The Venus flytrap is arguably the most popular carnivorous plant. It’s the classic bug-eating plant Like Audrey II from the Little Shop of Horrors or the Chomper from Plants vs. Zombies, with a “mouth” and “teeth” that snap shut to trap prey.
Though this carnivorous plant is popular, it’s not the easiest plant to explain.
Because there’s so much information, I split this guide into two parts:
🪴 Part 1: Need to knows (You’re here!)
🌿 What is a Venus flytrap?
🪴 Part 2: Basic care guide
🌿 Planting media
What is a Venus flytrap?
Just like how Byblis is named after a greek figure of the same name, the Venus flytrap is named after the Roman goddess of love. Its common name is Venus flytrap, and its genus name is Dionaea Muscipula.
This is what “D.M.” stands for in flytrap names (for example, D.M. Maroon Monster). Dionaea refers to Aphrodite, and muscipula is Latin for mousetrap, or flytrap.
We still have a few flytraps left from 12.12! 🌿
B52s, DCXL, Trev’s Dracula and a single Shenron 💚 More cultivars coming soon!
Venus flytraps are small plants that grow from a white, bulb-like rhizome. Each leaf is composed of a heart-shaped petiole, and the actual “trap” at the tip is (sometimes) lined with eyelash-like cilia that cross together when the trap shuts to keep prey inside.
The trigger hairs inside the trap are sensitive enough to sense when a bug walks through, but evolved to only shut when their prey moves inside. It takes a lot of energy to close a trap. In fact, a trap only has a limited number of times it can move and “eat” before it dies.
There is only one Venus flytrap, but there are many Venus flytrap cultivars, or cultivated varieties. Each cultivar can have unique or weird properties that make them prized by collectors.
Venus flytraps can be propagated through different methods:
🌿 Tissue culture
🌿 Taking pullings or divisions from a mature plant
The difference between them is that seed-grown flytraps are always considered “Typical”, or D.M. Typical.
Venus flytraps that have names are clones propagated through pullings, divisions or tissue cultures from the original cultivar, which is why they retain the features of that cultivar.
Growing Venus flytraps from seeds
Typical flytraps are genetically different from their parents, which means they won’t necessarily have the traits of their parents.
This is why you cannot take the seeds of any cultivar and expect them to look the same as that cultivar. If you bought a vft that doesn’t have a name, it’s a Typical.
Named cultivars start off as Typicals, but some growers breed Typicals to enhance a trait or find a mutation. Cultivars are the result of these mutations.
I unfortunately do not have experience growing Venus flytraps from seeds, so I can’t offer advice here. However, if you want to try growing flytrap seeds, make sure you buy from a trusted source. There are many, many fake seeds, so be careful!
Growing Venus flytraps from pullings
Venus flytrap cultivars with special traits—like large traps (D.M. B52 or D.M. DXCL) or unique traps (D.M. Wacky Traps, D.M. Korean Melody Shark)—are all clones of the very first plant that exhibited the characteristics these cultivars are known for.
For example, SD Kronos is bred by Stephen Doonan, Trev’s Dracula is bred by Trev Cox, and the GJ cultivars like GJ Maratchi, GJ Bloody Nurse, and GJ Hellcat are all bred by Green Jaws, a nursery in Germany owned by Matze. These cultivars are quite rare and are more expensive than others.
Some cultivars are registered with the International Carnivorous Plant Society and are internationally recognized. However, we have some cultivars are only found in the Philippines, like beginner-friendly D.M. Sinagtala and D.M. Shenron with its dragon scale-like leaves, which are both created by Rain Tolentino of Venus Flytrap Store Philippines.
This DM Sinagtala, named for its ability to gain a deep red color within its traps, is another local cultivar by Venus…
D.M. Sinagtala, an awesome beginner Venus flytrap
There are more local cultivars like D.M. Princess of Negros, D.M. Ogre, and D.M. Rosabella, named by local growers who bred and cloned these plants to preserve their special properties.
All named cultivars in that sense are clones from the very first plant that exhibited their special features and are preserved through cloning.
