Venus flytraps are carnivorous plants. They consume insects and spiders through their leaves. But what about the waste? Do Venus flytraps poop or excrete in a certain way?
Venus flytraps do not excrete or poop like animals. They do not have a digestive system; therefore, they are not capable of excreting solid waste. Venus flytraps absorb the nutrients bugs they consume through their leaves. They process the soft tissue from the victim and leave behind the exoskeleton.
Venus flytraps do not poop, but they leave some matter behind from their prey. Learn how to deal with this when growing Venus flytraps at home. Also, in this article, I will explain how Venus flytraps consume bugs.
Do Venus Flytraps Poop?
Venus flytraps do not require insects to survive. They can live their whole life without capturing a single bug. But, extracting key nutrients from prey supplements their diet and boosts their growth.
Venus flytraps capture bugs to extract key nutrients. They capture them inside their leaves and employ enzymes to break up the soft tissue. Then, the lobes absorb nutrients from the victim.
The digestion process of Venus flytraps takes several days or even weeks, depending on the size of the bug. After the process is complete, the lobes reopen, exposing some leftover matter.
Venus flytraps do not poop or excrete. They are plants. However, due to their carnivorous nature, they leave some solid matter behind. That matter is not poop, but some might consider it to be something analogous.
Venus flytraps can absorb nutrients from soft tissue, but they are unable to break up the skeleton of the bug. For example, Venus flytraps have trouble digesting beetles with thick exoskeletons.
What Happens to the Waste?
In the wild, the waste is washed off by the rain, or it slowly decomposes. Wild Venus flytraps grow in South Carolina and North Carolina Exclusively. There, rain is common and can wash-off the waste from the traps of Flytraps. If the rain does not clean up the lobes, bacteria from the ground will decompose the dead matter.
At home, the waste is eliminated through those same two options. Outdoor Venus flytraps have access to rain and more microorganisms. In contrast, indoor plants can remain long periods with waste on the leaves.
Does the Waste Smell?
The matter left behind after digestion eventually starts rotting and decomposing thanks to microorganisms. But, it can take a long period to eliminate the waste.
The bug carcasses can smell. But, the odor has low intensity due to its size. Venus flytraps consume small bugs. Their traps barely reach 1 inch at maturity. And the plant can only capture little bugs that fit entirely in the traps.
The waste left behind by a trap can emit odor. However, the smell is much more intense when a trap dies off before completing the digestion process. Then, the victim’s body stays inside the leaf and starts rotting. Since the process is not complete, the bug has a lot more soft tissue that must decompose to disappear entirely.
The waste left by the plant is not harmful. Bacteria or mold might be attracted to the bug carcasses. However, microorganisms will only feed themselves with the dead tissue; they won’t harm the plant.
Prevent Unwanted Odor from Venus Flytrap “Poop”
Are you growing Venus flytraps at home? or planning to? Well, after reading this article, you might be discouraged. Imagining the leftover bug carcasses all over your plant is not very appealing. But, do not jump to conclusions. In this section, I will guide you through some clear recommendations to prevent unwanted odors.
Grow Venus Flytraps Outdoors
Venus flytraps thrive when they grow outdoors. There they have plenty of access to sunlight and bugs. It is much easier to fulfill the plant’s lighting requirements outdoor and indoors. For that reason growing Venus flytraps outdoors is a very common choice. Also, if you worry about unwanted odors, coming from the insect remains, then this is a straightforward solution. Outdoors, the waste will decompose faster and you won’t sense any type of smell.
Double-check the area where you are located offers suitable temperatures for Venus flytraps and consider this option. This article describes the temperature requirements and other care considerations.
Focus on Proper Feeding
When Venus flytraps complete the digestion process, the risk of unwanted odors is very slim. Since there is not much left over after breaking up the soft tissue of the victim, you are very unlikely to be able to sense any smell.
The problem arises when the plant is unable to process a bug. When feeding a Venus flytrap, make sure to follow the correct procedure, and you will avoid losing leaves and harming the plant. Here are the basic instructions:
- Select prey that can fit entirely inside the lobes of a leaf: Venus flytraps must close completely before starting the digestive process. When bugs are too large, the plant cannot digest in an appropriate timeline and the leaf withers. Large bugs are not necessary. Small insects such as ants or gnats provide enough nutritional value for mature plants.
- Avoid insects with hard shells: Venus flytraps consume a wide variety of insects and spiders. However, some bugs are easier to digest than others. Avoid employing insects with hard shells to minimize waste.
- Do not overfeed the plant: Venus flytraps do not need enormous amounts of food to thrive. Just by consuming a single bug every couple of months, they are healthy. Feed your Venus flytrap once every four to six months to avoid killing any leaves.
- Only feed one trap at a time: One single bug can provide enough nutrients for the plant. You only need to feed one trap to provide for the plant.
The items above are just some basics of feeding Venus flytraps. Before you start feeding your plant, make sure to learn more about it. You can get all the information you need in this article: Venus Flytrap Feeding Guide.
Do Not Feed the Plant
Technically, Venus flytraps do not require bugs to survive. If you are concern about having to deal with or even see bug carcasses, you can skip feeding your plant altogether. However, you must remember, Venus flytraps can capture prey on their own.
Even if your plant lives indoors, it can still capture prey. Capturing bugs is a challenge for indoor plants, but you should never be surprised if the plant catches a random fly, gnat, or other bugs that were wandering around. I grow some of my carnivorous plants indoors, and on many occasions, I notice they have capture prey without my help.
Owning a Venus flytrap should be an enjoyable experience. Many people do not enjoy feeding their plants because they find the process gruesome. And that is ok. If you are not fond of the idea of seeing dead bugs in your plant’s leaves, avoid feeding it. Your plant can still capture prey, but the probability of it emitting odors is much lower.
Trim Dead Leaves
Sometimes due to feeding or the natural leaf cycle, a Venus flytrap can lose leaves while consuming a bug. The leaf withers with the bug inside of it. The dead bug rots and can emit odor. Trim the leaves that contain rotting bugs.
Employ a small pair of scissors and chop of the black part of the leaf that contains the bugs. There is no harm in trimming the plant. And removing the rotting matter prevents potential smells.
Remove the Waste
Some people manually remove the waste from their plants to avoid seeing or smelling it. It is not necessary to remove the waste from a health perspective. Your plant will continue to be healthy without following this method. However, because of aesthetics, some people remove the dead bug waste. I do not personally employ this practice, but I wanted to make you aware of it.
To extract the dead bugs, employ tweezers or a stick to push it out of the traps. Be careful when removing the waste. Do not touch the trigger hairs inside the trap, or the lobes will close. You can use water to soften or loosen up the bug. However, do not expect it just to wash off. In most cases, the waste is attached to the walls of the leaf.