Venus Flytrap Dormancy !!

Most inexperienced Venus Fly Trap growers make the assumption that Dionaea muscipula are tropical plants and that they should be kept in warm growing conditions year round. However, the truth is that Venus Fly Traps are very hardy perennial plants. This means that they grow and bloom over the spring and summer and then die back every winter, growing back in the spring from their energy reserves saved up in the rhizome or root-stock. They can withstand frost and light freezes. Freezes that last an extended period of time can kill Venus Fly Traps however.

In order for Venus Flytraps to survive long term, they must have a dormancy period every year that lasts three to five months. Without a dormancy, Venus Fly Traps will weaken and die over a period of time. During dormancy, Venus Flytraps can survive without any light, but this isn’t optimal. And it seems that photoperiod, over temperature, is the more driving force for triggering dormancy in Venus Fly Traps.



Now, a dormant Venus Fly Trap isn’t very pretty. In fact, most people who don’t know that Venus Fly Traps enter a dormant period would think that the plant is dying. I have read on more than one occasion that people have thrown out their plant as it was entering dormancy, mistakenly thinking that it was dying. Most of the leaves turn black and the plant pretty much stops growing, at least to the observer. Click on the photo to the right to see a large image of three Venus fly traps in dormancy. Notice all of the dead leaves. It’s not very pretty.

During dormancy, the light and water needs for the Venus Fly Trap change a bit. Venus Flytraps should receive a reduction in water to help prevent mold. The media should never dry out completely, but the plants shouldn’t be kept extremely wet either. Certainly not as wet as they are kept during the active growing season. As stated above, Fly Traps can go without light completely during dormancy, but this isn’t ideal. There are basically three ways to approach Venus Fly Trap dormancy: 

  • Outdoors
  • Indoors
  • Skip it

I will go into the details of each of these options and the sub-options for each.

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