Why Should You Not Feed Your Venus Flytrap Dead Bugs?

Exotic, bizarre and somehow fascinating, Venus flytrap is one of the most popular carnivorous plants. However, their care differs significantly from that of other houseplants. What you should know.

A Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is fascinating and beautiful in its frightening way. The plant, originally from the USA, is probably the best known among the carnivorous ones. If you want to keep the exotic insect catcher as a houseplant, you should note that the care of this plant will only succeed with the necessary knowledge. What you need to know so that your plant eats.

Venusfliegenfalle: Bleiben die Fallen Ihrer Pflanze auch im Sommer grün, bekommt sie wohl nicht genügend Licht. (Quelle: imago images/blickwinkel)

Feeding: Not at all or only rarely


In its native habitat, the Venus flytrap usually grows in nitrogen-poor soil, so it needs its animal prey to make up for the deficiency. Your houseplant does not have this deficiency and therefore does not actually need animal food – it cannot starve.

If you want to feed your plant out of fascination, you should feed small live insects, but definitely not food scraps. The insect should be about one third the size of the plant’s catching leaves. The prey attracts the Venus flytrap with a liquid that the trap leaves secrete. For example, if a fly touches the inside of a leaflet several times, it closes and the trap snaps shut. Only when the prey is completely decomposed by the digestive secretion does the leaf open again. Only the chitinous carapace remains.

As an alternative to feeding on live prey, the traps can also be triggered with a toothpick. Since each trap leaf only lasts about two to three trapping cycles and then dies, you should not play with the trap leaves too often.

Appearance: When buying pay attention to the trap leaves.


Venus flytrap is a slow-growing plant and grows only about 20 inches tall and wide. It has green leaves and trap leaves that turn red in sunlight to mimic flowers. There are feeler bristles on the traps that sense when an insect has settled on the plant. The actual flowers are white and perched about 30 centimeters above the rest of the plant.

If you buy the plant in the store, you should look for vigorous green trap leaves and wide open traps. Then you can assume a healthy, vigorous Venus flytrap.

Location: As sunny as possible


If you are keeping this plant as a houseplant, it will need an extremely sunny location. A window location with direct sunlight shining on it for as long as possible is therefore the right choice. If the plant does not get enough light, the catch leaves will not open.

In summer, the plant can also move outside. Whether indoors or outdoors, protect your Venus flytrap from drafts.

Watering: Plenty of water from below


The Venus flytrap requires consistent soil moisture and therefore needs to be watered regularly. Unlike many other houseplants, you should not simply overwater the carnivorous plant, as it likes to take care of itself. It is best to place the planter, which should be permeable to the bottom, on a large saucer and fill it with water. Outside of winter dormancy, there should always be some water in the saucer. Waterlogging will not harm the plant during this time.

Tap water should be avoided for watering, as the plant cannot tolerate the lime. Still mineral water or rainwater are the right choice. Alternatively, you can use a mixture of nine parts distilled water and one part tap water.

Care: Fertilizing not necessary


Since the Venus flytrap makes few demands on the soil, it should be as low in nutrients as possible. Special carnivorous soil, a special soil for carnivorous plants, or pure peat are suitable. Fertilizing is not necessary.

However, the plant needs a high humidity of about 50 to 80 percent, which is unfortunately not readily available in our local latitudes. As an alternative to the mini-greenhouse, you should therefore regularly spray the houseplant with water.

Flower: Throne for insects

Blüte der Venusfliegenfalle: Wäre die Blüte direkt bei den Blättern der Pflanze, würden die wichtigen Bestäuber quasi versehentlich aufgefressen werden. (Quelle: Getty Images/ daboost)


From an age of about three to four years, the Venus flytrap forms approximately two to three centimeters large, white flowers in the spring. The special feature: The flowers sit on stems that tower far above the rest of the plant. This is important because otherwise the plant would accidentally catch and eat the pollinating insects.

