Dionaea muscipula – Venus Fly Trap
The Venus Fly-trap is probably the most famous species of carnivorous plant.
Venus fly traps attract their prey using sweet nectar. Touch a trigger hair and it closes the trap, its interlocking teeth forming a cage. The insect’s struggles will cause the trap to seal at which point digestive enzymes will dissolve the victims soft tissues. The trap reabsorbs this nutritious soup and after about a week reopens using the carcass to attract new visitors – how macabre!
Venus fly traps need to direct sunlight for healthy growth – if you’re growing your plant indoors, choose a bright sunny windowsill, preferably south facing as insufficient sunlight will cause your flytraps leaves to become weak and floppy and the insides of the traps will lack red coloration.
Native to the Carolinas in the U.S.A., the temperatures often hit 30 degrees in summer and drop below 0 degrees in winter so Venus fly traps are perfectly happy in the UK climate provided they are protected from extreme elements.
Like many of the other carnivorous plants, Venus fly traps need pure water so giving them bottled or tap water can result in a build up of minerals that will eventually kill your flytrap – your best options is rain water.
You shouldn’t really have to feed your Venus fly trap yourself even if there are very few insects within your house, as lots of bright sunlight, a cold winter dormancy period and proper watering will result in a very healthy plant. However you can use freeze dried mealworms, rehydrated in a drop of water, pop them in the trap and use a cocktail stick to gently touch trigger hairs to simulate a live insect – it will then close tight and digest happily.