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Problems of a Venus Flytrap

By Em Connell McCarty ; Updated September 21, 2017

The Venus flytrap is a wildly popular plant for its horror-movie like manner of catching insects. This petite snap trap plant has inspired many imaginations and one Broadway musical. While Audrey Two in "Little Shop of Horrors" is a towering plant, the Venus flytrap is actually only a few inches tall and has leaves not much larger than a penny. In addition to its peculiar feeding habits, the Venus flytrap is a beautiful plant because of its red coloring. But to have a healthy, red Venus flytrap, you need to make sure your plant is getting full sun. Without that and other specific needs, you may encounter problems.


One serious problem with Venus flytraps is how they are acquired--this popular plant is often poached from the wild. While poaching alone could hurt its numbers, the wild Venus flytrap is also being threatened with extinction because of human developments shrinking the savanna in Carolinas it calls home. Always buy Venus flytraps from a reputable grower.


Once you acquire a Venus flytrap, you must consider its very specific soil needs. It evolved into a carnivorous plant because of the poor soil it is native to. A Venus flytrap in the wild grows in low nutrient soil such as sand, peat and loam. If you attempt to put one in rich soil or fertilize it, you could kill the plant.


The Venus flytrap's water needs can also pose a problem. On the savanna, the Venus flytrap grows in wet soil and humid conditions. At times, the plant is even submerged in water. If you allow the soil your Venus flytrap grows in to dry out, the plant will be in peril. Keep the bottom of your Venus flytrap's pot submerged in water during the growing season to ensure it has constant access to moisture, but the chemicals found in tap water are toxic--use rain or distilled water.


Feeding your Venus flytrap is not as easy as feeding a regular houseplant. The Venus flytrap is carnivorous and gets its nutrition from insects rather than soil. Insects also provide the plant with the nitrogen it needs. You cannot feed your Venus flytrap by placing pieces of meat in its trap--meat will not provide the correct nutrients. But you can directly feed it caught insects or place it in an area with a lot of insect traffic such as near a window or your compost.