Sunday, 1 September 2013

Venus Flytrap Care Guide

Venus flytrap Care Guide

If you are keeping your flytrap indoors, its best to keep it in a south facing window to maximize the amount of light it can receive, as these plants love light and it is good for them to get at least 4 hours of sunlight each day. Alternatively, you can place your flytrap outside, but make sure it’s in an area that is open enough to get direct sunlight, but make sure it isn’t in a location where it could get knocked over by gusts of wind. If you keep your plant outside, you should still bring it in during winter as flytraps aren’t keen on frost.

Do NOT use tap water, use Rainwater
Tap water contains chemicals which will harm the plant. You can use distilled water, reverse osmosis water, but the best water to use is rain water. Stand them in 1 - 2 cm of rain water, but during the winter months, its best to just keep them damp (such as using a mist spray) rather than fill the tray up with water.

I could say that you don’t need to feed your plant because it can catch insects by itself, especially if it’s outside…..but I know you will anyway, because I still do! Your flytrap will do fine even if it only eats one insect every few weeks (that’s the whole plant, not a single trap). If you’re going to feed it, feed it live insects.

The trigger sensors on the inside of the trap need to sense movement in order for the trap to know it has caught live prey. Each trap can close and open (with an insect inside) roughly 3 – 4 times until the trap dies off. If it falsely closes (for instance, you put your finger in the trap to make it close, which I advise against but I know  you will do it!), it can close and open 5 – 7 times before the trap dies. Each time the plant falsely closes (due to your fingers), the plant’s energy is wasted. This energy could be used by the plant to make even bigger traps!

Don’t feed the plant an insect that is too big. When the plant closes, it makes itself air tight and releases digestive enzymes, but if it isn’t able to close fully, it can become vulnerable to bacteria (the trap, not the plant).

Winter dormancy
Winter dormancy for a flytrap typically takes place from late October to February. During dormancy, the plants leaves will die back and so it is important to prune them. If your flytrap is outside, bring it inside, preferably somewhere where it still gets daylight but feels cooler (such as a conservatory).


Usually around June/July time, these plants will start producing stalks for flowers. Typically speaking, it is usually best to cut these stalks when they are less than a few inches long as the flytraps put a lot of effort into making them and can weaken the plant. If you really want to see the flower or are planning on collecting the seeds, by all means, let the flower grow. But if you’re more interested in having a healthier plant that produces good sized traps, its best to prune the stalk.


Flytraps don’t grow as fast as other plants and therefore, only need to be repotted every year or two. It’s usually best to buy compost mixes specifically for carnivorous plants from online retailers, but failing that, get ‘nutrient free’ peat from your local garden centre. It is important that the peat be nutrient free, otherwise the plant will likely die.


One of the misconceptions of Venus flytraps is that the traps that are there when the plant is brought are the only traps it will have and that they will grow and that when a trap goes brown/black, the plant is dying. None of the above is true.

Flytraps are constantly growing new traps that you will see emerge from the centre of the plant. These new traps will replace the old ones and the plant will continue to make these new traps during the entirety of the growing season. Individual traps naturally get brown/black as it is part of their life cycle. When this happens, prune them (only the brown bits).  

 Another thing that some traps do when their trapping days are over is open extremely wide to the point that the trap is no longer cupped. When a trap is like this, it is being used by the plant purely for photosynthesis.

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