Care for a Venus Fly Trap

Overview

The Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula) is an interesting carnivorous plant that lures small insects to its traps with sweet nectar. When the unsuspecting insect touches one of the tiny hairs in the trap, the trap will close. The insect is then dissolved by enzymes located within the plant. Although Venus flytraps aren't difficult to grow, they require high levels of humidity, light and warmth in order to survive.

Step 1

Plant the Venus flytrap in a low-nutrient potting medium such as a mixture of 30 percent sand or perlite, and 70 percent sphagnum moss. Be sure to use a container with bottom drainage.

Step 2

Place the Venus flytrap where it will be exposed to a minimum of six to eight hours of sunlight every day. If necessary, supplement available light with a grow light hung a few inches above the plant. A window with bright morning sunlight is beneficial, but avoid placing the plant in a window exposed to hot afternoon sunlight.

Step 3

Water the Venus flytrap with distilled water, melted snow or rainwater. Avoid using tap water, as the chlorine and fluoride in tap water will eventually the plant.

Step 4

Keep the soil constantly moist during the growing season. Water the plant deeply, and allow the water to run through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.

Step 5

Keep the Venus flytrap in a humid environment. The easiest way to do this is to place a layer of pebbles or gravel in a shallow bowl. Set the Venus flytrap's container on the pebbles, and add about an inch of water to the pebbles. The bottom of the container should be touching the water, but shouldn't be submerged.

Step 6

Maintain a warm environment. A Venus flytrap should be kept in a room with temperatures between 70 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 7

Feed the Venus flytrap 1 or 2 small insects per month, if the plant isn't catching its own insects. Catch a small fly or gnat, or feed the plant bloodworms or small crickets, either of which can be purchased at pet stores. During warm weather, place the flytrap outdoors once a week so it can catch its own dinner.

Step 8

Prune off any browning leaves or traps on your Venus flytrap using sharp, sterilized scissors.

Step 9

Move the Venus flytrap to a cool room with temperatures between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit for three months during the winter. Place the plant near a window where it will receive eight hours of light per day. Keep the soil damp, but not wet, and don't feed the flytrap. The plant will lose part of its foliage, but it will grow back when the plants is returned to normal conditions in spring.

Step 10

Replant your Venus flytrap every 2 or 3 years, as the sphagnum moss will eventually break down.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never feed a Venus flytrap raw meat. Carnivorous plants are insectivores, not carnivores. Don't feed the Venus flytrap if the jaws aren't open. Closed jaws indicate that the plant isn't ready for its next meal. Do not overfeed the Venus flytrap. One insect about every two weeks will give it all the nutrition it needs.

Things You'll Need

  • Sand or perlite
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Grow light (optional)
  • Distilled water, melted snow or rainwater
  • Pebbles or gravel
  • Shallow bowl
  • Scissors

References

  • The Garden Helper: The Venus Fly Trap: Dionaea muscipula
  • MyCarnivore.com: Venus Fly Trap Care

Who Can Help

  • Ohio State University: "Feed Me Seymour!" Carnivorous Plants All Bark, No Bite
Keywords: venus flytrap, venus fly trap, carnivorous plants

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.