Intro: Venus flytraps are carnivorous plants that trap and digest insects and arachnids, while also using photosynthesis to get energy. The plant’s motion is triggered when hairlike structures are contacted. Venus flytrap hairs actually must “feel” an insect twice within 20 seconds, otherwise the carnivorous plant does not recognize it as a nutritional object (could be a piece of debris that fell onto it).
Insects are attracted to the sweet-smelling nectar of the Venus flytrap. After an insect is caught, the Venus flytrap will secret an enzyme that will break down the food so it can be digested. After several days, the plant will open back up and wait for another meal. These carnivorous plants are small – with each having four to seven leaves with a head at the end of each (the mechanism that traps insects), and each leaf can be up to 4.5 inches long. They do well in very small plant containers. Small white flowers will appear in the spring. Venus flytraps need a lot of care and can be difficult to grow.
Scientific Name: Dionaea muscipula
Plant Type: Carnivorous plant
Light: Bright light (no full sun)
Water: Use distilled water (or water that has sat out for at least 24 hours) when watering your Venus flytrap plants.
Zone: During the summer, keep the Venus flytrap plant at a temperature between 70 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (must be humid). In the winter, this container plant will die back, and it should be kept in a cool place (between 45 and 50 degrees) for about three months.
Fertilizer: Do not fertilize Venus flytrap plants, as they get extra nutrition from insects.
Propagation: The Venus flytrap plant is most commonly propagated by division in the spring or summer. You can also wait until the flowers produce small black seeds. Venus flytraps grown from seed can take up to five years to grow to maturity. If you don’t want to propagate your Venus flytrap by seed, you may want to cut the flower, as it takes energy from the plant to produce the seeds.
Misc. Info: Venus flytraps require the dormant period described in the “Zone” section above.
Plant Venus flytraps in peat or sphagnum moss, as well as perlite. Keep it in a terrarium or under a glass, or place a pebble tray underneath its plant container – do whatever it takes to keep the air around it humid. Trim off dead leaves and heads.
You will need to feed the Venus flytrap plant if it cannot naturally get insects. Provide several dead insects a month, such as a fly that died of natural causes (no poison!).
If cared for correctly, Venus flytrap plants can live up to 30 years.