Another newbie here!

I'm new to venus flytraps too, and this is already my second...the first barely made it a couple days! So, against all good advice I have transplanted her (my new plant). But I did it so I could move her into a terrarium. There is no temp. controls (there is a humidity and temp. reader in the terrarium), but I have a 15 watt florescent light shining down on her. I gave her a little plant food, and the light in less that 6 inches away from her. The temp is at about 80 degrees and the humidity is at about 70. She was already sick, will these conditions help her get better? Is there anything more I can do?

Carniverous Newbie


I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az
Staff member
plant food?
 step one.  rinse throughly with distilled water as long as it can drain out (in hopes to rinse out the deadly chemicals).  don't let the water level get too high.   step two. read this . and it will help you know if the rest of your setup is ok


Hey carniverous newbie,

First off Welcome to the forums!!

I am glad that you found this place, and I hope that you hang around and meet some great people


I have a few questions to ask...that will better help me help you

1) what type of soil are you using?
2) water?

Carnivorous plants cannot take plant food. At best, what they can handle is a mild strength acidic fertilizer ( miracid, orchid fertilizer ), or something like superthrive...WEAK , and monthly. Also, only on the leaves and not into the roots of the plant. Carnivorous Plants have poor root systems. It is from that they have evolved to catch prey. To supplement the lack of getting it from their roots ( or ground ).

If you place the Venus Flytrap in a terrarium, I would leave the top open. Air circulation is something that the plant needs. Stale, stagnant air will cause mold and will eventually kill the plant.

Leaving the top open will allow for fresh air to come in and the plant wil lbe fine.

Humidity isn't an issue with Venus Flytraps ( it is however with other Carnivorous Plants ).


When you water the plant, please only use distilled water, rain water or water from a reverse osmosis filter. Tap water, drinking water, mineral water...all contain salts ( sometimes not listed on the bottle ) minerals and other chemicals that will harm the plant.

Since you have the plant in a terrarium.....what you want to do now is to just make sure that the soil is moist. Adding lots of water will cause the plant's roots to rot. Keeping the soil moist, will prevent that.


The best things that you can do for your VFT ( venus flytrap ) is:

1) lots of light. The plant enjoys lots of sun. If you leave it outdoors....make sure there is enough water so it doesn't dry out.

2) water. This is something that will be debated ( because of types of water. Some people will use tap water for their plants. That is fine if the tap water is low in chemicals and mineral content. Others, like here in Houston, the water is horrible and the plant will suffer. ) The best thing to do is to give the plant Distilled, rain or Reverse Osmosis water ( high end filter ). Anything else can harm the plant over time.

3) Humidity. With the VFT, it isn't an issue. I would keep it around 50%. If the air is drier in your neck of the woods. I would mist the plant daily. It will help. Plus the fact it sits in water, you will have humidity built around the plant.

4) dormancy. Check back here in November. There will be tons of info on it.

5) feeding. No people/pet food. Live bugs only. Also, remember that the plant doesn't have to eat. Think about it as the plant getting fertilizer ( from catching a bug ). When other plants are fertilized ( with a fertilizer ) they grow bigger, faster...But if they don't get fertilized, they will still grow. Same thing with the VFT. Plus, I assure you, the plant will catch a bug on its own.

If you have any questions...please let me know. You can write me: OR you can leave anything in these forums. There are tons of great people...and you will have all the answers you need ( probably more

Good luck with your plant and PLEASE keep us informed about her
Well, what a warm welcome! I'm at home already. :) Ok, first. Andrew...I only added 2 drops of very mild indoor plant food to the water I mister her with. The terarrium I have her in has a layer of "woven" type rubber (under the soil) followed by a 1/2 inch layer of rock to allow for drainage of extra water. So if I need to flood her to get this plant food out, I can do so without drowning her! After you read this, let me know!
Next, jaie...the answers to your questions:

1.) I used an organic, untreated soil blend from Canadian Tire, blended 50% with peat moss.

2.) I'm using distilled water (I've read everything I can find on these plants, including most of Barry Rice's site. WOW! That's a lot of info.&#33

Also, the terrarium I made for her is actually a gerbil cage. Plastic "fish tank" like container with an easily removable cover that allows for plenty of air flow. It's a lid with slats all through it.
My plant is indoors, and there isn't really anywhere convenient she can sit where she will get direct sunlight. This is why I added the 15 watt florescent light bulb.
In the summer, our air sits at around 40% humidity and less that 30% on hot days. I'm in Alberta, Canada. (The dry lands this years as I'm sure you've seen on the news&#33
So is all of this enough?

And last but not least, Steve...thank-you for the welcome! :)

Carniverous Newbie
It appears I have more to say! Ok, here goes...

1.) Dormancy...I've been reading on it, and by what I've read, it looks like my plant is either dying or going into dormancy. Is it too early...should I try to take her out of dormacy and ekkp her in ideal summer conditions, or should I allow her the early dormancy and move her to a cooler area?

