The Venus flytrap is among the best-known of carnivorous plants. Native to a small region of the Carolinas, the Venus flytrap grows in infertile soil and receives its nutrition by trapping and digesting small insects. Hairs grow inside the leaves of the traps; when an insect touches one hair twice or two hairs at the same time the trap springs shut. This plant requires special care to grow indoors or outside its native region, but its interesting characteristics make it worth the effort.
Choose your growing container. A Venus flytrap can grow in a terrarium, which will retain humidity better, or a plastic pot with plenty of drainage holes. Place the pot in a shallow tray filled with small stones to help maintain humidity around the plant.
Plant your Venus flytrap in a mixture of one part sand, two parts peat moss.
Plant from bare-root bulbs if you wish, though this is a more challenging method of planting.
Dampen the growing medium slightly and pat it down just enough that it's not hard, but is firm enough not to settle as you work with it.
Make a 1 1/2-inch wide, 4- to 5-inch deep hole in the growing medium.
Hold your flytrap bulb in one hand and carefully bend the leaves upward to expose the pale bulb.
Lower the entire pale portion of the bulb below the soil level and collapse the hole. Firm the soil gently around the bulb before releasing the leaves.
Push the bulb back in if the leaves fold back and push it out of the soil. Tamp the soil down a little firmer around the bulb until it stays submerged.
Water your flytrap thoroughly just after planting. Keep the growing medium moist but not soggy.
Flood the growing medium periodically to rinse out built-up salts. If growing your flytrap in a terrarium, flood the container and siphon off the extra water.
Give your Venus flytrap full sun to 50 percent shade from early spring to late fall. Indoors, you can accomplish this by placing your plant in a sunny window. If your plant develops long, spindly leaves, it is not getting enough light.
Add artificial grow lights if your plant shows signs of insufficient lighting. Keep the lights four to seven inches away from the top of the plants to prevent burning.
Keep the temperature between 48 and 98 degrees. You'll need to provide plenty of ventilation in a terrarium to prevent overheating in bright sunlight.
Allow your flytrap to go dormant during the winter by placing it in an area where you can maintain a temperature between 30 to 50 degrees. A cool garage or basement can provide the right conditions.
Cut off the flower stalk the plant sends up in early spring to encourage trap formation. If you leave this stalk, it will form small white flowers and tiny black seeds. Flytraps allowed to flower may grow slower and become weaker.
Trim off any dead leaves or traps as you find them.
Repot your Venus flytrap early in the spring when it becomes crowded in its container or starts to dry out quickly between waterings. Water well after repotting.
About this Author
Angie Mansfield is a freelance writer living and working in Minnesota. She began freelancing in 2008. Mansfield's work has appeared in online sites and publications such as theWAHMmagazine, for parents who work at home, and eHow. She is an active member of Absolute Write and Writer's Village University.