Plants

Guide to Venus Fly Trap: How to Grow & Care for “Dionaea Muscipula”

Read our complete guide to Venus Fly Trap Plants for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for “Dionaea Muscipula”
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Are you already tired of summer flying insects and sticky traps? Oh, believe us, we know! Venus Fly Traps can be an excellent alternative to your problems. And they are so cute!

Dionaea Muscipula, commonly known as Venus Fly Trap, is a carnivorous plant in the monotypic Dionaea genus. Venus Fly Trap plants are originated in the subtropical wetlands of the East Coast of the United States, such as South and North Carolina.

Flies, arachnids, or other small insects are the main diet of Venus Fly Traps. If the insects captured by these plants are too big, the hungry trap often dies. Besides nutritional purposes, these plants consume their prey to extract more energy for photosynthesis.

About Venus Fly Trap

  • Charles Darwin was a great admirer of the Venus Fly Trap, considering it “the most wonderful plant in the world”.
  • If their traps are interfered with too often, they will get more sensitive and eventually die off.
  • Studies have shown that Venus Fly Traps can keep track of how often their prey is touching them. After the fifth touch, these plants start to release digestive enzymes.
  • The juice obtained from a pressed fresh plant has antispasmodic and antineoplastic uses. It can also serve as a stimulant for the immune system.
  • They prefer fresh and natural water instead of tap water. If you have the chance to collect some rainwater for watering, these plants would be very grateful.
  • Venus Fly Traps are dwarf plants that remain small during their life, but their roots can grow very long. It is better to plant these plants in a deep pot to help them develop a healthy root system.
  • These plants do well when they are grown in a soil that is low in nutrients, and you do not need to worry about fertilizing at all.
  • Although many people are tempted to put their fingers inside the traps, you might want to reconsider your curiosity. Venus Fly Traps need to conserve their energy to catch and eat insects.
  • There is no chance for these plants to be poisonous to humans or pets. It is perfectly safe to place them around children, as the trap is too weak to harm them.
Venus Fly Traps are carnivorous plants
Venus Fly Traps are carnivorous plants

Venus Fly Trap Features: An Overview

  • There are about 500 species of carnivorous plants grown around the world.
  • The most popular cultivars have been produced by plant developers including D. Petite Dragon, D. DC All Red, and D. Ginormous. They usually vary in size but another distinguished attribute is their trap color.
  • They are herbaceous perennial plants that can reach between 6 and 12 inches (15-30 cm) in height and a width from 6 to 9 inches (15-22 cm).
  • Venus Fly Trap plants contain four to seven leaves that grow in a rosette on a short, bulb-like subterranean stem. Longer leaves with developed traps appear after flowering.
  • The speed with which these plants are closing their traps is a direct indicator of their general health state.
  • In general, their traps are fully or partly green. However, some specimens can exhibit various combinations of red, green, yellow, or purple.
  • When older leaves are replaced with new ones, mature traps turn black naturally.
  • During their blooming period, from May to June, Venus Fly Trap plants produce tiny white flowers.
A fly caught in the trap
A fly caught in the trap

Growing Venus Fly Trap

In addition to their main source of food (insects), Venus Fly Trap plants are light-feeders that love sunny days. These plants will be the happiest if you place them in a location where they can receive about 12 hours of bright and direct light every day. They can also do well in partial shade when the levels of sunlight decrease.

Starting from autumn, Venus Fly Traps go through a dormant period. As many beginner gardeners, you might think that these plants are dying when they lose all their leaves. But do not panic! They actually keep living underground through their rhizomes. You should keep them away from artificial light, as they will be just fine in low-light conditions.

In their natural habitat, Venus Fly Traps are used to warm temperatures that rise above 90 °F (32 °C). The ideal temperature values range between 70 and 95 °F (21-35 °C), but they can tolerate even the extremely hot temperatures. During their dormant period, these plants prefer cooler temperatures down to 40 °F (5 °C). To provide Venus Fly Traps with cold temperatures, some gardeners move their plants in a garage or basement.

