I love the Venus fly trap. But new carnivorous plant owners may need some help to take care of these plants.
Here, we will discuss the necessary steps to grow these plants. Also, we will suggest how you can take care of the venus fly trap easily.
What is the Venus Fly Trap?
The Venus flytrap is a carnivorous plant. It is native to North and South Carolina. In these areas, these plants grow in sandy soil. The soil in which it grows is high in acidity and moisture but is nutrient-deficient. This lead to the development of their insect-eating ability.
Venus fly trap, like rest of the plants, obtains its food from the soil and by photosynthesis. But in order to fulfill their nutrient demands, they also feed on insects.
The ability to catch their own food and survive in nutrient-deficient makes the Venus flytrap one of the easiest plants to care for.
How to Care for a Venus Fly Trap
- Grow them in plastic pots or containers with good drainage.
- Use horticultural sand, a 1:1 mixture of peat moss, or gravel as potting soil.
- Water the plant with rainwater or distilled water. Do not use tap water.
- Provide them at least 12 hours of direct sunlight.
- If the plant appears unhealthy, feed it with small insects.
- During dormancy, give them less water and sunlight.
- Repot the plant as it grows.
- Prune dying or dead venus flytraps.
- Don’t let the flytrap grow flowers.
- Avoid poking the traps.
Let us discuss the above steps in detail.
1. Plant in a Plastic Pot With Good Drainage
Venus fly trap needs a lot of moisture. But too much of water in the ground or in the pot can hinder the growth. Also, too much water may cause the roots to rot. Therefore always plant them in pots with drainage holes at the bottom.
Venus fly trap can still grow in pots without drainage holes. But you need to take care not to water in excess. Also, you cannot water the plant multiple times. Only water when the soil seems dry.
Always use plastic pots rather than clay or cement blocks for planting the venus fly trap. Minerals in the cement or clay can enter their water supply. This may cause mineral burn in the plant.
As your plant grows and develops, you may have to repot it. This is necessary to give it more breathing room. depending on the growth, gradually move up to bigger pots. Planting it in a huge pot won’t make the plant grow faster.
2. What Type of Soil to Use for the Venus Fly Trap?
As you read at the beginning, Venus flytrap grows best in acidic, undernourished and sandy soil. Use a 1:1 ratio by volume of horticultural sand and sphagnum peat moss. This mixture is best for holding moisture while still providing proper drainage.
What Is the Best Soil for Growing The Venus Fly Trap?
- Don’t use compost, regular potting soil or any enriched soils or mosses. Also, avoid the use of fertilizers to help them grow faster. Excess of nutrients is actually harmful to the Venus flytrap plant.
- You can use horticultural sand. Do not use sand from the beach. Just like the clay pots, sand from the beach may add an excess of mineral content causing the plant to wither.
- Use only peat moss and not just sphagnum moss. The main difference is that sphagnum moss holds an excess of water. Also, the pH of the soil is neutral. Peat moss is more acidic and holds just the right amount of water, providing the type of soil just as in the flytrap’s natural habitat.
- Use more sand or gavels to provide more drainage.
3. How Often Should I Water?
The soil should be kept moist and damp at all times. Water the plant only once in a few days. But if you live in a dry or hot region, you may need to water the plant every day. Similarly, if you have larger pots, you may have to water regularly.
However, do not overwater. Growing in hot, dry conditions or in large pots may cause the surface layer of peat moss to look dry, but the deeper layers may still be damp.
Only use rainwater or distilled water. Tap or even filtered water contains many alkaline minerals. These minerals will harm the plant. Always grow Venus fly trap in acidic environments.
If you don’t have enough time to water or if you are forgetful, we have a solution.
Put the pot or container in a plastic dish, tray or saucer. Now, Fill the tray with water. just like a sponge, the peat moss can draw the water over time. This is most useful during summer or for smaller pots when the weather is hotter than usual.
4. How Much Light Does the Venus Fly Trap Need?
Venus flytraps can survive with a minimum of 4 hours of sunlight, Also they will survive in partial shade. But if you want proper growth, provide them with 12 hours of direct, bright sunlight.
If possible avoid direct sunlight if it’s too hot, mostly during the summer. This will help to prevent them from burning and drying out.
You can provide shade to the plant by hanging light mesh fabric or some cheesecloth over the plants. Placing them under the shade of taller plants will also help. Just ensure there is still enough sunlight coming through the shade.
You can provide sunlight indoors to the Venus fly trap plant by placing it by a window that has access to direct sunlight.
What if I Don’t Have Access to a Window With Direct Sunlight?
If your home isn’t too sunny, or you lack windows that face the sun, you can use artificial growing lights. Generally LED or fluorescent will work. Place the lights close to the plant (about 2-8 inches away). Remember to turn the lights off after 12 hours.
- The temperature should be in the 65 to 75°f range, with a 10°f drop at night.
- They do not like cold weather and should not be subjected to temperatures below 50°f.
- Normal misting guidelines apply to the venus fly trap, but slightly heavier than normal condensation is beneficial.
6. Should I Feed a Venus Flytrap?
If you are growing The venus fly trap outdoors, it can catch its own prey. However, if you are growing the plant indoors, or if they look unhealthy, you can help them by feeding them small insects periodically.
Keep a track of which traps you have fed. You don’t want to overfeed these plants. Opening and closing require energy. Overfeeding may drain their energy.
It is best to feed the plants live insects. This is because feeding live insects will help trigger their natural digestive processes.
What Can I Feed?
As the suggests, Venus fly trap loves eating flies. However, the plant can eat any insect small enough to trap, such as moths, mosquitoes ladybugs, beetles, spiders, and ants.
