How to care for a Venus fly trap: complete guide and expert tips

how to care for a venus fly trap

The fascinating plant Dionaea muscipula, better known as Venus fly trap, is one of the hobby plants and is a real specialty. As an easy-care rarity, the insect-eating beauty is an ideal plant for children and an attraction on the sunny windowsill for years. Our guide outlines how to care for a Venus fly trap with feeding, watering, hibernating, repotting and what to watch out for so it thrives.


The Dionaeag muscipula Venus fly trap is one of the carnivores, the plants that feed on insects and therefore do not need any fertilizers. The sunnier the location, the better the plant will develop, whereby uniform soil moisture must be guaranteed. The ingenious trapping mechanism allows the plant to selectively differentiate whether it is a passing animal or a raindrop. The plant can open and close its leaves about 10 times per day. After a successful catch, the plant needs up to 3 days,

Caring for the Venus flytrap is just as special as its diet. We have summarized everything you need to know about how to care for Venus fly trap. The Venus flytrap makes some special demands on its care and keeping. In many details it even differs significantly from the requirements of most garden and indoor plants. We have summarized the most important facts and explain how you can successfully keep the carnivorous plant.

As an exotic species, it is hardly surprising that the Venus flytrap differs significantly from other conventional indoor and garden plants in terms of its maintenance requirements. The supply of nutrients from animal prey alone is a special feature and a unique selling point. We will briefly explain what you should look out for in how to take care of a Venus fly trap so that it thrives. Also read How to care for pointsettia indoors or outdoors: complete guide

Interesting facts

Botanical name:Dionaea muscipula
Other names:Venus fly trap, carnivorous plant, carnivore, fly trap
Use:Indoor plant, plant for glass vessels
Origin:North American states of North and South Carolina and Florida
Blossom:appears in spring on a stem up to 50 cm high, white and filigree
Particularities:Marveled at the specialty. As a representative of the sundew family, it has not lost its appeal to this day. The plants available on the market come exclusively from horticultural culture. The carnivorous (carnivorous) plant comes from areas with poor soil and has created an additional source of nitrogen through its ability to trap and digest insects. The reshaped leaves serve as a catch organ and function like a catch iron. If an insect touches the open trapping organs, the plant closes within a short time and the trap cannot escape.

How to care for a Venus fly trap: The right location

how to care for a venus fly trap

The Venus flytrap likes it sunny. Direct sunlight is important so that the catch leaves open wide. The plant thrives best in the room on the windowsill – if the climate is mild and even, it can move outside in summer. The flytrap places additional demands on the humidity: ideally, this should be between 50 and 60 percent. As one of the key things in how to care for a Venus’s-flytrap, you should also protect it from drafts, because it doesn’t like that at all.

The right substrate

In any case, the basis for the successful care of the Venus flytrap lies in the choice of the right substrate. The plant thrives best on special carnivore soils, such as Floragard special soil for carnivorous plants . This is related to its origin: As a bog plant, the Venus flytrap needs a soil with an acidic pH value and low nutrient concentration. In addition, your substrate should support a balanced water balance with good water uptake and release. Only carnivore soil can optimally meet these requirements.

How to care for a Venus fly trap: Water properly

The Venus fly trap stands in its natural environment in the open field and has contact with constantly moist soil. Even when kept as a potted plant, this fact must be simulated by regular watering. It is important that the surface of the substrate never dries out. In contrast to many other potted plants, the Venus fly trap can withstand short-term waterlogging without problems.

That’s why you can calmly place them on a trivet with water to ease the frequency of watering. Another peculiarity is their intolerance to “hard” water with a high proportion of ions. It is therefore best to use filtered rainwater or distilled water mixed with ten percent tap water to water your Venus flytrap.

The Venus fly trap comes from natural conditions in the open field, where it takes root in permanently moist terrain. These conditions should also be simulated in the pot as well as possible. Regular watering will keep the plant substrate permanently moist. Make sure that you pour the water directly onto the plant substrate and not over the open hinged trap. The remaining water can lead to the rot of the catch leaves and would be very bad for your darling.