2.) Regular summer temp. control...her terrarium is maintaining about 70 degrees. Is this good enough or can I find a way to control the temp. inside the terrarium?

3.) Perlite...what is it? I am using (as noted above) a potting soil mix from Canadian Tire that I think is organic and un-treated along with the peat moss. She's already been transplanted 3 times, and I don't know if I should put her through it again to use perlite instead, or if I should just leave her for now.

4.) I'm also going to be adding 2 sundews to the terrarium (drosera capensis & drosera capillaris). I hear they are very resilliant. Any thoughts? I suppose the dormant period I put the flytrap in won't harm the sundews (since they'll be planted together and I know sundews don't need a dormant period)?

I really don't know if my baby should be a she or a he. :) I mean, I'm seriously outnumbered here with my husband, by two sons and a male cat. So I thought a female would be perfect. But being female, it seems un-natural somehow to be calling her "she"!

Anywho, on that note, I'm outta here for now, TTYAL! (talk to ya all later)
I have to leave the lid on my terrium otherwise they will get cold in my room. I do however have a small CPU fan blowing air around inside. I noticed they started growing some after I put the fan in there. It also seems to stay alot more humid inside for some reason.
Hiya! Welcome to the forums! Perlite looks like white styrofoam balls, but is crunchy like rice krispies. You'll see it in almost every type of potting mix, but not in the quantities we CP growers use. Most people here plant their vfts in 50-50 peat/perlite, or similar.

Capensis is extremely hardy, and will do fine...later on it can get pretty tall if you let the flower stalks grow. I have half my tank open at all times (considering it's 100 degrees F right now at my house it's necessary) so that air can flow, and if my capensis were in there, the flower stalk would come up that side of the tank.

Sometimes I give up and refer to the plants as an "it" or names that can go either way like "Dragon" and "Pygmy Punk."
Welcome to the forum

What is Canadian Tire potting soil? If it's regular soil use for everyday regular plants, it probably is not good for carnivorous plants. Stick to just Sphagnum moss (live or dry), peat moss, sand, and perlite.

On a side note to your question about "he" or "she". I read either in a book or on the internet (I forget where
) that the name Venus Flytrap (Dionaea: goddness Diana) origin related to the appearance of the trap to a female part. I won't mention that part in public

So I guess that would make the VFT a "her"...
Hi Veggita :) I keep the lid on mine too. The lid though is slatted throughout for really good airflow. Although this doesn't allow for keeping warmth in too well! The terrarium seems to be keeping at about 70. I've been toying with the idea of a fan as well, except that I don't want it to cool it off even more. A fan might work better for me if I had a heat lamp or something going there, then it would be a great idea! :)

Thanks for the info. on perlite wickedthistle! Rice crisps eh? Is perlite nummy to munch? LOL

I'm glad the capensis are hardy. That means I won't be able to kill it too easily, then maybe I'll have a CP for awhile! ( I seem to quite often refer to my plant as an "it" as well. I'm not too concerned though, once I get obsessed, then I'll get scared!

Sorry waycool...Canadian Tire soil was just where I bought it. I don't believe they actually have their own brand name. I'm not sure what the brand name was on the soil. All I know is the bag said it was organic and blended with peat moss and "other ingredients". Judging by the look of it, there is perlite in it but I don't know what else. I should be able to find sphagnum moss at my local garden center I suppose eh?

Yeah, I think we all know the "part" you're referring to! Venus makes sense, I mean...all of us girls are Goddesses...Haha! Unformtunately, in today's many cases "flytrap" can be pretty realistic too. *YUCK*!  
welcome to the forums

well every one has seemed to ansered your question the only thing I can say is noooooooooo plant food no matter how mild the is however one that may be safe its called superthrive
that might help boost your plant
Thanks Kyle6002. Duely noted and forever remembered! Never again. I don't have superthrive. So I'll just try to leave her alone for awhile now and see if she'll perk up for me.

Only a repeat question you think 70 degrees is suffiecent for her? And if she's going dormant this early should I let her and put her into a cooler area? Oops...also, the drosera I will be adding to the same terrarium...will it harm them to put them in the dormant temps. with the VFT?

(These are questions I remember asking, but I think I asked so many that they may have been over-looked in everyone's efforts to answer all my questions effectively! :-))
well sorry for over looking that question well 70 isn't too bad but I live in canada and I leave mine outside during the day in direct sunlight and it gets up to 90 and above sometimes
and it does not seem to hurt and my ac is on in the house and its set about 70 I think u should maybee try to give it a little more heeet then that it sertenly wont hurt it

if you are adding those other plants it probably would be better to heat things up a little

if you are sure the vft is going dorment then yes let it go dorment just remember to bring it out of dormency before when u would normally would
however if u are not sure your vft is going into dormency like I said heat things up a bit and keep the water lavel good if you are putting in dormency remember to give it a bit of mold killer so that no mold forms especially if it will be in a cool damp place

I hope that that ansers all your questions
if not just message me
I don't know Canadian weather too well...but it still seems to early for your VFT to be going into dormancy. If your terrarium is exposed to at least 4 hours of DIRECT sunlight and overall light exposure of 12-14 hours everyday, nature's signal for dormancy has not been triggered, unless the terrarium is located somewhere in poor lighting. Dormancy typically begins between Halloween and Thanksgiving, depending on your geographical location.