Tip: During the flowering period, the plant does not form new traps. However, if you do not want to propagate your Venus flytrap next spring, you can simply cut off the flowers.

Propagation: Grow seeds or divide the plant.


If your Venus flytrap flowers, you can grow seeds yourself. To do this, you need to make sure that the flowers are pollinated – if necessary, help with a brush. If the flower has dried up, cut it off and carefully shake out the seeds. These are then best sown next spring and stored until then cool and dry, for example in the refrigerator.

When the time comes, proceed as follows:

  • Fill a pot with substrate that you moisten well. Since the seedlings need more nutrients than adult Venus flytraps, conventional sowing substrate is suitable here.
  • Spread the seeds over it, press them only lightly. Venus flytraps are light germinators, so do not cover the seeds with soil.
  • Place the pot in the sun.
  • If necessary, you can put a plastic bag over the pot to keep the humidity as high as possible.


Tip: If the seeds do not germinate immediately, this is no cause for alarm. It is normal for this to take about 20 to 30 days.

Alternatively, you can also divide your plant. For this, spring is also the right time. It is best to combine dividing with repotting the plant. This is how you proceed:

  • Carefully lift the plant out of the old pot.
  • Pluck the leaves and stems apart along the shoot axes (rhizomes) so that you get small individual plants.
  • When dividing, make sure that all new plants have enough roots.
  • Pot up the new young plants.
  • Repotting: At least once a year


You should repot your Venus flytrap at least once a year, at the latest when the pot is riddled with roots or the plant overhangs the side of the pot. The best time to do this is in the spring.

When repotting, be careful not to damage the delicate roots. You should also avoid touching the trap leaves if possible. The easiest way is to fill the new pot about two-thirds full with soil, then insert the plant and fill up the pot in the last step. You should only press the soil down lightly so that it does not compact too much.

Tip: In order for the roots to anchor in the new soil, regular watering after repotting is especially important.

Hibernation: Cool in the cellar


The Venus flytrap will tell you when it’s time for winter dormancy: if the new trap leaves become smaller and smaller and also no longer form the typical red inside, it’s time. During hibernation, the plant needs a temperature of five to ten degrees, and less light. Complete darkness, however, does not suit it. A suitable location is therefore, for example, the unheated basement and an unheated stairwell.

Tip: Due to the low temperatures, the Venus flytrap does not tolerate waterlogging in winter. Keep the soil only slightly moist, watering once or twice a month is sufficient.

Repotting: At least once a year


You should repot your Venus flytrap at least once a year, at the latest when the pot is riddled with roots or the plant overhangs the side of the pot. The best time to do this is in the spring.

When repotting, be careful not to damage the delicate roots. You should also avoid touching the trap leaves if possible. The easiest way is to fill the new pot about two-thirds full with soil, then insert the plant and fill up the pot in the last step. You should only press the soil down lightly so that it does not compact too much.

Tip: Regular watering after repotting is particularly important to ensure that the roots take root in the new soil.

Overwintering: Cool in the cellar


The Venus flytrap will tell you when it’s time for winter dormancy: if the new trap leaves become smaller and smaller and also no longer form the typical red inside, it’s time. During hibernation, the plant needs a temperature of five to ten degrees, and less light. Complete darkness, however, does not suit it. A suitable location is therefore, for example, the unheated basement and an unheated stairwell.

Tip: Due to the low temperatures, the Venus flytrap does not tolerate waterlogging in winter. Keep the soil only slightly moist, watering once or twice a month is sufficient.

Care profile

  • Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)
  • Location Bright and sunny, high humidity
  • Watering Keep constantly moist from below in summer, once or twice a month in winter
  • Care Fertilizing not necessary, spray regularly with water
  • Repotting Annually in spring
  • Propagate By division when repotting or by sowing seeds
  • Feeding Not necessary, if, then not too often, frequent closing of traps weakens the plant

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *