Venus Flytrap Care Instructions

Overview

The Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is a mysterious carnivorous plant that, in its natural habitat, survives by trapping ants and other small insects. When the insect lands on the Venus flytrap, small hair-like structures will signal the plant to close its hinged leaves around the unsuspecting insect. Venus flytraps are small plants that won't grow taller than 6 inches. Although Venus flytraps aren't difficult to grow, the secret is to replicate their natural environment, the warm and humid swampy areas of North and South Carolina.

Step 1

Place the Venus flytrap where it will be exposed to at least 12 hours of light each day, and six of those hours should be in bright sunlight. If light conditions are low, put the Venus flytrap under a grow light.

Step 2

Keep the Venus flytrap damp at all times. Water the Venus flytrap from the bottom, and always leave a bit of water standing in the saucer under the plant. Use distilled water, as tap water contains salts and minerals that can injure the plant.

Step 3

Place the Venus flytrap where it can catch its own prey. Venus flytraps need very little food to survive, and one ant or fly each week is enough. If no fresh insects are available, feed the flytrap a live maggot, as flytraps require live food. Be sure the food is no larger than 1/4 the size of the leaf. During warm weather, the flytrap can be placed outdoors to catch its food.

Step 4

Place the Venus flytrap in a cool room for three to four months during the winter. Venus flytraps require a dormant period each year, with low light and temperatures below 50 degrees F. Don't allow the temperature to fall below 20 degrees F, and make sure the saucer under the pot always has a small amount of water. The plant won't require food, and the leaves will turn brown. After two to four months, return the Venus flytrap to a warm, sunny room.

Step 5

Re-pot the Venus flytrap only when its absolutely necessary. Plant the flytrap in a potting mixture of one part peat moss and one part sand or perlite. Avoid using compost or potting soil. Never fertilize the Venus flytrap.

Things You'll Need

  • Grow light (optional)
  • Saucer
  • Distilled water
  • Live insects or maggots
  • Peat moss
  • Sand or perlite

References

  • Sarracenia Northwest: Venus Flytrap Dionaea muscipula
  • NC State University: cientific Name Dionaea muscipula Common Name Venus flytrap
  • Planet Natural: Growing Venus Fly Traps
Keywords: venus flytrap, fly trap, carnivorous plants

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.