Venus flytrap care

The world of carnivorous plants consists of exotic flesh-eating plants that will peak anyone’s curiosity. The large family of 645 registered species are grown all over the world in diverse environments and come in different shapes and sizes. They are the Startrekkers of the earth. They grow where no other plant can grow. Carnivorous plants grow where nutrients are very low and therefore have evolved into flesh eating plants consuming insects and other animals for their food supply. Each species has a unique way of attracting and trapping its victims.

venus fly trap

Venus fly trap (Dionaea muscipula) is one the popular snap trap species from this large family. This intriguing novelty grows only in the boggy coastal areas of North and South. Carolina and yet it is known all over the world. This plant grows in a rosette form and develops snap traps that get 1-1 1/2 inch long with sharp teeth and bristle sensor hairs inside each trap. In the spring it sends out a flower stalk with a cluster of small white flowers.

Emerging flower heads should be pinched off to conserve energy for plant growth.

emerging flower head

In order to grow a Venus Fly trap you must know what kind of environment it requires. It does well in an open terrarium where humidity and moisture can be controlled.
It needs wet, acidic (ph 3.9-4.8) soil, humid air (min 50%) and temperatures ranging from 55-80F degrees. Plant the tuberous perennial in 50% peat and sand or 100% sphagnum moss. Be sure to always keep the plant moist and never let it dry out. You can flood or soak the soil but then drain it so it doesn’t get water logged. When watering, use distilled or clean rainwater. Keep it in 1/2 day full sun and 50% shade in spring to fall with increased shade in summer. Don’t need to fertilize, for the most part they will feed themselves.

How the traps feed
The traps have 6 sensor hairs inside. If 1 hair is touched twice or 2 hairs are touched simultaneously the trap starts to partially close to determine if the object is edible. As the insect struggles to free itself more hairs are triggered causing the trap squeezes tighter then closing all the way releasing acidic enzymes to digest the insect. This process can take 5-12 days. If the trap is triggered by something else then it will reopen within 12 hours. Each trap can take 2-3 insects and then dies. Dying leaves and traps are part of the growing cycle and should be trimmed off.

Winter dormancy
VFT requires a 3-4 month dormant period. It should be dusted with a fungicide, wrapped in slightly moist spagnum moss and stored in a plastic bag. Keep it at 45-50F degrees. At this time it may loose all its leaves and die back. Trim any blackened foliage to avoid disease. Bring it out in March/April and repot in fresh meduim mix, place it in a bright light, humid area and water.

Be sure your Vft has been propagated vegetatively from clump division, leaf cuttings, tissue culture or started from seed and not removed from the wild as this species is threatened by extinction.