Can A Venus Fly Trap Survive Without Bugs?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:54 pm

Although flycatchers are carnivorous, they can go for long periods – and survive a month or two – without bugs.

If you grow them outdoors, they will have enough to eat naturally. If you grow Venus indoors, you will have to feed them periodically.


Can A Venus Fly Trap Survive Without Bugs?

I’m just saving Venus flytraps from hobby planters, one carnivorous plant at a time.

Venus flytraps are the most notorious of all carnivorous plants and probably the most exasperating to keep. Don’t get me wrong-they’re not hard to take care of once you know how, but there’s a lot of misconception about what they need. Learn all the tips for keeping a Venus Flytrap happy and healthy below.

Venus flytraps (Dionaea muscipula) are carnivorous plants that naturally capture and consume insects to supplement their nutrient intake, particularly in nitrogen-poor soils. While they can survive for a period without catching insects, it’s not a long-term or ideal situation. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Native Habitat: In their native habitat of boggy areas in North and South Carolina, Venus flytraps primarily rely on insects to meet their nutrient requirements. The insects provide essential nutrients like nitrogen that are scarce in their soil.

2. Dietary Needs: Venus flytraps need a source of nutrients like nitrogen to grow and thrive. They obtain these nutrients from the insects they capture and digest. Without this source of nutrition, the plant can struggle to maintain its health and vigor.

3. Alternative Nutrient Sources: In the absence of insects, Venus flytraps can absorb some nutrients from the soil, but this source is often insufficient to meet their dietary needs in the long run.

4. Careful Management: If you keep a Venus flytrap indoors or in a controlled environment, you can provide a supplementary nutrient source in the form of live or freeze-dried insects (e.g., bloodworms, pinhead crickets) occasionally. Be cautious not to overfeed the plant, as this can lead to root damage.

5. Dormancy: Venus flytraps naturally enter a dormant period during the winter when they reduce their growth and trap-closing activities. During this time, they rely less on insects for nutrients. Dormancy typically lasts several months.

In summary, while a Venus flytrap can survive for a time without capturing insects, it’s not a sustainable or healthy condition for the plant. Providing occasional supplementary insect feeding and ensuring that the plant goes through its natural dormant phase are essential for its long-term health and survival.


how carnivorous plants eat insects

in order to live in poor soil conditions, many plants have invented fabulous and bizarre adaptations to help them survive: Carnivory, the consumption of animal flesh, is one such..,

the genius plan of the Venus flytrap: using their specially modified pressure trap leaves, they can obtain nitrogen by catching and digesting a wide variety of insects-and maybe even small amphibians. By preying on insects, these plants have managed not only to survive, but to thrive.

Although we call them “carnivores,” insects are what most of these plants like to eat. That’s why they are sometimes called insectivores.

how does a carnivorous plant catch its prey?

Carnivorous plants have developed many ingenious ways to capture live food:

  • pressure traps. These are jointed, toothed leaves that close when the trigger hairs are touched. Like a bear trap.
  • TRAPS. These leaves bend lengthwise to create deep, slippery pools filled with digestive enzymes. It’s like falling right into a stomach.
  • suction traps. Bladderworts have cup-shaped leaves with swinging doors lined with trigger hairs. Insects crawl in, and the door closes behind them.
  • flypaper, Leaves covered with a sticky, adhesive substance to trap prey.
  • lobster traps. Twisted tubular chambers lined with hairs and glands: insects get in and can’t get out.

Of course, the Venus Fly Trap uses a Pressure Trap to catch its prey. Learn more about how it works below.

The Venus Fly Trap: “one of the most wonderful plants in the world,”

  • Charles Darwin in his book “Insectivorous Plants”, 1842

Venus Flytrap Basic Care

Venus flytraps are nearly extinct in their native environment. They continue to thrive on windowsills, in home gardens and in greenhouses around the world, but conservation efforts are underway to save the flytrap in the wild.

