The Venus fly trap is quickly becoming one of the most popular houseplants, not just among carnivorous plant hobbyists but also among the general plant-collecting population. They are very interesting plants with a unique appearance and the ability to consume insects for their nutrients.
These plants have a reputation for being finicky, but if you are able to provide their specific preferred living conditions, they will have no problem growing in a pot. One of these conditions is that they should be repotted when they grow too big for their pot.
In this article, we will discuss the appropriate time to repot your Venus fly trap, what pot and soil to use, and the correct process to follow. If you have a Venus fly trap and are thinking about repotting it, then keep reading to learn more.
When is the best time to repot a Venus fly trap?
Typically, the Venus fly trap needs repotting once a year so that its potting medium can be replaced. This is because the potting medium tends to become dense and compacted over time, making it difficult for the plant to produce new roots since they will be unable to penetrate the tough soil.
There is no strictly-prescribed time of year to repot your plant. If you feel that it needs to be repotted, go ahead and do so; the plant’s well-being is always most important. However, if you can wait it out, it is definitely more advisable to repot a Venus fly trap in the spring or summer, because this is when the plant is actively growing.
Repotting is a stressful and traumatic process for plants, so doing it when they are actively growing means they will recover much faster. This does not mean that the plant will not recover if it is repotted during the fall or winter, but its recovery will definitely not be as quick as if it had been repotted during the growing period.
One instance when repotting may be necessary as soon as possible is when you have recently purchased your plant from the store. The storekeepers may have been giving the plant water with a high mineral content, and these minerals can build up in the soil to the detriment of the plant. In fact, the best thing to do, if you can, is to collect rainwater and use it not only for your Venus fly trap, but all your other plants as well. If rain is scarce, use filtered or distilled water instead. The potting medium that the store provided for the Venus fly trap may also be the wrong kind, so check that too, in case you need to change it.
What is the right container for my Venus fly trap?
You might be wondering why Venus fly traps need to be repotted once a year when the actual plant hardly grows at all. Well, you need to remember that the parts of the plant above the soil comprise only half of the entire plant. The roots aso need space to grow into, so even if the plant does not look like it has grown much over the past year, the roots may have doubled in size without you knowing. Venus fly trap roots tend to grow deep instead of wide, so you will need a pot that is at least four inches deep. The Venus fly trap has rhizomes on its roots that must never sit in waterlogged soil, so if the pot is deep enough, the water will travel to the lower half of the pot and leave the rhizomes relatively dry and rot-free.
In terms of the pot’s width, just make sure the sides of the pot are at least two inches away from the rhizomes so that the latter can be properly insulated by the potting medium and not exposed directly to environmental changes in temperature.
What is the right potting medium for my Venus fly trap?
Making sure you choose the right potting medium is important when growing a Venus fly trap. These plants are used to acidic soil that is low in nutrients. Using regular potting soil can literally burn the plant. Prepare a suitable potting mix by combining one part perlite with one part peat moss. The perlite will retain just enough moisture for the plant’s preference, while the peat moss will keep the potting medium acidic.
How to repot a Venus fly trap
Before you remove the plant from its old pot, prepare the new pot. Place the perlite and peat moss potting medium in the new pot and moisten it with filtered water or rainwater.
Using your finger, create a hole in the middle of the potting medium. This will be where you place the plant later.
Now, carefully and gently remove the plant from the old pot. Handle the root mass with care and be mindful of the trap itself. Minimal damage to the plant is key. Do not trigger the plant’s trap because this will cause it to expend energy unnecessarily.
Once you have removed the plant from the pot, gently shake off as much of the old potting medium from the roots as you can. If there are multiple plants growing, you can separate them and plant each one in its own pot.
Place the plant in the new pot and cover the roots with more potting medium until all the roots are covered.
Lastly, water the potting medium thoroughly until you can see the excess water flowing out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
Venus fly traps are one of the most fascinating houseplants to own. They have a reputation for being fussy, but as long as you give them the specific care they need, they will grow happily.
Repot your plant when its roots are overcrowded or when the soil has become compacted. This is typically about once a year.
Repot the plant by transferring it from its old pot to a new one at least four inches deep, and large enough that the edges of the pot are two inches away from the plant’s rhizomes. Make a suitable potting medium by mixing one part peat moss and one part perlite.
Water the plant generously after repotting, and you can then continue caring for it as normal.
Image: istockphoto.com / Bogdan Lazar