If you want to get started growing venus fly traps, this guide will help you set a clear foundation of knowledge. Venus flytraps are very unique plants that require special care to be healthy. As most carnivorous plants they require a particular soil, water, and tons of sunlight. I have grown Venus flytraps for over 5 years and I am happy to share the basics of growing them is not overwhelming for you.
Also, if you prefer video content, I have made this video explaining the care basics of Venus flytraps:
Venus Flytrap Care Highlights
- Water only with distilled or rainwater
- Keep the soil always humid
- Provide over 10 hours of direct sunlight
- Grow your plant outdoors
- Use carnivorous plant soil
- Do not fertilize
- Avoid using a terrarium
- Feed your plant with bugs
- Make sure your Venus flytrap goes dormant
- Avoid extreme temperatures (under 20F or over 100F)
- Remove flower stalks
Now, this list will help you tackle the basics of growing a Venus flytrap:
Water Venus flytrap with distilled water or rainwater
This item is critical. Venus flytraps are very sensitive to minerals, standard bottled water or tap water can be harmful to your plant. To be completely safe you should water your Venus flytraps exclusively with these sources of water:
- Distilled water
- Reverse osmosis water
The easier way to obtain water for your plant is to go to the grocery store and buy a distilled water jug for one to two dollars. of course, you can also collect rain or purchase reverse osmosis water. however, in my experience, I have found reverse osmosis water to be equally effective, but more expensive and hard to find.
Once you have the correct water type you can follow this advice to avoid over- or under-watering.
Water your Venus flytrap often. The soil must remain humid at all times. It must never be completely flooded, but also it should never dry out. Placing Venus flytraps in a tray with water is an effective practice to keep the correct moisture in the soil.
Provide plenty of sunlight for your Venus flytrap
Venus flytraps thrive in sunny environments. They do best under direct sunlight and can live happily with a combination of direct and indirect sunlight.
Optimally Venus flytrap should live in full sun with an average of over 10 daily hours of direct sunlight. The minimum recommended amount is 6 hours. Growing Venus flytraps indoors requires a special setup of indoor lighting or an extremely sunny windowsill.
If you plan to grow your Venus flytrap indoors, I use this LED plant light to grow some of my flytraps indoors.
Use carnivorous plant soil for your Venus flytrap
Besides special water, venus flytraps also require carnivorous plant soil. Never use Miracle-Gro or any standard potting mixes for potted plants, succulents, cacti, etc. Standard soil has too many minerals and additives that are very harmful to Venus flytraps.
Carnivorous plants need special soil to live. The soil must be mineral-free, and nutrient-free and is usually made up of a combination of peat moss, long fiber sphagnum moss, perlite, or silica sand. Here are some good examples of the required soil or its components, such as pure peat moss and perlite.
You can easily make venus flytrap soil by combining pure peat moss and perlite, but if you don’t have many plants the most practical option is to buy soil online. Here is a link to the one I use for my plants:
Carnivorous plant soil: https://amzn.to/3uVbg39
As a newbie, I bought soil online. Once I got more confident I started researching the ingredients to make my own soil. Now, I make the soil in batches. You can find my recommended ingredients on “my recommended products page“.
Do not fertilize Venus flytraps
Fertilizers contain a ton of additives and minerals that are beneficial to most plants. But for Venus flytraps, those chemicals can be deadly. For that reason, you should never fertilize your Venus flytrap. Fertilizers build up in the soil and can poison your plant.
If you are worried about your plant not getting enough nutrients, never fertilize it. Instead, grow it outdoors so it can capture bugs for nutrients or feed it a bug every two to four weeks.
Feed insects to your Venus flytraps
Venus flytrap developed modified leaves that look like traps to capture insects. They extract key nutrients from the bugs they catch and benefit greatly from capturing prey.
Make sure you either grow your plant outdoors so it can capture bugs. Venus flytraps that grow outdoors do not need to be fed at all, they are self-sufficient.
If your plant grows indoors or just doesn’t have access to insects, you can always feed it with live bugs to keep it healthy. You can get bugs from the garden or live insects from the pet store. Feeding your plant once a month is enough and will provide plenty of nutrients for it to thrive. feeding your plant is very easy: just grab a live insect and drop it off inside the trap.
What can you feed your Venus flytrap?
Feed Venus flytraps with insects or spiders. Never employ human food. As a general rule, insects must be no larger than 2/3 of the size of the trap. Crickets, mealworms, bloodworms, and flies are great options to feed Venus flytraps.
Do not grow Venus flytraps in terrariums
Most Venus flytraps sold in big box stores come inside a dome or square containers. You must remove your plant from those enclosures as those closed containers are very harmful to Venus flytraps. The domes block lighting, reduce airflow, block insects, and can cause rooting and mold issues with your plant.
Venus flytraps like humid environments, but placing them in terrariums, is more harmful than beneficial. Venus flytraps can adapt to a wide range of humidities, including arid climates. Do not be overly worried about humidity and place your plant in an enclosure. It is very difficult to grow Venus flytraps in a terrarium.
Avoid temperatures below 20F and above 100F for Venus flytraps
Venus flytraps are very resilient plants that can withstand a wide range of temperatures. However, extremely hot or cold temperat ures could harm them or kill them for a number of reasons.
Cold Winters: Venus flytraps can live through cold winters close to freezing temperatures. However, the plant must not freeze entirely. If temperatures are expected to go below 20 F, consider moving them to an unheated garage or laundry room. The goal is not to avoid the cold altogether but to lower the chances of them freezing solid.
Hot Summers: Venus flytrap can be placed outdoors under direct sunlight in the 90s F. Once the temperature reached 100F, the plant is at risk of drying out and dying. Venus flytraps need humid soil to survive, which is very hard to provide when temperatures exceed 100F. Here are some ideas to keep your plant from the heat:
- Bring your plants indoors
- Place them under partial shade, maybe under a shade cloth
- Limit their exposure to direct sunlight
Humidity: In the wild, Venus flytraps live in mid to high humidity levels throughout the whole year. However, these plants can adapt to lower humidity indexes. Arid climate can be a challenge for Venus flytraps. But, they can adapt. I grow Venus flytraps in Arizona, and the desert climate does not stop them.
Venus flytraps must go dormant every year
Venus flytraps go dormant when they are exposed to cold weather in the winter. Dormancy is a period of inactivity when the plant stops growing until the temperatures rise and the spring starts.
The Venus flytrap dormancy period lasts 3-4 months and it is essential for the plant’s development. Venus flytraps can survive without dormancy, but their life expectancy lowers significantly, they only live 2 – 4 years (much less than 20).
Since the dormancy process is essential for Venus flytraps, owners must ensure their plant undergoes dormancy once a year. Venus flytraps go dormant when they are exposed to temperatures below 45 F for several weeks. Dormancy should last for 3-4 months to be effective.
Cut off the flower stalks in your Venus flytrap
Flower stalks in Venus flytraps are not harmful. However, the plant can use up substantial amounts of energy producing flowers. As a beginner, you will want to ensure your plant continues to grow rapidly.
Venus flytraps usually flower in the spring. They produce tubular stems that turn into flowers. If you are new at growing Venus flytraps I suggest cutting off those flower stalks as soon as you spot them. Avoiding the flowering process will give your plant more energy to focus on growing.
After you gain more experience growing Venus flytraps, let those flowers grow. they are a beautiful sight.