Its scientific name is Dionaea muscipula and it comes from the swampy areas that stretch along the coast of North and South Carolina, It absorbs very few nutrients through its roots and must instead trap its prey in its leaves. It therefore thrives in moist soil and needs access to insects and spiders.

What is the natural cycle of a Venus flycatcher?

They grow in the summer and fall, dormant in the winter, and then bloom in the spring. Many people mistake their dormancy for death, but it is a natural and healthy part of the plant’s cycle. The flowering, however, could kill the plant. Read more about this below.

how to take care of a Venus Fly Trap,

If you want to keep a Venus Flytrap at home, especially if you want it to grow indoors, you will need to understand what it needs in order to recreate an environment that mimics what it gets in nature. Read on to learn all the things you’ll need to know to keep this fascinating plant happy and healthy.

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How does a Venus Flytrap work?

These tooth-like things are actually the leaves of the plant. Each leaf (or Trap) has two sides (or lobes) that produce smelly things that attract insects. Each lobe is also lined with cilia and has trigger hairs on its inner surface. The cilia and hairs serve two different purposes: when something touches the trigger hairs, it is a signal to the plant to close the leaf, and when the leaf is closed, the cilia prevent the prey from getting out.,

what are the hairs and cilia of a Venus flycatcher for?

these little teeth-called cilia-intertwine and prevent prey from wriggling and escaping, and the trigger hairs are the secret weapon of Venus flycatcher success. How it works:

  • When an insect lands on a trap and touches two or more of these trigger hairs, the jaw-like leaf closes.
  • Then the lashes lock and the trap becomes tighter and tighter. It takes several minutes for the leaf to form an airtight seal,
  • then, the chamber is flooded with digestive juices that draw nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from the meal. The plant digests the softer, more tender parts of the insect and “spits out” some of the non-digestible parts.
  • The trap will remain closed for 5 to 12 days while it digests. When it is done, the plant will simply reopen the leaf, and whatever is left simply falls out.

The prey is usually small insects, although flies have been known to trap larger victims, Anything larger than the size of the leaf and preventing the fly trap from closing properly will attract bacteria. Unfortunately, this can kill the leaf.

to learn more about how the Venus flytrap’s digestive system works, read how a Venus flytrap digests flies.

will the flytrap die if it closes by mistake?

before you know it, people often bite or tickle the trap just to get a good look at it. It usually takes about a day for the trap to reopen. However, if a trap is set off like this several times, it may never open again, even if it is empty, This reduces the plant’s ability to get the nutrition it needs. But even if it has nothing to digest, the leaf will still be able to act as a leaf, photosynthesizing energy for the plant, so don’t cut anything off unless it is dead and black.

What to do if a Venus Flytrap looks dead

Why is my Venus flytrap turning black?

It is normal for individual traps to turn black and die, but if the entire plant turns black and appears dead, it may be one of these problems

  • dormancy. During the coldest and darkest part of the year, it is normal for plants to go dormant. Continue to take care of your plant and wait for spring.
  • Overcrowding, It is possible that your plant has outgrown its container. Repot if necessary.
  • Poor soil. If you recently repotted, perhaps you used the wrong type of soil. A mixture of sand and sphagnum peat moss-a ratio of half and half to one-third sand and two-thirds moss-works best.
  • Fertilizer. VFTs don’t like fertilizer. If you accidentally forget, you may be able to save the plant by repotting immediately in fresh soil.
  • Too much (or not enough) water. A VFT wants moist soil, but if its roots are too waterlogged, they may start to rot.
  • Temperature, If a VFT freezes, it can turn black.
  • Flowering. You’d think a bloom would be a good sign, but setting a bloom can really sap all the strength out of a VFT-so much so that they sometimes don’t survive. Better to pinch those flowers in the bud.

How do I know if my Venus flytrap is dormant?

It is difficult to know for sure if your flytrap is dormant, sick or dying. Suddenly, near the beginning of the cold season, you will notice that your plant has stopped thriving as it used to, but the only way to know what is wrong is to wait and continue to care for your plant, During the winter, you will notice less evaporation, so you will reduce your watering schedule to two or three times a month. Don’t try to feed it.

