Why is My Venus Flytrap Turning Black?

You bought a Venus flytrap in the hopes of riding your home of pesky insects or perhaps to admire their cool appearance, but you have begun to notice that your Venus flytrap has been looking a little black and droopy. You have tried to follow the instructions on your plant’s care card, but you can’t figure out what the issue is. So, why is your Venus flytrap turning black and what can you do to bring it back to life? 

Venus Flytraps often turn black because of the time of year. They always turn black in the winter. This is their dormancy. The wrong soil type and too much exposure to direct sunlight can also cause a Venus Flytrap to turn black. Over watering can cause blackness as well.

As a plant owner, you want the very best for your Venus flytrap and there are steps you can take to ensure you’re taking the best care of your flytrap. Keep reading to learn why your Venus flytrap is turning black and what you can do to prevent it. 

Your Venus Flytrap May Be Going Dormant for The Winter

Contrary to popular belief, Venus flytraps are not tropical plants that need year-round warmth- they’re perennial plants that need a dormancy period to survive. During the winter, Venus flytraps go through a period of dormancy typically lasting several months, and this dormancy is crucial in the plant’s survival. To see if your Venus flytrap is dormant or going dormant, there are some signs you can look for:

  • Venus flytraps going dormant will have shrinking leaves. 
  • The heads of your plant containing the teeth will die off. 
  • The leaves your Venus flytrap produces will be smaller and grow closer to the soil. 

During its dormancy period, your Venus flytrap will most likely turn black, and the plant will shrink down and stop growing. But it’s not dead! Your Venus flytrap will come back to life in the spring if you continue to care for it while it’s in its dormant state. 

Too Much or Too Little Sun Will Blacken the Plant Leaves

While in their dormant period, and even with black leaves, Venus flytraps still need sunlight. It is important to keep providing your Venus flytrap with sunlight so it will continue to photosynthesize. Providing your Venus flytrap with sunlight while it is dormant will also tell it when to come out of dormancy. There are a couple of steps you can take to see if your Venus flytrap is getting too much or too little sunlight: 

  • Track how many hours a day your Venus flytrap gets direct sunlight- at least 6 hours of direct sunlight is recommended.
  • Do your Venus flytrap’s leaves look burnt? Plants getting too much sun will have crispy, browning leaves that will eventually turn black. 

Your Venus flytrap’s leaves may turn black if it is given too much or not enough sunlight. Too little sunlight will trigger it into dormancy, and too much sunlight will burn the leaves and cause them to blacken and die. Maintaining the right level of sunlight will keep your Venus flytrap’s leaves do not turn black. 

The Wrong Type of Soil Will Cause Black Leaves

Venus flytraps are picky when it comes to soil. Providing your Venus flytrap with the right soil is key to keeping it happy and healthy, and nutrient-free soil should be given to your Venus flytrap to avoid overloading it. There are a couple of factors to consider when choosing soil to pot your plant in: 

  • Select a soil that provides your Venus flytrap with plenty of drainages to prevent root rot.
  • Don’t use potting soil or compost material.
  • Avoid putting fertilizer on your Venus flytrap.
  • A mixture of peat moss and perlite is recommended for your Venus flytrap’s soil.

Putting your Venus flytrap in a pot with a tray of water underneath to prevent overwatering is the best way to ensure you provide it with the type of soil it needs and wants. You may need to test out different soil and material combinations to see which mixture your Venus flytrap likes the best. 

Your Venus Flytrap May Have Root Rot

In some cases, root rot may be the reason your Venus flytrap is turning black. Root rot occurs when your plant’s roots sit in water for so long that they begin to rot, and it leads to the plant being unable to absorb any more water. Root rot will kill the plant, and it affects the leaves by causing them to blacken, die and fall off. Root rot can be prevented by taking a few steps: 

  • Provide your Venus flytrap with a pot that has good drainage, such as a pot with a drainage hole. 
  • Make sure the soil is damp but that there is no water sitting on top of the soil- it should absorb within a few seconds.
  • Avoid watering your Venus flytrap at night. When the sun is down, it takes much longer for your plant to absorb the water, leaving the water sitting around the roots. 

Venus flytraps require consistent water to survive, and that means you have to keep a careful watch on the moisture level of your plant’s soil. Unlike some other plants, you should don’t let the soil dry out, and keep it moist. However, it is still possible to overwater and drown them. Finding the right watering schedule is tricky, but essential to keeping your Venus flytrap alive and black-leaf free. 

Your Venus Flytrap May Not Be Getting Enough Insects

Venus flytraps, as their name suggests, eat insects by trapping them inside of their leaves. Although your Venus flytrap will still photosynthesize, it can only survive a couple of months without eating insects. Black leaves may be a sign that your Venus flytrap needs more insects.

If you keep your Venus flytrap inside, you will need to provide it with insects since there likely aren’t enough in your home to sustain it. For this reason, it is recommended to grow your Venus flytrap outside in a pot, but it is possible to grow it indoors as long as you provide it with insects. There are certain insects that are best to feed your Venus flytrap: 

  • House flies
  • Spiders
  • Crickets
  • Slugs
  • Caterpillars

Be warned that larger insects may weigh down your Venus flytrap and cause the leaves to tear and fall off. In addition, some insects, such as caterpillars and crickets, may chew their way out of the Venus flytrap’s leaves, so try to avoid larger leaf-eating insects. You can purchase small insects from your local pet store to feed to your Venus flytrap- or catch your own insects from your yard if that’s your style! 


Although it may seem as though Venus flytraps are finicky plants, they are very hardy beings and can be very beneficial to have in your home. Don’t worry about black leaves during the winter months. This is perfectly normal and necessary. 

Remember to plant in nutrient free soil and make sure you do not over water your traps. Following these steps will help you take care of your personal bug-catcher. 

You don’t have total control over whether or not your trap’s leaves turn black. But in the areas you can control, make sure you’re doing the right things.

Your Venus flytrap is worth the time it takes to figure out why its leaves are turning black.