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

Q: How often should I feed my plant?

A: Another way I am frequently asked this is, "Can I overfeed my plant?"

The truth is, feeding your plant is the last thing you should be worrying about. Your plant only needs bugs if all its other horticultural requirements are being met. You should be worrying about the light, humidity, and water your plant is getting. Only once you have those things addressed and your plant is growing really well should you concern yourself with feeding it.

In fact, a poorly grown plant often suffers from being fed. The leaves die or get moldy. This is because the poorly grown plant can't muster the energy to properly digest the plant and so the food rots instead of being digested.

Even if healthy, your plants really do not need to be fed! They will survive perfectly well without you giving them bugs. They may grow a little slower, but they will live.

It is also likely that you don't have to feed your plants because they are getting plenty of bugs already. Unless you keep a house so clean that your coworkers like to talk about it behind your back, you actually have quite a few bugs in your house that your plant will get: gnats, roaches, flies, earwigs, and others. So relax!!

All that being said, you still probably itch to feed your plant, and I understand, so here is a simple guideline--do not feed it more than about one bug per week. If you want to feed it more often, get more plants.

P.S. Experienced carnivorous plant growers may think I'm being too hard on you, and might insist that you can feed your plants more often. The problem is that it is easy to overdo the feeding. I have conducted feeding experiments and have found that Venus flytrap deprived of food can be damaged by overfeeding. I would not be surprised if other carnivorous plants are the same way.

Page citations: Rice, B.A. 2006a.

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Revised: January 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005