Venus Fly Trap help (I'm new)

zemiqAugust 21, 2005

I've never owned a VFT before, and I purchased one at Wal-Mart. I did a little research online and found out that the inside of their traps should be red to help them attract insects.

The ones I got are completely green on the inside. I'm guessing this is because they're grown with fertilizer (I read that somewhere). How do I help the plant get red on the inside of the traps? I'd rather it be more successful at catching insects and survive on its own than me having to continue fertilizing it. We get flies in this apartment all the time and it would actually be really cool if it'd catch the flies. However, I really just want it to be able to survive without fertilizer.

Also, any other tips on growing this plant successfully would be appreciated.

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Hi zemiq, a few basics for growing VFTs.

Don't give it fertilizer! If your on about anything but a foliar feed anyway because standard fertilizers will mean certain death for your plant.

Grow it in full sun and give it plenty of fresh air. Also ensure that you water it only with rain-water - most tap waters will kill a VFT.

Stand it in a dish filled with about one inch of rainwater throughout the growing season - never allowing it to dry out.

If you adhere to these basic rules, it should gain a little redish colouration in the centre of its traps unless it is an all green variety.

Try to shoe flies in the direction of the plant and if they land on a trap, they will begin to feed on a sweet nectar that is produced around the inside rim of the trap which will lure them towards trigger hairs in the centre.

You can feed the plant with any insect that isn't too small - As long as it is alive.

The plant actually only has to catch a very occasional insect to survive so don't bother fertilising it as it really wont need this anyway.

Hope this helps you out and welcome to the world of carnivorous plants.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 1:49PM
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No fertilizer, got it. That's actually a relief. And I didn't realize there were all green varieties. Thanks for all these tips. I will do all these things. My plant is little, and I want it to survive. It's a really neat addition to all my regular plants. :) Thanks! You've helped a lot!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 3:05PM
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First of all, welcome to carnivorous plants and the forum!

Second of all, just so you know, you can use distilled water on your Venus Flytrap as well. Most people don't have access to rain water, but you can easily find distilled water at any grocery store.

Also, I wouldn't put your Venus Flytrap in full sun just yet. Since you bought it at Wal-Mart it has probably been sitting either inside or at least in a shady location for awhile now. Gradually introduce it to full sun. By this I mean if you plan on growing it inside on a window sill, make sure you put it on a windowsill that doesn't receive scorching afternoon sun. Perhaps a windowsill with a few hours of direct morning sun will do for now. Then after a few days you can give it some more direct sun. This will prevent your new plant from being scorched since it isn't used to full sun.

Congratulations on your new Venus Flytrap and good luck growing!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 3:21PM
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I almost forgot! You have aquired your Venus Flytrap towards the end of its growing season, meaning that your plant will be requiring a dormancy in October (around Halloween) through February (around Valentine's Day). For this period you can trim of all its leaves and stick the pot in the fridge. Without dormancy, your plant won't survive into the next growing season!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 3:25PM
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I dissagree with LGecko. If you are a bigginer try to stay away from dormancy as much as you can. If your plant is growing fine, leave it alone. If it goes dormant then flollow the dormany propcedures.

One dormancy procedure is to leave it on a windosill where the plant could get at least four hours of sun a day. But you have to keep the soil barely moist instead of moist or wet, as you would during the growing season.

So you would have to water with a sprayer every day for at least three months until the plant starts to grow again.

If you leave in an area that gets winter. Then it is easyer, just leave the plant outside and keep it moist but not wet during the dormancy period. If it is outside during dormancy, make sure it has complete full sun during the dormancy period.

If you live in a tropical area, place your plant in the fridge where you place you vegetables. First you let the soil's water evaporate till it is barely moist, then place the pot inside a plastic bag, and then place it in the fridge

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 3:51PM
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akheadbanger(z?? OH)

Venus flytraps go into dormancy for a reason, They do in the wild, theirs some reason they go into dormancy and thats obviously for their rhymzone to grow. another way of making more plants, the rhymzone spliting! so If you want to go the natural way go the way LLeopardGGecko told you, but i wouldnt advize you doing what Bryon_1 is doing, the un-natural way.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 5:30PM
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akheadbanger, I never said that Venus Flytraps do not need dormancy. They need dormancy, the problem is, if your plant wants to go dormant, let it go dormant, but if it does not, let it grow. LGecko is stating to cut the leaves of the venus flytrap, and place it into dormancy whether it is going or not going dormant.

In the wild VFTs go dormant on their own. They are not placed into dormancy without wanting to go dormant.

I am showing the new guy how to place the plant into dormancy the safest way.

Many plants do not go dormant the first year that you buy them from a store. The longer he can stay with the plant growing, the more confident he is going to feel and the stronger the plant will get so that the plant can stand dormancy a lot better.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 11:26AM
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akheadbanger(z?? OH)

hmm ok sry, well i dont know... i must have miss interpreted what you said, I just think that you should leave the plant outside as long as it gets cold, when the leaves start to die trimm off the ones that die... they should all die during the winter dormancy, and pull them off as they die. I dont know im just confused.. sry!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 7:57PM
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Oh, come on, I have been growing VFTs for years. I have about a thoulsand. I have my own cultivars, Wally, All Purple, Red Giant, Saw Tooth Giant to name a few.