Note : waterlogging is poison for many potted plants. The Venus flytrap, on the other hand, can tolerate waterlogging and gets along very well with it over a certain period of time. So if you meant it too well when watering, that’s no big deal – the accumulating water increases the humidity and makes the fly trap more vital. How to care for a peace lily properly: complete guide for beginners

How often to water the Venus fly trap?

Since you should keep the plant substrate permanently moist, it is advisable to water daily if the temperature conditions require it. Depending on the degree of evaporation, watering every two to three days may be sufficient. If you do not want to check the water level of the fly trap every day, a trivet, in which some water always remains after the penetrating watering, has proven itself as a work-saving measure.

The right water

Venus fly traps require water with little calcium. It has proven useful to use collected and filtered rainwater, as this is low in ions due to the previous process of evaporation. Another possibility is the use of distilled water, which is mixed with 10% tap water. The addition of tap water is very important because distilled water has the property of withdrawing water from the plant cells due to its low ion concentration.

Watering Venus fly trap in winter

In winter the Venus flytrap falls into a kind of hibernation. During this time you should move them to suitable winter quarters (temperature optimally between 5 – 10 ° C, but still with incidence of light). The pouring rhythm and the pouring amount must also be adjusted: Keep the substrate slightly moist without causing waterlogging. Otherwise, the lower temperatures in the winter quarters could quickly lead to putrefactive processes that would damage your Venus flytrap. Also read how to care for roses in winter.

How to care for a Venus fly trap: correct feeding

Basically, you wouldn’t have to feed your Venus flytrap as it would absorb enough nutrients through insects’ digestions even without your caring affection. However, if it is done correctly, feeding cannot do any harm. The most important thing about feeding is that the prey is still alive when it is placed in the trap.

The stimulus that is triggered by the movement of the insect must last for a long time, otherwise the secretion of the digestive enzymes does not start. The second aspect is the size of the prey. The rule of thumb is that the prey should be one-third the length of the catch leaves for effective digestion to take place.

The special attraction of keeping a carnivorous plant like the Venus flytrap ( Dionaea muscipula ) lies in the fact that it can also be observed while it is catching its prey. If you haven’t seen an insect for a long time, you tend to go hunting yourself and feed your Venus flytrap. But the carnivorous plant is picky and does not tolerate every well-intentioned prey. We will explain to you whether you should feed your fly trap and, if so, what you should be aware of.

How to care for a Venus fly trap: Do you need to feed it?

The Venus flytrap is characterized by a rather low appetite. In most cases she can manage without your help and is adequately supplied with nutrients. However, feeding is not harmful as long as a few things are observed.

How to care for a Venus fly trap: Suitable food

Feeding a carnivorous plant like the Venus flytrap is an attraction for young and old. If you observe the following 3 tips, nothing should stand in the way of successful predator feeding.

  1. Feed live prey

It is important that you feed live insects. The movement of the live insect within the closed trapping leaves creates a stimulatory stimulus that causes the gradual secretion of digestive enzymes that kill and then decompose the prey. If you were to feed a dead insect or even a small piece of meat, this stimulus would not take place and the trap door would open again after a while. This costs your Venus flytrap a lot of energy and reduces the number of possible closings per catch leaf.

  1. It’s all about the right size

In order for the Venus flytrap to be able to use its prey effectively, it must be the right size. Insects that are too small can flee because the catch leaves do not close flush. Insects that are too large often manage to fight their way freely or perish in a trap without being able to be completely decomposed. The “putrefaction” of the insect’s body can lead to the formation of molds and bacteria, which can severely weaken and even kill your Venus flytrap. As a rule of thumb, the prey should be about a third the size of the catch leaves so that digestion can take place effectively.

  1. Do not feed too often

You can safely feed your Venus flytrap with one insect every four to five days, but you shouldn’t do this much more often. Natural catches can also occur between feedings, which also ensure a high nutrient input. If you overdo it with the feeding frequency, it can lead to excess nutrients in the plant and thus to overgrowth. In addition, the plant becomes more susceptible to disease as it develops fleshy tissue. So stick to the principle: less is more.

