What are the basic things to know to keep a Venus Fly Trap alive?

There are really only 4 things Venus Fly Traps require to stay healthy:

  1. Sunlight: At least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day
  2. Water: rain, distilled or reverse osmosis water only
  3. Soil: Nutrient poor soil such as peat moss or sphagnum moss
  4. Dormancy: Venus Fly Traps require a 3-4 month dormancy period

Venus fly traps require a lot of light. They should receive at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day with 6 to 8 hours being ideal. It is best to grow your fly trap outside where it can get plenty of sun and catch its own food. It isn’t necessary to feed a Venus Fly Trap anything other than sunlight and water. If you do choose to feed it, don’t over do it. Feed it only insects and at most only a couple a month.

Venus fly traps need clean water. Usually tap water will not do. It is best to use distilled water, rain water, or reverse osmosis water. Venus fly traps need water with a TDS (total dissolved solids) measurement of 50 ppm (parts per million) or less. In order to get this, you probably need to use distilled water or reverse osmosis water or rain water. If desired, you can use a TDS meter to test your tap water and see if it is usable. I have read that growers use water with a TDS measurement between 50 ppm and 100 ppm, but this requires regular repotting to prevent mineral buildup in the soil. Venus Fly Trap soil should be kept wet at all times. It is best to use a tray and set the plant in about 1/2 inch of water.

If your Venus Fly Trap needs to be repotted, for Venus fly trap soil you should use a combination of peat moss and perlite. Most growers use a 50:50 mix of peat moss and perlite or peat moss and horticultural grade silica sand. Pure peat moss works well also. Venus Fly Traps aren’t picky, but be sure to use some form of peat moss or sphagnum peat moss to ensure that the media is nutrient poor. Using perlite helps keep their soil aerated which stimulates root growth, but in my growing experiences I haven’t noticed much of a difference between using pure peat or adding perlite. Vermiculite should be avoided because it can often contain minerals that will slowly poison Venus fly traps.  It is also important to note that clay pots shouldn’t be used because the minerals in the clay can seep into the soil and eventually cause harm to a Venus Fly Trap. For this reason, it’s best to use plastic pots. I prefer 3 inch or 4 inch pots because they provide enough room to accommodate the roots well.

When summer is over and fall has started, it is time to think about providing dormancy for your Venus Fly Trap. Without a dormancy period, your plant’s health will start to decline and it will eventually die. You can read more about your options for providing dormancy on the Venus Fly Trap Dormancy page, or in the Venus Fly Trap Dormancy FAQ section.

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