I have been studying the plant for years, and I have a web site on the subject, which has helped a lot of people.

I do not know if you have been following Sheldon's latest conversation about a nursery in South Africa where the plants are place dormant outside. And the place is almost tropical.

Like I always say, if a VFT does not wants to go dormant, let it be, that is all. If you place the plant into dormancy during the winter (in the fridge) and the plant is not dormant the plant will not regognise that as dormancy. When you take the plant out again, it may go dormant again, and you may loose it, because it has been wasting time inside the fridge when it was not really dormant.

Please do not confuse my knowledgeble writings as pomposity. I am only trying to help like any one else.

Sorry that I can not be able to socialize with you guys. The only thing I have time for is to help people in this forum. I just do not feel like socializing right now due to some life problems I am having right now. So I am not really myself right now.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 1:10AM
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akheadbanger(z?? OH)

im just in over my head sorry like i said.. i just need to pay more atention to what i say, Im sorry you are like this huge totaly awsome Expert, i shouldnt be questioning you, i just have that kinda head strong aproch most of the time, much apolagies, Sorry


    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 9:22PM
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necro1234(z6 UT)

Well I have spoken to nurserymen about the growing methods of Byron and none of them have said he is wrong.
In fact many have said to me they have had "mixed results" depending on the growing conditions and that a VFT would and could grow for many years as they have seen and heard without dormency as long as it is cared for properly.
They did say that they leave theirs out for winter in the cold so that the plants are in a more "natural situation" and go dorment on their own.
When the plants leaves start to die back they are of course removed.
Guys from cobraplant said when I asked about plants falling dorment in warmer climates (with warmer winters) that from what they have seen, the plant falls dorment, but it goes into a lighter state of dormency than when under harsher winters like from which they originate.
I am 100% sure Byrons way works just perfectly, I think all that would be needed is practise as with any growing method.
Since I am in a colder climate like Utah (in winter) I have stared growing my plants outdoors.
I thought this would be best since the temp has dropped now away from the 100's F and that the plants can go dorment as it pleases.



    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 10:55AM
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The best way to keep your VFT without dormancy for many years is to keep the plant in a terrarium under florecent lighting, and near an air conditioning flow so that the plant gets to enjoy a temperature from 75F - 82F. With careful watering habits (keeping the plant moist at all times, but not wet or with foggy terrarium walls) and a good strong cool florecent tube, you can keep you plant beautiful for years without domancy.

Also, it is very important to always keep the same photo period. Changing it can cause the plant to go dormant.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 3:58PM
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I just bought a little VFT at Walmart. Should I keep th e plant in both contaniers? Or should I transplant it> The contaner that it came in is VERY small.I'm just worried about my new baby..New mother worries

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 9:57PM
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what type of container is it? does it look like a transparent cube with a top cover or is it a small 3" inch pot?

if it came in those small clear cubes is best to transplant your little flytrap into a Pot/container with drainage holes. if you are thinking of transplant your VFT, make sure to gather the soil around it, then scoop up your little vft along with its soil. this will have greater less chances to give it transplanting shock.

after scooping up your VFt along with its soil, make sure you have a small 3" or 4" inch pot. then plant it in its new little home. after transplanting, you may over head water it, this overhead watering should be only done carefully. this will adjust the plants roots to its new surroundings.

then, you may keep watering your little plant with a saucer by filling it in with purified water, atleast 1 1/2 " an inch an a half tall of water in the saucer. then sumerge the pot with the potted plant into the water. this is the easiest ways to water Vfts. it will keep its soil moist at all times during the growing season(late february - late october)

after transplanting your plant, you may grow it under lights. it may keep growing during the winter dormancy but that is alright. it will fall dormant next season.

all my plants i grow outdoors are beginning to show signs of slower growth each day. they will begin to fall dormant soon.

No need to worry, vfts are one of the easiest carnivorous plants to grow. just give it plenty of full sun or bright light(not shade) and always keep its compost/soil moist at all times. no feeding is really necessary when they begin to recover. if growned outside, they will catch prey on their own.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 11:52AM
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With my experience of VFT...they are easy to care for as long as you don't neglect them. Someone said to keep it nice and moist. I kept mine moist (never dried them out) but I accidently overwatered my last one and killed it. You can overwater them. When it was overwatered it was also later in the year so there wasn't enough light to evaporate some of it. I had my first one for about a year (and i left it on the back porch one day....only one and the summer sun turned the plant completely brown!!! I cried) I've had VFT's bloom for me and everything. They are such neat little plants. It's okay to occasionally activate a plant, but overdoing it can cause damage. Don't give it a bug too big or the entire "leaf" that eats the bug will rot. Have fun, and as soon as my walmart here gets one...I'm getting VFT number three and will take precautions not to overwater or take outside where it will burn.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 1:15PM
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Kate: The bigger the pot the better. you can transplant it but I would coax the entire contents, as one unit, into a larger pot, so as to minimize root disturbance. VFT's do best when outside ind direct sunlight, in well-drained soil media (sand, peat, and long fibered sphagnum). They don't like to sit in water, but will do well to be frequently topeatered, with water allowed to drain through. This is a tough time of year to buy a VFT, though. You CAN place it at a cold window sill for the next half year, though. I live in Buffalo, NY and have mine in the attic for the winter, where it is both cold, and receiving light through the window, telling it to sleep and then wake up in 6 or so months.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 10:25PM
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ive have purchased a venus fly trap from a nursery and i live in england dormancy is coming and im not sure what to do my vft has started to go brown on the spikes at the end
please HELP!!!!!!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 7:43AM
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I have grown VFT's for years under all kind's of conditions. there are a lot of light's out there. I can tell you the best way to grow VFT's inside that anyone can do. without going broke. just email me

