The elusive beauty of the Venus flytrap is as captivating as its namesake. The plant’s leaves resemble those of an insect, but when they open their mouths and close them again it looks like some kind of mythical beast from Greek mythology — or maybe even Pokémon.
This carnivorous plant grows in marshy grow in damp, low-nutrient soil wetlands it boosts its nutrient intact by catching and eating small insects and animals in its famous traps which they attract using sweet nectar.
Read how a venus flytrap works here
Where do Venus Flytraps grow?
While most people think about these plants growing only in stagnant waters, there are actually many different types of habitats where they thrive. In fact, if you look at a map of North America, you will see several regions where the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) thrives naturally.
In the southern states along the Gulf Coast, the swampy land may be too wet for the Venus flytrap’s liking.
But further north, near Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas, the soil is just right for this plant to grow. It prefers moist conditions, so don’t try planting one in dry dirt or sand because the roots won’t get enough moisture.
If you want to raise your own Venus flytraps, you’ll need to know what type of habitat they prefer before buying seeds or cuttings. This information is listed with each particular variety on seed packets and catalog descriptions, such as “best” for wetlands, pond margin, streambank,” etc., according to the American Carnivorous Plant Society website.
But keep reading for more info on how to maintain your very own Venus flytrap.
Venus Flytrap Care Tips
Let’s talk maintenance! When they’re young, you should watch out for two common problems that could spell disaster for any houseplant. First off, make sure you place your new plant somewhere shady during warm months since sunlight helps boost growth. Also, avoid letting the soil around the root ball dry completely. If not watered regularly, the tiny roots can die. They need plenty of oxygen and nutrients to survive.
When watering, use lukewarm tap water rather than cold tap water, which can shock the delicate leaf tissue into turning brown. Avoid overwatering the plant, however, especially during hot summers. Waterlogged soil encourages mold, fungus and bacteria while depriving the roots of oxygen.
Keep tabs on the pH level of the water using test strips or ph testing kits. A slightly acidic environment is best for your Venus flytraps’ health. Using distilled water instead of regular tap water can help reduce mineral buildup over time. Adding calcium carbonate powder once per week or taking calcium supplements in moderation can also help.
What to Feed Venus Flytraps?
Snacks usually consist of tiny shrimps, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, earthworms and other foods rich in protein. Crickets and mealworms work well too. Afterward, check back periodically and remove uneaten prey. Be careful not to disturb the traps when feeding them.
Once spring arrives, you’ll notice that the traps turn red and begin producing flowers. These colorful blossoms attract flying ants, bees and wasps, and flys who love to devour the nectar inside. Even though they eat healthy amounts of nutrition, the flies consume far less than normal because they end up drowning themselves trying to reach the sweet liquid.
These traps come in three varieties: evergreen, deciduous and semi-deciduous. Evergreen traps stay active year-round because they can photosynthesize, meaning they absorb energy from light without eating anything. Deciduous traps shut up shop in wintertime, while semi-deciduous traps open up briefly between frosty seasons. Keep all kinds alive by dividing the shoot that forms underneath the base annually. Divide the stem above ground by cutting across the nodes. Make sure you propagate the correct variety of Venus flytraps, otherwise you risk introducing diseas
Winter Dormancy (Recommended)
Venus flytraps require a cold winter dormancy between November and February. To mimic the conditions of their natural habitat, you need to provide a cold resting period. Just like you need to sleep every night, Venus Flytraps need to go dormant over winter!
If you grow plants indoors in a greenhouse during the growing season, you will need to move them somewhere cooler – put them next to a window in your garage or shed, for example. Plants that are growing in unheated greenhouses can stay there over winter.
By fall, your houseplants will begin to change color. This is normal, and you can safely trim off any dead growth. At this point, it’s a good idea to repot – and even divide – your plants if they require it before growth begins in March. A 10 cm (4 inch) pot is sufficient for adult plants.
