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Question
I have some venus fly traps (that also have some other plant with them) and a pitcher plant that I am having trouble caring for.  I give them both only distilled water or collected rain water.  These plants are located in Hollywood, CA where humidity is often quite low and the sun is plentiful.  The temperature ranges from 55 degrees at night up to 95 degrees during the day.  In the 2 months I've had these plants We've had 2 95 degree days and some of the dying traps for my venus fly trap went from starting to die to crispy black in a a few hours.  In this video you will see the balcony they are on and it is the only place in my apartment I can give any of my plants direct sunlight.

My pitcher plant's tendrils haven't really changed or formed new pitchers, but the old pitchers seem to be dying off.  The venus fly trap's traps have had about 5 turn black, so I trimmed them, but about 12 new plants have opened up and they look green and healthy, but are leaning over instead of growing straight up.

My question to you is:
what do i need to change to ensure healthy growth for my plants?

http://youtu.be/zP_nSRa9M1s

Answer
Thanks for sending the link to your video.  That was very helpful.  Three important factors come to mind.  First is acclimation.  Flytraps will tolerate direct sunlight.  We grow them in full sun at our nursery.  When growers complain that their newly acquired flytraps had dead crispy leaves after being in direct sunlight, I strongly suspect that the flytraps were previously grown in a greenhouse.  The reason why leaves turn crispy is because the plant wasn't properly acclimated to sunlight.  It's like going to the beach for the first time without building a base tan.  Since your plant is now in direct sunlight, all new growth will be acclimated to sunlight.

The second factor is soil.  From you video, I could tell that the soil was holding too much water.  It looks like it's all peat moss.  (Of course, I'm assuming that it is peat moss.  If it were regular potting mix, your sundews would have shown lots of deterioration.)  While sundews can tolerate waterlogged soil, flytraps prefer an airier mix.  I suspect your flytraps are declining because of the lack of oxygen in the soil.  A good mix for flytraps is 1 part peat moss and 1 part perlite.  This mix provides proper water drainage and soil aeration, which will keep flytraps happy.

The third factor is sunlight.  We recommend 6 or more hours of direct sunlight for flytraps.  When flytraps produce floppy leaves, they're often not getting enough sunlight.  They need full sun to produce their upright leaves.  Keep in mind that what you think is sunny enough is often irrelevant.  Your plants are always the final judge.

I recommend repotting your plants in a mix of 1 part peat moss and 1 part perlite.  (No fertilizers.)  Place the Cape sundews in a different pot as the flytraps.  The Cape sundews will tolerate less sunlight and appreciate cooler conditions, while the flytraps prefer it warm and sunny.  Make sure the flytraps can get 6 or more hours of direct sunlight.  If you're worried about the pots heating up too much, grow your flytraps in tall pots and top water them every morning and evening.  This will keep the soil damp, allow for evaporation, and keep the roots cool.  Otherwise, watch Volume 1 of the Carnivorous Plants DVD series.  There is a segment on growing North American plants in the desert to prevent overheating.  
http://www.cobraplant.com/dvd

As for your Nepenthes, cut off the dead pitchers.  They typically die off after a few months, so those pitchers likely reached the end of their life cycle.  The plant as a whole looks very healthy.  The leaves are green, shiny, and firm.  It takes time for Nepenthes to acclimate to their new location before they start producing pitchers again.  Sometimes the acclimation process can take up to 6 months, depending on how drastic the change was from the greenhouse.  If possible, hose down your Nepenthes every morning and evening.

You're really doing a great job with your plants.  It's just a matter of tweaking a couple things to get better growth out of them.  After making changes to your flytraps, you will see better growth in a month.

Finally, take a look at our photo gallery.  You can see how we grow flytraps and other carnivorous plants at the nursery.  Humidity is often a no-issue during the summer months.
http://www.cobraplant.com/photogallery/humidity

Good growing!
Jacob Farin

Carnivorous Plants

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