Venus flytraps love full sun. They grow well both indoors on a sunny window sill or outdoors in a sunny, wind-free position. They also grow very well in a conservatory or greenhouse. A south facing position in the southern hemisphere will not provide your Venus flytrap with sufficient light and it will not thrive and grow well.
Full sun is very important for the Venus flytrap. In summer when the plant is growing strongly, it will need 5+hours of direct sun for vigorous growth. If this is not possible, a minimum of 4 hours of direct sunlight with bright indirect light for the rest of the day will be acceptable. Your plant won’t be as vibrant or sturdy as one grown in full sun but it will still be able to maintain good growth.
Flytraps originate from an area where temperatures regularly rise above 32°C so they can tolerate heat very well. In their native habitat the soil temperature is moderated by a slow seepage of cool spring water. When growing flytraps in containers you need to pay attention to soil temperature as plants can overheat when the soil temperature approaches 43° C. This can happen when the daytime temperature rises above 38°C. At these temperatures you will need to top water your plants daily to prevent the roots from overheating.
Venus flytraps are sensitive to the type of water they receive. Like other carnivorous plants, they require water that is mineral-free and soft. Using the wrong water can impact of the long term health of your Venus flytrap. It is advisable to use rainwater, reverse-osmosis or distilled water to ensure the long-term health of your plant. Ordinary tap water can be used occasionally as it preferable to letting you plant dry out or becoming dehydrated. Never let the soil dry out completely.
Stand your plant in a tray of water and let it drink from the bottom. This replicates the bog conditions found in nature where your plant grows. In summer fill the tray with 4-6 cm of water and refill the tray approximately every second day. In winter refill the tray about twice a week so the soil remains damp. Too much water in winter may result in root rot.
It is not necessary to feed your flytrap. Carnivorous plants have adapted to capturing insects on their own and insects will naturally be attracted to your plant. If you choose to feed your plant use live wriggling insects. Do not feed your plant meat. Do not stick your fingers into the flytrap. It wastes their energy and is bad for the plant. Chemical fertilizers will kill your plant quickly. Feeding is not required at all during the winter months when the plant is dormant.
Your Venus flytrap will start growing strongly in spring and produce new traps. Clip off dead leaves from the previous season. to stimulate more growth. Your Venus flytrap may grow a flower on a long stalk during the spring. This flower uses a lot of energy of the plant and can cause the plant to become sickly, weak and even cause it to die. It is advisable to remove the bud from the plant before it flowers.
Venus flytraps go dormant in winter. During this time, the plant stops producing traps and the existing traps stop catching insects. This 3-4 month period of winter dormancy is necessary for the long-term health of the plant and corresponds to when there are little or no prey for the plants to catch. It is triggered by cold temperatures below 10°C and shorter daylight hours.
During dormancy, the existing leaves of the flytrap will turn yellow around the edges and then turn black black. The plant may appear sickly or even dead. Keep removing dead traps and leaves to prevent mold.
Your flytrap can tolerate temperatures as low as -7°C and overnight frost with minimal protection. They are however susceptible to frost burn when grown in containers and they will require protection when temperatures fall below -7°C or whenever there is a combination of freezing temperatures and wind. You can cover the flytrap with black plastic or move it into an unheated space indoors. As soon as the freeze is over and the temperature climbs above 2° C uncover your plant and allow it to continue its dormancy outdoors. Even while dormant, your plant will still need to sit in a small amount of water to prevent its soil from drying out.
Venus flytraps need an acidic, nutrient-free soil. Normal potting soil will kill the plant as it is too rich. Instead use a blend of sphagnum peat and perlite available from jozicarnivores.co.za or certain nurseries.
You can re-pot your plant every year or two as changing the soil restores soil acidity, improves root aeration and strengthens the general health of your plants. Venus flytraps tend to grow faster and larger in a bigger pot when their roots have room to grow. You can re-pot your plants at any time of the year but late winter or early spring is best before any major growth has taken place.
Do not plant your plant in unglazed ceramic, clay or tin pots as these types of containers can change the acidity of the soil. If you want to plant a flytrap directly into the ground you will need to prepare a special outside bed filled with a sufficient mixture of sphagnum peat and perlite in order to accommodate the specific soil requirements of your plant.
Never use compost or fertilizer as these will kill your plant. Should you feel your plants need a boost, please email us for advice.