Venus Flytrap Care

Venus flytraps are not hard to care for. Venus flytrap care is really easy, as long as you don’t over complicate it. And as long as you pay attention to a few “do’s” and “don’ts”.

Your Venus Flytrap is just like your other potted house plants – it needs the right kind of soil, lots of light, and water. But the conditions that Venus Flytraps really like is a little different than your average house plant.

If you bought a small Venus Flytrap in a small pot with a clear cover, the first thing to do is get rid of the cover. There is this mistaken idea that Venus Flytraps thrive in a humid, tropic like atmosphere. And they are sold with clear plastic covers that are supposed to maintain the humidity.


If you want to take care of Venus Flytraps, get rid of the clear plastic cover. Venus Flytraps are native to the southeast United States, in the coastal areas of North and South Carolina – these are not tropics. The purpose of the clear plastic covers is an attempt to create a high humid environment for your carnivorous plant.

I lived in North Carolina for 15 years. And I lived on the coast. It is hot and muggy in the summer – just like the rest of the United States. In the winter, it is cool and wet, gets down to freezing, and even snows! This is not the tropics. And as I show you elsewhere in this website, carnivorous plants native to North America, NEED a cold winter to properly grow the following year.

Containers and Soil

Venus flytrap care includes the right kind of soil and container. Be sure the container is made of plastic or glazed ceramic. Do not use cement, concrete, or terra cotta containers. The minerals in the container will leach into the soil and either kill the plant or stunt it’s growth. Try to use a chemically inert container.

Venus Flytraps grow in swamps and bogs in the southeastern United States. Your goal to growing a successful Venus Flytrap plant is to replicate that environment. Your soil should be a one-to-one mixture of peat and sand. Do not use Miracle grow peat moss – it has fertilizers. Do not use sand from your backyard or from the sandbox where your kids play. Again, the minerals in the soils can kill your plants. Purchase sterile sand from garden supply stores.

And place at the top of the soil a layer of spagnum moss. This will help retain the soil’s moisture.

Water for Your Venus Flytraps

Venus flytrap care includes creating an environment your plants will thrive in. And water, the right kind of water, is important. Used distilled water, or capture rain water and use this to water your carnivorous plant. Do not use tap water. It has chlorine and other chemicals that will damage your plant. In addition, Venus Flytraps grow in an acidic environment. Tap water from most municipal water supply systems is slight basic, so as to not eat away at the pipes. You need water that is slightly acidic. And rain water is perfect for that.

Light for Your Venus Flytrap

Proper care for your Venus Flytrap includes giving your plant lots and lots of sunlight. And putting your plant next to a florescent light bulb is not the right kind of light. Again, think about the native environment. The southeast of the US gets lots and lots of sunlight.

So give your Venus Flytrap what it wants. Your Venus flytrap will need to get at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day in the summer. This is not a shade plant. Sunlight is a good thing.

Great locations for your plants include south facing decks, sunny porches and windowsills.

Fertilizer is a Big No No

Lastly, do not use fertilizer on your Venus Flytrap. No matter how tempting it is. No matter what you read on the label of your plant you purchased from the store.

Don’t use fertilizer.

Venus Flytraps feed on insects because they live in nitrogen deficient soils. And the insects they catch provide that nitrogen. If you supply nitrogen, you will kill your plant.

Don’t use fertilizer.

Venus Flytrap Care Summary

Venus Flytrap care is a pretty simple thing once you understand that your plant is like other plants. It needs soil, water, and light.

It is just that it grows in an acidic, nutrient deficient, very moist environment. Focus on providing these things for your plant, and your Venus Flytrap will thrive and grow as you care for your plant.

16 Responses to Venus Flytrap Care

  1. Man says:

    does this mean i need to get bugs like mealworms at the pet store to feed it if it doesn’t catch one?

    • mikegreen says:

      Good question. Some things to think about are, that the plants don’t need to catch and feed insects everyday. They are feeding on insects to extract nitrogen. All other nutrients they will obtain from the soil or moss.

      And if it is winter, the plants don’t feed on insects much at all, if at all. In fact the plants go dormant in the winter and do not feed at all.

      It might be fun to get a few mealworms and use these to feed your Venus Flytraps, but if your plant is not in an enclosed greenhouse, insects will find the traps and be captured.

