How to Look After Venus Fly Traps

Overview

Venus fly traps, carnivorous plants native to coastal areas of North and South Carolina, gather nutrients from the soil in which they're grown and the insects they trap and digest. The plants produce small, flat leaves containing stiff hairs called trigger hairs. When an insect touches the trigger hairs, the leaves clamp together and trap the victim inside. The plant's digestive process takes up to 12 days, depending on the size of the insect. Growing Venus fly traps takes some effort, as they need boglike conditions to thrive. Providing the proper environment and supplemental nutrition, however, ensures the plant's survival.

Step 1

Create a growing medium suitable for Venus fly traps by combining two parts peat moss and one part coarse sand. Fill a glass terrarium with the mixture to a depth of around 6 inches to ensure adequate drainage.

Step 2

Plant Venus fly traps in the prepared terrarium and place in a location that receives one to two hours of sunlight each day, such as an east- or west-facing window. Space plants 3 to 4 inches apart to prevent crowding.

Step 3

Maintain a constant daily temperature of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and a nightly temperature of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a piece of plexiglass over the top of the terrarium to keep the humidity high in the growing environment.

Step 4

Water Venus fly traps once every five to seven days throughout the year to prevent the soil from drying out. Flood the container with water once every two weeks, allow the standing water to remain for about 10 minutes, and then siphon away any excess.

Step 5

Feed plants once every three to four weeks to keep them growing strong and to provide adequate nutrition. Place a small insect inside the plant's trap, and then trip two of the trigger hairs to force the plant to trap and digest the prey.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not feed Venus fly traps hamburger meat or any other human food as this can cause serious damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass terrarium
  • Peat moss
  • Coarse sand
  • Plexiglass
  • Siphon
  • Small insects

References

  • Iowa State University Horticulture and Home Pest News: Carnivorous Plants
  • Botany.org: The Mysterious Venus Flytrap
  • "The Curious World of Carnivorous Plants: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Biology and Cultivation"; Wilhelm Barthlott, Michael Ashdown; 2007
Keywords: Venus fly traps, growing Venus fly traps, Venus fly trap plants

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.