If your plant is dormant, it will come back to life when the sun returns and the weather warms up. It is dead, obviously, it will just keep getting deader.

Do Venus flytraps have to go dormant?

Yes. Dormancy is a natural and important cycle for the plant, much like hibernation for a bear. If it does not rest, it may die. During dormancy, the plant will still need a lot of light, but less water,

What if I don’t want my plant to go dormant?

If a Venus flytrap does not have its dormant period (perhaps you are using grow lights, for example), you can expect it to die in a few years.

why do fly traps turn black and die?

The lifespan of each individual trap on a Venus Fly Trap is about three months, during which time it can catch from one to four insects. So you will notice a continuous natural cycle of death and new growth for these traps. As long as you continue to see new green growth replacing the old traps, everything is normal,

If the trap tried to close on an insect that was too large and could not close completely, this can expose the trap to bacteria, which can blacken the leaves and the traps.

feeding Venus Flytraps: All you need to know

How often should I feed a Venus Fly Trap?

Once a week, feed two traps from one plant, do not feed more than once a week and do not feed more than two traps. Do not overfeed!

When should I feed it?

Any time of day is fine, but it is very important to avoid feeding your VFT during its dormant period.

Why isn’t my Venus flytrap eating?

If your plant’s traps are not closing, your plant may be dormant, sick or dying.

Should I fertilize my Venus flytrap?

Certainly not! Never use fertilizer. This plant is used for poor and acid soils to get its nutrients in other ways (see below). A Venus Flytrap (VFT) gets the nutrition it needs from insects, and it absorbs it via its leaves, not its soil. Fertilizer could kill it.

How should I feed my Venus Fly Trap?

If your flytrap is growing indoors, you can hand-feed it with insects. (If you feel squeamish, use tweezers.) If it is outside, it will be able to “chase” the bugs away on its own.

do i really need to hand feed a venus flytrap?

A Venus Fly Trap (VFT) can go a month or two without eating, and even indoors, a plant will be able to catch the occasional insect. So no, you probably don’t really need to feed often, but it is fun, and the plant will appreciate your efforts if you do it right.

What kind of prey or insects does a Venus flycatcher like to eat?

It likes crickets, ants, spiders, flies and other flying insects, beetles, grasshoppers, spiders, millipedes, sowbugs and slugs. Don’t feed it soft earthworms, just those with rigid exoskeletons, like mealworms. The trick is to feed your VFT only an insect one-third the size of its trap. In other words, don’t feed it too big to get it to close its trap. The larger the plant = the larger the trap = the larger the bug you can feed.

Can I feed it dead insects or insects?

Yes, you can, although he prefers live food: you may have to stimulate the cilia of the leaf to close it.

can i feed my venus flytrap something other than live (or dead) insects?

Many VFT owners feed their young plants or seedlings fish food: betta fish pellets, dried bloodworms or mealworms. First, rehydrate by soaking, then crush the food and place it on the leaf, then stimulate the leaf cilia to close. Once the plant is large enough, you should move on to live insects.

Can a Venus flycatcher survive without eating insects?

Although they get nutrition from insects, VFTs also get the things they need from sun, air, water and soil. If they don’t get their insect snacks, they may continue to survive, but they certainly won’t thrive. A vegetarian Venus flycatcher will be much smaller, weaker and sicker than its carnivorous counterpart, and will more likely die.

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why doesn’t the trap or “mouth” of My Venus flytrap close on the bug?

The trap is actually the plant’s leaf, which has tiny trigger hairs (or cilia) along its edges, When a bug crawls or lands on the leaf, the plant only knows to close if something triggers the cilia. Usually, more than one cilium must be touched in order to trigger the leaf to close. Try gently tickling the cilia to trigger the closing reflex.

Should I feed my Venus flytrap meat?

No, do not feed your VFT hamburger, chicken or any other human food. Although it is technically a carnivore, it is really an insectivore, and it wants live insects.

Do Venus flytraps die if you touch them?