Venus Fly Traps need regular repotting to maintain the growing environment fresh. These plants do not appreciate crowded spaces, as this will prevent them from developing new roots. You can repot your Venus Fly Trap once a year in the spring or early summer. Make sure you transplant the plant while it is not actively flowering. Also, you should repot this plant right after purchasing to remove any water impurities from previous nursery care.

A potted Dionaea Muscipula
A potted Dionaea Muscipula

They prefer to grow in a soil that is similar to the one in their native environment. Look for a sandy, acidic carnivorous plant potting soil that is poor in nutrients. You can also prepare your own potting mix from half peat moss and half perlite or horticultural sand. The perlite will help retain the moisture, while peat moss will provide your Venus Fly Trap plant with the acidity that it needs.

While Venus Fly Traps are innate predators, they can encounter several pest problems. Fungus gnats larvae, gray mold, and aphids might sometimes attack them. Fungus gnats like to feed on leaves and they can also damage the roots. Bacillus thuringiensis is a naturally occurring bacteria that can be used as a soil drench to kill these pests.

If you notice a water-soaked spot on your plant’s leaves or stems, it may be an indicator of gray mold infestation. Prevent the spread by removing the infected parts from the plant and potting soil.

Aphids are usually too small for these carnivores to catch, so they may cause distorted leaves at the plant’s crown. You can treat your plant by sinking it in water for about two or three days and repeat this process after one week. Insecticidal soap or horticultural oils can help control severe infestations.

Watering Venus Fly Trap

Venus Fly Traps are a little picky when it comes to watering. One of the most important factors in this process is water quality. Tap water contains alkaline salts, sodium, sulfur, calcium, and magnesium. These minerals can affect your plant’s overall health.

These carnivores are rainwater lovers, but you can also use any pure water that is low in minerals, such as distilled or reverse osmosis water. Although these plants will not respond instantly to an improper water type, the tap water minerals will build up in the soil over time. This can cause your plant to look sick and eventually die off.

Venus Fly Traps prefer a soil that is always damp. However, you should be careful not to over-water them, as they do not appreciate sitting in a muddy soil for too long.

These plants require high humidity levels above 50%. When growing indoors, you can use a humidifier to keep the air around your plant humid. Many gardeners prefer to place the plant’s container in a tray filled with one inch (2.5 cm) of water. This will maintain the humidity at ideal levels and the plant constantly moist.

Venus Fly Trap plant
Venus Fly Trap plant

Propagating Venus Fly Trap

They do not bite that hard! If you leave your little fears behind, propagating Venus Fly Traps can be a simple process. You just need to choose whether you do it through division, seed, or leaf cuttings.

One way to propagate these plants is through division in early summer or late winter. Look for offshoots that have their own root system and cut them with a clean and sharp knife. Remove any excess soil, replant the divisions in a separate pot, and give them the usual care as for a mature Venus Fly Trap.

If you want to propagate these plants by leaf cuttings, you should do it in early summer. Trim the leaves off their rhizomes and place them in a proper potting mix. You can cover the container with a plastic bag to provide them with high humidity and place them in a bright spot. Your cuttings should grow as mature plants after two years or so.

The easiest way to propagate these carnivores is through seeds. After planting them in a mix of sand and peat, keep the potting container in a sunny location and water the seeds regularly. They will germinate within a few weeks, but you need to wait a year to transplant the baby Venus Fly Traps safely.

Venus Flytrap Plant, From Amazon

In Conclusion

Caring for Venus Fly Traps is a delightful experience. Due to their peculiar appearance and behavior, these carnivores are among the most fun plants to grow, especially if you have children. They will stare for hours while these beauties enjoy their meals.

As long as you pay attention to their needs, these plants can be pretty easy to grow for every gardener.  Plus! They will take care of your peaceful home, as their fierce behavior can intimidate any six-legged intruder that messes with them.

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Miruna Secuianu

Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact miruna@gardenbeast.com

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