Venus Flytrap Problems: Tips On Getting A Venus Flytrap To Close

Venus Flytrap Problems: Tips On Getting A Venus Flytrap To Close

By: Amy Grant

Carnivorous plants are endlessly fascinating. One such plant, the Venus flytrap, or Dionaea muscipula, is native to boggy areas of North and South Carolina. While the flytrap photosynthesizes and garners nutrients from the soil just as other plants, the fact is that boggy soil is less than nutritious. For this reason, the Venus flytrap has adapted to ingesting insects to round out its need for nutrients. If you are lucky enough to have one of these charmingly strange plants, you may have encountered some Venus flytrap problems – namely getting a Venus flytrap to close.

My Venus Flytrap Won’t Close

Probably the biggest reason your Venus flytrap does not snap shut is because it’s exhausted, sort of. The leaves of the flytrap have short, stiff cilia or trigger hairs. When something touches these hairs enough to bend them, the dual lobes of the leaves close, effectively trapping the “something” inside in less than a second.

There is a lifespan for these leaves, however. Ten to twelve times of snapping shut and they cease to function as trapping leaves and remain open, functioning as photosynthesizers. Chances are good that a store bought plant has already been jostled in transit and played with by any number of potential buyers and are just plain done. You will have to wait patiently for new traps to grow.

It is also possible that the reason your Venus flytrap doesn’t snap shut is because it’s dying. Blackening leaves may signal this and are caused by bacteria, which may infect the trap if it hasn’t completely closed when feeding, as when an overly large bug is caught and it can’t shut tightly. A complete seal of the trap is needed to keep the digestive juices in and bacteria out. A dead plant will be brown-black, mushy, and have a rotting odor.

Getting a Venus Flytrap to Close

If you feed your Venus flytrap a dead insect, it will not struggle and signal the cilia to close. You have to manipulate the trap gently to simulate a live insect and allow the trap to snap shut. The trap then secretes digestive juices, dissolving the soft innards of the bug. After five to 12 days, the digestive process is completed, the trap opens and the exoskeleton is blown away or washed out with the rain.

Getting your flytrap to close may be a matter of temperature regulation. Venus flytraps are sensitive to the cold which will cause the traps to close very slowly.

Keep in mind that the hairs on the traps or lamina have to be stimulated for the trap to shut. At least one hair must be touched twice or several hairs in rapid succession as when an insect is struggling. The plant can distinguish between a living insect and say, raindrops, and will not close for the latter.

Lastly, like most plants, the Venus flytrap lies dormant during the fall through to the following spring. During this time period, the trap is in hibernation and has no need for additional nutrition; hence, the traps do not respond to stimulus. Overall green color in the leaves indicates the plant is simply resting and fasting and not dead.

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Dionaea muscipula (Venus Flytrap)

Trying to grow a Venus Flytrap as a houseplant (which also goes by the name Dionaea muscipula) is something many people will have tried at one time or another. Although only a few of us will have kept it alive longer than a few weeks.

Let's be fair, we all know that the Venus Flytrap is well known for those fascinating traps that are just begging to be closed. A small carnivorous plant that reacts and moves in front of your eyes, it's no wonder we love them! So why do they do so poorly in our homes?

Despite their popularity the main reason they expire quite quickly in the hands of a lay person is the lack of correct care. We won't say they're simple plants to have around, but with some adjustment to how you might treat and care for a "normal" houseplant they can certainly live in your home or office longer than just a few weeks (up to 30 years actually!).

They can certainly live in your home or office longer than just a few weeks (up to 30 years actually!)

There is only the one species of Venus Flytrap, so although there are different variety's you can get hold of, most need identical care requirements and will have quite similar growth patterns. The cultivars create individuality by their appearance, some have larger traps and others have different markings or colours.

However these are only likely to appeal to the seasoned collector due to the price they can command. Even standard Venus Flytraps can be expensive whereas the cultivars can fetch a great deal more, so as you might be able to predict this means these plants are sometimes difficult to find.

Taking stock so far, we've told you that Venus Flytraps are difficult to keep, expensive and hard to find. We haven't really sold the Dionaea muscipula to you have we!

At the end of the day a lot of people have a soft spot for these quirky plants and you'll either love or hate the idea of them. The negatives might not be negatives depending on your perspective so once you have your new plant all you need to know is how to keep your Venus Flytrap alive, which we're talk more about later.

The main reason for failure is that these plants are typically a victim of their own popularity, it seems everyone out there has an idea about how a Venus Flytrap needs to be treated.

