Venus Flytraps

So yesterday I got two baby Venus flytraps, but they didn’t come with instructions and I’me not sure how to take care of them.

I know some of the basics (don’t poke the traps, feed them hamburgers, or name them “Audrey”), but I’d like to hear from people who actually know how to keep a plant alive for more than a month. (The last plant I brought home was a carton of pet grass; I think it lasted three weeks or so before it died). How often do I have to water it? Should I put it inside or outside? What special needs do flytraps have?


I had a Venus Flytrap in college that took off like a (carnivorous) weed.

I repotted it in peat moss and then placed that pot into a larger one containing water. As long as I kept the outer pot filled with water, the plant thrived.

Inside, lots of water and near a window. Yes, they do work.

A friend of mine is really into carnivorous plants and turned me on to this local place - California Carnivores - He volunteers there for nursery credit from time to time.

The nursery is awesome, and their website is pretty nice too. They’ve got a few growing tips on it that might help you out. Happy growing!

One key is to *not *become obsessed with feeding lil Audrey meat. They’re plants, and they need air, sun, and water. If they don’t get any nutrients by the dramatic route, they’ll still do pretty well. They do like acidic soil, so the suggestion of peat is a good one. Carolina Biological Supply used to provide little booklets and owners guides to their carnivorous plants. You might check them out - if they’re still in biz. xo, C.

Is there a limit to how much you can feed them at one time? Because I just dug up a nest of japanese beetle larva (larvae?) and they happen to be just the right size. I have about fifteen of them in a plastic bowl.

(It was so cool. I could see the larva wriggling around inside the pod!)

I wouldn’t go out of my way to find bugs for them to eat. As has been mentioned, they’re fine getting nutrients from the soil. Just let them chomp down on whatever’s flying or crawling around your domicile and keep them out of direct sunlight.

I had a VFT that I kept alive for four or five years, till I kind of lost interest and let it dry out. I read that you’re meant to let them die back and go dormant in winter - at first I did that and kept it in a cool garage over the winter with little water, which worked OK, but after a couple of years I just kept it going all winter as normal and it seemed fine.

As noted above, don’t feed them meat or even dead insects. You’ll notice that dead insects don’t actually trigger the traps properly. What happens is, when the hairs on an individual trap get triggered more than once in quick succession, the trap snaps shut, but it stays “convex” and not tightly shut. If you’ve fed it dead meat, chances are the trap will open again within an hour or two, because stage two requires continued wriggling of the occupant. When that happens, the trap is triggered to press together tightly, sealing around the edge and taking on a concave shape, with the teeth on the edge of the trap pointing straight out rather than interlocked. Then and only then does the digestion process take place.

I also found that the traps can get indigestion - when I persuaded a large spider to go into a trap and get munched, the trap turned black and withered after a while without ever reopening. Also certain types of ants are quite capable of eating their way out of the traps, leaving neat round holes in them!

I had one at school last year that the kids fed enthusiastically. Too enthusiastically. We found out too late that you were supposed to feed them one fly/bug a week or so. Ours died of indigestion, I think.:smack:

I just checked out Carolina Biological Supply and they do have this little bit of info posted:

Can’t get into your link. I keep getting a message about not having Adobe-something-or-other, and then I can’t close the window.

Sorry. I got there by going to CBS and then searched VFT’s. When I got there, I went to the page where they sell individual plants and there was a link to brochures and teacher guides, I think. I just poked around and got to a page that listed some info on raising carnivorous plants. If I can do it, anyone can do it.
xo, C.