Why Do Venus Flytraps Turn Black After They Eat?


The Venus fly trap is a carnivorous plant, meaning that it eats meat, not plants. This endangered plant is native to a couple of areas in North and South Carolina only. Only one species of Venus fly trap plant exists. The Venus fly trap secretes a sweet nectar to attract bugs. The plant detects bugs with trigger hairs which line the inside of the trap. An electrical signal is sent to the leaf to tell it to close.

These plants can be somewhat difficult to take care of because they are very sensitive. Many different explanations, such as growing conditions, diet, or light, are given for why the Venus fly trap turns black.

Growing Conditions

  • The Venus fly trap likes humid and wet soil conditions. This is why it grows best in the swamps and bogs of North and South Carolina. These plants typically grow wild in the Green Swamp and the Carolina Beach State Park. Their native area is being destroyed by humans for drainage of tree planting, proposed garbage dumps, interstate expansions, and the construction of vacation homes and golf courses. The maximum size of a typical Venus fly trap is about five inches in diameter and will have approximately four to eight traps at once.


  • The Venus fly trap consumes most kinds of bugs and some caterpillars. Leaves can turn black if the plant is fed the wrong bugs or has been overfed. You should not feed a Venus fly trap ants, beetles, or large bugs that are more than half the size of the trap. Black spots can also appear on the traps while they are digesting food.


  • Venus fly traps need lots of light to grow. Its soil should always be kept moist. Leaves can also blacken due to lack of light.

Disease and Rot

  • Bugs that are more than half the size of the trap should not be fed to the plant. If any part of the bug is sticking out of the trap, remove it. Bugs that are not totally in the trap can cause rotting and decay which can spread and kill the plant.

Flowers & Pruning

  • Do not allow your Venus fly trap to flower. If the plant is allowed to flower, it will stunt and slow the plant's growth for up to a year. Trim off flower stalks when they appear. Also trim off any leaves or traps that have turned black to help keep the plant healthy.


  • Do not fertilize your Venus fly trap. This can also cause the plant to quickly turn black and die. You may, however, use a fungicide if you notice a fungus growing on your plant.


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