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I bought a venus fly trap in my local grocery store, it had a plastic dome and a plastic pot that it was trapped in, I removed both the dome, and the pot and left it with the inner pot which has holes in the bottom. I put the plant in the lid of the dome and filled the lid with tapwater.

I feared it might starve as there aren't many bugs out yet, so I went out and caught a fly and fed it to the plant, I put the fly in one of its mouths and had it close. now several days later the mouth is opening but the bug is still there, seemingly untouched.

why won't it feed? should I be worried that it will starve?

Bug is in the top mouth.

should I try lifting the bug out and putting it into another mouth?

  • Too much nitrogen in soil prevents feeding. But that also usually makes mouth tissue fat too. Have you rinsed the soil you got it in? What, if any, fertilizer are you using. You want low soil pH as well, pH 4 to 5. – Wayfaring Stranger May 15 '17 at 11:51
  • I have not rinsed it, I am using the soil it came in. to rinse it, can I just flush it with tap water? – inifus May 15 '17 at 12:09
  • dead. since I had to catch and transport the fly from outside I kept it in a bag for a couple of minutes, it did not survive that. would squeezing the mouth gently to make the inside touch the fly more work? – inifus May 15 '17 at 14:02
  • @inifus I'd used deionized or distilled water. Tap water sometimes comes with a lot of minerals and a high pH. – Wayfaring Stranger May 15 '17 at 15:31
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    Folks, if you have an answer, please post it below. Otherwise, this will remain 'unanswered' and whatever is being said here cannot be properly vetted in comments. – Robert Cartaino May 15 '17 at 18:53
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Dionaea like all carnivorous plants do not obtain their energy from their prey. The obtain energy from the sun, like any other plant. Carnivory in plants evolved in habitats where there are very low nutrient levels in the soil, particularly nitrogen, and it is these nutrients that plants are extracting from their prey. The digestive secretions of carnivorous plants are not able to fully digest the chitin and other hard proteins present in insect exoskeletons and so on re-opening the body of the insect will remain (minus the soft internal tissues).

In cultivation, over-fertilising is more likely to be an issue than under fertilising. Lack of light can be an issue (and starve the plant of energy). Your plant looks healthy so do not worry about feeding it flies. The soil does look excessively damp though and you should not use tapwater as all carnivores are sensitive to pH and dissolved salts. Although Dionaea come from swamps, that does not mean everything is almost underwater. Soil moisture levels vary by location and time of year - indeed your plant should be allowed to go dormant during the winter and watering restricted at this time (the leaves/traps will turn black and fall off, but the plant will resprout from beneath the surface in spring).

There are lots of forums dedicated to cultivating carnivorous plants where you will be able to find detailed instructions on how to care for your plant. Alternatively, ask a new question with the aspect of care you are interested in.

  • This is true, carnivorous plants do not get energy directly from the bugs they consume just like normal plants don't get their energy from the ground. They get their energy, or ATP, from the sun through photosynthesis. They do, however, get nutrients from their prey which help them grow faster, but they are not necessary for them to stay alive and growing. They can be seen as a supplement. – ejderuby Jul 19 at 14:28

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