The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 11.5
- courtesy of -
The International Carnivorous Plant Society

Q: How big will my Venus flytrap get?

Dionaea
Dionaea
A: If you are thinking that the little malevolent plant you recently bought will, with time, turn into a huge monster that will eat the pesky starlings in your garden, prepare yourself for disappointment.

Assuming that you grow your plant well, and assuming that you continue to grow it well for a few years, it will reach a maximum size of about 13 cm (5 inches) in diameter. Mind you, that is the size of the entire plant! A single leaf trap may be a tad larger than 3 cm (1 inch) in length. A plant in marginal conditions will have about 4 to 8 traps on it at any time. If you grow your plant well, it can have many more traps---up to 20 large ones in really good conditions.

Why don't the traps get bigger? Because they evolved to capture insects. They do not need larger traps for their prey.

Dionaea
Dionaea 'B52'
As you might guess, carnivorous plant growers are always trying to breed plants with the biggest traps they can. If you want the best chance to have plants with really large traps (about 5cm/2 inches long), it will help if you have one of the clones with large traps. The cultivar Dionaea 'B52' is one such plant. However, in less than ideal conditions, this plant will make traps no bigger than any other Venus flytrap. So don't drive yourself batty trying to get one; also don't e-mail me with requests for specimens---I'm not in the business of selling plants.

The best way to get the largest traps from your plant is to take care of it as best as you can. A happy plant is a big plant. If you try to force a plant to become large by fertilizing it, guess what happens... Yes, it DIES! Read the FAQ section on fertilizers to learn why this method is doomed for failure. (If you try it anyway, e-mail me when your plant dies. I'll be happy to chide you for being foolish.)

Page citations: D'Amato, P. 1998a; Rice, B.A. 2006a.

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Revised: January 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005