No harm will come to you, but you can harm the plant. The leaves that form the trap part of the flytrap can close so many times before they die, so stimulating them serves no purpose other than to hasten their end. When told not to -we- have Venus, people often assume it is for the quality their own safety.

Do Venus fly traps eat mosquitoes? Venus fly traps, which eat many types of insects, including mosquitoes. Only they eat a few insects per week, and these are tropical plants.

Can you feed a Venus flytrap hamburger?

If you feed a Venus flytrap some hamburger meat, it will probably die. Venus flytraps are waiting for bugs. feed them anything else, and they don’t go like this. There is way too much energy and protein without bugs in cow meat.

How long does a Venus fly trap last?

Each trap on the plant can only open and close several times before it dies and falls off. Then the plant produces a new trap from its underground stems. The lifespan of Venus is not known for sure, but it is estimated that it can live up to 20 years and maybe more.

Do you have to cut the black Venus flytrap?

Don’t worry, the blackened leaf will not spread its death to the rest of the plant. Grow your plant better next time. When trimming partially dead Venus reduction leaves, remove only the dead parts – do not cut into live green tissue.

Will a Venus flytrap eat a dead fly?

What do Venus plants eat? The name says it all: the Venus fly trap eats flies (or other small insects). The prey must be alive when captured. Dead flies will not work in Venus feeding; the insect must move inside the trap or the trap cannot consume and digest it.

Can you overfeed a Venus fly trap?

You can’t overfeed a Venus fly trap. The more you feed it, the stronger the plant will become. “On every plant at least one trap should be feeding on something at all times,” said D’Amato.

Do Venus fly traps get bigger?

Assuming you grow your plant well, and assuming you continue to grow well for a few years, it will reach a maximum size of about 5 inches (13 cm) in diameter. Be careful, this is the size of the whole plant! A single leaf trap can be a little larger than 3 cm (1 inch) in length.

Can a Venus fly trap eat a human?

Will a Venus flytrap bite a person? Fortunately for people, Venus plants can’t eat anything much bigger than a housefly and they especially eat mosquitoes and gnats. If you put your fingertip in the bug trap eating mouth, it will close quickly, but it won’t hurt at all.

What is the largest Venus flytrap in the world?

How many times can a Venus fly trap close around before dying?
Generally, a trap will only. close around and digest a meal three to five times before dying.

Can Venus fly traps eat fruit?

Re: What can you feed Venus flytrap
Fruits will not do it good, and will probably cause the trap to rot because of the sugars. Fly traps are suitable for catching insects for an additional source of nitrogen to use as “building materials” for their own leaves.

Why do Venus fly traps turn black?

If your Venus fly trap turns black, it is probably going through completely normal processes. The main reason the trap turns black and dies is that it is simply at the end of its life span. Each individual trap on a plant has a lifespan of about three months during which time it will capture about 1 to 4 insects.

What happens if you overfeed a Venus flytrap?

But even if you limit yourself to bugs and insects, you can overfeed your plants. The bugs don’t have to be that big. Meals much larger than about 1/3 the length of a trap can be as large, causing the trap to blacken and die.

Can a Venus fly trap survive on water alone?

Well, it can’t survive on water alone, but it CAN survive on just water and sunlight. All you really need to feed your flytrap is lots of sunlight and clean water. If you grow your fly trap outside, and you really should, it can get enough light, it will catch all the insects it needs on its own.

How often do you feed a Venus Fly Trap?

Do not overfeed your Venus Fly Trap! Ideally, your Venus Fly Trap needs to eat once every two weeks. This means that only one trap on the entire plant should be fed at that time!

What is the largest Venus Fly Trap?

You will receive a live, healthy medium-sized B52 Giant Venus Plant Flytrap. B52 is a giant clone that traps 1.75 inches in diameter when fully grown. It is one of the largest, if not the largest, giant Venus Fly Trap Clones.

Why does my Venus Fly Trap bloom?

The process of making flowers takes a lot of the plant’s energy. After flowering the Venus will be slow for almost a whole year. You can tell when your plant is going to bloom because a strange cylindrical stem (unlike a leaf) will start to grow out of the center of your plant.

