The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 12

Q: How big will my Venus flytrap get?

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 'B52'
Every now and then I see a plant (grown by an expert) which has really big traps. When you see one of these plants, which may have traps bigger than 3 cm across, they're quite the sight. Usually they're specimens of the clone 'B52', but certainly not always. I envy the skillset of growers who have the skill and conditions to grow such beasts! As you might guess, carnivorous plant growers are always trying to breed plants with the biggest traps they can. However, in less than ideal conditions, 'B52' will make traps no bigger than any other Venus flytrap. So don't drive yourself batty trying to get one.

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: 2018
©Barry Rice, 2018