How to Take Care of a Venus Flytrap Plant

Overview

Venus flytraps are carnivorous plants, meaning they eat flies and other bugs that land on them. They're native in the United States to swampy places like the Carolinas. They have special hair-like feelers that sense when insects land on them. Touching these hairs triggers the plant to clamp shut around the insect and release enzymes, which turn the bug into digestible goo that the flytrap can absorb.

Step 1

Use the correct soil. Although it may seem counterintuitive, Venus flytraps actually need very poor-quality soil to thrive. Poor quality means soil that is naturally low in the nutrients most other plants need to survive. This is because the flytrap gets its nutrients from the insects it catches. According to experts at FlyTrapCare.com, regular potting soil or fertilizers are a sure-fire way to kill your Venus flytrap in a hurry. Use a soil that is a combination of perlite, sphagnum moss and peat.

Step 2

Provide proper growing conditions. Venus flytraps thrive in humid, moist conditions. Because of this, many people grow their plants in terrariums. Terrariums provide a consistent humid environment, but then require you to feed bugs to your plant, as it will not be able to attract bugs on its own. If you are not growing your plant in a terrarium, fill a dish with pebbles and water, and set the plant on top. This will increase the level of moisture in the air that surrounds your plant without allowing the soil to get too moist.

Step 3

Provide the right kind of water. Venus flytraps are sensitive to tap water treatment chemicals, such as chlorine, sodium, magnesium and fluorine. These chemicals collect and build up in the soil and eventually burn the plant's delicate root system. Use filtered water or collected rainwater for best results and keep the soil consistently moist but not wet.

Step 4

Provide direct sunlight. Venus flytraps are sun-loving plants. They require four to five hours of direct sunlight per day. This can be accomplished by placing them in a sunny south-facing window. Unlike some house plants, there's no danger of providing too much direct sunlight with Venus flytraps.

Step 5

Make sure your plant gets enough food. The Venus flytrap will absorb a scant amount of nutrients from its soil, but most of its nutritional needs come from ingesting insects. On average, a Venus flytrap needs to consume three to four flies per month. You can hand feed your fly trap with flies or crickets from a pet store, or you can try your luck with letting the plant feed from insects in your home.

Step 6

Allow your plant to rest. Around October of each year, Venus flytraps enter a dormant period. During this time, most, if not all, of the foliage will wither away and die. Remove this foliage to prevent fungal growth, but understand that your plant is not dead. It will re-emerge in warmer weather and grow back to its peak form. You do not need to water your plant during the dormant period.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never try to artificially stimulate your plant's reflex to close by poking it. Doing so weakens the plant's sensitivity to sensation and delays its reaction speed.

Things You'll Need

  • Filtered water or rain water
  • Nutrient-poor soil
  • Flies

References

  • Venus FlyTrap Care
Keywords: take care, Venus flytrap, carnivorous plant

About this Author

Lillian Downey is a writing professional who has served as editor-in-chief of "Nexus" literary journal and as an assistant fiction editor at the "Antioch Review." Downey attended Wright State University, where she studied writing, women's studies and health care.