Some suggestions are correct and others total myths. Mess up on just one of the care requirements and you're potentially doomed. On top of that don't forget a rest is needed in Winter and you must understand the purpose of the traps and stop abusing them. Which leads us on nicely to the actual care instructions.


What is the Venus Fly trap

The Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is a carnivorous plant native to subtropical wetlands on the East Coast of the United States in North Carolina and South Carolina Venus flytrap, (Dionaea muscipula), also called Venus's flytrap, perennial carnivorous plant of the sundew family (Droseraceae), notable for its unusual habit of catching and digesting insects and other small animals The trap of a Venus fly trap is actually a modified leaf. A plant can have as many as eight of them. Venus fly trap is not the only example of a plant with a modified leaf. Another example is the purple pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea subsp. purpurea) The Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula), a small perennial herb, is one of the most widely recognized plant species on Earth. It forms a basal rosette of distinct leaves that are attached to a short rhizome. The leaf blade consists of two kidney-shaped, hinged, sensitive lobes up to 25 mm long with stiff marginal hairs to eight millimeters long

Venus flytrap - Wikipedi

  • The Venus Fly Trap, or Dionaea muscipula, is a carnivorous plant that still baffles and fascinates scientists and botanists today.It's trapping structure is its key distinctive feature and is what gives it its menacing name. Origins. The origins of the name go way back to 1769, to the eastern bogs of North Carolina and a man named John Ellis
  • Venus flytraps grow to around 5 inches (13 centimeters) in diameter. Each plant usually has about six stems with hinged leaves. The edges of the leaves are lined with teeth, and the leaves fit..
  • The Venus Fly Trap is noticeably a tiny plant. Its structure is formed of four to seven leaves, which arise from a short bulb-like stem. The stem only reaches a maximum length of 10 centimeters and may also reach small lengths of 3 centimeters. The size of the stem is dependent on the time of the year
  • The Venus flytrap is one of a very small group of plants capable of rapid movement. The trap employed by flytrap Venus is similar to the traps employed by the Telegraph plant, Mimosa, bladderworts and sundews. With the help of its trapping mechanism, the Venus flytrap catchesits prey

The Venus flytrap leaves (or traps) only can open and close a set amount until their energy reserves are used, when this happens they turn black, die, and fall off. This is a natural process and is healthy for your plant in most circumstances If you choose to use fluorescent lights, keep the Venus flytrap within 8 inches of the light. This will ensure that the Venus flytrap receives enough light to stay healthy. The closer to the light the plant is the better. Below is a picture of a setup of Venus flytraps growing indoors. Notice the fluorescent lights just above the plants The Venus flytrap's brilliant plan: By using their specially-modified snap-trap leaves, they can get nitrogen by catching and digesting a wide variety of insects—and maybe even some small amphibians. By preying on bugs, these plants have managed to not only survive, but to thrive The name says it all: Their main diet is flies (or other small insects). The trick is that the prey must be alive when caught. Dead flies won't work in Venus flytrap feeding the insect must move around inside the trap to trigger it to close and digest it Where Does Venus Flytrap Grow? Seemingly exotic, the Venus flytrap, or Dionaea muscipula, is actually a North American plant native to low-lying swampy areas of the southeastern United States. 1  Closeup on the Plant Itsel

Venus flytrap Description, Diet, & Facts Britannic

  1. The Venus flytrap is a flowering plant best known for its carnivorous eating habits. The trap is made of two hinged lobes at the end of each leaf. On the inner surfaces of the lobes are hair-like projections called trichomes that cause the lobes to snap shut when prey comes in contact with them
  2. A black owned lifestyle brand that celebrates the beauty and brilliance of black culture. Specializing in wearable conversation pieces inspired by black history, pop culture, black style icons, and hip hop and R&B music. A fly mashup of old school flavor and new school funk. Express yourself with apparel for the soul
  3. The above photo shows the tray method for watering Venus flytraps. The tray method involves setting a pot with drainage holes in a tray of distilled or other pure water. Venus flytraps soil is very good at retaining water. The media (soil) will soak up water from a tray or bowl almost like a sponge
  4. Venus fly trap, like rest of the plants, obtains its food from the soil and by photosynthesis. But in order to fulfill their nutrient demands, they also feed on insects. The ability to catch their own food and survive in nutrient-deficient makes the Venus flytrap one of the easiest plants to care for. How to Care for a Venus Fly Trap
  5. Venus Fly Traps grow naturally on these phosphorus and nitrogen-poor moist soil. An evenly moist soil works best for them instead of a soaking wet soil. The fly traps are formed to make up for the nitrogen these plants lack. It catches insects to get their fill of protein and nitrogen