Tip: It is completely understandable that you are curious about what happens when you put your finger in the trap. You are welcome to pursue your research instinct, but it is best to leave it at one try, otherwise you will only weaken your Venus flytrap unnecessarily.

How to care for a Venus fly trap: Repotting

You should repot your Venus flytrap at least once a year. You can tell when the time is right when the above-ground plant material protrudes from the side of the pot. A fully rooted pot also indicates that it is time to repot the plant. Prepare a new, larger planter for repotting and fill it with a suitable plant substrate.

When is it time to repot the Venus flytrap?

As soon as the plant substrate in the pot is completely permeated with roots and the above-ground parts of the plant already protrude laterally over the edge of the pot, you know that it is time to repot your Venus flytrap. In terms of time, repotting should be moved to early spring. Then the flytrap wakes up from its winter dormancy and bursts with the joy of growth.

How to care for a Venus fly trap: The right soil/substrate

The Venus fly trap gets its nutrients almost exclusively from the decomposition of its captured prey in the trap. Therefore, it also needs a nutrient-poor substrate so that there is no oversupply and possibly toxic phenomena. Special carnivore soil is available in well-stocked specialist shops.

The term “soil” is often used synonymously for “substrate”, which would correspond to the horticultural correct name. The so-called “carnivore soil” is not actually earth, but rather a mixture of many organic components and draining additives, which together represent an ideal planting medium for your Venus fly trap. If you don’t want to use the ready-mixed substrate, you can choose from peat, Sand and gravel also mix your own substrate.

Around 85% of the substrate should consist of peat. You can fill in the rest with any combination of sand and gravel to provide the necessary drainage. The Venus fly trap naturally likes it moist. It is therefore important that you let the new substrate soak before repotting. If you do not do this, the dry new substrate could remove the moisture from the existing root ball and thus deprive the roots of your Venus fly trap of water.

How to care for a Venus fly trap: The suitable pot

Usually almost any pot is suitable for planting / transplanting a Venus flytrap. However, it should be noted that the circumference of the pot should increase with each repotting in order to provide enough space for the growing Venus flytrap.

Important: If you want to place the pot on a saucer so that you do not have to water it every day, the pot must be provided with drainage holes – which is the case with most commercial pots anyway.

The correct repotting procedure

The Venus flytrap has only a weakly developed root system. It is all the more important that the few established roots are retained when repotting. You should therefore be particularly careful and make sure that the sensitive roots do not break off. The same applies to the treatment of the catch leaves. Make sure that the ‘catch’ leaves are not made to close by external stimuli. Now put the pre-swollen substrate in the new pot.

Fill the pot two-thirds full so that you can still add your Venus flytrap to the pot without any problems. Now fill the remaining third with planting substrate and press it down very lightly. Make sure that you only press the substrate minimally so that there is no compaction.

How to care for a Venus fly trap: the care after repotting

After you have repotted your Venus flytrap, you should water the plant well in the new pot. The best thing to do is to put the pot on a coaster and fill it with water. The plant substrate soaks up little by little without your Venus fly trap sinking in the irrigation water. The water in the saucer also has the positive side effect of increasing the humidity around your Venus fly trap.

After repotting, you should also place your Venus fly trap in a sunny spot so that it can establish itself in the new pot. A nice spot on a windowsill without a constant draft is best. Regular watering is very important after repotting so that the Venus flytrap anchors its rather sparsely developed roots in the new substrate.

How to care for a Venus fly trap: Maintaining Venus fly trap in winter

The Venus flytrap is very frugal and accordingly doesn’t ask that much of you. However, she does not want to do without her hibernation. The Venus flytrap sends the unmistakable signs of moving to winter quarters: The newly formed trapping leaves are getting smaller and smaller and no longer form the characteristic red inside until they finally remain completely closed

. Once you spot these signs, it’s time to move your plant to a suitable place to hibernate. Unheated stairwells or basement rooms with large windows are ideal. The temperature should be permanently between 5 and 10 ° C. The lower the temperature, the lower the light irradiation should be.

