How Venus Flytraps Work

Growing Flytraps at Home

A terrarium provides a humid, moist environment for plant growth.
A terrarium provides a humid, moist environment for plant growth.
Photo courtesy Ron Gladkowski

Unless you live where Venus Flytraps grow naturally, you probably won't be able to just plop one into the dirt in your garden and watch it grow. However, if you are willing to invest a little time and effort, you can certainly grow Venus Flytraps at home.

The basic rule for growing Venus Flytraps is to mimic the conditions in which they normally prosper. This means that they must be in an environment that is:


  • Humid - You'll need to think a bit about the weather where you live. If you live in an area renowned for its humidity, such as the Tropics or the Southeastern United States, you can probably grow these plants in a simple pot. However, in areas with low humidity, like the Southwestern United States, you'll need to invest in a small terrarium. With a terrarium, you grow plants enclosed in a transparent, loose-lidded container that retains moisture and keeps the air humid while still letting in plenty of sunlight.
  • Wet - You will have to check the soil in the pot or terrarium frequently to make sure that it never dries out. But you shouldn't overdo it either; Venus Flytraps need moist soil to keep their roots wet, but they don't want to be submerged in water!
  • Acidic - You'll need to go to a garden supply store and purchase a mixture of peat moss and sand with a nutrient content similar to that in a bog. Forget the ads you've seen on TV for fertilizers to grow huge, healthy plants. Venus Flytraps only grow to about 5 inches tall, with about 4 to 8 traps per plant. If you add excess nutrients to your Venus Flytrap to try and make it bigger, you may end up hindering rather than helping its growth because the plant has evolved to prosper in nutrient-poor environments.
  • Full of insects - If your plant is growing in a terrarium or inside your house, where there is not a copious supply of spiders, flies and other Flytrap delicacies, you will have to provide them yourself. Their appetite is not voracious; two or three small insects (such as a housefly) per month will do the trick. If your plant is not outdoors, you also may have to manually clean out the leftovers following a meal; without rain and wind to aid in its dispersal, the exoskeleton -- dinner's leftovers -- may not be completely removed from the trap.

For more information on Venus Flytraps and related topics, check out the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links