Q. How can I grow a venus fly trap?
To grow a Venus' fly trap well (and that means still having it alive after 12 months), its natural habitat of the Carolinas must be duplicated. The plant requires an extremely humid and bright sunlit area. It will not grow in freezing temperatures. Water your plant frequently in warm conditions, but do not let it stand in water. To provide warmth and humidity, grow your plant in a terrarium.
Keep your plant in the small covered container in which it was purchased. It should be fine in its current container for about two years or more. Eventually your plant will crowd the pot with numerous side growths on the rhizome. You can then repot, but only in early spring just when it is starting to come out of dormancy.
You do not need to fertilize your Venus’ fly trap. Do not feed your Venus’ fly trap meat! Live prey, such as such as flies, spiders, crickets, slugs and caterpillars, are a Venus’ fly trap’s favorite food. No ants, please. Just a note: caterpillars may eat themselves out of the trap. Do not give a trap any food that is bigger than about 1/3 the size of the trap; larger insects will cause bacterial rot and kill the leaf. When the bug is placed in the trap, the bug’s movement will stimulate the trap into the digestion phase. The plant’s trap may stay closed for a week or less while digesting its dinner.
You can buy crickets for your plant from your local pet store. You can also store frozen crickets and caterpillars in your freezer. During winter dormancy you will not have to feed your plant at all. You will only need to feed your plant about four times per year, one bug feeding at a time. Do not overfeed or your plant may die.
Carnivorous plant color will be green in your home, but with bright light, plants can grow more reddish in color. Venus' fly traps with naturally red color are Dionaea 'Red Dragon', D. 'Red Piranha', and D. 'Colin's Red Sunset.' Dionaea 'Justina Davis' has no red coloration at all and has a lime-green appearance.
If your plant becomes sickly, it probably isn't receiving full sun. It needs bright, full sun or supplemental lighting, to make it grow healthy and strong. A gently lit windowsill is too dim for your plant to survive. In a terrarium housing many plants, you may need six fluorescent bulbs placed 12 inches above your Venus' fly traps for vigorous growth.
For more information on caring for a Venus' fly trap or other carnivorous plant, you can refer to our guide Growing Carnivorous Plants.
Courtesy of the NYBG Plant Information Service