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How to Raise a Venus Flytrap

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How to Raise a Venus Flytrap

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Overview

Venus flytrap, a carnivorous plant native to the bogs and swamps of the eastern United States, lures, catches and consumes prey as supplemental nutrition. Because the plant typically grows in poor soil, it requires these additional nutrients to thrive. Gardeners often grow the plant indoors in a terrarium, where its natural warm and humid habitat is easily emulated. The Venus flytrap is regarded as one of the easiest carnivorous plants to grow, and its few requirements include moist soil, high humidity, lots of light and occasional prey.

Step 1

Line the bottom of a terrarium with 1 inch of gravel, and then add 6 to 7 inches of a soil mix made of two parts peat moss and one part coarse sand. Water the soil lightly, and dig a hole 1½ inches in diameter and 4 to 5 inches deep.

Step 2

Grasp the plant so only the pale section of the stem is visible below your fingers, and the insert the bulb into the hole. Cover with soil and water thoroughly to compact. Place a piece of plexiglass over the terrarium and leave slightly ajar to allow air circulation.

Step 3

Keep the plant in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight during spring, summer and fall, such as a south- or west-facing window. Move the plant to a location that receives partial shade during the winter, when active growth ceases.

Step 4

Maintain a constant temperature of 70 to 75 degrees F during spring, summer and fall, and 55 to 60 degrees F during winter. Keep the temperature about 10 degrees cooler at night to emulate the plant's natural growing environment.

Step 5

Water Venus flytrap once per week throughout the year to keep the soil moist at all times. Flood the terrarium once every three to four weeks to prevent salt accumulation and stagnation. Siphon away all excess water after about 10 minutes.

Step 6

Feed the plant a small insect once every two to three months to provide nutrition for root development and trap formation. Place the insect in the trap, and touch a trigger hair twice with your fingers to force the trap to close and ingest the insect. The trap will reopen after it has dissolved the prey, usually in three or four days, depending on the size of the insect.

Step 7

Remove all dead traps and foliage whenever possible to increase the overall health and appearance of the plant. Pinch off the flower stalk that forms during early spring, as seed development drains large amounts of nutrients from the plant.

Step 8

Re-pot Venus flytrap once every one to two years or whenever the plant becomes overcrowded in its current terrarium. Increase the size of the terrarium by several inches in length and width and use a fresh growing medium.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never feed Venus flytrap human food or raw meat, as these can kill the plant. Do not artificially trigger the plant's trap with your finger or any other object, as this can cause the trap to weaken and even die over time.

Things You'll Need

  • Terrarium
  • Gravel
  • Peat moss
  • Coarse sand
  • Small insect

References

  • Pitcher Plant: Caring for the Venus' Fly Trap -- Dionaea muscipula
  • Iowa State University Cooperative Extension: How does one care for a Venus flytrap?
  • "The Curious World of Carnivorous Plants"; Wilhelm Barthlott, Michael Ashdown; 2007
Keywords: Venus flytrap, Venus flytrap care, raise Venus flytrap

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.