The Venus Flytrap

How to Keep a Venus Flytrap Healthy and Happy

Venus Flytraps are easy to grow if you understand their needs, which are few but strict. People often kill their first Venus Flytrap or two despite their best intentions, because they treat them like other plants. But in nature, Venus Flytraps grow in soil that has almost no nutrition. They expect soil so poor that ordinary garden soil, soil from the yard, even potting soil produced to encourage other plants to grow their best, will all kill Venus Flytraps.

venus flytrap waiting for prey

A Venus Flytrap waiting for a meal.

Fertilizer will also kill Venus Flytraps. Although experienced growers have learned a few ways to lightly fertilize a Venus Flytrap without damaging it, new growers should never use fertilizer, nor soil with any kind of added plant food or natural fertility.

Water from your kitchen tap or garden faucet will almost certainly kill a Venus Flytrap. In nature, they are used to lots of rain, which contains almost nothing but pure water. Water from a kitchen or garden spigot is not nearly as pure as rainwater; although it may look clear, it usually contains dissolved minerals, and these will damage or kill Venus Flytraps.

venus fly trap fleuron

So to summarize the major points so far—

To grow healthy Venus Flytraps:

  • Water— Use only pure distilled water or reverse osmosis water with nothing added, or collected rain water; never use tap water or garden water. Venus Flytraps love soil that is moist but not wet all the time.
  • Soil— Use only a specially prepared soil (soil recipes can be found here at that has no nutritive value; never use garden soil, potting soil, soil from the yard or any kind of soil prepared for other kinds of plants.
  • No fertilizer— Do not use any kind of fertilizer with Venus Flytraps; it will damage or possibly kill them.
  • Sunlight & dormancy (see below)

In addition to needing only pure water and nutritionless soil, Venus Flytraps love lots of sunlight if the weather is not too hot (or strong artificial light) and need a yearly rest period (a winter dormancy) during which they die back, look terrible for a while, grow only very little and very slowly, and should not be watered nearly as frequently as during the warm and sunny growing season, or they might rot from fungal or bacterial infection, if kept too wet during dormancy.

venus fly trap design dinner plate

Antique Portmeirion dinner plate with Venus Flytrap design.

Much more information, in much greater detail

Now that you know what not to do, please read more here at to learn how to grow Venus Flytraps so that they not only survive, but thrive. Just use the menu button at upper left.

If you have comments about the information at, please send an email to the website author and maintainer, Stephen Doonan.