Dionaea Muscipula

Venus Fly Trap

The Venus Fly Trap is one of the plant species that consumes prey in order to nourish itself. Each plant contains four to seven traps, and produces white flowers when permitted to bloom.

While this carnivorous plant is not the most attractive for growing indoors, it's defineltly interesting to watch and help maintain it's health.



Dionaea Muscipula picture

Native to the swamps of North Carolina, Dionaea Muscipula is a difficult house plant with high demands. They are found in greenhouses around America, and can live for up to 20 years. This plant will produce between four and seven large trap-like jaws, complete with unique teeth-like spines at the ends.

The leaf-base is the name given to the sections between the ground and the trap, and these are capable of performing photosynthesis for the plant. For the nutrition side of things, the leaf-blades grow in pairs and are hinged together. Fully grown, these range from three to ten centimeters in length.

How it looks and functions: The leaf-blades appear pinkish to reddish on the inside. Each leaf-blade grows two to five protrusions called trigger hairs. Three is the most common number. These sensitive hairs react any time that two of them are disturbed within 20 seconds of each other, or when the same hair is disturbed twice within ten seconds. When this occurs, the trap on most of the subspecies will close within a tenth of a second.

Each leaf-blade set is equipped with small escape areas. Any prey which is small enough to fit through these areas is deemed unworthy of the digestive effort by the plant. Prey that cannot escape, but continues to struggle within the leaf-blades, causes the leaf-blades to seal around it, becoming a stomach that digests the prey over the following ten days. A trap that has triggered inadvertently will reopen after twelve hours.

Flowering: The Venus Fly Trap produces tall stems with clusters of white tubular flowers. If left alone, each flower will produce round black seeds. Growers typically remove the flowering shoot before it reaches three inches long, as the flowering process takes energy away from the plant.

Level of care: If you are able to provide the light requirements of the plant, then caring for them is fairly easy. The dormancy period of at least ten weeks is required to keep your plant healthy.

Poisonous: This plant is non-toxic for domestic animals. (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - confirmed for cats and dogs.)


Origin: North and South Carolina.
Names: Venus fly trap (common). -- Dionaea Muscipula (botanical/scientific).
Max Growth (approx): 3 - 10 cm long stems.
Poisonous for pets: Non-toxic to cats and dogs.

Smile For The Camera

Close up picture of fly trap leaf open

This One Has Bitten Off More Than It can Chew

Trapped insect inside the Dionaea muscipula

Venus Fly Trap Care

Temperature: These plants are happiest between 60°- 90°F (15°- 32°C) for most of the year. During the winter months, they enter a dormancy period, and can withstand temperatures as low as 30°F (-1°C) for short periods of time.
Light: Dionaea Muscipula is a light demanding plant. For optimal health conditions, it requires at least 12 hours of light a day. At least 4 of those should be full sunlight.
Watering: They like their growing medium to be kept moist at all times, but never to the point of soggy. They are best watered through bottom-watering systems (water tray). Water should always be distilled before providing to the plant, as the chemicals in typical tap water are poisonous to the root system.
Soil: This plant demands nutrient poor soil. Peat moss and long fiber sphagnum moss should be mixed in a 1:1 ratio for the best growing conditions.
Re-Potting: These plants can be re-potted at any time other than their dormancy period.
Fertilizer: Never introduce fertilizer to your plant. These cause the root system to rot.
Humidity: Normal household humidity is suggested.
Propagation: Growing these plants from seeds requires at least five years before maturity is reached. Propagation from splitting existing plants is more common.
Grooming And Pruning: Do not disturb the leaf-blades needlessly. The flowering shoot should be pruned away promptly unless you are wanting to grow seeds.


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