How To Keep A Venus Fly Trap Alive

Learn how to keep a Venus fly-trap alive to create an exciting carnivorous garden. The concept of a carnivorous plant plays with the imagination. Like any wild beast, they can be tricky to keep happy though.

To keep a Venus fly-trap Alive you will need:

  • container with few holes
  • gravel
  • sand
  • peat
  • perlite
  • rainwater
  • flies, dead or alive
  1. Choose a container. Nearly anything will do, from a teacup to an old bathtub, the key is to not have many drainage holes, or set the container in a shallow tray of water if there are holes. You want to create a nice bog-like atmosphere for your Venus fly-trap.
  2. Use a mixture of one part sand, one part peat and one part perlite for the soil. Stir in lots of water until the mixture is very moist, dry peat will suck moisture from the Venus fly-trap. Place a layer of rocks in your container and then add the soil mix and Venus fly-trap.
  3. Watering your carnivorous plant is where many people go wrong. Venus fly-traps are finicky. They do not like hard water, or any water that has a dissolved salt content. Meaning, it will die if he drinks tap water, spring water or mineral water. Rainwater is really your best bet if you want to keep a Venus fly-trap alive. The water level needs to stay between soaking and damp, never dry. If there isn't any rainwater available, reverse-osmosis water will do the trick, or at the very least set a pitcher of tap water out for several days before using on your plant. 
  4. Venus fly-traps love the spotlight. They do wonderful in bright areas.
  5. Allow your Venus fly-trap a hibernation period in the winter. Three months in a cool place, around 45 to 50 degrees is ideal. The foliage will die back, but the plant is still very much alive, it just needs time to recharge. If you don't want to move the planter, then take out the bulb of the plant, spray with fungicide and wrap in damp, live sphagnum moss. Pop the whole thing in a plastic bag and set in a cool area.
  6. Indoors, Venus fly-traps will consume two or three flies each month. If you are feeding your plant, you can use dead flies, as long as they weren't shot by a poisonous substance. Small crickets from a pet shop are also a nice treat for your plant. But do not, under any circumstance feed your Venus fly-trap hamburger. The fat content is fatal.
  7. Don't poke your plant. Artificially springing the trap with your finger is not healthy for the Venus fly-trap. This annoying practice desensitizes the trap and can kill your carnivorous friend.
  8. Cut off the dead leaves and heads as the plant grows. A Venus fly-trap can contract fungal infections if they are left on. There is nothing wrong with your plant if some leaves begin to die, it is all part of the plants life cycle.

Now, let them eat flies!


Trail, Gayla, "You Grow Girl," Fireside, New York, NY, 2005

Time Life Complete Garderner, Time Life Books, 1996

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