Venus Fly Trap Plant: Care and Growing Guid

  1. Venus Fly Trap produces white flowers, and one plant can produce around 1-12 flowers on average per season. Each flower will have 5 petals. However, as previously mentioned, a long stem might also be a false vivipary. A false vivipary is an abnormal condition, when a plant produces a plantlet instead of a flowering stalk. In this case you can.
  2. Venus Flytrap as illustrated by Charles Darwin. Photo courtesy P. Kronenberger. The predator waits patiently while its prey wanders about, unaware that danger lurks just inches away. Settling down to taste some sweet-smelling sap, the unsuspecting prey has made a fatal mistake. Swinging swiftly shut, the jaws of the predator close around its body
  3. Venus fly trap is one of the most popular carnivorous plants to keep in the US and Europe. This article will share how to take care for a Venus fly trap - how to plant, prune and feed them. We will also answer questions that owners might have, such as Venus flytrap soil and water requirements and use in terrariums

Venus flytrap U.S. Fish & Wildlife Servic

Additionally, Venus flytraps have adapted trigger hairs on the inside of their trap pads when triggered by a bug, the trap will snap shut, making escape impossible. Among the many interesting adaptations Venus flytraps have developed to thrive in their native boggy environment is the ability to go long periods without eating, making it easy. Venus Fly Trap is a carnivorous plant. It is endemic to subtropical wetlands in North and South Carolina. Its prey is insects and arachnids. The plant traps the insects with the apex or terminal parts of the leaves Venus flytraps are a bit fussy about their soil, water, and container. The fertilizers and minerals that are added to commercial potting soils help most plants grow, but they are fatal to Venus flytraps. Use a potting mix labeled specifically for Venus flytraps, or make your own from peat moss and sand or perlite What do Venus Fly Trap Eat? They absorb nutrients, mineral and vitamins from the soil and gases in the air and also get their required nutrients from insects (i.e flies), arachnid (i.e spider or scorpion) and even small animals (i.e frog)


Venus flytrap

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Venus flytrap, (Dionaea muscipula), also called Venus’s flytrap, perennial carnivorous plant of the sundew family (Droseraceae), notable for its unusual habit of catching and digesting insects and other small animals. The only member of its genus, the plant is native to a small region of North and South Carolina, where it is common in damp mossy areas. As photosynthetic plants, Venus flytraps do not rely on carnivory for energy but rather use the nitrogen-rich animal proteins to enable their survival in marginal soil conditions.

The plant, which grows from a bulblike rootstock, bears a group of small white flowers at the tip of an erect stem 20–30 cm (8–12 inches) tall. The leaves are 8–15 cm (3–6 inches) long and have blades that are hinged along the midline so that the two nearly circular lobes, with spiny teeth along their margins, can fold together and enclose an insect alighting on them. This action is triggered by pressure on six sensitive hairs, three on each lobe. In normal daytime temperatures the lobes, when stimulated by prey, snap shut in about half a second. Glands on the leaf surface then secrete a red sap that digests the insect’s body and gives the entire leaf a red, flowerlike appearance. About 10 days are required for digestion, after which the leaf reopens. The trap dies after capturing three or four insects.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.


Plant Care

Venus flytraps can be purchased from local greenhouses or ordered online. They are simple to maintain and prefer warm and humid conditions. Terrariums provide suitable habitats, and the plants require plenty of moisture. If the leaves wilt, the plant is getting too much sunlight. If the flytrap is kept in a terrarium, two hours of sunlight is often sufficient. If kept outdoors, it will need four hours of sunlight. If the Venus flytrap is kept indoors, it will need to be fed. A few flies or small slugs every month will provide enough nutrition. Place the insect directly on the trap. If the insect is dead, assist the trap leaves in closing and gently wiggle the trap to activate the trapping and digestion mechanisms. Do not feed the plant raw hamburger. This will give the plant indigestion and cause the leaves to rot. With proper care and nutrition, a Venus flytrap can live for 20 years.


How to Care for Venus Fly Traps

Last Updated: March 26, 2021 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Andrew Carberry, MPH. Andrew Carberry has been working in food systems since 2008. He has a Masters in Public Health Nutrition and Public Health Planning and Administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

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The Venus fly trap is an unusual plant that's native to the United States and thrives in a habitat where most other plants quickly perish. These intriguing carnivorous plants, with leaves that "snap" shut to trap insects, have grown in popularity. Whether on a windowsill or on a backyard patch, with a bit of research and some tender love and care, you can raise your own version of these bizarre and beautiful plants.


