How to expertly pot your Venus flytrap
You should re-pot your Venus flytrap in fresh appropriate growing medium about every 6-12 months. You’ll be amazed at how much better they grow in fresh, clean growing medium. Old growing medium has accumulated minerals and other things such as weeds or carpet moss, and these are not good for your Venus flytrap.
Types of Growing Medium
You can pot and re-pot your Venus Flytrap in two main types of growing medium: peat moss (with or without additions), or premium long-fiber sphagnum moss.
You can find peat moss at most home improvement-type stores, just be sure to get unfertilized peat moss with no additions such as Miracle Gro. Any minerals added to growing medium will be harmful to your Venus Flytrap.
You can add other materials to the peat moss to help with aeration and drainage. The two suitable additions are Perlite, and silica sand. It is very difficult to find silica sand, so this one is easily and most likely left out. Perlite is again found at most home improvement stores, so is easily found. We offer a pre-mixed peat:Perlite:silica sand mix at FlytrapStore if you don’t want to go find all the ingredients yourself or they aren’t available:
You can add Perlite to your peat moss at a ratio around 1:4 of Perlite:peat. If you do find silica sand (NOT play sand or other types of sand), you can add that at the same ratio.
If you are using peat moss, you’ll optimally want to “rinse it” after you pot up your Flytraps, by pouring mineral-free water over the top of your potted plants and letting it drain through and out of the pot’s drainage holes, away from the plant. Do this the first 3-4 times you do your normal watering after re-potting in new peat moss. This rinses the peat of any minerals it likely has in it.
As for premium long-fiber sphagnum moss, just make sure it’s premium. Much of this type of moss sold locally is very poor quality and will turn to mush and harm your Flytrap. The brand Besgrow sells premium long-fiber sphagnum. And a few retailers like FlytrapStore offer it too!
Peat mixes are advantageous in that they are less costly, and insulate more in extreme heat. Long-fibered sphagnum is advantageous in that Flytraps grow faster in it and recover from re-potting and transplanting faster in it.
Some people choose conglomerate growing mediums. For example, filling the bottom of the pot with peat moss, and the top with long-fiber sphagnum. We at FlytrapStore have not noticed any advantage to this, but some people enjoy experimenting. Just make sure none of the ingredients have the minerals that will harm Venus Flytraps!
Types of Pots
See this article here for information on how to choose a pot for your Venus flytrap:
Unpotting your Venus flytrap
When you remove your Venus flytrap from its current growing medium, your goal is to be careful to not damage the roots or plant. Sometimes this is unavoidable, especially when unpotting from long-fibered sphagnum moss, because the roots are intertwined in it. Do the best you can to gently remove your Venus flytrap from its growing medium while keeping its traps, rhizome, and roots intact.
If you have your Venus flytrap in a smaller pot, gently squeezing the sides of the pot can help to release the growing medium from the sides of the pot so you can shake out your Venus flytrap in one piece.
Gently pull or shake off the old growing medium. Gently clean the rhizome of any old slimy growth. Gently pick off old blackened traps. In general, you want to get your Venus flytrap safely out of its old growing medium, and clean it up nicely.
Potting Technique and Directions (“Brownies & Bundt Cake”)
Potting in Peat Moss
To pot in peat moss, first moisten your mix and distribute the water through the mix. Peat moss is hydrophobic, so it will take some massaging and movement to get it to absorb the water.
Next, you can start by filling your pot with growing medium. Tamp down the bottom 1/3 so its pretty dense and can hold water for longer (dense like a brownie!), but the rest of the growing medium should be looser, firm enough to hold the plant but not tightly packed around the plant. If you press on the top part of the growing medium it should be somewhat firm but bouncy, like a wet sponge (bouncy like a Bundt cake!).
Next, make a hole in the growing medium about the size of your finger. You can use your finger, a screwdriver is a great potting tool, too.
Now, gently guide the roots of your unpotted Flytrap down into the hold, and settle the plant down in the growing medium so that the rhizome “bulb” will be underground but no new baby traps are underground.
If a Flytrap has been potted too low or was recently Dormant and so has sunk underground a bit, this might mean a bit of white foliage is above ground, and this is OK. Just make sure the very lowest baby trap is just above ground at top soil level, and the rhizome is underground.
Now, holding the plant in place, with your hands fill in the hole with growing medium. Make sure the hole is completely filled in and the plant is nicely supported without any foliage being trapped underground. Don’t leave any part of the rhizome just hanging loose, like leaving an open-heart surgery open!
With Dormant Venus flytraps or low-growing rosetted Venus flytraps, this process is harder because the traps can curl around and down and try to make the rhizome pop out of its hole. Just be patient and gently tuck in growing medium under the traps to make sure the rhizome is supported and surrounded with growing medium.
Then with your hands gently level the top of the growing medium.
Finally, spray down the plant to remove any debris, just to keep it clean and fresh.
Potting in Long-Fibered Sphagnum Moss
If you are potting in New Zealand long-fibered sphagnum moss, moisten it and let it sit in water for 15 minutes or so, so that it really puffs up and gets softer.
