Should You Cut Off Black Venus Fly Traps?

When it comes to growing plants, different plants require different things in order to ensure that the plant stays alive and well. While most plants require sunlight, water, and nutrients in their soil, different kinds of plants’ life cycles present themselves very differently. In the instance of the Venus Fly Trap, should you cut off black traps?

You should cut off black Venus Fly Traps because it’s beneficial for the plant. Black Venus Fly Traps have died either due to their natural lifecycle or from another factor. Cutting off the black trap, assuming it died naturally, prevents the plant from wasting energy. 

Venus Fly Traps are incredibly interesting plants and are a very common house plant. Understanding how to take care of them is very important for any plant owner. Read on to learn more about why Venus Fly Traps turn black, how to take care of them, what to do if your plant looks like it is dying, and more.

Caring for a Black Venus Fly Trap

Venus Fly Traps are incredibly different from most other plants. Most plants create all of the energy they need to survive using a cycle known as photosynthesis, in which sunlight and carbon dioxide are converted into oxygen and glucose to power the plant’s growth. 

Venus Fly Traps, conversely, fall within the category of carnivorous plants. These plants supplement their energy source by consuming living insects to absorb the nutrients such insects provide.

This unique adaptation has allowed Venus Fly Traps to survive for centuries, letting each individual plant to live upward of 20 years when properly cared for. These plants have an incredibly unique lifecycle that evolves rapidly and explains why they change in appearance on an annual basis. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the lifecycle of Venus Fly Traps check out: Do Venus Fly Traps Die After They Eat

As part of their lifecycle, individual traps can only survive for a few cycles of consuming insects before they die, and another tap sprouts in their place. 

Typically, each trap can close and reopen about five times before it can no longer support itself and die. This is a completely normal process, and you shouldn’t be worried if you see a few of your fly traps beginning to blacken and wither.

If you do see the trap starting to blacken, you should prune the plant by cutting it from the stem. Similar to a tree with a dead branch, eventually the stem would completely wither and die on its own. 

However,  the plant’s instinct is to keep itself alive, so it will continue to send nutrients to that part of the plant. Cutting off the black stem will prevent your plant from wasting these nutrients.

Caring for Your Venus Fly Trap

Though Venus Fly Traps aren’t necessarily the hardest plant to care for, they certainly aren’t the easiest either. 

Venus Fly Traps are native to only a very small area full of marshes in North and South Carolina. This small area makes the conditions Venus Fly Traps need to survive are somewhat specific. Fortunately, the climate these plants require can be relatively easily replicated. 

Let’s take a deeper look at how to care for your Venus Fly Traps

Keep Venus Fly Traps Moist, But Not Wet

Venus Fly Traps love to stay moist, but they don’t like to drown either. Keep the soil moist, but don’t ever let the plants’ roots sit in water. 

Venus Fly Traps still use photosynthesis to create some energy. However, if the plant has too much water, it can’t effectively break down the carbon dioxide or absorb any air, causing it to suffocate and die. 

Additionally, when watering the plant, don’t use tap water. Try using distilled water. You can learn more about their water requirements in this article: Why Do Venus Fly Traps Need Distilled Water?

Allow Venus Fly Traps To Rest During The Winter

Similar to people, many plants require time to rest. While some plants are native to tropical regions that constantly have warm weather and rain, many plants, particularly in North America and Europe are perennial

It means that while they’ll come back year after year, they need to enter into their own version of hibernation during the winter time. If the plants don’t get time to relax, like humans, they can overwork themselves and die. 

Try To Avoid Touching Your Venus Fly Trap

Despite being incredibly cool to watch, unless your plant has reached a decent level of maturity, try to avoid touching it. It isn’t at all dangerous to touch the plant, but it takes a lot of energy for a Venus Fly Trap to close. 

Touching it compels the plant to close unnecessarily, accelerating the trap’s age. If you want each of the traps on your plant to live as long as possible, try to avoid touching them.

Caring for a Sick Venus Fly Trap

While it’s normal for a couple of your Venus Fly Trap’s actual “traps” to turn black or wither, sometimes, too many of your traps can turn black at one point, reflecting that your plant might be sick from an infection or that it isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to survive. 

If you notice the plant is beginning to yellow, blacken, wither, or feel squishy, your plant is probably having issues and needs to be cared for.

The best way to care for a dying Venus Fly Trap is to make sure that it gets the water and nutrients it needs. Give the plant distilled water and make sure that the excess water drains adequately from the soil so as not to sit at the bottom of the plot. 

You can also run a soil test to see if the soil the plant is in has enough nutrients. If not, get some soil additives to help the plant get more of the nutrients it needs from the process.

Finally, make sure that your plant is getting plenty of sunlight, and don’t feed the plant insects. If the plant captures an insect by itself, this is acceptable. However, if you feed the plant insects, you might be overfeeding it.

Allow the plant to create energy through photosynthesis, not through the highly exhausting task of capturing and killing insects. 

If none of these tips work, try and identify if any of your plants are still in decent condition. If so, cut off the healthy leaves and replant them in a separate pot. This smaller plant will eventually grow into a full plant

If your original plant doesn’t recover, your new plant might survive the infection that killed your original plant.

Important Information for Growing Venus Fly Traps Outdoors

If you live in a climate that is comparable to the marshy areas of North and South Carolina, you might be able to grow your Venus Fly Trap outside. If you decide to grow your Fly Trap outside, there is generally very little work required in caring for your plant. 

The humidity and moisture in your climate should be enough to sustain your plant, just make sure the plants are not in direct sunlight.

The most important thing to know about growing Venus Fly Traps outside is the fact that the plant is invasive. From a conservationist’s view, you should never plant non-native species outdoors in a climate they are not native to. 

Doing so can harm the ecosystem and change the biodiversity of the region. However, if you do decide to plant your Venus Fly Trap outdoors, just be sure to control its reproduction. Failing to do so can lead to it taking over your backyard!

Final Thoughts

A Venus Fly Trap can somewhat be needy in terms of requiring care. Due to the fact they only enjoy a very particular climate, you must replicate that climate if you want the plant to survive. Try to keep your plant’s soil moist and out of direct sunlight, and allow your plant to rest in the winter.

If you ever see any part of your plant turning black, you should prune it. While a few black traps don’t mean the plant is in bad condition, it’s important to prevent the plant from wasting energy trying to maintain the spent traps.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

Recent Posts