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How to Care for Venus Fly Traps Like an Expert


Where Do Venus Fly Traps Come From?

One might believe that a meat-eating plant hails from a jungle or another equally wild place. True enough, some carnivorous foliage do come from exotic places—but not this one. The fly trap comes from the United States and is native to North and South Carolina.

How to Care for a Venus Fly Trap

To care for this amazing plant, one must become familiar with its needs:

  • Water
  • Soil
  • Feeding
  • Seasonal care

Watering Tips

There is a golden rule. Never use tap water to quench your fly trap’s thirst. The plant is highly sensitive to chemicals and minerals in the water supply. Bottled water is also not recommended.

The best choices are:

  • Rainwater
  • Distilled water
  • Reverse osmosis water

How Do I Know When to Water My Venus Fly Trap?

There are two different methods to water your plant. One is a daily affair and the other is perfect for those who do not have the time to constantly check their plants.

If you love sprinkling daily affection on your garden, you can test the fly trap’s pot twice a day. Using your finger, touch the soil in the morning and the late afternoon. If the soil is dry, water the plant.

Most owners prefer the longer method. They fill a bowl with water (about a centimetre or two deep). Then they place the pot inside the bowl. Your fly trap will draw on this water as needed. Top up the water when you notice the bowl is dry.

Soil Tips

The thing to remember about Venus fly traps is that they are not just sensitive to things in the water. They are also sensitive to soil conditions. Never make the mistake of thinking any soil will do for a fly trap! The wrong type will certainly doom the plant.

  • Never use potting soil.
  • Never use fertilizers or compost.
  • The soil must be nutrient free.
  • The soil must be airy and capable of good drainage.
  • The best soil mix is equal parts perlite and peat moss.

How to Feed a Venus Fly Trap

Now we get to the good stuff! You might be revving to feed your carnivorous pets all sorts of snacks but pause for a moment. The truth is that Venus fly traps are very adept at hunting their own food. When kept outdoors, the best thing is to let them do their own thing. However, keep a daily check on them to ensure that they are feeding. Venus fly traps that are kept indoors need a helping hand.

  • Once again, never “feed” your fly trap with fertilizer. Ever.
  • Do not feed ants.
  • Feed them small, live insects like spiders, flies, and bugs.
  • The prey should be a third of the trap’s size. Prey that is too large will cause problems like trap rot or the inability to digest the meal.
  • Do not feed bits of meat like chicken or beef.
  • Do not feed other human food or snacks.
  • Don’t overfeed. One feeding a week is great.

Why Must the Prey Be Alive?

As much as plant lovers adore Venus fly traps, feeding live prey makes a good number of them uncomfortable. It’s understandable. But hold on, there is good news. But let’s first look at why living insects are fed to fly traps.

Live food is ideal because the fly trap evolved in a certain way. When the insect struggles, it triggers the trap. This closing of the trap is essential. A fly trap’s digestion cannot begin when the trap is open. In short, movement triggers the trap to close. The closing activates the plant’s digestion.

The good news is that you do not have to feed live meals. If the idea is revolting or you suck at catching insects, then a good alternative is commercial fly trap food (freeze-dried insects or liquid droppers). Since these foods do not move, you have to softly stimulate the trap with a toothpick until it closes the trap.

Pro Tip: Never allow anyone to poke their fingers at the traps for fun. Whenever the traps close and there is no meal inside, the plant loses valuable energy. Poke at the plant enough times and it will perish.

Seasonal Care

The care discussed thus far is perfect for summer and the warmer part of spring. During the coldest months, a fly trap becomes dormant. Many first time owners panic because it looks like the plant is ill or dying.

What Is Normal for a Dormant Plant?

  • It no longer feeds.
  • It no longer grows new traps.
  • The leaves turn yellow and black.

How Do I Care for My Fly Traps During Winter?

Winter care involves removing all the dead leaves and protecting the plant against cold temperatures. Fly traps love the full sun so place it somewhere that is warm and free of wind.

What About Spring?

Fly traps come alive during spring. They vigorously grow new traps and sometimes long stalks with flowers. You need to stay on your toes. Rapid growth can exhaust the plant and cause problems. Keep removing any dead leaves and remove flower buds before they open.


How Do I Propagate Venus Fly Traps?

You can propagate these meaty wonders by planting seeds or via cuttings.

How Long Do Venus Fly Traps Live?

With the correct care, your Venus fly trap can live up to 20 years.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Jana Louise Smit


Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on May 19, 2021:

These fly traps are quite a handful to take care of! But once you get the hang of it, the experience is addictive. :)

Sp Greaney from Ireland on May 18, 2021:

I don't know much about these plants but this is a really useful guide for anyone thinking of getting one. I just though they ate live insects and that was it.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 17, 2021:

Thanks for the information about these interesting plants.

Linda Chechar from Arizona on May 17, 2021:

The Venus Fly Trap! These flies are in the plant. They are digestion inside the traps.