Venus Flytraps are rather unique and unusual. They are unique in that they grow in soils and conditions that most plants would find difficult - wet, acidic soils with poor nutrients.

Venus Flytraps are unusual in that they are able to live in poor nutrient soils by capturing and digesting insects, and using the nutrients from insects to make up for the poor soils.

There are many varieties of insect eating or carnivorous plants in the world. But most of the carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants (like the Cobra Lily or darlington california) use passive means to attract, catch, kill, and digest their prey. But the moving traps of a Venus Flytrap is anything but passive.

The Venus Flytrap lures insects to the traps with sweet smelling nectar. As an insect lands, it crawls around inside the trap, and comes into contact with one of six small hairs located within the traps. These small hairs are trigger hairs. If an insect moves a hair more than once, the jaws of the trap close over the insect. And as the insect struggles, the jaws collapse even more tightly around the insect.

The Venus Flytrap digests the captured insect by secreting an enzyme that digests the soft tissues of the insect. This supplies the plant with much needed nutrients, including nitrogen and other minerals. After the plant has extracted the nutrients, the trap slowly opens, releasing the bare and empty exoskeleton of the insect. The exoskeleton blows away, and the trap is reset, waiting for the next careless insect.

Truly the jaws of death!

The scientific name for the Venus Flytrap is Dionaea muscipula. It is plant found growing wild only in the southeastern United States. And understanding the climate and temperature of that region is important to successfully growing Venus Flytraps and in learning Venus Flytrap care.

The Venus Flytrap or Dionaea muscipula, is a fascinating plant, and can be easily grown by child or adult alike who wishes to understand these unique plants even more.

If you want to learn more about the proper care and feeding, read this article first on the care of Venus Fly Trap plants.

Click here if you want to discover some fascinating facts about this carnivorous plant.

Do leave a comment below on any questions you have about Venus Fly Traps.

Mike Green


Venus Flytraps — 9 Comments

  1. Dear Mr. Mike,

    I am doing an experiment for the Science Fair on Venus Fly Traps.
    I ordered about 5 Venus Fly Traps online. Do the Traps really die after 4-6 catches? I need to know very urgently because I need to perform the experiment very soon, and I may need to order more. Can you help me out and answer the question above?

    Thanks, Jack

    • Jack,

      The individual trap only works so many times on catching insects. So yes typically after an individual trap catches any where from 4 to 6 times, it wears out, and shrivels, and eventually drops off. But the plant doesn’t die. And more traps continue to grow and catch flies.

      So yes the individual traps wear out, but not the plant.

      Hope that answers your question.


  2. I am getting a large Ginormous VFT that will need re-potting early next spring. From my Google searches, there appears to be a lot of controversy between using New Zealand Sphagnum moss or a peat/pearlite mixture. I will be growing my VFT indoors under a plant light. What you recommend that I use for re-potting?

    • Richard, didn’t know there was a lot of controversy about potting soil for Venus Flytrap plants! I like to keep things simple. And when considering soil, water, sunlight, humidity, etc, I go back to considering where the Venus Flytrap is from, what is it’s native habitat, and how can I replicate that.

      The VFT plant’s DNA is hardwired to certain growing conditions. Habitat.

      Perlite may work because perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass with high water content. It is used in potting soil to improve a soil’s permeability, decrease it’s water retention, and helps prevent soil compaction. Keeps the potting soil “fluffy”. Peat moss is much finer grained and denser than sphagnum moss, and is harvested from the bottom part of a bog.

      VFT plants grow on the top of bog in well drained soils. I’d go with the sphagnum moss. And I usually add a little washed sand. That’s it!

      Again, think about the native habitat and growing conditions, and try to replicate that with the soils.

      Great question Richard.


  3. So I recently bought some kind of venus fly trap moss and I am not sure how much to use or when I should use it. My plants are growing in a small mason jar so they have perfect humidity. Some of them have started to grow and I do not know if I should put the moss on or how much of it because I do not want to smother the plants so they won’t be able to grow.

    • Hi Teddy, it sounds like you have achieved some great success in growing Venus Flytrap plants. Your question is about putting moss on the plants and how much. Hopefully you acquired sphagnum moss for growing your plants.

      I need a little more information to be able to answer your question. But two things are apparent to me. First, you have growing plants! Awesome. Just keep doing what you are doing. If your plants are growing and doing well, why change anything? And secondly, you state that you are growing the plants in a small mason jar to they have the perfect humidity.

      Remember, success in growing Venus Flytrap plants is not based on humidity, but on on sunlight. Venus Flytrap plants don’t need humidity to survive, but they do need lots of sunlight.

      So focus on sunlight. Don’t keep a lid on the jar or you will bake your plants to death.

      So I would suggest to keep doing what you are doing until the plants get bigger, then transplant the plants (preferably after they go dormant in the winter) to a bigger pot with your sphagnum moss/clean sand mixture.

      Hope this helps.


  4. purchased vft in dec. traps turned black, new growth in center. should I place plant outdoors for dormancy in zone 5 or keep growing indoors under t5 fluorescent lights

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