The Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is an unusual plant that has fascinated people for years. These plants get their nutrition by trapping small insects in their mouth-like petals, which snap shut when a bug brushes up against the sensitive hairs that line its edges. While they may appear intimidating, Venus flytraps aren't as tedious to care for as they seem. A little knowledge combined with some time and attention are the keys to keeping these plants thriving.
Choose the right container. A terrarium works well, or you can plant them directly into a container and cut a plastic bottle that will fit over the top of the pot. Add a layer of small pebbles to the bottom of the terrarium or container to allow for better drainage.
Prepare a potting mixture of 70 percent perlite and 30 percent peat moss. Add the mixture to the terrarium or container and plant the Venus flytrap. Place the cover on top, but do not seal completely so the right amount of humidity is maintained.
Place the terrarium in an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day during the growing season, which lasts from early spring until late fall.
Mist the plant heavily two or three times each week. Make sure the soil remains moist to the touch, but not wet. Venus flytraps are sensitive to chemicals, so it's best to use rain water or distilled water instead of tap water.
Feed one insect each week. Drop a live or freshly killed bug into the petals, allowing it to brush the hairs lightly before releasing it. This lets the plant know it's time to feed and will trigger the petal to snap shut. Flies, crickets, spiders and even slugs are good choices.
Remove all dead leaves and heads regularly to prevent fungal disease.
Move to a location that maintains a temperature of 45 degrees to 50 degrees Fahrenheit in late October. Many of the leaves will turn black during the winter months, but this is a normal part of the plant's dormant period. Clip away the darkened leaves in early spring to prepare the plant for the new growing season.
Repot the plant once each year if planted in a container. Add fresh potting mixture and choose a deep pot that will allow plenty of room for the bulb to grow.