DIY Venus Flytrap Terrarium: Unleash the Magic of Nature

Have you ever been mesmerized by the captivating beauty of a Venus Flytrap? These incredible plants have been hailed as “the most wonderful plant in the world” by none other than Charles Darwin, and their name pays homage to the Roman goddess of beauty, Venus. But let me tell you, caring for a Venus Flytrap can be quite a challenge, let alone making a terrarium for it.

Now, I must mention that there are easier carnivorous plants to care for than the Venus Flytrap. However, if you’re up for the challenge and ready to dive into the world of carnivorous plants, then put on your carnivorous cap, and let’s embark on this journey together!

Venus Flytrap Terrarium

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of creating a Venus Flytrap terrarium, let’s get acquainted with this high-maintenance beauty. These plants have specific requirements when it comes to light, heat, humidity, water, and soil. Understanding these requirements is crucial to ensure the plant’s well-being.

Did you know that the Venus Flytrap is native to North and South Carolina, USA? It grows within a narrow 100-mile radius of Cape Fear, which explains why its care requirements are so unique. Now, let’s tackle each care element individually and explore the challenges that arise when it comes to creating a terrarium for these extraordinary plants.

Managing the Venus Flytrap Terrarium With Light (and Heat)

Venus Flytraps crave ample light during their active months. They require a minimum of four hours of light, with ten hours being optimal for most species. While placing a terrarium in direct sunlight is possible, it can lead to magnified heat, which can potentially harm the plants. Therefore, it’s best to use strong artificial lights to maintain a consistent light routine for the Flytraps.

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Humidity – Should a Venus Flytrap Terrarium be Open or Closed?

Contrary to popular belief, Venus Flytraps do not constantly prefer a high humidity environment. While they can tolerate humidity levels up to 70%, they thrive best around 50% humidity. This is where the challenge of creating a terrarium for them arises. Closed glassware can regulate high humidity levels, which may damage the plants. Instead, opt for a dish-like open glass container that allows for proper drainage and avoids a closed environment.

Venus Flytrap Terrarium
These exotic beauties are as intricate as they appear.

Getting the Right Venus Flytrap Terrarium Layers / Soil

Venus Flytraps derive all their nutrients from the food they digest. Their roots are not designed to absorb nutrients, so the substrate used must be as close to nutrient-free as possible. Terrariums pose a challenge here because soil tends to compact over time and can develop mineral deposits. Additionally, the substrate needs to be well-draining yet retain enough water for the Flytraps, as they prefer constantly moist but not saturated soil.

To overcome this challenge, it’s recommended to use specialist substrate for Venus Flytraps. Avoid substrates that contain peat moss, as this has a detrimental impact on the environment. Also, remember to repot your Venus Flytrap in the spring/early summer months each year to ensure the soil remains nutrient-free, aerated, and adequately moist. However, avoid repotting the plant when it’s actively flowering.

Do I Need to Feed my Venus Flytrap?

While Venus Flytraps can survive solely on water and sunlight, they thrive when provided with food. However, it can be challenging for a Flytrap in a terrarium to find regular meals. To address this, use an open glass container for your terrarium. You can also feed your Flytrap small bugs, such as flies, to ensure they receive sufficient nutrients. Using a pair of tweezers, insert the bug into the trap carefully.

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Venus Flytrap Terrarium
How you acquire these flies is a different story altogether.

When it comes to feeding your Flytrap, it’s important to avoid triggering the traps excessively. Too much energy consumed through trap triggers can cause the plants to perish.

How to Water a Venus Flytrap Terrarium?

The water you use to hydrate the soil for your Venus Flytrap terrarium needs to be mineral-free. Tap water often contains particulates that can harm your plants, so it’s best to use distilled water, reverse osmosis water, or rainwater. The total dissolved solids (TDS) measurement within the water should be less than 50 ppm for optimal growth. Flytraps prefer bottom watering, which is challenging to achieve in a terrarium. Therefore, it’s crucial to monitor the water content of the soil carefully. Keep the soil moist, but avoid waterlogging the plants.

Venus Flytrap Terrarium
Glass bowls are excellent choices for Venus Flytrap Terrariums.

Dormancy – How to Care for a Venus Flytrap in Winter

Venus Flytraps go through a period of dormancy during winter, typically from October to February. They have evolved to withstand frosty winters due to their origin in Carolina. To ensure a proper dormancy period, the substrate should be kept moist, and any dead leaves should be removed. However, creating the required low temperature within a terrarium can be challenging.

During the dormant period, it’s crucial to keep your container open. If you live in a region with mild winters, you’ll need to find a cool spot (between 0-10 degrees Celsius) for the plant to rest. Lower levels of light are preferable during this period. As you can see, creating and maintaining a Venus Flytrap terrarium entails careful consideration and effort.

Now that we’ve covered the challenges let’s dive into the exciting part: creating your very own Venus Flytrap terrarium!

What Do You Need for a Venus Flytrap Terrarium?

  1. An open, dish-like container.
  2. Leca or gravel for drainage.
  3. Venus Flytrap potting mix.
  4. Venus Flytrap plant(s).
  5. Optional hardscape for decoration.
  6. A paintbrush.
  7. A misting bottle.
  8. Distilled water.
  9. Artificial grow lights.

Step 1 – Get Clean

Before you begin, ensure that your glassware and materials are clean. Remove any dust, dirt, or minerals to provide the ideal environment for your Flytraps. Thoroughly clean your glassware, drainage material, and hardscape if necessary.

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Step 2 – Drainage & Substrate Layers

Fill your container with a layer of drainage material, ensuring around an inch or two of coverage. This layer will prevent waterlogging in the substrate. If you already know where you’ll place your Flytraps, create a thicker drainage layer in that area. Then, pour in the potting mix. Use a paintbrush to create contours and grooves in the substrate, giving it a natural look. Aim for at least 2 inches of substrate height up the glass.

Step 3 – Plant ‘Em Up

Fill a misting bottle with distilled water and lightly spray the substrate until it’s evenly moist. This will create a suitable space for your Venus Flytraps. Carefully remove the plants from their pots, gently removing the surrounding substrate from their roots. Place them into the holes created in the substrate using the paintbrush. Take extra care not to trigger the traps. Use the brush to secure the plants in place by sweeping the soil up to the base.

Step 4 – Care Setup

If your Flytraps are not in dormancy, place the terrarium under artificial grow lights set to high intensity for 8-10 hours a day. During winter or the dormant period, the terrarium should be moved to a cooler location (between 0-10 degrees Celsius) to allow the plants to rest properly. Adjust the light intensity accordingly during this period.

Creating a Venus Flytrap terrarium is a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. It requires attention to detail and careful consideration of the plant’s needs. Remember, each element, from light and humidity to soil and watering, plays a crucial role in the health and well-being of your Flytraps.

So, are you ready to embark on this enchanting journey into the magical world of Venus Flytrap terrariums? Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Happy terrarium making!

Ciao!

Ames Farm Center