Q/A #55 - Venus Flytrap Is Looking Strange

March 22, 2023

Q/A #55 - Venus Flytrap Is Looking Strange

I saw a tutorial of yours on YouTube about carnivorous plants and I wondered if you can help me with my Venus Flytrap and how to grow it. When I first had it, the traps were very small, then it grew and look normally, but now they are really strange looking. I hope you have a solution for my problem.
( Submitted in March 2019.)


Yes, your Venus Flytrap is looking pretty sad. It can be brought back to good health, but you're going to hate what I tell you to do to get it there. ?

First some background. The Venus Flytrap is a US-native perennial, native to North and South Carolina. It grows in bogs there in mostly full sun locations. Summers are hot; winters are cool to chilly with some snow and freezing weather in winter. Because of that, the Venus Flytrap does best as an outdoor container plant in a full sun location. When I say full sun, I mean like you need for a vegetable garden or growing tomatoes. They hate shade. Your plant unfortunately, has been in very low light. That's why it has poorly developed leaves, traps, and looks so weak. 

Here's the fix. You will need to transplant your plant to a larger pot. Looks like your plant is also in 100% peat moss. It needs additional aeration to keep the roots healthy. Use a soil mix of 50/50 peat moss to perlite with nothing else added. (You can also order soil from us.) Pot up your plant a 5 or 6 inch pot. This way you won't have to transplant it again for awhile. 

Once you transplant it, cut all the leaves off. After that, move the plant to a full sun location, and make sure the pot is sitting in a shallow tray of distilled water (or rainwater or any mineral-free water) at all times. It should be getting at least 6 hours of direct sun on a sunny day. More sunlight is better. In about a month you should see the first new healthy trap open up.

The reason for cutting all the leaves off is that the plant is so unhealthy right now, if you move it to full sun, the leaves just burn and stress the plant out even more, sometimes killing it. Cutting the leaves off is a work around. This way it doesn't get any new damage, and is able to grow new healthy leaves without stressing the root system. 

I also recommend reading our general care guide or our digital download. Either of these resources will help you get on the right track.  

• The original question and response have been edited for publication.
• With a database of thousands of questions, we will post a Q&A every few days or so.
• To search for similar posts, click on a hashtag below or use the site's search function.
• To submit a carnivorous plant question, visit
Ask the Growers.