Most elementary school students are aware of Venus flytrap plants; the plant is a favorite of science fair projects and classroom terrariums, thanks to the plant's carnivorous nature. Venus flytraps trap and digest small flying insects and spiders with their hinged leaves on short petoles. Though science and educational toy manufacturers sell Venus flytrap seeds in grow-your-own kits, the plants are difficult to grow. Success at growing a flytrap depends on replicating the boglike conditions that the plant thrives on in nature.
Fill a 4-inch potting container with a potting mix that contains 2 parts peat moss and 1 part coarse sand. Saturate the soil with rainwater or filtered water. Venus flytraps grow in peat-filled bogs, where they rarely grow larger than 5 inches in diameter. A small, peat-filled container will provide soil conditions that reflect this.
Press Venus flytrap seeds gently into the surface of the peat moss. Flytrap seeds should not be buried. The seed will germinate in 7 to 14 days. At that time the root will push downward into the peat moss.
Place the container in a plastic freezer bag. The bag will help to hold humidity for the plant. Flytraps prefer a highly humid environment to grow in.
Place the peat container on a seedling heating pad. Flytraps germinate best when the soil is kept in a warm range between 75 and 80 degrees.
Position the flytrap on a sunny windowsill out of direct sunlight or beneath grow lights. Flytraps need full sun to thrive in the wild. Direct sunlight may warm the temperatures inside the freezer bag too much, though.
Open the freezer bag once the flytrap germinates. Move the plant into more direct sunlight. Check the plant daily and mist the soil so that it never dries.
Remove the bag and place the container on a 3-inch-deep tray layered with gravel. Fill the tray with water to a depth of 2 inches. As the water evaporates, it will create a humid microclimate around the plant. Alternatively, you can place the plant in a dish of water. Leave the dish completely filled to a depth of 2cm with water and place an inverted glass jar over the top of the plant to help hold in humidity.
Feed the Venus flytrap bugs such as flies or spiders that are no larger than 1/3 the size of the plant's trap. Drop the dead insect into the plant and touch the trigger hairs on the sides of the trap's inner leaves with a toothpick. The trap will close loosely. Slip the toothpick between the guard hairs located around the edge of the plant's trap and wiggle the toothpick around to stimulate the trigger hairs. The plant will close more firmly and begin to digest the bug. Never feed the plant more than 1 insect per week.