How do you hibernate the Venus flytrap?

With falling temperatures and the position of the sun, the Venus flytrap changes its behavior and stops leaf formation. The rest phase begins, in which she wishes a cooler, light place. The thermometer can easily slip into the single-digit minus range. Temperature changes between warm and cold must be avoided at all costs. In mild regions, for example in the wine-growing climate, an attempt can be made to locate Venus flytraps spoiled in rooms in the garden. The plant can be transplanted outdoors in late spring. The plants have enough time until winter to get used to the fresh air and the living conditions in the bog bed.

The best substrate is peat or carnivore soil. These soils have the typical properties of moors. Low nutrients, water storage capacity and free of lime provide the Venus flytrap with ideal living conditions.

Open pot culture is rather unfavorable in rooms with dry heating air. The lack of humidity causes the insect traps to die early. Cultivation in the prepared mini greenhouse on the windowsill is cheaper. In the open air, Venus flytraps thrive in association with mosses. They ensure the necessary humidity on the plant.

Note: The Venus flytrap is already very frugal in terms of its nutritional requirements. Even in summer it does not need any additional fertilization under normal circumstances and gets its nutrients by digesting the prey. Therefore, under no circumstances should you fertilize in winter to avoid toxic damage from over-fertilization.

Pests and diseases to beware of

Venus fly traps are special indoor plants, which are very rarely attacked by diseases and pests in the optimal location. The following pests and diseases can occur in the Venus flytrap:

Spider mites

The infected leaves have silver dots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. The infestation often occurs in winter when the indoor air is warm and dry. Increasing the humidity and strengthening with bio-active agents helps very well. The natural plant extracts of the bio-active agent are used to vitalize the plant.


Especially in phases with less light and less growth, Venus flytraps are more susceptible to aphid infestation. Check your plants regularly. When the plants are first infested, rinse them thoroughly with water. This first measure usually helps. Then strengthen the plant with a plant strengthener. This naturally strengthens the body’s defenses.

Gray mold

A gray, mold-like coating appears on the leaves. With a plant strengthener you strengthen the defenses of the plant and the fungus occurs less frequently.


What can be the reason for brown leaves on the Venus flytrap?
Usually a too dark, cold location and too much water are the cause of brown leaves.

How can Venus flytraps be multiplied?
The simplest method to propagate Venus flytraps is to divide plants that have grown too large. The optimal time is in March. To do this, take the plant out of the pot, carefully pull the plant apart and plant each of the sections. Sowing is also a way to multiply the carnivores. It is important to note that the seeds are so-called cold germs and therefore only germinate after a cooling phase.

Why do Venus flytraps grow sparsely?
Usually the reasons for poor growth are a location that is too dark and the duration of sunshine too short.

Do Venus flytraps need to be fed?
The fascinating houseplant is able to catch ample prey. Additional feeding can be an exciting spectacle, but does not have to be done regularly. It is important to know that when feeding dead insects, the trap closes, but digestion does not start because the captured animals do not move. The trap flaps then open after a day, the insect lies undigested and the plant has used up the energy uselessly. It is therefore advisable that only live insects be fed.

Which insects does the Venus flytrap eat?
In addition to flies, spiders, ants and even bees and wasps are caught and digested by the trap leaves.

How does the Venus flytrap know that an insect is touching the bristles and not a raindrop or a leaf?
The contact bristles located on the inside of the leaf are grazed several times in the case of a possible prey, causing the catching mechanism to react. With a leaf or a raindrop there is no multiple contact and therefore no closing of the catch leaves.

How often can the Venus flytrap use its traps to catch?
The digestive process can take place three times per trap, then the trap dies.

What does the flower of the Venus flytrap look like?
The filigree white flowers sit on a stalk up to 30 cm high, which looks very interesting and is due to the fact that the distance between the flower pile and the trapping organs ensures that the pollinating insects are not accidentally caught.