How does one care for a Venus flytrap?


How does one care for a Venus flytrap?


The Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula), pitcher plant, and sundew are carnivorous plants that are occasionally grown as houseplants.  Carnivorous plants don’t survive solely by “eating” insects and other prey.  Carnivorous plants, as all green plants, contain chlorophyll and manufacture food via photosynthesis.  Insects and other small creatures are simply a supplemental food source for carnivorous plants. 

Carnivorous plants have more exacting requirements than most commonly grown houseplants.  Carnivorous plants require a moist, acidic growing medium, high relative humidity, and adequate light. 


Excellent containers for carnivorous plants include a fish aquarium or large terrarium.  A piece of plexiglass placed over the top will help maintain a high relative humidity.  Ventilation can be provided by keeping the plexiglass slightly ajar. 

Planting Medium

A suitable growing medium for carnivorous plants consists of 2 parts sphagnum peat moss and one part coarse sand.  If using a fish aquarium or terrarium, place 1 inch of coarse gravel on the bottom before adding the growing medium. 

Light and Temperature Requirements

Good lighting is essential for carnivorous plants.  A south or west-facing window that receives several hours of direct sun is usually the best location in the home.  A fluorescent light fixture containing two 40-watt tubes can be used in poorly lit areas.  Place the fixture a few inches above the plants.  Daytime temperatures should be 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer and 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in winter.  When watering carnivorous plants, use rain or distilled water.  Tap water may be too alkaline or contain too many minerals.  Finally, there is usually no need to fertilize carnivorous plants.  These plants are native to areas with low nutrient levels.  If you do fertilize, a very dilute solution of fish emulsion once a month in spring and summer should be sufficient.  Do not feed carnivorous plants raw meat. 

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