The Venus flytrap is one of 600 recorded carnivorous plants. Arguably, the Venus flytrap is the most famous--even inspiring the giant snap-trap man-eating plant in the musical "Little Shop of Horrors." However, in reality, the Venus flytrap is a petite plant, easily overlooked and very much endangered, partly due to loss of habitat. Carnivorous plants evolved animal-trapping capabilities to supplement the nutrient deficiencies of their habitats, and the Venus flytrap is no exception.
The natural habitat of the Venus flytrap is the very limited area of North and South Carolina, within a one-hundred-mile radius of Wilmington, North Carolina, to be exact. Although Venus flytraps have now been grown in a variety of locations, originally they only thrived in this small area, the boggy, treeless landscape of the savanna plain.
Soil and Water
The Venus flytrap lives in nutrient-poor soil consisting of sand, peat and loam. The soil is very damp in the savanna home of this plant, and at times the Venus flytrap is even under water. The Venus flytrap thrives in this swampy soil partially due to its ability to lure, catch and digest insects. Unable to find nitrogen in the boggy soil, the Venus flytrap "eats" insects to satisfy its nutritional needs.
Temperature and Sun
The Venus flytrap prefers full sun and warm temperatures. Venus flytraps that are getting plenty of sun will usually have a lot of red in their coloring. In their natural habitat, Venus flytraps do not have to compete with many other plants for sunlight and do not endure temperatures much below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Germination and seed survival are much more likely at warmer temperatures.
You can grow a Venus flytrap in a terrarium or in a pot, outdoors or indoors. Terrariums are suitable for maintaining high humidity and moist soil. Terrariums also allow you to feed your plant by trapping insects inside the terrarium with the Venus flytrap. Your Venus flytrap should be potted in poor soil or peat. The mature plant can be kept outdoors down to temperatures of ten below zero Fahrenheit, although seedlings would die if exposed to temperatures this cold. Keeping the plant well watered--with rain water or distilled water--and getting it plenty of sunlight is vital to its survival. Additionally, never fertilize your Venus flytrap in its artificial habitat or you risk killing the plant.
The natural habitat of the Venus flytrap is quickly shrinking due to human developments encroaching on the savanna. Botany records show that as many as 80 percent of recorded Venus flytrap populations have been destroyed. Poachers also contribute to the shrinking number of wild Venus flytraps. To help protect the Venus flytrap, never collect one from the wild or purchase one that was poached. Instead, buy your plant from a reputable grower.