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Do Venus Flytraps Actually Smell Bad?

Do Venus Flytraps Actually Smell Bad?

If you are considering bringing a venus flytrap into your home, you are likely wondering if venus flytraps smell? The easy answer is no. Venus flytraps produce nectar in their traps that releases a sweet smell to attract insects. While this smell is quite powerful for bugs and arachnids, it is undetectable to the human nose. 

However, there are a few issues that can cause your plant to give off an unpleasant smell. We will go over those issues, how to prevent them, and how to remedy them in this article. 

Do Venus Flytraps Smell Bad Naturally? 

Venus flytraps are really interesting plants that evolved to survive in very nutrient-poor soil. To get the nutrients they needed, they developed leaves that trap bugs. These traps are red on the inside and produce sweet-smelling nectar, tricking insects into thinking they are flowers. When the bugs go inside the trap to drink the nectar and pick up pollen, the leaves close and trap them. 

While many people are concerned the smell of the flytrap will be unpleasant, a healthy venus flytrap should be undetectable to the human nose.

Why does my venus flytrap smell? 

If you already have a venus flytrap and you are picking up on an unpleasant smell, it could have a few different causes. 

1. Root Rot

Venus flytraps need constantly moist soil to thrive, but this constant need for water can often lead new plant owners to overwater their plants. If your plant is sitting in soggy soil it can develop root rot. 

To check for root rot, you will want to remove your plant from the soil and take a look at the roots. Rotten or unhealthy roots will appear dark in color, will be smooshy, and can have a rather unpleasant smell. 

If you’ve removed your plant from the soil and it does have rotten roots, don’t throw it out. Remove the dead roots, rinse the bottom of the plant and place it in new soil. If there are any healthy roots or a healthy bulb left, it will likely be able to recover. 

2. Fungus and/or Mold

Mold and fungus both create a very distinctive smell and they can be hard to miss if you aren’t keeping a close eye on your plants. Luckily, both are usually pretty easy to spot and take care of. 

If the top of your soil is white or has black gooey slime on it this is likely fungus and/or mold. These are caused by a lack of air circulation around your plant, overly wet soil, and poor drainage. 

Getting rid of them is relatively easy. Just remove your plant from the pot, rinse the roots and the base of the plant and place it in new soil. 

The ideal soil for a venus fly trap is 1 part peat moss to 1 part perlite. Since these plants have evolved to get their nutrients from their traps, they can’t tolerate soil that is high in nutrients. 

Once your plant is repotted, simply water regularly with distilled or rainwater, and your plant should be good as new. 

3. Dead prey items

One common cause of smell from venus fly traps is inappropriate food items and prey that is too large. Venus flytraps will try to eat anything that is placed in their traps, but if it isn’t a bug or arachnid, or if it is too large for them, they won’t waste the energy to digest it. They will stop sending energy to the trap that is holding the food and it will turn brown and die. 

These dead traps often hold rotting food matter that can cause a smell in the pot of your plant. 

Most flytrap keepers don’t feed their traps, but let food naturally come to them. This is the best method, but if your house is completely devoid of bugs, or if you simply enjoy feeding your venus flytrap, try to limit yourself to only feeding one trap once or twice per month and only feed prey that is ⅓ of the size of your plant’s traps.

Some good options are flightless fruit flies, small crickets, and small spiders. Meat and other human foods are not good choices and will harm your plants. 

A close up of a Venus Flytrap plant

Preventing Smell

The best way to prevent your venus flytrap from smelling is to give it the proper care. Be sure to keep your plants in well-draining soil meant for carnivorous plants.

Only water with distilled water, reverse osmosis water, or rainwater. Never let your soil dry out, and be sure not to overwater. By doing all the above and making sure your plant gets enough light, you will prevent root rot and soil issues. This will, in turn, prevent your plant from emitting any unwanted smells into the environment.