Absolute Surefire Steps to Kill Your Venus Flytrap: Step 4

Curious about the context? Check out the introduction.

Some of the content in this series appeared, in much shorter form, in Gothic Beauty magazine.

Step 4: Keep your flytrap in a terrarium.

I have a lot of reasons for hyping fellow carnivorous plant sellers, besides the idea that we’re all in this together. I view Jacob Farin and Jeff Dallas of Sarracenia Northwest as the crazy cousins I never had (well, I have crazy cousins, but not horticulturally inclined crazy cousins), and I enthusiastically turn friends and cohorts in the direction of northwest Oregon when Jacob and Jeff host one of their biannual open houses. This isn’t just because they know their plants and obviously love them. It’s because they’re constantly challenging me. In my old age, I’ve become more convinced than ever that it’s better to be correct than to be right, and they’ve taught me too many times to shut up, listen, and make sure that any questions I ask or comments I make weren’t already answered a week ago. (They also have better stories. I only have to worry about treerats digging up the dragonfruit and geckos hiding in the pitcher plants. They get Pacific treefrogs laying eggs in their aquatic bladderwort tanks and piglets sneaking through the fence from their neighbor’s lot and playing in their lot. The only way I’m ever going to top this is by getting that crocodile monitor after all.)

Anyway, the Sarracenia Northwest tagline is “No terrariums. No myths. No nonsense.” It’s succinct and accurate, and one of the reasons why Jacob and I may be found by palaeontologists 90 million years from now, still locked in combat like the Mongolian fighting dinosaurs. It’s not that he’s wrong. He’s just lucky in that he and Jeff live in a locale where humidity levels aren’t so obscenely low.

One of Jacob’s tenets is that most carnivorous plants can and should be grown outside, in full sun, just the way they do in the wild. He also posits that most carnivores are much tougher than most people assume, and that most adapt to outdoor life much better than expected. He and Jeff offer living proof at their open houses, with growing pools just overloaded with big, bright, sparkly Sarracenia that make my guts ache with jealousy to look at them. Flytraps, bladderworts, and even their beloved Darlingtonia cobra plants…all outside, or maybe under fabric covers if the plant is particularly sensitive to strong summer sun.

To give you an idea on their commitment to researching proper growing traditions, they went into the wild to visit feral stands of Darlingtonia. Tourists may know of the Darlingtonia State Natural Site southwest of Portland, but Darlingtonia californica can be found among seeps throughout the mountains of Oregon, Washington State, northern California, and parts of British Columbia. Darlingtonia is one of the big El Dorados in the carnivorous plant field, having a reputation for being particularly temperamental and likely to die if you look at it cross-eyed. In fact, one of the absolutes that was taught to most carnivore enthusiasts, myself included, is that they can’t handle heat for any length of time. Jacob and Jeff decided to challenge this, taking temperature measurements in prime Darlingtonia habitat and showing that Darlingtonia can handle Dallas-like daytime temperatures in daylight hours with aplomb. (The secret to raising Darlingtonia is that it’s technically an alpine plant, and that it grows in seeps in the mountains fed by snow melt. The assumption was that it needed cool water on its roots at all times: the real issue is how cool the area gets at night. In North Texas, that means lots and lots of air conditioning, because it depends upon the steep temperature drops in the mountains at night, even during the summer.)

This has led to many friendly arguments about whether terraria should ever be used for carnivores. Jacob in emphatic that terraria aren’t necessary, and that he has customers who raise bog gardens in the desert and get great results. I respond that as much as I agree with him anywhere else, some carnivores can only survive in Dallas in an enclosed container. Not only do we receive almost twice as much sunlight as Sarracenia Northwest gets, due to the SN nursery being above the 45th Parallel North, but we also have a dessicating south wind that stops only between October and March. Even on good years for plant-raising, the area regularly drops below 50 percent relative humidity. In bad ones, such as this year, Dallas has lower relative humidity than Phoenix.

Now, you may ask yourself “What does this have to do with the price of cheese?” It’s time for another digression, and a short one this time. Back in 1985, I picked up a 29-gallon aquarium at a garage sale, and promptly drove everyone around me insane with my sudden passion for freshwater tropical fish. While co-workers were sneaking home to read Hustler before their wives and girlfriends caught them, I was sneaking home with the latest copy of Tropical Fish Hobbyist before my roommates knew what I was planning. In the process of learning just enough to be dangerous (and this included keeping, for a very short time in Wisconsin, a red-bellied piranha named “Bub” that would come to the surface to get his nose rubbed), I noted that different authorities gave different advice about the same fish, sometimes in the same book or magazine. That’s when the owner of the sadly defunct shop Neenah Tropical told me “You should never trust the books, because the fish don’t read.”

