Venus Flytrap Lighting requirements

Adequate lighting is very important to keep a Venus flytrap healthy.  During their active growing season, Venus flytraps should receive a minimum of 12 hours of light. A minimum of 4 hours of direct sunlight is recommended. The more direct light the plant receives the healthier the plant will be.

The absolute best place to grow Venus flytraps is outside. The sun’s UV rays kill most mold and fungus spores. The rain washes them away. The wind blows them away.

Venus flytraps growing outdoors are always on the hunt and usually capture a lot of prey. Outdoor growing is the easiest way to keep your Venus flytrap at its healthiest. We recommend only growing Venus flytraps outdoors.

Growing Venus Flytraps outdoors

Choose an open area outdoors to grow your Venus flytraps and you won’t have to worry about making sure that they get adequate light. They will get all the light that they need to be at their healthiest.

In an extremely hot and dry climate, it is best to provide some shelter from mid-day sun so that Venus flytraps don’t get burned or dried out.  Shade cloth between 30% and 50% will work well. Similarly, dappled light through the leaves of a shade tree will provide some reprieve from the intense sun while still providing adequate light for optimal health.

As mentioned before, if grown outside, Venus flytraps will catch all the food they need on their own!  However, if you really want to keep your little friend inside, then be sure to place it in a south, east or west-facing windowsill that gets at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. It is good to regularly feed Venus flytraps that are grown indoors.

Department store Venus Flytraps

Venus flytraps at hardware stores are often stuck on a shelf where they receive woefully inadequate lighting.

If you just bought a Venus flytrap from the hardware store or similar where the plant was receiving very low-intensity light and wasn’t in direct sunlight at all, then you will want to harden off your Venus flytrap. Slowly introduce the plant to direct sunlight to prevent its leaves from burning and dying.

Start off by giving it an hour or so of direct sunlight for a few days, then increase the exposure to sunlight to a couple of hours for a few days and continue to increase the Venus flytrap’s exposure to sunlight until you can just leave it out in the sun all day.

Alternatively, you could just put the plant in direct sunlight right out of the store. All of the leaves will burn and turn yellow or brown and then eventually black. But it won’t be long before it starts sending out new leaves. These new leaves and traps will be fully hardened to the sun.

Be warned! There is a small risk of killing the plant if you decide to just throw it out in the sun.

Growing your Venus flytrap indoors

If you are unable to grow your Venus flytrap outside where it can get all the sunlight and bugs it needs, there are a few options for indoor growers. After growing outdoors, a sunny window that faces south is your next best option. As long as the Venus flytrap receives 4+ hours of direct sunlight in the window, it should grow well. An east or west-facing windowsill can work too.

If you live in a basement or in an apartment with only north-facing windows, you might have to use artificial lighting to help your plant grow well. Venus flytraps can grow very well under fluorescent lights. However, they are more susceptible to disease. The most challenging part of indoor growing is to provide them with a proper dormancy.

Venus flytraps will eventually die if grown under fluorescent lights year-round with the same amount of light each day. Venus flytraps require an annual dormancy period. It is possible to grow Venus flytraps under lights during the summer and then move them elsewhere for dormancy. A cool windowsill, unheated porch or garage, or outside (in mild climates) can work for winter dormancy.

Similarly, Venus flytraps can be grown outdoors in the spring, summer and fall months. Then moved indoors during the winter months. This works well for most climates in the middle and the northern United States. In the southern US where it rarely freezes or frosts, flytraps can be grown outdoors year-round.

Growing Venus Flytraps under artificial lighting

Another alternative to outdoor growing is to use indoor artificial lighting. You can find many different kinds of expensive “plant” lights at your local nursery or hardware store, but many growers find success with regular fluorescent lights.

If you choose to use fluorescent lights, keep the Venus flytrap within 8 inches of the light. This will ensure that the Venus flytrap receives enough light to stay healthy. The closer to the light the plant is the better.

Below is a picture of a setup of Venus flytraps growing indoors. Notice the fluorescent lights just above the plants. In the photo, the plants are approximately 2 inches from the light.

Adolescent Venus Flytraps under artificial lighting
Adolescent Venus Flytraps under artificial lighting

When choosing a lighting setup for your Venus flytrap, an economical choice is a compact fluorescent bulb. Use bulbs labeled “cool white” or “cool blue” in color temperature. This means that the bulbs will have a color temperature in the 6500-kelvin range, which is ideal for growing.

Warmer colors, like those in the 3000-kelvin range, are better suited for flowering. 200-watt compact fluorescent bulbs with a color temperature of 6500K are an affordable choice. One bulb would work well for a few Venus flytraps.

If you are interested in an economical indoor-growing setup, look for a shop light fixture and T8 bulbs. These can be purchased for relatively little money and are commonly found at large retail and hardware stores. Again, look for the “cool white” T8 bulbs.