There was a rumor circulating many years ago that the Venus Fly trap could only be found around meteor craters. While this has turned out to be an urban legend the fact that Venus fly traps are quite unusual plants still remains. You can make a beautiful terrarium out of these plants and other carnivorous plants.
When selecting your plants I recommend you make your terrarium, or at least your first terrarium, with only one particular type of carnivorous plant. The different species of plants have varying needs and caring properly for one type can kill another type.
The Venus fly trap is one of the best selections for your first terrarium because it is hardy and easy to raise. It is also quite dramatic with jaws that close around its prey. Plant the fly traps in a terrarium that is made up of between 50 and 70 percent sphagnum moss or peat moss with the remainder either sand, perlite, or pumice. The Venus fly trap gains all its nutrients from the insects it eats so you should not use potting soil or any type of fertilizer. This would quickly kill the plants.
The Venus fly trap needs lots of sunlight so it should be kept outdoors or in a well-lit location. It also has a dormant season where it will need to be kept cool for two to three months. In this time most of the foliage will die back, which is normal. If you live in a warm climate you can keep the plants in your refrigerator for the dormant season.
When watering your plants keep the soil moist and use only distilled water. The chemicals in tap water can kill the plants. And if you absolutely have to use tap water I recommend you let it sit for 48 hours before using. The fly trap has quite a tolerance for water and can actually survive for extended periods of time underwater. The rule of thumb is to keep the planting material moist but not soggy.
Caring for the plants is easy but there are a couple of rules you should adhere to. Do not excessively spring the fly traps shut. This is how they eat and they need to be open. Repeated use can also cause the traps to not function well. (It will only work five or six times then it will stop and the trap will die off). And you should never feed your plants ground hamburger. This is unhealthy for them and may kill them. Their metabolism is tuned to eating small insects not cows! If you keep your plants in an enclosed terrarium you will have to hand feed them yourself and a good source of food for them is small crickets, which can be bought at any well-stocked pet store.
If you are looking for a carnivorous plant that is easier to care for and doesn’t have to go through a dormancy period you might want to consider getting the Cape Sundew. This is a tropical plant that has the same trap door like action as the fly trap.Its motion is however, much slower. It takes about fifteen minutes for the trap to fully close. And although it is not as dramatic as the Venus fly trap it is much easier to care for.
Carnivorous plants have a very particular allure because they are evolved such an unusual mechanism for survival.