What has the Venus flytrap evolved from?

Recent genetic research has shown that the Venus flytrap evolved from drosera-like ancestors. It is thought that the plant’s clinging mechanism begins with the same type of acidic growth used by drosera.

Is a Venus flytrap a heterotroph or an autotroph?

Assuming you grow your plant well, and assuming you continue to grow it well for a few years, it will reach a maximum size of about 13 cm (5 inches) in diameter. Be careful, this is the size of the whole plant! A single trap leaf can measure a little over 3 cm (1 inch) in length.

How do I attract flies to my Venus Fly Trap?

To attract flies or other prey, the Venus secretes nectar on its trap opening. The insects smell the sweet nectar and once they land on the leaves, they trigger the trigger hairs on the outside of the trap. This causes the cells on the leaves to expand. In less than a second, the leaves close up.

What do Venus Indoor Fly Traps eat?

The best foods for your Venus flytrap:
Mealworms: these small, freeze-dried worms are a nutritious food source for Venus flytrap, which you can buy at many pet stores and reptile specialists.
Bloodworms: their name may be disgusting, but these tiny freeze-dried worms can be an excellent food source for Venus fly traps.
Plants do have a brain, so the Venus does everything we would recognize as “counting” in a cognitive sense. But according to this new study, the plant somehow keeps track of how many times it is hit, allowing it to react appropriately to its prey.

Do Venus fly traps eat fruit flies?

Wingless and/or Flightless Fruit flies are an ideal food, especially for small carnivorous plant traps, including sundews, buttermilk, venus fly traps, cephalotus and pitcher plants. The fruit flies are easily sprinkled into the traps for quick and natural feeding.

Do the Venus fly traps close at night?

Re: Do the traps close at night? My question is why wouldn’t they? Venus fly traps can close 24 hours a day, XNUMX days a week, if the trap is healthy. It will close if 2 different trigger hairs are triggered in about 30 seconds, or if 1 is hit multiple times in about 30 seconds.

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Why is my Venus Fly Trap turning black?

If your Venus Fly Trap is turning black, it is probably going through completely normal processes. The main reason the trap turns black and dies is that it is simply at the end of its life. Each individual trap on a plant has a life span of about three months during which time it will capture about 1 to 4 insects.

What is the size of a Venus fly trap?

Wingless and/or Flightless Fruit flies are an ideal food, especially for small carnivorous trap plants, including sundews, buttermilk, venus fly traps, cephalotus and pitcher plants. The fruit flies are easily sprinkled into the traps for quick and natural feeding.

Can Venus fly traps eat moths?

Feeding. Flytraps do not need fertilizer, as they get their nutrients from eating insects. Feed your flytrap flies, ants, small moths, spiders and seedling bugs. Touch the small trigger hairs inside each trap while feeding them, as this encourages the trap to chew the food.

Can a Venus fly trap bite you?

Assuming you grow your plant well, and assuming you continue to grow it well for a few years, it will reach a maximum size of about 13 cm (5 inches) in diameter. Be careful, this is the size of the whole plant! A single trap leaf can measure a little over 3 cm (1 inch) in length.

how to take care of Venus Flytraps

  • they prefer a glazed ceramic or plastic pot (not an unglazed clay pot) with lots of holes for drainage and a small dish to catch the overflow of water.
  • They like wet, boggy conditions, so give them plenty of distilled water or rainwater (not tap water!).
  • It is a myth that Venus flytraps want to stand in a dish full of water all the time. Don’t let them soak for too long or their roots will rot, Their soil should be moist but not waterlogged and soggy.
  • They do not like regular soil. A mixture of one third sand and two thirds peat moss works best. Add more sand if you want, but not less. By the way, they also want deep soil – 6 inches or more – for their long-spanning roots.
  • They want lots of sun: 12 hours of indirect light, and at least 4 hours of direct sun a day. They can’t have too much sun during their growing season!
  • during their dormant period, however, they will need less water and sunlight, Dormancy should last from at least 10 weeks to 5 months maximum.
  • outdoors, Venus Gnats do not need help hunting insects, but if they are indoors, you will need to feed them small insects or spiders.
  • As they outgrow their pots, they will need to be repotted. VFTs don’t get very big, so this won’t happen often.
  • Don’t push or poke the flytraps, as this causes them to close and eventually die. It takes a lot of energy to grow these flytraps, and the plant will need it to feed on the insects. You can prune dead or dying flytraps, however,
  • If you see a flower, pick it immediately, as the flowering process sucks a lot of energy and vigor from the plant.
  • Taking care of Venus flies is relatively simple. This strangely attractive plant is not as complicated as many realize.

