Pamper, but don’t pester the plants
How do you kill a carnivorous plant? By treating it like just another garden perennial or houseplant.
The plants will die in conventional garden or potting soil, which is too rich. Use a mix of one part sphagnum peat moss to one part sand. Living sphagnum moss — the generative material of a peat bog — can work as a mulch, much as it would in a natural bog.
You can’t use municipal water, which has too many minerals. The choices are collected rainwater, distilled (not bottled) water or well water.
Feeding with fertilizers, including organic fertilizers, will also imperil the plants. Plants do need an insect meal, but only occasionally, and when outdoors in the garden they probably can feed themselves. Growers of indoor plants can use freeze-dried insects from a pet shop or wingless fruit flies.
Don’t use raw meat or cheese — says nursery owner Michael Szesze — which will rot, kill leaves and compromise the whole plant. Flytraps need to feel a struggling insect to fuse their leaves for the meal, he says.
Closing a trap takes an enormous amount of energy, and if all that work is not rewarded with an insect, the plant is weakened. “The worst enemy of the Venus’ flytrap,” he says, “is a kid finger-poker.”