How Much Should a Venus Flytrap Cost? Don’t Overpay for a Sick Plant!

If you are shopping around for your first Venus flytrap, you’ve likely seen a variety of prices both online and in nurseries, ranging from $5 to $20 or even $50 or more! What’s a good price? Short¬†answer: it depends! And I’m here to break it down for you! ūüėÄ

Honestly, it’s not hard to find out if you’re getting a good deal or not. Once you know what to look for, it’s easy to figure out how much a Venus flytrap should cost. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Size and Health

typical-venus-flytrap

 

A healthy, adult (5 years old or more)¬†Venus Flytrap will have at least four fully formed trap leaves on a single plant. There is a HUGE variety in plant genetics, so consider these general guidelines. Adult traps can be anywhere from a 1/2 inch to 1 inch long or longer. A few black or yellowing leaves are normal,¬†however most of the leaves should look green, firm, and smooth. The plant may have some red coloration inside the traps or on the spines (cilia), or it could be completely green. They may have flower stalks as well. Leaves should not be 3 inches long or more and still have undeveloped traps. This is a sign the plant isn’t getting enough light.Young Venus Flytrap

Young Venus flytraps (2-4 years old) should have 3 or more leaves growing. Their trap size can be anywhere from 1/8th to 1/2 inch long. These will be overall shorter and smaller than adult traps, but should look generally the same (green, firm, and smooth). Again, a few dying leaves are normal and they may have some red coloring.

Never pay a cent for a plant that looks anything but robust and healthy! You never know what kind of disease or pests you could end up spreading to your other plants. If the plant has no green growth, no visible traps, looks wilted or wrinkled, do not buy it! If looking online and you feel suspicious, ask the seller for example photos of the exact plant you will receive. (See more further down this page under Source)

Quick note: Consider the time of year you are buying your plant. If buying during the fall and winter months, the plant will most likely be dormant. It will be smaller and may have more dead traps than usual. It can be hard to tell if the plant is just dormant, or dying, or has other issues going on. To be safe, I recommend buying Venus flytraps in the spring and summer months.

2. Potted vs Bare root

If you’re¬†buying plants online, you may have the option of buying potted or bare root. Each method has its pros and cons.

Potted plants are already established in their potting media, and will be less stressed out upon arriving in their new home. You don’t have to do any work except carefully unpacking them and placing them where you want. This is the easiest, most convenient option for the buyer, and the plant requires much less time to adapt to its new surroundings.

However, ordering a potted plant increases the cost by about $5 USD. Vendors must package the plant extremely carefully so nothing falls out of the pot or gets damaged during shipping. The pot, soil, and extra packaging also add more weight, thus more reason for higher shipping costs.

If you are not completely comfortable with potting plants yourself, and don’t mind paying a little extra for peace of mind, buying a potted Venus flytrap is the best option for you.

FTS Maroon Monster
Bare root plants should have a firm, white rhizome. (FTS Maroon Monster)

Bare root plants are shipped without any media or pots. This method keeps costs down for vendors and buyers, and also allows buyers to put plants in their preferred pots and media mixes. The roots are usually wrapped in damp paper towels and plastic bags to keep them moist while on their journey. Plants can only live for so long without soil, so time is of the essence!

If buying bare root plants, you must have pots and media readily available to plant them immediately. When potted, the plants may need several weeks to fully adjust to their new environment. For these reasons, buying bare root plants is not often recommended for beginners. But as long as the plant is healthy, it should have no problem bouncing back if given proper care in its new home.

I personally buy bare root plants whenever possible. Not only because I’m cheap, but I like knowing exactly what soil my plant is sitting in and where that soil came from. If I ever buy potted plants, I usually uproot and transplant them as soon as they’re home with me (with a few exceptions).

