin to enlarge (which happens at about 10-20 cm (4-8 inches), you might as well let the plant flower–the damage is done. What the heck, pollinate the plant and maybe you’ll get seed. Your flytrap is probably going to die, though, unless you are a pretty skilled grower.
You will often hear people say that the whole thing about cutting off flowers is bogus, and that their plants do just fine without the flower buds being removed. I think those people are very good growers (by luck or by skill), but have forgotten what it was like to be a beginning grower. ” [http://www.sarracenia.com/faq/faq2620.html ]
Well, that sounds pretty definitive doesn’t it. As I have previously mentioned, my previous two venus fly traps have both deteriorated and eventually died once they have flowered, although on a positive note I have never observed a period of dormancy, my last plant still lasted about three years but never formed as large or as many traps once it had flowered.
A number of other internet pages do suggest that a healthy venus fly trap will flower without dying [http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/carnivor/msg0600302126643.html?18 ; http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/carnivor/msg120047429908.html ]. The latter of these two pages states that, “A strong vigorous plant can flower and produce seeds without it being detrimental to the plant, but typically in home culture, it is better to have the plant direct its energy into vegetative growth.”
So, in summary, it’s probably better to remove the flower stalk as soon as it appears but once the buds expand, removal makes little difference. Letting the plant flower diverts all the energy from trap growth and may cause the plant to deteriorate or even die. Venus’s days could be numbered unless I am a good grower (by luck or by skill).