Ode to a Venus Flytrap

Our First Venus Flytrap
Our first Venus flytrap in its infancy.

Summer is full of many oh-so-wonderful things like sunshine and swimming. Unfortunately, it is also the season bugs start to swarm around our patio, and some lucky ones make it into our house despite a screen and other steps we’ve taken to prevent it.

The problem isn’t just the flies zooming around our kitchen, but also the fact that one of our dogs goes zooming around trying to catch the flies. He isn’t a little dog, but a 75-pounder throwing himself toward each fly without regard to whatever is in between him and the fly. Over the years, this has resulted in breakables getting knocked over, Lego creations getting crushed, and many other near misses.

Recently, my husband brought home a partial solution and form of entertainment — a Venus flytrap! We were immediately mesmerized by its spiky little teeth. At first, Isabelle was a bit hesitant about it until we told her that Venus flytraps do not close (hard) around fingers. Plus, however tempting to touch, it actually isn’t good for the plant. 

We found the perfect spot for Myrtle Bobbi Murphy’s first week’s (yes – the plant has a name). We anxiously await the day she matures and begins to catch flies. While we don’t expect her to entirely solve our fly problem, checking in on her is certainly a source of daily entertainment. In the meantime, we’ve been learning fun facts about these obscure plants. 

It turns out you can grow a Venus flytrap indoors or outdoors. The big trick is to ensure they get 6-7 hours of sunlight per day. If you are really committed to this quirky plant, they can live for up to 20 years. In order to do that, I highly suggest reading other resources besides just this blog post. Below are some of the basic care instructions a Venus flytrap owner should know.

Ways to keep your Venus flytrap thriving:

  • If the inside of the plant (the “trap” part) doesn’t look pink, it likely means the plant needs more light. However, if kept inside, the plant shouldn’t be too close to artificial light.
  • The ideal temperature for a Venus flytrap is 65°-95°.
  • Distilled water is better than tap water for any plants, including a flytrap. Rainwater is always superior.
  • Humid environments are preferred.
  • Plants grown indoors may need to be fed flies and beetles assuming they don’t have an adequate supply of flies or other insects to feed on.
  • Venus flytraps should never be offered human food.

We’ll be sitting here waiting for the day that Myrtle is old enough to catch her first fly. From that point, it will take her three to five days to digest it. Watch a video and learn about Venus flytraps from this PBS special. Your local library is also a great resource to learn more about plants and plant care. Check out a book today!

Ee Venus Flytrap Pin

Categories: Exploration and Education