Then, fill the bottom 1/3 or so of the pot densely with it so that it holds water longer (brownie!). Then, gently wrap a “double taco” of moss around the rhizome, which means apply a taco-shaped bundle of moss to one side, then a taco-shaped bundle of moss on the other side that overlaps the first taco.
You don’t want to wrap around and around the rhizome, because this will trap the rhizome and not allow it to grow appropriately. You want the rhizome covered and supported, but not sealed in very tight. Make sure the rhizome is entirely covered, but not tightly covered or wound-around, and that the traps are above-ground, and held nicely upright by the growing medium.
See this video here for a demonstration of this technique:
You don’t have to use the “double taco” technique exactly, just be sure to support and cover the rhizome without strangling it.
When you cover the rhizome with moss, make sure you haven’t covered any new baby traps with moss. The baby traps are your guide as to where your moss should be placed. You don’t want to cover any baby traps. You want the baby traps above ground, but also not too high above ground, just exactly at above-ground level.
Now that you have your Venus flytrap with a covered rhizome, you’ll want to place it in the pot on top of the “brownie” water-holding bottom 1/3. There will likely be moss hanging down below the covered rhizome, which is good because this provides a nice medium-density middle section of growing medium in the pot. If you don’t have any moss hanging down, you can add a medium-dense bit of moss to the top of the “brownie” before lowering your plant bundle in to the pot.
Optimally, you’ll have 3 layers, the bottom dense portion, the moderate-density middle, and the moderate-density top section that is covering and supporting the rhizome and plant.
Lower the bundle of plant/moss on top of the moss in your pot. The top of the rhizome and the tiny new baby traps should sit nicely even or a bit below the pot rim. If it sits down too low, add some moss to the top of the “brownie.” If it’s too high, gently remove some moss from the bottom of the bundle or from the pot if you had added some filler medium-density moss.
Now with the long-fibered sphagnum moss fill in the sides around the plant bundle that you’ve lowered in, so that it’s supported and generally even on top. A small tip is to use the puffier and wetter moss for this filling-in process, because it is easier to handle. Some moss pieces can be much more strand-like and less puffy, and they’re harder to work with, especially when filling in the open spaces. The puffier and very hydrated pieces are easier to work with.
When you do fill in the other areas, be careful that in doing so you don’t alter the nice placement of your plant at ground-level, for example, don’t accidentally push the plant down too far in the process of filling in the moss. Keep an eye on your plant as you fill in around it and adjust it as needed.
Overall, you do not want to pot your Venus flytrap plant too tightly in the moss – the top two-thirds should be the consistency of a moist cake like Bundt cake or Angel Food Cake – not too densely packed, but also not too airy and unsupportive, and most definitely with the rhizome entirely covered. The bottom part of the growing medium should be dense, but the top around the rhizome should be bouncier to the touch and allow for horizontal growth of the rhizome.
Finally, do a spot-check and make sure that the rhizome is covered. You’ll have to gently lift up the traps of low-growing rosetted plants or Dormant plants to check. Gently fill in any bits that are needed. Then, do a gentle pressure check across the top of the growing medium to make sure you don’t have any big sinkholes, and fill in as needed.
The last step is to spray the plant, to remove little bits of the long-fibered sphagnum that have surely found their way to the surface of your Venus flytrap plant. These bits don’t do any harm, except for maybe keeping some UV light from getting to the plant. This step is mostly for appearance’s sake. A fresh and clean repotted Venus Flyrap!
Potting Multiple Plants with your Venus flytrap
You can pot multiple Venus flytrap plants in one pot, just be sure to give them some horizontal growth room, about 3″ periphery at minimum.
You should only pot Flytraps and Capensis plants together, not Pitcher Plants, as Pitcher Plants require much more water, and too much water can rot your Venus Flytraps.
The layering and density is important because your Venus flytrap needs to be able to grow and receive water, but it doesn’t want to be suffocated or overwhelmed by water at all times. You want your Venus Flytrap to have access to water at all times, but not be completely immersed in water for too long, because this is not natural for the plant, and will lead to rot. Your Venus Flytrap likes to sip from a straw to get its water, not be doused and dunked in at all times. It is a myth that Venus flytraps are “swamp” plants. See this article here for more:
The density of the growing medium is important for the same reason. Your Venus flytrap needs to be nicely supported by growing medium, but not overwhelmed and packed in to it too tightly.
Of course, don’t forget, both the water and growing medium should be as mineral-free as possible, because Venus flytraps can get sick or even die if exposed to minerals, especially certain minerals. In nature, Venus flytraps evolved growing in mineral-poor growing medium with good drainage. Because the growing medium in nature didn’t have much food in it, it is theorized that at some point a Venus flytrap caught food in its trap, and those flytraps survived, and this is why Venus flytraps have the awe and wonder-inducing ability to close its traps!
Happy potting, re-potting, and transplanting, fellow Flytrap Enthusiasts! If you have any questions, please feel free to email Matt and Leah at email@example.com.