Full sun (at least 6 hours per day) is recommended, however it is possible to grow indoors under bright artificial light. If you grow them indoors be sure to provide them with a winter dormancy (Although this may not technically be required).
Always keep them sitting in a tray or planter with a few inches of mineral free water. You always want to keep them “wet”, as their native environment is bogs, fens, and swamps. Always use rain, distilled, or reverse osmosis only. More information on water can be reviewed here (Link). These plants are especially sensitive to their water quality and it is very important to give them quality mineral free water.
Temperature and Dormancy:
Venus Flytraps are warm-temperate plants meaning that they need warm summers and chilly winters. They should be grown outdoors year-round in areas with mild winters. They thrive in temperatures ranging from 20 degrees – 90 F degrees and can take a freeze or high temperature spike up to 100 F degrees for a brief period.
If you live in an area with very cold winters, where night time temperatures drop below 20 degrees for sustained periods, you have three options for providing them with a winter dormancy. Dormancy is triggered by a combination of exposure to shorter photo periods and cooler temperatures in the 50-60’s F. While you can skip a dormancy period once or twice, long term your plant will begin to do poorly and will eventually die if you skip this crucial period.
- Option 1 – bring your plant(s) indoors to a sunny windowsill in an unheated room or garage where the night time temperatures will dip down into the 50-60 F. Leave it sitting in water during this period and put it outside again when outside temperatures increase.
- Option 2 – Use mulch to insulate them very well outdoors. You will need to pack at least four inches of mulch on top of the plants and all around the sides to prevent winds from chilling them.
- Option 3 – Remove the plants from their pots, gently clean the roots of soil, wrap the roots in a bit of damp long-fibered New Zealand sphagnum moss, place the plants in a seal-able bag and put the bag into the refrigerator. Leave them in the refrigerator from October to February, periodically checking on them to make sure they are still a bit moist and are not growing any fungus. Pot them back up in February.
No Dormancy option? – Per John Brittnacher of the International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS), it is possible to grow the Venus Flytrap plant year-round without dormancy. This requires a constant temperature, appropriate lighting, watering, etc. This is not yet a widely accepted way to grow Venus Flytraps, however many use this very technique to skip dormancy the first year for seedlings to allow them to gain some size. If you feel up to the challenge, and don’t mind losing a few plants to experimentation it would seem to be a great way to grow and observe these plant year-round. The ICPS Newsletter (Volume 48, Number 4 December 2019) details this method, and can be reviewed here (View on ICPS Site here).
A 50/50 mix of sphagnum peat moss and pertlite seem to be ideal for this plant. More details on soil for this plant and others is available on this page (Link).
Feeding and Fertilizer:
When grown outdoors Venus flytraps will catch plenty of food and generally do not need to be supplemented. You can still supplement with a foliar fertilizer. specifically Maxsea. Mix 1/4 teaspoon Maxsea fertilizer into one gallon of mineral free water and then apply to the leaves and traps (try to avoid triggering the traps by avoiding the trigger hairs whenever possible). More details are available on this page (Link) as well as available for purchase in my store (Link).
You can also give them their “favorite food” … FLIES!!!… It is best to “stun”, not kill the flies you catch, as the traps will only stay closed if they sense movement. If you have a dead fly, you can put it in the trap and move it around. This will cause the trap to close, but generally not seal. To get the trap to seal, you need to massage the trap for a few seconds every few minutes (2-3 times), to simulate the movement that a live fly would make. If you do not massage the trap, it will most likely open back up the following day, not having digested the fly.
You can also purchase live meal worms, or very small crickets from most pet shops.
Note: About 5-7 days after your Venus Flytraps “chomps” down on your food of choice, that trap will open back up. Inside you will find the exoskeleton of the digested fly, etc. This is merely the outer husk of whatever you fed your flytrap, the plant will liquify the insides, and leave the rest behind as it has no nutritional value. You can simply let the wind/rain wash this away (if outside), or use tweezers or similar implement to remove it (if indoors), however you should avoid triggering the trap at all costs…If you can’t do it, just leave it.