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 flytrap and avoid overwatering, you came to the right place.
To avoid overwatering your Venus flytrap, it’s best to wait until the upper inch (2.5 cm) of the soil is dry before watering again. Limit watering frequency to once every 2 weeks during the winter. The soil should have good drainage properties and remain moist but never waterlogged.
Venus flytraps 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. Allow the Soil to Dry A Bit Between Waterings
Venus flytraps are perennial plants that go dormant during the winter time and reemerge in the spring with the same level of maturity as they did when they entered dormancy. It is during this time that some novice Venus flytrap owners tend to overwater their plants, trying to “save” their plants despite the process being completely normal.
During dormancy, your Venus flytrap 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. Nevertheless, the plant generally only needs to be watered when the top inch (2.5 cm) of the soil is dry.
Learn more about the dos and don’ts of watering your Venus flytrap here: Why Do Venus Flytraps Need Distilled Water?
2. Keep the Soil Moist but Never Waterlogged
The most common issue plant owners encounter when watering plants, regardless of whether the plant is a Venus flytrap 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 sit in excess water for extended periods. This environment will encourage fungal growth and damage the roots.
In addition, plants absorb carbon dioxide and oxygen through their leaves, as well as through their roots. If the soil Venus flytraps 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 a fresh potting mix.
Venus flytrap roots are relatively weak so the plant is unlikely to survive root rot. Inspect the roots for signs of root rot, such as black and decaying roots. If there isn’t any, you can rinse the roots in distilled water and repot the plant in a pot of fresh and moist potting mix.
3. Bottom Water Your Venus Flytraps
Bottom watering is an excellent way to avoid overwatering your plants. This process also works very well for Venus flytraps because the soil absorbs only enough moisture it needs. It also helps the plant grow sturdier roots.
Let the pot sit in a shallow tray of distilled or filtered water and allow the soil to absorb moisture. The process usually takes 10-30 minutes.
The duration can vary depending on several factors, such as pot size and soil components. Venus flytraps typically grow in small pots between 4 and 6 inches (10 and 15 cm) deep and 6 inches (15 cm) wide. However, the potting mix is usually partly sandy, slowing down the process of moisture absorption.
To keep your plant from sitting in excess water for a long time, check the soil moisture after 10 minutes and every few minutes afterward. Remove the pot from the water when the surface feels moist to the touch. Place the pot on a drip tray to let the excess drain out before placing it back on its saucer.
4. Ensure Adequate 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 flytraps in a pot or container with small drainage 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 repot the plant in a potting mix with equal amounts of sphagnum peat moss and perlite. This mix will provide your Venus flytrap with the acidity and drainage it needs.
5. Give the Plant Bright, Indirect Sunlight
One way to ensure that you don’t overwater your Venus flytrap is to keep the plant in bright sunlight. When plants are kept in warm and sunny environments, they will absorb more water in order to keep themselves from drying out.
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 bright sunlight compared to shaded areas. As a result, there will be a reduced risk of overwatering.
6. Maintain Warm Temperatures Around the Plant
Venus flytraps grow best in temperatures ranging from 70 to 95 °F (21-35 °C). Maintaining the temperature around your plant within the optimum range will encourage the soil to dry up more quickly and avoid overwatering-related issues.
However, ensure that the potting mix doesn’t dry out completely because peat moss tends to become hydrophobic when allowed to dry out often. Moreover, your Venus flytrap prefers consistently moist soil.
7. Grow Your Plant Outdoors
Perhaps the easiest way to protect a Venus flytrap from overwatering is to grow the plant outside. This can be done by moving the potted plant outside when the temperature is warm enough. However, ensure that the plant is protected from the intense mid-day sun.
Your plant can benefit from the natural prey it can catch when grown outdoors. In addition, a gentle rainfall is generally enough to keep your plant hydrated—with additional watering only required during hot, sunny, or dry days. It can also wash away dead insects stuck in the traps.
On the other hand, heavy rain may be too much for your plant, so move your plant to a roofed area to protect it. Also, keep your plant indoors when the nighttime temperatures fall below 45 °F (7 °C).
When it comes to growing Venus flytraps, 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 flytraps are certainly not cactuses, they don’t require too much water. When in doubt, underwater your plant. You can easily add more water later.