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 10:49PM
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It froze. I put it in the fridge like suggested and it froze. I hope I didn't kill it...

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 1:13PM
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Did you put it in the ice box or was it simply put in a place on the fridge that was simply too cold. Was the soil forzen solid? when i put my dormant plants, i make sure that the fridge isn't set on hight and put it away from any area that i know had frozen lettuce and tomatoes solid. Check the bulb to see if it has turned to mush when it thawed. If it didn't let us know.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 12:51AM
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VFT's can tolerate freezes, as long as it wasn't FROZEN. Right before I put mine in a butter keeper, they froze overnight in a screened in porch. They didn't die at all.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 11:18AM
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I must say, I love this. I hope more people take a little time and read all this before they post their typical fly trap questions. Three cheers for people who reserect old posts! :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Tangled Web of Aracknight

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 12:06AM
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i bought this carnivorous terrarium kit, with seeds of various types of carnivorous plants including Venus fly trap... i followed the directions, i stratified the seeds for a whole month which was very difficult because i'm not a very patient person. (they said to leave the seeds in the fridge for 2 month, but got impatient after the 1 month) anyway, after stratification i placed the terrarium in hot weather close to 80 f, plenty of strong light but not in direct sun. now its been like that for 2 months and absolutely no result, no seed germination, no nothing. i don't know what to do next. i'm having strong urges to dump the whole thing in the garbage!! any help tips?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 12:29PM
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Stratify them again.
And this time be patient!!LOL

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 4:21PM
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Patience is key to stratifying seeds of North American plants of any type. In any case, the Venus Flytrap seed should have sprouted by now. That terrarium kit is the worst idea I have seen in all my decades for North American carnivorous plants in any case. First off, it is not for beginners. Second off, carnivorous plant seed rarely take 100 percent, so you rarely have all of the species germinate. Third off, terrariums are the best way to kill carnivorous plants by promoting fungus, reducing the amount of sun they can recieve, and the drainage problems of terrariums promote bacterial infection to boot. Oh, one other point is that carnivorousplants take years to grow to a good size, so is also terrible for those of us with little patience. Some of the seeds might even take 6 months to actually sprout if at all.

If you keep the kit, try stratifying them again for 8 weeks as carnivorousplants advised and then when you take it out of the fridge, ditch the terrarium top, drill some holes in the bottom and place it in a tray of 1 inch water under good window or florescent light and hope for the best.

You can never tell how long the seeds they sent you in those little gimmick kits have been sitting around in cold strorage. The only stay viable for about a year or two. The Venus Flytrap seeds do not need stratification, but can survive cold overwintering, so it wont hurt anything to keep them cold, but that kit did not even tell you that the Flytrap seeds did not need stratification I bet. The other North Amrican seeds from the pitcher plants and sundews will need stratification for sure. Without cold, damp conditions their seed coats do not break down and allow them to germinate.

If you are interested in growing carnivorous plants, get a real bargain by trading or asking for plants from growers here or by buying from a specialist nursery and obtaining adult plants with no nonsense instructions or silly terrariums to start with. Not many carnivorous plants need a terrarium to grow well (only a few of the finicky tropicals) in most environments.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 7:22PM
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hello, i just bought my VFT today from Lowe's, and it turned brown on me, i wonder if it is ill or dead. Ihope hope not the dead part. Is there any type of help i can do to revive it back to health and see the green in it again. Please help me, i really like these plants, and love to keep one for along time

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 10:06PM
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It's possible, but hard to say without examining it. for now i would put your plant / pot in a plastic container of distilled water, preferably under an artificial light... and wait until it responds or indicates otherwise. I can take weeks, if alive, for it to show new growth.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 8:47AM
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hey thanks, but what if i dont have any artificale lighting for it, is it ok to set it out in its box in the sun for awhile?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 12:29PM
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These belong OUSIDE in full Sun all day. They are not outdoor plants. Set the pot in a tray of rain or distilled water about an inch deep. It's hard to say if it'll come back.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 4:37PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Calm down Tommy, you just contradicted your self. Wish you could edit these posts.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 11:35AM
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Yes, I meant INdoor of coarse. I am calm by the way.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 12:00PM
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im totaly a newby when my plants are at the stage of feeding i'm a fisherman could a give them the ocational maggot

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 6:29PM
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