Venus flytraps (Dionaea muscipula) are without a doubt the most infamous carnivorous plants around and have become popular amongst botanists and houseplant hobbyists alike. Native to the boggy regions of North and South Carolina, Venus flytraps are accustomed to the nutrient-poor growing medium of the Carolina boglands and they obtain their nutrients through 'eating' insects, which they have become famous for.
While Venus flytraps have obtained the reputation of being difficult to grow, this stereotype is not warranted as their growing conditions are actually quite straightforward. One important aspect of maintaining a healthy Venus flytrap is regular repotting of the plant to ensure that it has adequate room to grow.
Before you begin repotting, it's important to note that Venus flytraps have rhizomes that help to store its energy and produce both the roots and the shoots of the plant - so don't be alarmed by the white bulbous rhizomes among the roots of a Venus flytrap while you are repotting it!
When to Repot a Venus Flytrap
For best results, Venus flytraps should be repotted annually to help keep the potting medium fresh. Over time, the potting medium can become compacted which makes it difficult for the plant to grow new roots. While Venus flytraps don't mind being repotted during most times of the year, it is best to repot them during the spring or early summer as this is when they come out of their winter dormancy. Avoid repotting Venus flytraps while they are actively flowering.
It's also a good idea to repot a Venus flytrap as soon as it is purchased to ensure that any impurities from the water it was given at the nursery do not stick around in the soil. Venus flytraps require pure water (filtered or rainwater is best!) to thrive. Repotting after you purchase also helps to ensure that the potting medium is correct as Venus flytraps are picky with their growing medium.
Choosing the Right Potting Medium
Choosing the right soil/potting medium for your Venus flytrap is the most crucial aspect of successfully repotting a Venus flytrap. Venus flytraps are native to the bogs of North and South Carolina and are accustomed to an acidic, nutrient-poor growing medium. Using standard potting soil or nutrient-enhanced mixtures will burn the Venus flytraps and kill them quickly.
When repotting a Venus flytrap, a standard carnivorous plant soil mixture should be used. You can either mix one yourself or look for Venus flytrap potting soil to achieve this. If you are mixing the soil yourself, a 1:1 mixture of unenriched peat moss and perlite is ideal. The peat moss provides the acidity that Venus flytraps require, while the perlite helps to retain moisture.
Choosing the Right Pot
There are a couple of important considerations when it comes to choosing a pot for your Venus flytrap. While Venus flytraps stay relatively small, even at maturity, their root systems can grow fairly deep so choosing a pot with some depth to it is beneficial for the plant. A minimum pot depth of four inches is recommended so that the roots can develop while keeping the majority of the water away from the rhizomes.
Proper insulation is also important for Venus flytraps. When grown indoors insulation is less of a concern as they can be temperature controlled more easily, but typically leaving extra room around the rhizomes so that the potting medium can buffer them from extreme heat or cold is a good idea. A minimum of two inches of potting medium around the edges of the rhizomes is recommended for optimal insulation which may mean choosing a larger pot for your Venus flytrap. In most cases, plastic pots are best for Venus flytraps.
How to Repot a Venus Flytrap
Fill the new pot with the 1:1 mixture of peat moss and perlite.
Gently water the new potting mixture with purified water or rainwater to moisten it.
Create a small hole in the center of the new potting mixture where the Venus flytrap will be placed.
Carefully wiggle the Venus flytrap out of its current pot, being careful to handle the root ball and not the traps.
With your fingers, gently break away the old potting medium from the roots of the Venus flytrap.
If necessary, separate multiple plants from one another to be re-planted separately.
Place the plant into the new moistened potting mixture and carefully pat the soil into place around the roots.
Water the plant thoroughly—the water should fully drain through the pot and out of the drainage holes.
If repotting is done correctly, Venus flytraps should be fairly stable and do not typically require extra care afterward. It is normal to see a stall in growth for a week or two after repotting, and some Venus flytraps may even lose a few traps after being transplanted. As long as the plant has healthy rhizomes and roots this is nothing to be concerned about.
When repotting a Venus flytrap, it is important to be gentle and avoid triggering the traps as this will waste the plant's valuable energy. Where possible, try to grab the plant by the root ball rather than by the stems or traps.