When it comes to caring for different kinds of plants, gardeners will quickly realize that each has its unique requirements. While all plants, generally speaking, require sunlight, water, and nutrients, different plants need different amounts of these important ingredients. If you’re wondering how to care for a Venus Fly Trap and avoid overwatering, you came to the right place.
To avoid overwatering your Venus fly trap, it’s best to limit its watering to once every 12 days during the winter. The soil should have good drainage properties and remain moist but never waterlogged. You should also place the plant in sunlight and prune it in case of overwatering.
Venus fly traps are only native to a very small stretch of land and, thus, require fairly precise conditions in order to survive. Read on to learn exactly how to avoid overwatering your beloved plant.
1. Only Water Your Venus Fly Trap Every 12 Days
Venus fly traps are perennial plants, meaning that, as the years pass, the plant will go dormant during the winter time, and reemerge in the spring with the same level of maturity as it did when it entered dormancy. It is during this time that most Venus fly trap owners tend to overwater their plants, trying to “save” their plants despite the process being completely normal.
During dormancy, your Venus fly trap will not engage in the process of photosynthesis (the chemical process the plant uses to create most of its energy). This means that the amount of water the plant will absorb will be reduced.
As a result, you should only water your plant every 10 to 14 days to avoid overwatering it.
During the summer, when the plant is more active, you might need to water it more often. However, the plant generally only needs to be watered weekly.
Perhaps the best way to keep your Venus fly trap healthy is to maintain a regular watering schedule. This means watering on a specific day to ensure you water the plant only when it needs to be watered.
Failure to observe a pattern increases the chances of overwatering, especially if the Venus fly trap is grown in shaded areas.
Learn more about the dos and don’ts of watering your Venus fly trap here: Why Do Venus Flytraps Need Distilled Water?
2. Allow Your Plant’s Soil To Be Moist, But Never Waterlogged
The most common issue plant owners encounter when watering plants, regardless of whether the plant is a Venus fly trap or not, is watering the plant so much that the soil becomes waterlogged.
In the case of waterlogging, excess water is not able to drain through the soil by its natural processes, and the roots of the plant are forced to absorb more water than they can handle.
If this occurs, plants, like humans, will drown. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and oxygen through their leaves, as well as through their roots. If the soil Venus fly traps are planted in becomes excessively waterlogged, the required oxygen supply will be cut off, increasing the chances of death.
If you notice that the soil has become waterlogged, stop watering the plant and, if possible, pour out some of the water. If this isn’t possible, carefully remove the plant from the waterlogged soil and replant it in dry soil.
3. Ensure That Your Venus Fly Trap Has Plenty of Drainage
When a plant’s soil becomes waterlogged, it is rarely due to people pouring too much water into the soil. Though this does happen, soil typically becomes waterlogged because there is not enough drainage available for the excess water to run off.
As such, you should plant your Venus fly traps in a pot or container with small holes that allow the excess water to leave the soil.
If you notice that the soil is becoming waterlogged without much water being added, you can add organic material such as compost or manure to the soil in order to increase drainage. If this doesn’t seem to solve the issue, you can purchase watering bulbs to ensure that the soil is only absorbing the water the plant needs in order to survive.
If neither of these techniques works, you can try installing a drain tile to encourage drainage.
4. Keep Your Venus Fly Trap in Direct Sunlight
One way to ensure that you don’t overwater your Venus fly trap is to keep the plant in direct sunlight. When plants are kept in hot, sunny environments, they will absorb more water in order to keep the plant from drying out and also to increase their levels of photosynthesis.
By increasing the amount of water the plant absorbs when placed in direct sunlight, you’ll be reducing the likelihood of overwatering.
Additionally, when plants are kept in direct sunlight, the soil in which they are planted dries much quicker. Water evaporates up to 25% faster when placed in direct sunlight compared to shaded areas. Between the water being used in greater amounts and the increased speed of evaporation, keeping Venus fly traps in sunlight will help reduce the likelihood of overwatering.
5. Dry the Plant’s Soil as Needed
Sometimes, despite attempts to prevent soil overwatering, plants still manage to have more water in their soil than they actually need. In these cases, you might need to take extreme action in order to dry out the soil and prevent your plant from dying. You can do this by taking a dry cloth or paper towel and placing it on top of and in the soil. The cloth will absorb much of the excess water, helping keep the soil moist but not wet.
If this isn’t enough, you can remove your Venus fly trap from the soil in which it is planted and spread the soil out over a cookie sheet to dry. Plants can survive with roots exposed for about 24 hours. In this time, you can dry your soil or repot the plant if you think that the soil quality has been depleted.
6. Grow Your Plant Outdoors
Perhaps the easiest way to prevent a Venus fly trap from overwatering is to grow the plant outside. This can be done in one of two ways: growing the potted plant outside when the temperature is warm enough or planting the Venus fly trap in the ground. In doing this method, rainfall is generally enough to keep your plant alive, with additional watering only required during hot, sunny, or dry days.
The issue that can come with this approach, however, is that Venus fly traps are invasive plants. This means that, if left to reproduce by itself, the plant will very quickly spread and take over an area. If you want to let your plant grow outside, make sure you take steps to prevent it from overtaking an area.
7. Prune Your Plant in Case of Overwatering
If, after taking these first 6 steps, you notice that your Venus fly trap is beginning to yellow or starting to smell differently, you likely have overwatered your plant. If this is the case, begin pruning your plant by cutting back leaves that are yellow or individual fly traps that have become very wrinkly.
Pruning will prevent your plant from wasting energy by keeping these wasting or dying stems alive. If this doesn’t seem to work after a day or two, you should remove the Venus fly trap from the soil and prune its roots.
Cut off roots that are black in color, squishy to touch, or smell bad. These roots have all died and won’t do much in terms of water or nutrient absorption. In essence, these roots are acting as straws and are continuing to worsen the problem. By pruning the plant, you should be able to save it from dying.
When it comes to growing Venus fly traps, it is important to keep an eye on your watering schedules to avoid incidences of overwatering.
The plant’s soil should stay moist but should never be completely soaked or waterlogged. If you think you have overwatered your plant, look for wrinkles and yellowing in the leaves, and immediately take steps to dry out the soil.
While Venus fly traps are certainly not cactuses, they don’t require too much water. When in doubt, underwater your plant. You can easily add more water later.