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How to Grow and Care for Venus Fly Trap Plants

Venus fly traps are a unique and fun plant to grow. They’re a favourite for kids who are curious about how a plant can be carnivorous! We do get a lot of questions asking how to grow Venus fly traps so we thought it would be ideal to publish a Venus Fly Trap care guide and we hope it’s helpful!

How often do Venus Fly Traps need to eat?

Venus fly traps can sustain themselves through photosynthesis like a typical plant can. However they can be boosted in their growth by ingesting insects which is what makes these plants so interesting. They have adapted to eating bugs because the soil they live in in the wild is typically very low in nutrition. This means that you don’t need to worry about obtaining flies or making sure it gets a certain number of meals per week because it will be ok if it doesn’t eat for a while. You won’t need to fertilize it either in fact, that can be hard on these plants. When you do happen to have a fly in the house, give your plant a chance to snack by making sure it’s in the same room as the bug.

How do Carnivorous plants eat exactly?

If you look at the traps on your plant you will notice ‘hair’ like formations on the leaves. When these hairs are stimulated by a suitable meal it will trigger the plant to snap the trap closed. When that happens, the plant will release digestive juices into the trap which dissolve the insect. This process takes a lot of energy so it is best to avoid triggering the traps with your fingers. Other plants like pitcher plants lure bugs into a pool of liquid in the traps – they all have their unique methods of getting a meal!

Where do Venus Fly Traps grow?

Venus fly traps are native to North Carolina USA and they grow along the coastal plains and in bog / wetland areas. These habitats are extremally important eco-systems which are protected and monitored for the long term survival of the plants. Any Venus fly traps you’ll find available commercially have been cultivated, not collected in order to preserve these plants in the wild.

How much light do they need each day?

Venus fly traps enjoy bright light and the ideal place to grow one is on a windowsill that doesn’t get too hot in the height of the summer. If you have an east facing window that will be the best place not just for lighting but also for temperature.

What kind of water does a Venus Fly Trap plant need?

Because Venus Fly Traps live in boggy areas in fresh water with little nutrients in it, these plants can be sensitive to tap water. Dissolved salts and chlorine or chloramines added to our tap water can damage these plants. If you can offer distilled or reverse osmosis water that is ideal. Or you can collect rain water. In the absence of those options, filtered water can be used.

Do they Flower?

Yes! Venus fly traps grow long flower stalks with white blooms. In the wild, they rely on pollinators so the tall stalks keep pollinating insects safe from the plant traps below.

Venus fly trap

Help! My plant looks like it’s dying! What can I do?

Venus fly traps can go dormant. In the wild they would do so in the winter just like many perennial plants do to survive winters here outdoors. If you hope to have your plant for many years, encouraging a dormancy period of about 3-5 months in length is ideal. To allow your plant to go dormant it will need to experience shorter day lengths. If you have your plant on a window ledge it will notice the cooler temperatures and the shorter days as we move into winter. That should be enough to trigger it into naptime. When this happens you will notice some traps turning black and drying up. This is ok. While you shouldn’t stop watering your plant, it may use less water in winter so take care to water a little less to avoid rot.


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