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Carnivorous Plants/Flytrap flowers


I've read on a lot of websites recently that if you aallow your flytraps to flower, you are basically killing them because too much of their energy has to go into flowering. What is your opinion on this?
Thank you!

Hello Maire,

It is not so much allowing Venus Flytraps to flower that kills them, it is popular myths that do the worst damage.

Venus Flytraps flower in nature and live decades. Venus Flytraps flower in a pot in someone's house, and die. Something is wrong with the way the Venus Flytraps are cared for if they die performing a natural function.

To provide a little direct evidence, I bought one Venus Flytrap over 10 years ago. The single Venus Flytrap grew to over 30 individual plants through seeds obtained from the flowers of the single adult plant and rhizome divisions of the same. I never had any of them die due to flowering.

The myth is propagated due to people simply keeping their Venus Flytraps in low light and not providing seasonal dormancy cues during winter. Venus Flytraps are seasonal perennials that can live for decades in the right conditions. They require full sun and temperate North American conditions.

Further information comes from my recent experiments with my Venus Flytraps. I grow them indoors under a large bank of 6 - 40 watt twin tube florescent lights. I decided to stop providing dormancy cues and just let them keep growing through winter. I started doing that over 4 years ago. They are still alive. The same answer prevails.. High intensity light is a must for Venus Flytrap survival.

Note, please do not try the same experiment with any Venus Flytraps.. always provide dormancy cues in non-North American conditions and try to grow them outdoors in any case. I merely provide the information here to show that inadequate light is the main ingredient that causes Venus Flytrap deaths in peoples' homes. Venus Flytraps grown with no dormancy do not grow normally and actually do not flower on their own, indicating that they need dormancy cues from the environment to flower normally.  

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Christopher Littrell


I am capable of answering questions about the most common carnivorous plants found in cultivation. I have no personal experience with Byblis, Drosophyllum, Aldrovanda, and Heliamphora. I have not cultivated gemmae forming pygmy sundews nor tuberous sundews. For information regarding those aforementioned species, I would suggest contacting other experts. I can answer questions regarding most species of Nepenthes, tropical and temperate Drosera, Mexican Pinguicula, Sarracenias, and Dionaea. I have some limited experience with growing Utricularia, Cephalotus, and Darlingtonia.


I have grown carnivorous plants off and on for about 27 years. I have made the same mistakes and suffered the same mishaps that many growers make as they attempt to separate the myths from the realities of growing these plants. Currently, I am successfully growing a variety of tropical sundews, a Nepenthes, several Venus Flytraps of varying ages, and Sarracenias. I have been successful in stratifying Sarracenia seeds and providing artificial dormancy requirements for my temperate plants when needed.

I hold a Master's degree in Educational Psychology. Over my lifetime, I have constantly read books involving the growing conditions of carnivorous plants. I hope to incorporate the educational aspects involved in psychology with teaching other people how to cultivate carnivorous plants.

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