🪴 How many kinds of Venus flytraps are there?
There is only one kind or species of Venus flytrap: Dionaea muscipula. However, there are many, many cultivars, both registered and unregistered.
I won’t give you a list of all the cultivars there are (that’s impossible), but here’s a quick list of the cultivars I have for sale. Just message me on my FB or IG to order! I also offer wholesale prices for resellers, just ask.
🌿 P900 – Sinagtala – for beginners
🌿 P1500 – Shenron – leaves like dragon scales
🌿 P1500 – B52 – large trap variety
🌿 P1500 – Fuzzy Tooth – fused teeth
🌿 P1500 – Coquillage – shell-like traps
🌿 P1800 – Wacky Traps – unique jagged traps
🌿 P1700 – DCXL – supposedly bigger than B52
🌿 P2000 – Maroon Monster – all red flytrap
🌿 P2500 – Trev’s Dracula – rare, with serrated teeth
🌿 P2500 – SD Kronos – large traps with long teeth
🌿 P3000 – GJ Bloody Nurse
🪴 Are cultivars different from each other in terms of growth?
Yes, some cultivars are harder to grow than others, like D.M. Waveclip. It’s best to ask your seller/grower about a cultivar if you want to be sure. I only raise cultivars that are fairly easy and have similar growth requirements—because I can’t take care of more complicated cultivars.
D.M. Waveclip (not for beginners!)
As long as you know the basic requirements of carnivorous plants in general, you can raise a Venus flytrap. if you read both parts of this guide from top to bottom, your chances of success are much higher 😉
🪴 How can I propagate my Venus flytrap?
The easiest way is by taking pullings. I don’t have a guide for how, but there are plenty online. You can try reading this guide from the International Carnivorous Plants Society to learn how to actually take good pullings.
The B52 pullings are growing nicely! Just arranged them to be more organized, and separated a few clumps. They’ll be…
D.M. B52 pullings growing in a tub
Instead of planting them in peat/sand, you can use sphagnum moss. I try to use live sphagnum moss, but rehydrated dry sphagnum moss is ok too. I’ve even had success making B52 pullings grow in washed coco peat. Make sure that the media is moist/wet.
Some growers stick leaf pullings in pots and treat them like the mother plant. Then they forget about them. Depending on the cultivar, leaf pullings can take months to produce a good young plant, but it will take more months before they grow to much larger sizes.
This is a hefty topic for an already hefty blog, but long story short, Venus flytraps are a temperament plant.
They expect to experience winter and spring—and which also means it’s not native to the very tropical country that is the Philippines.
They need dormancy to be able to live for a long time. Without dormancy, they last maybe 2-3 years, though I don’t know exactly how long.
This is unfortunately true of most of the plants that are propagated in the Philippines.
Because we don’t have winter, our plants can’t go through the necessary dormancy naturally. This makes things a little weird.
That’s because sometimes a Venus flytrap “goes dormant” still (like the D.M. Coquillage above), which can be seen by no new growth for weeks. During this time, your flytrap will look ugly, but the rhizome will be intact.
When this happens, you can try repotting your flytrap in fresh media (I use sphagnum moss) to try to “wake” them up, like what I did with my D.M. Werewolf Spawn.
🪴 Do you put your plants through dormancy?
Some people try fridge dormancy, but I don’t. I have no space in my fridge. I’m also worried about killing my plants if I do it wrong.
Instead, I try to propagate through leaf pullings to make sure I always have a clone of my Venus flytraps even if the mother plant reaches the end of its lifespan.
Even if carnivorous plants eat bugs, there are some pests even they can’t handle. One is spidermites. These annoying pests make reddish brown splotches on Venus flytraps.
Ways I treat them include:
🌿 Starkle G, which I sprinkle on top
🌿 A 24 hour bare-root soak, though I don’t want to do this as you need to acclimate the plant all over again
Soaking assorted flytraps overnight to get rid of spidermites
How to take care of a Venus flytrap
I had to split this guide because it’s already very long, but if you want to learn how to take care of a Venus flytrap, check the second 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.