Growing locations in the Garden or Home
Venus Flytraps need direct sunlight for healthy growth. If you’re growing your plant indoors, choose a bright sunny windowsill . Insufficient sunlight will cause your flytrap’s leaves to become weak and floppy, and the insides of its traps will lack red coloration.
While all types of Venus flytraps will thrive outdoors in the spring and fall weather patterns, many prefer cooler temperatures during hot summers. However, there are still ways to grow your little flower friends inside if this doesn’t work well for you.
You may want to consider using an artificial light source such as fluorescent lighting because the plants tend to use more energy than other types of houseplants. If you do decide to go this route, make sure to check out our guide outlining how to create a successful hydroponic system for growth. You could also try growing your traps in individual pots placed near sunlight sources like table tops or window sills.
If you don’t mind keeping your plants inside year-round, however, you’ll need to give them extra attention during warm seasons. During periods when daytime highs exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit, provide additional humidity by misting your pots daily. This should help reduce stresses caused by high heat, so long as you’re not overdoing it!
Avoid providing any direct sun exposure at night while your traps are active either, otherwise, the leaves might burn. When placing your plants under lights, ensure that the temperature isn’t too cold, especially during colder nights. Also avoid overwatering your plants as much as possible, but do water through the drainage holes every few days.
Provide plenty of nutrients available in soil mediums for your trap plants. They require regular fertilization throughout the warmer season, even though the roots stay mostly dormant until the next spring. Use a balanced commercial fertilizer with moderate amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and trace elements. It’s best to apply them directly into the topsoil layer about 4 inches deep. After watering thoroughly, cover the potting mix lightly with mulch or compost to prevent drying out quickly after rain showers.
When planting outside, choose sites where the airflow won’t cause frost damage. In milder climates, your traps should be able to survive full sunshine, although partial shade would probably work better for those who live somewhere between 32°F and 95°F. Make sure the location is free from competing vegetation, weeds, and debris like twigs that block airflow and moisture circulation.
Water & Soil Requirements
Although Venus flytraps primarily depend upon insect life to sustain themselves, they occasionally absorb liquid from moistened surfaces. Adding distilled water regularly to the bottom of shallow containers works fine for short-term feeding needs. Otherwise, most growers simply add small droplets of water to the soil surface via gentle irrigation. Just make sure to monitor the amount of moisture given off by your plants frequently, particularly during hot spells. Overwatering can kill young plants, so always seek guidance from gardening guides online before adjusting your watering schedule.
In addition to adequate water intake, the right level of organic material plays an important role in helping your plants flourish. For healthy foliage, look for soils composed mainly of peat moss, sphagnum moss, pine bark, cork, vermiculite, perlite, charcoal, leaf mold, or lava rock. Most varieties of Venus flytraps love acidic pH levels between 5.5 and 7.0. Since they rely heavily on atmospheric carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, you shouldn’t need to worry about adding fertilizer to improve nutrient uptake.
However, if your plants show signs of poor health, lower the soil acidity slightly by mixing up a batch of weak vinegar solution. Then gradually adjust its ph level higher again toward neutral as soon as possible. Once established, you can switch back to normal tap water instead.
For indoor plants, follow similar guidelines to maintain proper moisture levels. Keep the soil damp by making certain no dry spots remain anywhere within the root ball, including around the drain hole. If needed, you can increase the humidity level further by introducing floating rocks to the container or using a humidifier.
Venus Flytrap Flowers & Seeds
During the warmer months, flowering Venus flytraps produce large clusters of attractive white blossoms with greenish-yellow stamens. Each blossom contains several dozen small pink egg-shaped seeds with whitish tufts attached along their sides. These seed heads last for about two weeks before turning brown and dropping off completely. While they aren’t edible, you can collect enough seeds to propagate new colonies by soaking them overnight in water then planting them later.
Venus flytraps require little feeding if planted outdoors and grow quickly. They can also be kept indoors as discussed above and fed with dead or living insects, but you must ensure that they get plenty of sunlight. The trigger hairs need to be stimulated for the trap to close otherwise the plant would waste energy trying to digest non-edible matter which may have fallen into the trap.