Before I bought a Venus flytrap, I researched any potential risks and dangers the plant could bring to humans and pets. Luckily, the plant was a safe bet; it could be a great addition to my other houseplants.
Venus flytraps are not poisonous plants. Ingesting the plant won’t cause significant risks beyond indigestion. Due to their small trap size (less than 1.5 inches), Venus flytraps are harmless to humans, dogs, and cats.
It is safe to grow Venus flytrap at home. In the next section, I will explain exactly how this is true and give you peace of mind. Also, I will expand on some details about growing Venus flytraps at home and protecting them from pets.
Are Venus Flytraps Poisonous?
The Venus Flytrap, or the Dionaea muscipula, is a carnivorous plant native to the wetlands in North Caroline and South Carolina. It is famous for catching and eating insects as well as small animals. The leaves of the flytrap open wide and there are short hairs on them called trigger hairs or sensitive hairs. This helps the plant detect once an insect lands on its mouth. It is found that if anything dead lands on the plant’s mouth, it will not tightly close on it.
Recently, there are more people looking to have Venus flytraps as part of their houseplants; particularly those interested in botany. However, there is this constant concern if it is safe to have them in houses with kids and pets.
Venus flytraps grow an average of five inches and pose no threat to humans; especially kids. It is said that kids and pets can cause more harm to the plant instead of the other way around. The plant is also non-toxic to pets such as cats and dogs.
However, the plant does have compounds that may be poisonous if consumed by pets. Staff from the USA’s ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center explained pets have shown almost no symptoms once they consume the plant while mild gastrointestinal upset is said to be the worst-case scenario.
Can Venus Flytraps Bite?
The flytraps are able to digest human flesh, however, they cannot bite into human beings and take chunks of flesh with them. With that aside, Venus flytraps do bite as it will close its mouth when anything lands on it. However, it will be harmless to children and pets. The ones who are in danger from the plant are flies. This is due to the fact the plant secretes nectar on its mouth which insects become attracted to.
Insects become attracted to the smell of nectar and once they land on the leaves of the plant, a signal will be sent by the trigger hairs outside of the trap. The mouth will then shut in less than a second. It is also said the leaves do not tighten immediately to let smaller insects escape. Once larger insects start to struggle, the leaves will start to tighten while insect secretions will also cause the leaves to tighten further.
Is It Viable to Grow a Venus Flytrap Indoors?
Venus flytraps can be grown indoors and survive. Since the plant is carnivorous, it is not difficult to grow indoors if there is a perfect spot for them. It is best if the flytrap is placed on a porch window where enough sunlight will enter and insects can easily crawl through.
They will need as much sun and heat as possible as well as a resting period during the colder weather. The soil should always be kept moist while the environment should be humid at all times.
Growing the plant under artificial lights is also a good way to provide them with enough light however it is recommended to keep the flytrap around four to seven inches away from it. While during winter, it is best to keep the plant 35 to 50 Fahrenheit. The flytrap will need a period of dormancy. It will appear dead with the leaves dying but, in reality, the plant is just resting during winter.
An important reminder would be to feed the plant bugs and nothing else; they should also be alive as dead insects won’t work on the plants. You can only employ dead bugs if you follow a very specific method. This guide contains the details: Venus Flytrap Feeding Guide. Flytraps cannot digest exoskeletons and it will leave the bones of the insects once the mouth opens once again.
Once the flytrap matures, it can produce flowers on a tall stalk and each flower produces small seeds. It is recommended to plant these seeds as soon as possible or keep them in the refrigerator. However, people who do not intend to plant the seed are recommended to cut off the flower stalk when it reaches five centimeters.
This section covers a short summary on caring for Venus flytraps. But, there is much more to consider. You can download the Complete Venus flytrap Care Sheet from this article: Ultimate Venus Flytrap Care Guide.
Tips to Keep Venus Flytraps Away From Pets
As mentioned earlier, pets are a greater risk for houseplants instead of the other way around. Keeping the plant safe will ultimately be a factor in its survival.
Just like any other houseplant, it is important to keep the Venus flytrap out of reach of pets. As it is recommended to place them near the window, the plant should be elevated to make sure it won’t be harmed by cats and dogs.
If there are areas in the house pets are not allowed to be in, it is best to place the flytrap there. This decreases the risk of the plant being harmed as the pets already know it is a prohibited area for them. Growers can also opt to have hanging pots around the house and place the flytraps there. This will ensure the safety of the plant as well as the pets as there is no way for them to reach the elevated plant.
Another tip would be training the pets to stay away from the plants. Enforcing good behavior on dogs and cats is also an important factor in the safety of the plant. Being able to let the pets realize and remember the flytraps shouldn’t be harmed through playful acts will help it survive to be indoors. It is also best to be safe than sorry and this is a way to keep both the plants and pets safe.
Owners can also opt to place the Venus flytrap in a terrarium to keep the pets from constantly reaching for it and dig on the soil. This will also make it easier to control the environment of the plant as it will be easier to keep a terrarium humid. Terrariums will serve as a mini garden for the plant. The plants won’t need to constantly be watered if they are in a terrarium too due to the enclosed nature of it.
All in all, the Venus flytrap is very safe for children and pets and poses no threat being indoors. Being able to take care of the plant will also be easier with all things considered.
Having the right area may be tricky at first, but after getting the hang of it, it will become easier to keep more flytraps indoors. Knowing the right soil and water is important for the survival of this carnivorous plant as well as the proper prey to feed it. It might not be easy at first, but the first times are never easy for anyone.
It will most definitely be a plus having a Venus flytrap in houses, especially for those who constantly have flies going around. The plant will save them the time of swatting the flies away while the plant will be able to nourish itself through it.