That’s absolutely true for carnivorous plants, as well. Always take my or anybody else’s advice on keeping carnivorous plants with a healthy skepticism born of actual knowledge. Those of us with expertise will try our absolute best to help, but there’s always the odd exception. If you’re smart, you’ll accept the unique conditions and circumstances in your area that allow success when everyone else falls on their faces. For years, I was able to keep a batch of Darlingtonia raised from seed alive and healthy in Dallas, and I didn’t smirk about how I had special understanding or superpowers. Instead, I stood back and exclaimed in surprise and delight that I’d somehow beaten the odds. And when this kidney stone of a previous summer took them away from me, I took it as an object lesson.

And here’s where I have my very friendly dispute with Jacob and Jeff. I don’t dispute that Venus flytraps are best kept outside. At times, though, they need a touch of help.

In my own experience, I’ve discovered that flytraps grow best when the relative humidity around them stays, day and night, above at least 60 percent. When the humidity goes below 50 percent and the temperatures go above 95 degrees F (35 degrees C), they tend to produce small or nonfunctional traps, and won’t produce new ones until either humidity jumps or temperatures drop. When the temperatures stay this high and the humidity drops below 30 percent, which it did quite regularly in North Texas last summer, the plants simply can’t handle the strain and they die. It doesn’t happen right away, and they can recuperate if conditions improve when they start to fade.

Since a typical Wardian case offers that sort of control, the automatic response to this sort of humidity fluctuation is to put flytraps into a terrarium of some sort. As understandable as this is, this is also dangerous for a flytrap. What I’ve discovered the hard way is that flytraps not only require a lot of sun (at least six to eight hours of direct sun) and a lot of humidity, but they also require a LOT of air circulation. This is why Jacob and Jeff recommend raising flytraps outdoors, where they can get the air circulation they need. Put one in a standard terrarium, and the combination of stagnant air and decreased light intensity are doubly lethal.

A second consideration: even if your flytrap does well during the summer, remember that it’s going to need a winter dormancy period. This leaves you with one of two options. You can put the terrarium outside during the winter, which removes any opportunity to enjoy it during the season where you’ll need a touch of green the most, and risks its being damaged by cold or ice. Alternately, you can remove the flytrap and put it into artificial dormancy in a refrigerator, and then spend the winter looking at the hole in the terrarium where the flytrap used to be. Instead, you might be better off enjoying a tropical carnivore such as a tropical sundew: it may slow down over the winter, but it won’t actually require a full dormancy.

A third factor to consider against a standard terrarium: since the air circulation is so poor in most smaller, seemingly flytrap-friendly terraria, putting one in direct sun is a great way to produce Venus flytrap pottage. Terraria, Wardian cases, greenhouses, and just about any other enclosed space can be used to demonstrate the square-cube law. The smaller the volume, the larger the surface area in proportion to that volume. Put a 100-foot greenhouse in the sun as a two-cup terrarium, and the terrarium reaches killing temperatures much faster.

At this point, you again have two options. You could fit your Wardian case with a solar-powered fan, thereby taking care of the immediate air circulation issue. This, though, does nothing about the dormancy situation. Or, or, you could try a container that helps simulate the best conditions for best health for a flytrap. I’ve discovered that large glass bowls, such as very large brandy snifters or even goldfish bowls, tend to work well in combating Dallas-level low humidity. The container can be put in full sun, where excess heat escapes out the top. Humid air is heavier than dry air, so the humidity stays around the flytrap. Best of all, it can be left outside all year, only pulling it under cover when there’s a risk of snow or ice.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there was one more catch. This catch is that while flytraps like moist conditions, they cannot handle standing in water for any appreciable length of time. With that in mind, if you try a large bowl, go for one that’s strong enough to handle the peat/sand mix that’s required for flytraps. Again, many experts recommend against using perlite around flytraps under any circumstances, but I’ve found a layer about one inch (2.54 cm) on the bottom, followed by about four inches (10.16 cm)of equal parts milled sphagnum peat moss and high-quality silica sand, works best. Dress the top with long-fiber sphagnum, wet everything so that it’s moist but not soggy, and plant the flytrap on top. Under most circumstances, flytraps in this sort of enclosure seem to do much better during dry summers than unprotected flytraps, and MUCH better than ones in greenhouses or other covered enclosures. But that’s just me.

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