Though the Venus flytrap is very popular, it’s not necessarily the easiest plant to explain. That’s why I split the guide into two parts.
In this part, we talk about how to take care of a Venus flytrap and what you need to make sure it grows healthy.
🪴 Part 1: Need to knows
🌿 What is a Venus flytrap?
🪴 Part 2: Basic care guide (You’re here!)
🌿 Planting media
The basics: How to take care of a Venus flytrap
Venus flytraps follow the same basic rules all carnivorous plants do. If you understand the basics, you can take care of almost any carnivorous plant.
Venus flytraps, like most carnivorous plants, love sunlight. A plant that gets enough light will have smaller, colored leaves and larger, redder traps. The pic above, taken by #HappyFlanter @claudinesy, is a great example of how a flytrap acclimated to her sunny grow area, coloring and developing red traps.
This post below shows how my friend and #HappyFlanter Kayce’s D.M. B52 acclimated and colored in her indoor growlight setup, achieving deep red traps.
If your Venus flytrap does not get enough light, it will not get red traps.
Less light produces wider leaves and smaller traps. Venus flytraps also won’t survive for long without enough sunlight. Light-deprived plants look like “vegetables”: very green, no other color, and very wide and leafy.
🪴 I live in a condo/a place without much sunlight, can I still take care of a Venus flytrap?
You can, with the help of growlights! With strong growlights, even a D.M. Sinagtala can achieve deep red colors, like Carnivorey’s Sinagtala below.
Unfortunately, I don’t have as much experience growing plants with growlights yet as I grow all my plants outdoors with no other light source.
This is unfortunately why my plants are not as red compared to the plants of other growers, who expose their plants for as long as 16 hours.
I did buy a set of growlights from Delponting, which is an affordable, trusted source for plant parents. Mars Hydro is another trusted source, though it’s pricier than Delponting. I’ll share my own experiences with lights once I have my plants set up in them!
All carnivorous plants, not just Venus flytraps, need low ppm water such as distilled, rain, reverse osmosis (RO), or aircon drip water. No tap water, please. Low ppm water has little to no minerals, which burn a carnivorous plant’s roots. If you keep using tap water, your carnivorous baby will eventually die a slow death.
🪴 How can I tell if the water I use is safe for my carnivorous plant?
By using a TDS meter! This tool measures the ppm levels of the water or media you use. Just stick it in the water, or in low ppm water mixed with the media (for media testing). A reading of below 50ppm is good, but the lower the better.
The water I use from both collecting rain and aircon drip is only 3 ppm. Some neps can survive higher ppm levels, but not Venus flytraps or sundews. If you want to buy a TDS meter, I still have some in stock. Just PM me on FB!
🪴 Should I use a water tray for my Venus flytrap?
Yes, this will make it easier to avoid making them dry out. Venus flytraps enjoy moist media, but to avoid overwatering, let the water tray dry out before refilling it again. This might change during the summer, when it’s very hot, or if you’re using strong growlights.
It’s best to observe for signs of overwatering: new traps that become black before opening. If you see this in your plant, just don’t water it for a few days until you see a new leaf.
I just mentioned that minerals kill carnivorous plants, right? That’s why you can’t use normal soil or planting media for your Venus flytrap, or any other carnivorous plant. The correct media includes coco peat, sphagnum moss, or peat moss. This guide explains the different kinds of media and what they’re good for.
Just make sure that they don’t have any fertilizers, and make sure you use a TDS meter to measure their ppm levels first. When I first bought coco peat for my plants, it was at 300ppm when I tested it. The only way to fix this is by thoroughly washing the media.
You can also check this useful video guide from Carnibro on how to repot Venus fltyraps, along with other carnivorous plants.
Check the 3:00 mark for vft repotting!
🪴 Why do I have to wash the media if no one in nature does so?
That’s because the natural habitat of Venus flytraps in particular is usually by rivers, or in marshy areas. These places constantly have running water that don’t allow minerals to settle. The media is naturally “washed” clear—which is why carnivorous plants like the Venus flytrap evolved to trap bugs in the first place!
They can’t get minerals from the soil, so their roots only developed to serve as an anchor (nothing more) and their leaves developed to get nutrients from bugs.
🪴 What kind of pot can I use for my Venus flytrap?
Because minerals are an issue, avoid anything porous: wood, unglazed ceramic, terracotta, cement, etc. If you want to keep it safe, use plastic, or even Styrofoam cups. The same applies to the water tray. I’ve killed sundews before because I used a ceramic water tray when I first tried raising these plants. Do not repeat my mistake. D:
🪴 Can I use loam soil for my Venus flytrap?
Yes, if you want to kill it. Stop asking if this is ok, it will never be ok, please read everything above three times. May hugot ako dito.
Feeding a Venus flytrap
Venus flytraps catch food when they’re outdoors, where bugs are free and many (sadly). They can eat any insect that triggers their traps, as long as the insect is small enough to fit. A trap that eats a bug too big for it will turn black and die.
Don’t feed more tham 2/3s the trap!
As a rule of thumb, food that is 2/3 and below the size of the trap is ok. Traps will also die after eating a certain number of times, but as long as your Venus flytrap is making new leaves, this is ok!
Some traps are so big, they can eat little animals like tiny frogs or lizards. This is kind of gross, but cool.
🪴 Since carnivorous plants evolved to eat bugs, they need to be fed, right?
Living on the edge.
(It escaped but another one landed on the same trap.)
Living on the edge of a D.M. Korean Melody Shark
You don’t need to feed your Venus flytrap, or any carnivorous plant, but their growth is supported by eating. They can get their food on their own if they’re outdoors.
For fun, you can also feed your flytrap live flies or bugs. If I swat a fly that’s still alive, I feed it to my flytraps.
You can also use Maxsea plant food, a kind of fertilizer good for carnivorous plants. Some growers feed live flies, rehydrated bloodworms, or even moist fish food (the red and green pellets). Avoid feeding them meat, or any human food. They’re plants, not animals, and they don’t need the same nutrients we do.
🪴 Can a Venus flytrap overeat?
Not really. As long as the Venus flytrap keeps producing new growth, you’re ok. Your plant will just not look as pretty because all the traps will die more quickly as the plant expends energy to digest food.
🪴 Can a Venus flytrap eat me?
Only if its name is Audrey II, and your name is Seymour.
D.M. Sinagtala or any vft can’t eat humans–yet
Seriously though, most carnivorous plants are small, and Venus flytraps especially. Big trap cultivars like D.M. DC XL and D.M. SD Kronos can grow up to maybe two inches in trap size. Your Venus flytrap will not be able to eat anything bigger than its traps.
🪴 What happens if a Venus flytrap bites me?
Nothing, but remember that a trap has a limited number of times it will close. If you’re always poking your Venus flytrap, you’re making the traps die quicker. If you try to touch the inside of a trap, you won’t feel a thing.
The classic carnivorous plant
I had to split this guide because it’s already very long, but if you want to learn more about the Venus flytrap, like ways to propagate, dormancy, and pests, check the first part of my guide below!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask in a comment—but please make sure it’s a question not already answered in my guide!
I post about plants for sale, like Byblis, droseras and Venus flytraps, as well as carnivorous plant gardening items like media (sphagnum moss, rinsed cocopeat mix) and Maxsea fertilizer.