Wondering How Big Can a Venus Flytrap Get? Here’s the World’s Largest & Sizes of Others

When Venus Flytraps were newly discovered in North and South Carolina in the 1700s, people were in awe of their carnivorous habit and snap-trap jaws. There was excited correspondence across the Atlantic, and they were first named Dionaea muscipula (Aphrodite’s Mousetrap) by John Ellis, a British naturalist.

Venus Flytraps made quite an impression on the gardening world. Enthusiasts such as Thomas Jefferson grew them at Monticello, and in Europe, Napolean’s wife, Empress Josephine, collected and grew them at her chateau near Paris.

Plant sellers found an eager market and began harvesting Flytraps zealously from the Carolinas, and, over time, their numbers began to diminish.

Today, strip malls, highways, golf courses, and housing developments have encroached on the only areas where these fascinating plants grow. And poachers, called flytrappers, have stolen them by the tens of thousands from their habitats in North and South Carolina, even though it’s a felony to take them.

Because interest in these plants continues to flourish, breeders have tissue-cultured over 130 recognized varieties to date for all kinds of characteristics – hardiness, speed of plant growth, plant size, shape of the outside guard spines, color, and especially, size of the traps.

So How Big Can They Get?

The “typical” green Venus Flytrap growing in the Carolinas measures 4” to 6” high, although the leaves (stems plus traps) often lay close to the ground rather than upright. The plants average 5” to 8” wide, with traps 1” to 1.5” long and flower stalks that reach about 12” high.

Cultured plants, though, vary depending on the cultivar, and they are often described by the size, shape, and color of the traps and the guard bristles rather than the whole plant. Here is a rundown of some popular varieties with remarkable qualities:

World’s Biggest Venus Flytrap & Other Varieties

  • Dionaea muscipula ‘Alien’ – This cultivar won the 2022 Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s biggest Venus Flytrap. The plant boasts curved traps that are a whopping 2.24 inches long, with both short and long sawtooth bristles.  
  • Dionaea muscipula ‘DC XL’ – This one grows green traps up to 2” long with bright red insides and extra-long, saw-toothed guard spines. It has an upright habit, with the biggest traps in spring and summer.
  • Dionaea muscipula ‘Ginormous’ – This big boy is a prolific grower with light green traps up to 2” long, red interiors and long guard spines. It grows well outdoors and produces the biggest and best traps in the fall and winter.
  • Dionaea muscipula ‘B-52’ – Named after the American jet bomber, this vigorous grower has green traps that measure up to 1.75 inches long with red insides and long guard spines.
  • Dionaea muscipula ‘King Henry’ – The leaves on this cultivar are 6” to 8” long, with the traps close to 2” in length. They are a beautiful pinkish-purple inside and have long, thin guard spines.
  • Dionaea muscipula ‘Slack’s Giant’ (aka G16) – Slack’s is a popular variety with traps a deep red color inside and red spines. It has an upright habit and grows to 4” high and 5” wide.
  • Dionaea muscipula ‘South West Giant’ – This cultivar has unusually long, thin stems with 1” traps. It is an upright plant that grows 6” high and has earned the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
  • Dionaea muscipula ‘Fused Tooth’ – During the spring and summer, this zany plant grows large, triangular, and uneven sawtooth spines. During the winter months, however, it produces typical traps with thin guard spines.
  • Dionaea muscipula ‘Cross Teet’h – This cultivar’s point of interest is its uneven, crossed, or partially fused guard spines. It is a fast-growing plant with almost round traps.  
  • Dionaea muscipula ‘Wacky Traps’ – The trap tissue on this plant doesn’t fully develop, so the traps have jagged rims with almost no teeth. As a result, it is not good at catching insects itself, so you have to help it along.
  • Dionaea muscipula ‘FTS Maroon Monster’ – This hardy, quick-growing cultivar has a dark purple trap interior with purple spines.
  • Dionaea muscipula ‘Double Trouble’ – This unusual plant has green traps with pink interiors that will split in half, appearing to be two traps on one stem.

Best Conditions for Venus Flytrap Growth

So what conditions will encourage these Flytraps, with all their fascinating characteristics, to grow their biggest and best? The magic formula for producing the biggest plants is plenty of light, the right kind of soil, the right kind and amount of water, bugs to eat, and an understanding of dormancy.

(Click here for more Flytrap care information.)

Light

Flytraps require a lot of light to be healthy and keep their traps in shape, so make sure they have 4 to 6 hours of direct sun daily. In a sunny spot outside, this is not an issue.

But if you grow them indoors, set them in front of an unobstructed west- or south-facing window to get the maximum sun. If that exposure isn’t available, put them where there is light and supplement them with a grow bulb.

Soil

Venus Flytraps, like all carnivorous plants, need nutrient-poor soil. An excellent Flytrap soil recipe is 50% peat moss mixed with 50% perlite, or you can use a good commercial carnivorous plant soil. No fertilizer allowed! 

Hydrate the dry peat moss with water for half an hour before mixing it with the perlite. Pour off the excess water, mix it with the perlite, and you’re ready to pot your plant.

NOTE: Peat moss brands with additives like fertilizer, such as Miracle-Gro Sphagnum Peat Moss, are unhealthy for Venus Flytraps and will kill your plant.

Water

Flytraps need consistently moist soil – never soggy and never dry. Keep a tray of water under the pot filled with one-half to one inch of water so the soil can soak it up as needed.

Venus Flytraps are very sensitive to the minerals in tap water. Mineral levels of up to ±50 ppm are safe, but 150-200 ppm levels will kill your plant. Your local water authority will tell you the levels in your area, but to be safe, use distilled water or rainwater, which are healthy alternatives.

Feeding

During the spring and summer, your Venus Flytrap will be hungry. Outdoors, plenty of insects will find their way into the traps, but indoors, you’ll have to feed it yourself. Feeding it the right bugs the right way is part of the magic formula for growing the biggest and best Flytrap.

Ants, flies, crickets, spiders, mosquitoes, and fruit flies are all appropriate food. The insect or spider must be no bigger than a third the size of the trap for the plant to digest it. And only feed it one insect or spider per week.

The traps have a two-step closing system. When an insect first ventures into the trap, it will trip one of the trigger hairs inside, and the trap will snap shut in a split second.

Then, it must touch another trigger hair within a few seconds of the first one for the trap to close completely and start the digestion process.

When you feed the plant yourself, you must ensure that two trigger hairs are touched so that the trap will shut completely.

(Click here for an in-depth article on how to feed a Venus Flytrap.)

Dormancy

In the fall, your plant will slow down its growth, stop eating, and take a rest every November through February when the temperatures are below 50 degrees F.

If it’s outside, set it in a protected spot where it still can get light, and if it’s an indoor plant, put it in an unheated garage or shed that has access to the sun and keep the soil moist throughout its dormancy.

Some of the leaves will die, and this is normal. When it starts growing again in the spring, you can cut off the dead foliage and set it back where it gets plenty of light and warmth.

If you can satisfy all of your Flytrap’s growing conditions, it will mature into its biggest and best self and will keep on growing for around 20 years.

Author & Editor | + posts

Nancy has been a plant person from an early age. That interest blossomed into a bachelor’s in biology from Elmira College and a master’s degree in horticulture and communications from the University of Kentucky. Nancy worked in plant taxonomy at the University of Florida and the L. H. Bailey Hortorium at Cornell University, and wrote and edited gardening books at Rodale Press in Emmaus, PA. Her interests are plant identification, gardening, hiking, and reading.