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Carnivorous Plants/Cephalotus failing to thrive


Sad Ceph
Sad Ceph  
Happy Ceph
Happy Ceph  
QUESTION: I purchased a cephalotus eight months or so ago and it was lovely when I received it. It has been limping along since then. Any new growth doesn't last long. New pitchers and leaves turn yellow and then brown before maturing. I keep it in the same conditions as my other cephalotus and my helis, all of which seem to be doing quite well. I don't know what I am doing wrong, or what I should do to try to improve the condition of my sad plant.

My growing conditions are as follows:

This particular cephalotus is kept 8 inches or so below six 24 watt T5 bulbs. Three of each, 6500K and 3000K.

Maximum daytime temperature never exceeds 80F.  Nighttime temperature drops into the 60'sF using ice packs placed inside of the terrarium.  

In an effort to improve this plant's condition, I have been keeping a clear plastic cup over it to increase humidity.  It appeared to be helping at first as the plant grew some new leaves.  Since then, however, many of them have turned yellow and then brown.  Oftentimes the tiny little pitchers don't even mature before withering away.  Humidity in the terrarium itself is always above 50%.

I use cold, distilled water only.  I top water once a week or so until water runs out of the bottom of the pot.  I am careful not to wet the plant itself and I discard any extra water that ends up in the tray.  

Something I have recently noticed that may or may not be significant is that the water that runs out of this particular pot is a deep amber color.  I don't actually know what soil mix this ceph is in as I purchased it already potted on eBay. I no longer have the seller's information so I can't contact them to find out.  I can say that none of my other plants have runoff this color.

I was advised to re-pot the plant but I fear that in its compromised condition the transplant would kill it.  

Thank you in advance. :)

ANSWER: Hello Sarahhh :-)

Your lil guy need a repot for sure.
You will not kill your plant, you will save it.
Maybe the ceph will have a lil 2-3weeks setback. So dont worry :-)

Try a very airy mix like 50/50 peatmoss/perlite and try to wash the roots gently before repoting.
Maybe the 6x24w is strong for your delicate ceph. In my collection, some of my cephs can take a lot of light, some others not.

Also, use icepaks only if you have crazy hot outside temp. The night temp drop is not so important for these lil albany plants. Icepaks will drop your RH%.

All the others growing conditions are perfect.

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QUESTION: I have silica sand, perlite, and peat moss.  The peat moss that I have is "Premier" brand and contains a lot of sticks and other lumps.  Should I sift it?  Or is it acceptable as-is.

Thank you

Hello again

I use premier peatmoss sometimes, its a good company. Be sure to slowly wet the peat before using it.
The lil woody sticks/ferns or lil hard pieces in the mix can help to improve soil ventilation. If the piece is too big, just remove it.

For me, the best peat moss brand is fafard.  

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Francois Boulianne


I can answer many questions about carnivorous/protocarnivorous plants. How to grow them, how make them thrive in perfect growing conditions. I will answer english and french questions.


I grow carnivorous plants for many years. Right now i have 27 species and subspecies in cultivation. Its a passion for me.

Botanix laval(mtl) Hydromax Que-pousse Laval

Guide botanix (french guide to our gardening center) Jardin d'interieurs(french magazine about gardening tips)

I work as warehouse director in a big gardening center in Montreal, Canada.

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