  2. kylewolbert says:

    how do you take care of them in the winter

    • mikegreen says:

      Taking care of your Venus Flytrap plants in the winter depends upon where you are located. If you are located in the temperate growing zones in the US, you probably don’t need to do much. If you are located further north, then you probably want to bring your plants into the house during the winter.

      Think about where these plants grow in their native habitat – the eastern swamps of North and South Carolina – and seek to replicate this habitat.

  3. alice nierenberg says:

    purchased vft in dec., all traps turned black, small leaves and traps growing from center, don’t know whether to take outdoors for winter, or continue growing under my E5 fluorescent bulbs until spring. live in zone 5, temps can go to 0 which is much colder than n.and s. Carolina. thanks. fascinated with carnivores since childhood, now in 70 s.

    • mikegreen says:

      Hi Alice:

      I am not an expert, just an enthusiast. But if you bought a venus flytrap plant recently, and then the existing traps turned black, with small leaves and traps growing from the center, it seems that it is going through the cycle it needs to go through.

      Just a heads up, if traps turned black, be sure you are not overwatering your venus flytrap plant. You don’t want to have mold or fungus problems.

      If your winter temperatures can drop to zero degrees F, like where I live in Oregon, I wouldn’t take it outside, that would probably be too much. But it does need a little cold in the winter, so it can cycle through dormancy.

      Let us all know how it goes!


  4. alice nierenberg says:

    thanx for your info. I immed. removed pot from tray of distilled h2o and put plant on cool windowsill. hope this will bring it thru winter o.k. will buy some more vft in warmer weather so I can summer it outdoors with my other plants that like it sunny and warm.

  5. Stephanie says:

    I just bought a venus fly trap, it arrived mid December. I live in Texas and keep my ivys on a window seal. Would a plant light be better? Th he traps are mostly closed and very green on the inside.


    • mikegreen says:

      Hi Stephanie, thanks for reading my blog.

      You have a great question, but we probably need a little more information, such as how much light do plants get on your window sill? Direct? Indirect? How much light in the day? South facing window?

      It would be my opinion that if you are growing plants successfully on your window sill, then it will probably be good for your Venus Flytrap plant.

      If you think it needs a little more light such as provided by a plant light, start off easy and slow, maybe only a couple of hours from a plant light a day.

      Plants purchased usually are grown in a greenhouses, and they need to be hardened. You will want to make any changes in their environment carefully, slowly, and deliberately.

      Come back and let us know how it goes!

      Just don’t drown the roots or keep it tooo wet.


  6. My VTF will be given a place outside in full glaringly bright, all day sun. It has been looking a bit sickly recently and traps have been turning black before fully formed. Still sprouting new leaves often, but they don’t get far before dying. Thought maybe too much sun was the problem, but sounds like I will be doing it a disservice by moving it inside or shadier position…

    • mikegreen says:

      Fredd, how long have you had the plant? Don’t forget to “harden” a plant after coming home with it from the store or greenhouse.

      If traps are turning black it doesn’t sound like a sunlight issue, maybe too much love with your water? Are the roots draining and not standing in water?

      Some things to think about.

      • Had it for some time now, I think I may have been too generous with the water, filled too high in the tray. Have reduced and hopefully it will pull through.

        • mikegreen says:

          Sounds like a plan. Let us know how it goes. I cannot tell you how many plants over the years I have killed by over watering. I had to learn the hard way.

          Fredd, I would love to see pictures of your plant, some now and some when healthy again. I have to figure out how to allow readers of this blog to upload photos… have to keep the spammers at bay and I don’t want to deal with graphic licensing issues…

          I am looking into how folks can include in their comments, images from Pinterest or Flickr. Would be more fun that way!

  7. dudley smith says:

    hi mike,
    i have had my venus since dec 2013,a few hiccups in the beginning but now the traps are growing like crazy and the flower stem (stalk) is about 13 inches long,but top with the flowers is all dried long before this plant bears seeds?how often would you have to replant venus to a larger pot? this plant in its pot stands in small bowl in +/- one half inch of water(centimetre) and i keep it topped up nearly every day and have excellent results…….Dudley.

    • mikegreen says:

      Dudley, would love to see pictures of the plant! Sounds like you have a green thumb when it comes to raising Venus Flytrap plants.

      I don’t know where you live, but if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, and your plant just had flowers, then it is out of sync with the natural seasons… it should flower in the spring after dormancy. Don’t know if you will see seeds…

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