Watering a Venus Flytrap

What type of water should I use?
When watering a VFT, use distilled or collected rainwater.

However, if you keep your flytrap in a terrarium, spraying regularly with tap water is fine,

Why can’t I use tap water?

Flytraps are sensitive to the chemicals in tap water, you can harm your plant.

How much water does a Venus flytrap need?

The soil of a Venus Flycatcher must be moist. It doesn’t want to sit in standing water, and it doesn’t want to dry out between waterings, either. Sit the pot atop a saucer/drip pan that contains small stones or gravel. The stones will prevent the base of the pot from being constantly submerged in water.

how often should i water?

How often you water depends on the size and material of the planter. Large glass or plastic pots hold water longer, but small ones dry out more quickly. Before the soil becomes dry, add enough water to re-saturate, then let it dry to the point of being slightly damp before watering again.

note: during dormancy, your plant will need much less water. You may only need to water two or three times a month, depending on the weather, humidity and pot size,

light and sun requirements

Venus flies need about four hours of direct sunlight per day, minimum. They want as much indirect sun as they can get during the day.

soil requirements

A mixture of one-third sand and two-thirds peat moss works best. A little perlite mixed with peat moss can also work. Add more sand if you want, but not less. Be sure not to use soil with added fertilizer.

temperature requirements

For most of the year, a VFT should be kept at a relatively constant temperature of about 70° to 95°F (21° to 35°C)., During the winter, it can survive temperatures down to 5°C (40°F).

remove traps and dead leaves

you will need to remove any leaves that die. This is perfectly normal, but if you leave them on, the rotting leaves will affect the rest of the plant and you may lose the whole plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will my Venus flytrap live?

if properly cared for, a plant can live up to 20 years.

do I need a terrarium for my Venus flytrap?

No, you do not need a terrarium for several reasons:

  • these plants do not come from jungles. A glass enclosure will create an environment that is too hot, too humid and too moist for your plant.
  • Your plant needs good drainage, but a terrarium probably doesn’t have holes, which will subject the roots to rot and mineral build-up.
  • Trapped heat interferes with the plant’s natural dormancy cycle.
  • your plant will have access to even fewer insects.
  • How big will my Venus Fly Trap be?
  • Venus Flies don’t get very big, Even in the best conditions, with the best care, it will probably only reach 13 cm (5″) wide. An individual Leaf Trap can grow to about 3 cm (1″) long.

what happens if I stick my finger in a Venus Fly Trap?

If you trigger two or more lashes, the trap will probably close. Nothing will happen to your finger, but you will probably hurt the plant. If a trap is triggered like this too often, it may never open again. This reduces the plant’s ability to get the nutrition it needs and wastes the energy needed to grow the trap. Don’t do it,

what if I want my Venus flytrap to be vegetarian like me?

the plant needs specific nutrients, ones it can only get from its natural diet. Your plant will be smaller, weaker and sicker, and more likely to die if you don’t give it what it needs. Perhaps a carnivorous plant is not the best choice for you.

What if my flytrap grows a flower?

When it starts, a flower looks like a flat stem that grows from the middle of the plant, if you see this, cut it off immediately, as it will unnecessarily sap the strength of your plant.

should i use miracle grow?

No. Do not use fertilizer on your Venus flycatcher, as this will probably kill it.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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