I'm also concern about that potting soil mix. When I see "blended mix", I think possible fertilizer (organic or inorganic) and regular top soil "stuff". Both of which is generally not something VFT should be potted in. Remember, VFT and other CPs are found naturally in "nitrogen-poor" soil, not nitrogen-rich "blended mix" soil

I know your VFT has already gone thru 2-3 re-potting, but if it (or "she") fails to thrive, you may want to consider re-potting in plain (unblended) peat moss/perlite/sand(washed) mixture.

Have fun


It's been one of dem days
Waycool, That blended part and other ingrediants thing caught my attntion too.
Carniverous Newbie, I would check what that "organic" and other ingredients is if you can. The "organic" part particularly bothers me. It is often used instead of the word manure. Generally carnivorous plants do best in Canadian sphagnum peat moss which is ground up Canadian sphagnum (also called LFS or long fiber sphagnum) mixed with perlite or silica sand. If, as Waycool suspects, the mystery ingredients are forms of fertilizer then you need to transplant asap.
The temperature is fine. I live in Colorado and the temp ranges from ~50º at night to ~87º during the day. The humidity lately has been about 50% or lower. I keep them in trays of water for humidity and soil moisture.
it is much too early for dormency i will agree waycool but it can happen and like I said u would have to bring it out of dormency early as well
Here in Alberta we've had a fairly warm summer. Very dry. Weather had been near the 100 degree mark daily for quite some time. Now unfortunately, it seems we're getting cool enough weather to warrant possible frost soon. Like fall or winter. The temps here outside now do not exceed about 65 and not much direct sunlight. I keep my plant inside, where we keep our furnace set at about 70 degrees.

To heat things up should I pick up one of those full spectrum "desert and tropical" daytime lights (incandescent) from the pet store? They come in anything from 15 - 40 watt, and I'm not sure how else I could warm up her terrarium without this light. I've put tin foil in the top under the florescent light that is already there in the hopes that the heat generated by the power in the light can be reflected down to give a few more degrees warmth, but so far it's oly providing more light!
I think she might be going dormant...only because she's limp, and starting to brown slightly around the edges. Most of the traps are closed and not re-opening.

Will a 15 watt florescent bulb in a 1 gallon tank simulate enough sunlight for her to think she's home again? Other than the bulb, there is poor lighting throughout our home. Meaning specifically at no time during the day does she get any direct sunlight, only indirect mild outdoor lighting.

I have perlite now, and peat moss. I want to put her in a half and half blend, but I don't want to hurt her. So far I'm waiting to see if she shows any signs of improvement before I move her again. I'm hoping she doesn't die!

The humidity level is upward of 90% in her terrarium right now. There is open air flow, but I have my soil on top of a layer of rock for drainage so that the roots don't stay too wet and rot. I believe there is some water at the bottom of that layer of rock still contributing to the moisture.

Thanks everybody for all of your help...if there's anything else you can think of that I forgot or any creative ideas for me to improve her conditions please let me know. If her temp is good at 70 then I wont' worry about it. I just haven't seen any improvement in her condition since I moved her intot he terrarium with the light and humidity. So I thought my last resort was heat or not enough light...unless I haven't given her enough time yet (she's been in there now for about 4 days).
Oh, if I put my flytrap into dormancy will it hurt the drosera? I don't think that one has been answered yet!  
Let's answer your drosera dormancy question first

As you have mentioned before, the Cape sundew does not need a dormant period, but loves some DIRECT sunlight (or a good fluorescent light). If your VFT is truly going dormant, it's best to remove it from the terrarium and store it in the fridge under seal plastic bag w/ moist peat moss. Continue providing 12-16 hours lighting for the cape sundew.

As for the low lighting possibly causing early dormancy; I have a friend who keeps her VFT in the original pot and sphagnum peat moss with the cover on her kitchen windowsill with no direct sunlight and the VFT is not going into dormancy, but grows new green traps (very, very small traps) with no browning or wilting. During VFT early dormancy, new traps will continue to grow, but slower and smaller. Older traps just looks frozen in time and wilts slowly. If your VFT new & old traps are BOTH browning---it's the "blended soil" that's got to go

I personally do not have problems with re-potting VFT several times during the growing season. Remember...VFT can be propagated via leaf cutting (without roots). So, multiple repotting will not kill your VFT, just slows or prevent mature growth of the plant. If it is the soil that's browning your traps...repotting will save your VFT from sure death

Let us know how "she" does