In the case you decide to feed the plant, ensure that the insect is nearly about 1/3 the size of the trap.
If the insect is very small, the trap may not close completely. Thus it may end up not eating the insect at all as it won’t provide enough nutrients.
If the insect you are feeding is too big, the trap will not close fully, making it difficult for the plant to digest the insect. This may increase the risk of bacterial infection.
How Do I Feed The Venus Fly Trap?
- Do not try to feed newly planted specimens. Wait until they have established themselves and show some new growth.
- During the warmer months, you should have no trouble obtaining ants, flies, small crickets, gnats, and other insects for your plants.
- Put out a jar with a piece of fruit, meat, or other food that will attract them.
- Come back in an hour or so and clap on the lid. Then put the jar or the insects into your terrarium.
- Replace the terrarium cover and sit back to watch the show. The show, however, may not be instantaneous.
- You must be patient and wait for the insects to be drawn to the plants. It may take a while for them to be attracted, but they will be and you will be able to see your plants in action.
- You may choose to place individual insects on the plants, perhaps with a pair of tweezers.
- They are best given whole and alive since their struggles activate the plant.
- If necessary, you can cut them into smaller portions and place them in the correct place for the plant to absorb them
7. How to Care for Venus Fly Trap During Dormancy
Venus flytraps bloom during the spring, grow during the summer. Finally, they fall and go dormant through the winter season (roughly 3-5 months).
They do not die out in the winter, although it may seem that they have. They just survive during winter in order to conserve energy for the next growing season.
This doesn’t mean you can just neglect the plants. They still require water and sunlight to perform photosynthesis.
Tips to help your plant survive the winter
- The best place to keep the venus fly trap is outdoors, but make sure you don’t live in a region where frosting and freezing are common. Plants in pots and containers are more likely to freeze over. So the best option is to move the plants into the ground, where a large volume of soil can act as an insulation that will protect the rhizomes.
- Always use sandy, acidic soil that is suitable for the Venus fly trap.
- Keep the plant cool, but do not let it freeze. The ideal temperature range during the dormancy period is between 32 ºF and 55 ºF (0 ºC-11 ºC). However, it can still stay dormant at higher temperatures.
- Some people opt to keep their flytraps in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for the entire winter. If you also choose to do this, remove mist, dead leaves (appear brown or black) along with fungicide to prevent fungal and mold growth. Check the plants periodically to make sure they have enough water.
- Give them some sunlight, but less sunlight than usual. During the winter season, the plants should receive less than 12 hours of sunlight.
- Keep the soil moist, but do not overwater. The plant still needs some amount of water, but it won’t consume much of it. Daily monitor the moisture of the moss for the first week to understand how often you will need to water the plant.
When the plant comes out of dormancy, slowly increase the supply of food, sunlight, and water.
Why You Should Take Care of Them During Dormancy
You can let them die over the winter, but that is not wise. Dormancy helps the Venus flytrap to remain strong and healthy. If you provide proper care, these plants can live up to about 20 years.
8. Repot the plant as it Grows
As the venus fly trap grows and gets bigger, provide it with more room by gradually transferring the plants to larger pots. This will give them extra breathing room—both for the roots and the traps. Growing roots can cause the moss and sand to compact, thus larger and bigger pots are a good idea to improve aeration.
9. Prune Dying or dead Leaves
Dying, sick or dead leaves and other plant parts fall prey to fungal growth that can invade and destroy the rest of the plant. It is very important to remove fungal growth as soon as you spot them. If the leaves seem to be dry, wilted and appear black or brown, prune them.
Prune the infected leaves as soon as possible. If you forget to do, mold starts growing on the infected parts. remove the affected parts immediately and spray the plant with a fungicide.
10. Should I Let My Venus Fly Trap Flower?
Flowering is energetically costly for any type of plant. This cannot be controlled in the wild. Also, flowering is necessary for reproduction in the wild.
However, for a Venus fly trap that is growing in a pot, flowering is not necessary. Flowering will lead to the weakening of your plant and may lead to premature death. Only let them flower if you know how to take care of a flowering plant.
The flower grows up from the center of the plant from a rod-shaped stalk. Once you notice growth in the center of the plant that doesn’t look like the other flat leaves, you should pluck it out immediately.
11. What Happens If You Put Your Finger in a Venus Fly Trap?
The Venus flytrap will not harm you. But doing so will harm the plant. If something like an animal, twig, or your finger comes in contact with the trigger hairs, the trap will close. Nothing else will happen. The trap will open again within a day. However, this will consume a lot of plant energy.
A Venus fly trap can close and open only a few times in its lifetime. Unnecessarily triggering of the fly trap will result in the plant’s premature death.
If you see that a trap is not closing when triggered, it is possible that it has eaten quite recently. The plant may also be running out of energy. It may also indicate that the plant may die in some days.
12. How Does the Venus Fly Trap Works?
The leaf, or trap, consists of two lobes. Each of these lobes has tooth-like spikes (trigger hairs) along the edges. These lobes trap insects such as gnats, spiders, ladybugs and, houseflies. Each of the two lobes produces sweet-smelling nectar that attracts insects.
Whenever an insect lands on the trap and bends any of the trigger hairs, the jaw-like lobes shut quickly, thus capturing the insect as its victim.
For the next few seconds, the trap gets tighter and tighter, forming an air-tight seal. After that, the plant floods the chamber with digestive juices in order to draw nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen from the insect.
The fascination of carnivorous plants is in their strange shapes and their trapping and eating procedures. They can become almost like pets, with a need to be fed and cared for.
As with pets, it is important that they have adequate water and not be overfed. In return, they will perform a truly unique array of insect-eating tricks.