How to Keep a Venus Fly Trap
If you're looking for a houseplant that's a little bit different and will challenge your plant-keeping skills, why not try raising some Venus Fly Traps. They are guaranteed to make a great conversation piece, provided you can get them growing and keep them thriving. They are definitely a bit more exciting to watch than your typical houseplant.
The Latin name for the Venus Fly Trap plant is Dionaea muscipula, though the common name should be clear enough. You won't find it in most nurseries and may have to special order seedlings or seeds. I've included some links below for sources on getting Venus Fly Trap seeds.
The biggest obstacle in keeping Venus Fly Traps is the humidity levels. The plants need very moist air (they are native to North and South Carolina), and the typical environment inside the home is far too dry. So, the only way to successfully keep a Venus Fly Trap is an enclosed container that you can keep very humid, like a plant terrarium.
It doesn't need to be huge. Even a small 1-gallon fish bowl will do, provided you add a lid hold in the moisture. Ideally, the lid would be glass or plexi so as not to block out any sunlight. Of course, the heat will also be trapped in a glass terrarium like this, so don't leave it in direct sunlight.
You should use a potting mix that allows for a lot of drainage, with lots of peat moss and perlite. To keep the moisture level at the required 50%, you should spray the surface of the substrate daily. Water the soil directly, not over the plant itself. Don't use tap water either, as the chlorine is not appreciated. Try bottled water or even collected rainwater. Though the humidity is necessary, the roots will quickly rot if left in water too long. So fast draining soil is important. Don't add fertilizer.
If growing from seed, your tiny seedlings will be quite small. The entire plant can be smaller than a penny, with traps only 2 mm across. If kept healthy, your Venus Fly Trap can live for many years, eventually producing trap leaves up to an 1" in diameter.
Venus Fly Traps will produce small flowers, which should be cut from the plant as soon as you see them. Once the plant has gone to seed, it will usually die.
Though it may be tempting to drop bugs into the mouths for fun, don't overfeed your plant. An average sized Venus Fly Trap plant only needs a couple flies each month. Either add a few live bugs into the terrarium or drop dead bugs into an open trap leaf. If using dead bugs, don't use any that were killed with pesticides.
During the winter months, lower light levels will bring on a dormancy period for your plant. Expect it to lose many leaves and not eat anything. This is normal and should not be interfered with. Place your terrarium in a cooler area with less light until the spring growing season returns.
Growth of a Venus Fly Trap
More on Carnivorous Plants
More by this Author
Puzzle-lovers are always looking for a new and different sort of puzzling challenge. Once you've mastered the basics of doing jigsaw puzzles, it can be hard to find something challenging. Here are a few puzzle types...
Everyone is familiar with typical terms to describe family relations, like grandmother, aunt and nephew. It's easy to visualize these relations when compared to yourself. But when it comes to cousins, things can get...
Nothing brightens and softens up a room like a thriving green plant. While some people have a natural knack for keeping plants alive, it's not always that easy for everyone else. One of the biggest problems with indoor...