Flytraps grow well both indoors or outdoors in a sunny, wind-free position. Do not plant your plant in unglazed ceramic, clay or tin containers. If you want to plant a flytrap directly into the ground you need to prepare a special bog-type garden using a mixture of sphagnum peat and washed silica sand as they have very specific soil requirements. Ordinary soil will kill your plant.
During the growing season in summer, give your flytrap six or more hours of direct sun for vigorous growth. If full sun is not possible, provide a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight with bright indirect light for the rest of the day. Your plant won’t be as vibrant or sturdy as one grown in full sun but you will still be able to maintain good growth.
Flytraps originate from an area where temperatures regularly rise above 32°C in summer 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.
Your plant needs mineral-free water. Collect rainwater or use reverse-osmosis or distilled water to ensure the long-term health of your plant. Stand your plant in a tray of water at all times and let it drink from the bottom. Never let the soil dry out completely. In summer fill the tray with 4-6 cm of water and refill the tray every second day. In winter refill the tray about twice a week so the soil remains damp. Too much water in winter may results in root rot.
Flytraps need nutrient-free soil. Use a blend of sphagnum peat and washed silica sand available from jozicarnivores.co.za or certain nurseries. You may repot your plant every year. Changing the soil restores soil acidity, improves root aeration and strengthens the health of your plants. If necessary place the plant in a larger pot as flytraps tend to grow faster and larger when their roots have room to grow. You can repot your plants at any time of the year. Repot in late winter or early spring for robust plants in time for summer. Never use potting soil, compost or fertilizer. These ingredients will kill your plant.
Venus flytraps go dormant in winter and plant growth will slow and eventually stop altogether. This dormancy period is necessary for the long-term health of the plant. The flytrap stops producing traps and the existing traps stop catching insects. The leaves of the flytrap will turn brown around the edges and the plant trap may appear sickly or even dead. This 3-4 month period of winter dormancy corresponds to when there is little or no prey for the plants to catch and is triggered by cold temperatures below 10°C and shorter daylight hours. 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. 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 standing water to prevent its soil from drying out.
EARLY SPRING CARE
Flytraps are hardy perennial plants that emerge from dormancy and start growing strongly in spring when the temperature start to rise and daylight hours become longer. Clip off all leaves from the previous year to make way for flower buds and new leaf growth. Flytraps get a small white flower in springtime but this can deplete the plant’s energy. Cut off the flower to encourage better growth and a stronger plant.
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.