Watch: John Lewis turns to Snapper the mischievous Venus flytrap for festive ad
The highly anticipated John Lewis Christmas advert is here, and it features a most unusual character - a giant Venus fly trap with an even bigger personality.
The advert follows a young boy who buys a seed to grow his own “perfect Christmas tree” at a flea market. But once he begins to grow it in a pot at home, it quickly becomes clear that the plant is not a traditional pine tree, but instead a Venus fly trap.
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As the Venus fly trap, named Snapper, grows ever bigger, reaching up to touch the ceiling, the boy tries to convince his family that it could be their Christmas tree. However, his mother ultimately decides to put it outside because Snapper is too large and brings in a traditional tree to decorate and place the presents under.
But, after seeing how sad Snapper appeared outside and away from the family, the young boy decides to bring Christmas to the plant and starts taking presents out to the garden and placing them in front of the plant. The rest of his family joins him in doing the same, and, overjoyed, Snapper gobbles up the presents and spits out the items to each family member, revealing all manner of John Lewis goodies.
In reality, Venus fly traps don’t grow much larger than 1.5 inches per trap and they certainly don’t take on personalities of their own. But these little carnivorous plants are charming and practical, as they can help control fruit fly, house fly or other small insect populations that may get into your home.
Where are Venus fly traps from?
Venus fly traps are native to the wetlands of North Carolina and South Carolina in the east coast of the USA. They are subtropical plants that catch prey - mainly small insects and spiders - with their distinctive leaf traps that open and close.
The traps remain open until the tiny “trigger” hairs on their inner surfaces are stimulated, usually by an insect touching them. Once an insect has entered the trap and touched the hairs, the trap closes tightly shut, trapping the insect and killing it as it digests the bug.
How do you care for a Venus fly trap?
According to Patch Plants, Venus fly traps are relatively easy to care for. They like being placed somewhere where they can get plenty of bright natural light, such as a windowsill.
They do require some maintenance when it comes to watering. Patch Plants advises that Venus fly traps should be watered from the bottom of their pot every few days with rainwater or distilled water. This is because the minerals in hard tap water “can be poisonous to carnivorous plants”.
In the warmer months, you should water the plant every few days to keep the soil moist, but you can water less often in winter.
On their website, Patch Plants adds: “If your Venus fly trap’s leaves start to turn black or die back, don’t be alarmed. These plants are dormant over winter, so they’ll die back almost completely before bouncing back in the spring. If this happens, move it to the coolest room in your home and let it dry out.”
During this period, the plant may be susceptible to root rot while it’s dormant. However, once new leaves start to appear in the spring, you can simply place it back in a sunny spot and water it as usual.
While it may be tempting to touch the traps with your finger to watch them close, you should resist doing this. The plant uses a lot of energy to trap insects, so poking them just to see them close can take up unnecessary energy the plant needs.
Venus fly traps are not toxic to children or pets, so it is suitable for family homes.
Where can I buy a Venus fly trap?
Venus fly traps are widely available in many plant nurseries, garden centres and online stores in the UK.
If you prefer a cuddlier Venus fly trap, John Lewis has released a plush soft toy version of Snapper, as well as a mini plush bauble and cosy Snapper slippers.
Read more about John Lewis's 2023 Christmas advert:
John Lewis Christmas advert 2023 review: Snapper the Venus flytrap is too cute to resist (The Independent, 3-min read)
GMB's Kate Garraway and Susanna Reid clash over new John Lewis Christmas advert (Glasgow Times, 2-min read)
Yep, That's Andrea Bocelli In The New John Lewis Christmas Ad – But Who's He Singing With? (HuffPost UK, 1-min read)