Carnivorous Plants/Sarracenia


QUESTION: I got my sarracenia Flaka and atala from about a month and a half ago and every new growth on them had died the tips were the hood is start to turn black before even the leaf opens I haven't had a single open leaf since I got it exept with the very few it came with. I live in western Texas New Mexico is only an hour away the temperature has been 90 degrees farenheigh sometimes higher but definitely not lower all this time it's very dry like a desert but I always provide enough water the plants are never dry and the soil is the same it came with they are on standing water all day. Can you please help me know what is wrong with the plants?

ANSWER: Based on your description alone, the primary factor that comes to mind is water.  Despite keeping the soil wet all the time, if you're using tap water, it might be too high in minerals.  Tap water is OK to use as long as the total dissolved solutes is 50 parts per million or less.  I know that the water in your area can be very high in minerals, up to 600 ppm.  The most common symptom associated with high mineral water is the browning at the tips of leaves and pitchers failing to develop properly.  You didn't mention your water source, so I'm assuming your water is high in minerals.  If this is the case, you will need to switch to distilled water, which you can purchase at the grocery stores or at dispensing machines.

I thought that the roots might also be overheating, but you will also see the plant wilting during the day, while perking up at night.  You didn't mention this symptom, so I'm going to rule out heat being a factor for now.  Besides, these plants are quite tolerant of oppressive heat as long as the roots are well insulated.  

If you are indeed using tap water or water loaded with minerals, please write back as a follow-up to confirm this.  There is additional information you will need to know.  If you are already using distilled or mineral-free water, please write back with more information about where you are growing your plant (inside, outside, in direct sunlight, in the shade, etc.).  

For more information about growing Sarracenia in desert climates, watch Volume 1 of the Grow Carnivorous Plants DVD series.

Good growing!
Jacob Farin

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I was watering them with tap water but I switched to distilled water a few weeks ago my plant are outside and in full sun light about 8 hours of sun but the pots are just three inch pots with standing water there is no insulation i hope this is enough to diagnose if not ill answer anything else

Your plant may still be working through the excess minerals from the initial watering, so you may need to give your plant more time.  You will also need to change your soil to get rid of the excess minerals.  Another option is to flush your soil with distilled water.  Pour distilled water over the soil and let it drain through completely.  Do this about 5 times.  It won't get rid of all the minerals, but it will drastically reduce the amount.  After changing or flushing the soil, set your plant in a tray of distilled water.  The soil should not dry out at all.  

The damage to the current leaves are permanent, and the problem may persist in new growth coming up in the next week or so.  It may be until late June when you see new growth coming up as normal.  

I strongly recommend watching Volume 1 DVD for information about growing plants in the desert.  This will save you a lot of trouble and avoid any issues related to dry heat, especially during the summer months.  

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Sarracenia Northwest


If your carnivorous plant is showing poor growth, discoloration, abnormal leaves or possible infestation, the expert growers at Sarracenia Northwest can help! They have a great depth of experience dealing with diseases, pathogens, and abnormal growth in carnivorous plants.

Before submitting your question, please read their care guides on their main website. Many issues can be addressed by simply adjusting your growing conditions as recommended in the care guides. Click here to read the care guides.

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