How to Grow and Feed a Venus Fly Trap
As far as plants go, the carnivorous venus fly trap is a pretty impressive and somewhat alien plant. Believe it or not, you would actually be doing the plant a favour by growing them at home as the species is currently threatened and considered vulnerable in the wild. Its native environment are small areas of the United States, that have now largely been taken over by humans.
This means that although you wouldn’t be helping the natural conservation by growing it at home, you would at least be ensuring the species lives on for future generations to enjoy. And the venus fly trap is widely enjoyed and is a popular plant – especially among children. The only things that don’t enjoy venus fly traps are insects and spiders which form the plant’s unusual diet.
The venus fly trap is not only strange because it preys on insects for nutrition, but also the way in which it does it, with a closing trap that triggers once the creepy crawly comes into contact with the plant. This is different to other carnivorous plants that normally rely on sticky gunk (for lack of a better word) to trap their prey.
The Perfect Conditions for a Venus Flytrap Houseplant
The perfect conditions for a venus fly trap are primarily ones where it has access to food. Keeping a venus fly trap in bug sterile environments is probably going to result in a dead or very unhealthy plant. It is also worth noting that although venus fly traps do capture flies, to great effect, they aren’t always the best option for pest control.
This is because a single fly trap plant can only catch and eat a select number of flies at any time. And the digestion process is a slow one, with the plant taking an average of ten days to digest a single fly. That means that if you’re particularly buzzed off by the influx of flies during the summer, you are best looking to alternate pest control means – or buying a few venus fly traps to cope with the situation.
Venus fly traps are popular houseplants nonetheless and they can often be seen as a sort of plant pet. This is because they require nutrition in the same way a pet would and they live for a long time, with plants normally living over twenty years. Longer lived venus fly traps have been noted to live upwards of thirty years, making them one of the longest living houseplants that are commonly available.
So, remember a venus fly trap is for life, not just for Christmas.
The plants themselves are evergreen, enjoy being grown in direct sunlight and thrive in moist and humid conditions. They don’t need aftercare such as pruning, and they don’t get sick very often – making them a simple plant to maintain.
How to Feed a Venus Fly Trap
In most UK homes, a venus fly trap will have enough prey to survive without the need for additional food supplies. During the warmer months, flies, bees, and other winged insects are in abundance and surplus to the fly traps needs. At other times of the year, spiders and daddy long legs will be easy pickings for your hungry plant with the latter being a bit of a horrifying thing to behold, mainly because the trap doesn’t always close fully.
A common problem arises when this happens and a trap doesn’t shut fully, because it exposes the fly trap to bacteria which then causes that specific trap to die after digestion has been completed. This is nothing to worry about and the dead trap will either drop on its own or it can be pruned. The plant will replace any lost traps as well so don’t panic if a trap turns black after it has eaten a daddy long legs!
Another aspect of the venus fly trap is that the trap itself will have a finite number of times that it can digest before it dies. This amount depends on the plant and its age, but typically each trap will last about four feeds before it dies, and the plant replaces it. This can be alarming if all of the traps happen to die at around the same time, but don’t worry, let the venus fly trap do its thing.
If you do find yourself needing to buy food for your venus fly trap, this is very simple as most pet shops will have insects as a pet food source or failing that, fishing shops because insects are sometimes used as bait. Or if you want to avoid the cost, then ready yourself with a glass and piece of paper and go insect hunting yourself.
Where to Buy a Venus Flytrap (and Other Interesting Houseplants)
If venus fly traps are just mad enough to make you want to own one, then we have some wonderful venus fly traps at Gardeners Dream. They make excellent presents for children, especially those that like to bury their heads in weird and wonderful books about bugs.
We aren’t going to lie, they are a bit macabre but in the best way possible, and you can spend endless amounts of time watching them eat things. In general, carnivorous plants are better grown indoors in the UK as they are normally native to tropical or sub-tropical climates. Sourcing plants other than venus fly traps may prove a bit difficult, and some of the carnivorous plants can be downright messy.
You have been warned!