If you are looking for a unique and interesting looking houseplant to keep you entertained and draw the gaze of pretty much any visitor you have over, you could do a lot worse than a venus flytrap.
This gnarly carnivorous plant doesn’t just look the part; it will also be a lively addition to your house with a lot more personality than your regular window succulent.
One of the biggest questions potential owners ask is how long do venus flytraps live for?
Despite their reputation as a notoriously difficult plant to keep, venus flytraps are robust perennial plants which – if kept in their native conditions – can last for more than 20 years.
But how long should you expect your plant to last? What is a perennial plant and why is a venus flytrap considered one? And finally, what are those optimum conditions and how can you best replicate them?
How long do Venus Flytraps live for?
Venus flytraps are unlike other common houseplants, in that when parts of the plant die, they do not just wither away. Instead, venus flytraps naturally replicate, producing genetic clones which take root and can continue to thrive long after your original sample has died.
This means that, theoretically, a venus flytrap could continue to exist in perpetuity, so long as the conditions in which it is being kept remain constant and favourable.
However, these conditions are often hard to sustain permanently. So, on average, a venus flytrap will live anywhere between 8 to 20 years when well cared for. However, scientists aren’t entirely certain what the life span is of a venus flytrap.
This cycle can also be negatively affected by disease. Although venus flytraps are not particularly susceptible to most pests or diseases, they can still be affected by conditions such as aphids, fungus gnats, and gray mold.
What is a perennial plant?
Venus Flytraps are considered ‘tender perennial’ plants. Essentially, a perennial plant will bloom year after year, retreating somewhat in non-bloom periods known as winter dormancy.
When a venus flytrap is in bloom, its flowers are white and decorated with green veins. When these flowers are pollinated, they will give way to seeds.
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Factors that affect the life span of a Venus Flytrap
1. Water; Humidity
As a simple rule of thumb, venus flytraps should be always moist. It is best to always keep the plant damp, but ensure it is never left soaking or drowning.
Do not allow your plant’s soil to dry out, as this will significantly reduce its lifespan. When watering a venus flytrap, avoid bottled or filtered tap water. Instead, use distilled water or rainwater only.
Venus flytraps don’t need to be housed in a terrarium, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any humidity requirements. These carnivorous plants evolved to live in damp, low-nutrient bogs, so they will thrive in areas with humidity above 50%.
2. Plant Nutrition and Nutrients
Like any other plant, venus flytraps create energy from the sun via photosynthesis. Furthermore, plants receive nutrients from the soil, much like other household plants. However, it is not recommended to feed your plant fertiliser.
Of course, venus flytraps are also famously carnivorous. To supplement the nutrients it receives from the soil, your plant will eat insects and arachnids including:
- Flies (and other flying insects)
It can take your plant up to a week to fully digest an organism and will often go a few months between meals. If you feed your flytrap an insect that is too large, your trap may become damaged as the insect carcus begins to rot.
Venus Flytraps require a lot of direct sunlight for optimum growth and to maintain their health. For indoor plants, it is recommended that they see at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day.
Alternatively, it should see between 10 and 12 hours underneath an artificial grow light. When choosing a bulb, opt for one which processes light in the blue wavelength and hang it 8 inches above the highest trap.
Because of their winter dormancy requirement, many experts recommend growing your venus flytrap outdoors. For an outdoor plant, it is recommended that it see 4 or more hours of direct sunlight as well as 2 to 4 hours of indirect sunlight a day.
In the summer, the optimal daytime temperature is between 70- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit. Although the plant requires a significant amount of light, it mustn’t be allowed to become too hot or dry out.
Because venus flytraps are perennial, this also means that venus flytraps require a cold winter dormancy between November and February. In the winter, the optimal daytime temperature is between 55- and 60-degrees Fahrenheit.
Conclusion: How long do venus flytraps live for?
The venus flytrap is one of the coolest plants out there, and the first choice for anyone looking for an interesting and intricate new plant to care for.
Scientists aren’t certain of the life span of a venus flytrap. But, on average, a venus flytrap will last anywhere between 8 to 20 years when well cared for.
But to get the most out of your plant, here are a few important factors to keep in mind:
- Venus flytraps are perennial, meaning they require a period of winter dormancy – kept in cooler temperatures and with less light.
- As a simple rule of thumb, venus flytraps should be always moist. Never allow them to dry out, as this can kill your plant.
- Venus flytraps feed through photosynthesis, nutrients in the soil, and through consuming flying insects and arachnids. It can take your plant up to a week to fully digest an organism and will often go a few months between meals.
- Venus flytraps require a lot of direct sunlight for optimum growth and to maintain their health. For indoor flytraps, it is recommended that they see at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day.
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