3. Source

I’ve said several times on here that it’s extremely important to know where your plants are coming from. You don’t have to do a ton¬†of detective work, but a bit of research could save you a lot of money. Spend a few minutes reading reviews and feedback. Look for some of the following details:

  • Are there several different, clear pictures of each plant? If photos are too small to see clearly or they’re all the same, it may be a red flag.
  • How much information is given on the plant, and is that information clear and easy to understand? Look for size, description, available potted or bare root, and links to care instructions.
  • Does the vendor specialize in carnivorous plants or do they sell lots of things? Generally speaking, vendors that sell carnivores exclusively will have better quality products.
Bug Biting Plants
I wouldn’t risk buying one of these.

I generally don’t recommend buying Venus flytraps sold in plastic domes or cubes, as often seen in large hardware¬†stores. They are often in poor health due to being propagated as quickly as possible, and not cultivated with care. They’re also no cheaper, if not more expensive, than much higher quality plants available from much better vendors.

There’s a chance you could end up with one that’s perfectly healthy (heck, I did!), but it is a gamble. Even if not a ton of money is lost, I would prefer spending my dollars feeling confident that the plants come from a source that cares, which is usually not a large, commercial nursery trying to maximize profits.

4. Clones, Cultivars, & Seed-grown Plants

Alright, I will try my best to keep this section not confusing!

Bristletooth Venus Flytrap
Bristletooth is a registered cultivar with short, bristled cilia.

Clones are all plants that are genetically identical to each other. You can create clones thoughnatural divisions, tissue culture, or leaf pullings. Most Typical (or unnamed) Venus flytraps available are clones, as they can be propagated fairly quickly and cheaply. If you already own Venus flytraps, you know a single plant can divide into 5+ plants within a year.

Cultivars are plants sold under specific names. You may have seen Venus flytraps with names such as B52, Sawtooth, Cupped Trap, Red Piranha, etc. These plants usually have something distinctive and unique that separates them from “Typical” Venus flytraps. B52s are known for having especially large traps. Cupped Traps are fused at one end, giving them a strange “cupped” appearance. Red Piranha is completely red with short, jagged cilia.¬†Cultivars¬†may or may not be officially registered with the ICPS.

In order to preserve their unique genetic traits, cultivars can only be propagated as¬†clones. If a cultivar looks especially attractive or strange, and/or doesn’t have many clones in cultivation, this can drive up its price. As clones are propagated over time, and more of that cultivar becomes available, the price usually goes down.

Fly Trap Seed Germination
This seedlings has its own unique combination of genes and traits that no other plant has!

Many cultivars can and do produce seeds, but seed-grown plants are all genetically unique. Even if two of the same cultivar are pollinated, their offspring have a high chance of showing similar traits as their cultivar parents, but other, different traits can show up as well.

Because they are all completely different, and also take five or more years to reach maturity, seed-grown plants tend to be more expensive than clones. However, each seed-grown plant will divide as it gets older and create its own clones. Seed-grown plants are still “Typical” Venus flytraps until someone decides to name it as a cultivar.

Now let’s talk numbers!

Now that we know what to look for in the plants as well as the sellers, let’s break down how much a Venus flytrap should actually cost you.

For a single adult typical Venus Flytrap, I would expect to pay about $10 USD. If it’s a seed-grown plant that looks nice, or a large plant with possibly several divisions already, I wouldn’t mind paying up to $12 or $13. Remember shipping costs can add on another $5 to $7.

For small typical plants, $5 – $8 per plant is reasonable. Many vendors will sell multiple small plants in a single pot for an even better deal.

Prices on cultivars vary widely depending on the traits of the plant and availability of its clones. Common cultivars such as “Cupped Trap” or Red Dragon can be the same price as a Typical,¬†while more rare cultivars can be anywhere in the $15 to $40 range.¬†The most expensive flytrap cultivar I’ve seen is DC XL, which currently sells for $49.95.¬†That price will likely go down to the $20 – $30 in a few years when more clones are available.

Feel ready to bring a Venus flytrap home? Visit the Buy Carnivorous Plants page for a list of trusted sellers!

I hope this guide was helpful! If you have any other questions or advice to offer on buying carnivorous plants, please leave me comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*