You are here:

Carnivorous Plants/Helping Sarracenias recover from fern infestation



I have a well established carnivorous bog (10 years) with several mature Sarracenia species - lava, leucophylla, minor and many different hybrids - some from Sarracenia Northwest.  Zone 7 - full sunlight. Bog medium is peat/sand mixture - encapsulated from surrounding soil with pond liner and roughly 5 foot deep. It's always damp, but is deep enough to not ever get overly saturated

Last fall and winter, several of the flavas were overrun with fern rhizomes. I've dug them all out from the sarracenia rhizomes, but not before they choked their spring growth. This, and a nearby overgrown English Dogwood that was stealing some of their sun have left the affected plants with very spindly leaves, few pitchers and in need of some love.

I'm confident the plants will recover, but if there's any type of mild fertilizer that would be safe to give them a jump on leaf production so they can possibly rebuild their energy stores, and recover this summer, I'd love to hear about it.

What would you recommend?

Thanks so much in advance for your help.

Kind regards,
Danny Hall

PS - image attached. To state the obvious, the left side of the bog was the affected side. :)

Hi Danny,

You can use Osmocote pellets around the rhizomes.  These release fertilizer very slowly making them safe for Pitcher Plants.  Put roughly 4 pellets around the base of each rhizome.  Don't exceed this or it will cause more harm than good.

You'll need to really stay on top of weeding, since the fertilizer will fertilize them too.  Also, be sure the plants are getting full sun (you mentioned shade from the Dogwood tree), or the fertilizer would be detrimental.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

Carnivorous Plants

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

Over 8,800 questions answered since 2005!


Jeff and Jacob are owners and growers of Sarracenia Northwest. They've been in business since 1995. Watch their professionally produced DVDs, Grow Carnivorous Plants. It is a three-volume set that covers all aspects of carnivorous plant care. They literally show you how to be a successful grower!


No terrariums. No myths. No nonsense.
Just the straight facts from guys who grow and propagate
thousands of carnivorous plants each year.

Our focus is to help help growers diagnose a specific plant problem and offer solutions. For example:
  • Why is my sundew not producing dew?
  • Is now a good time to divide my Sarracenia?
  • Why are the traps turning black?
  • What's a good substitute for perlite?
  • Why didn't my seeds germinate?
  • How do you deal with pests?
  • Can you identify this carnivorous plant for me?
We no longer answer general, how-to questions that are already posted on our website or demonstrated in our DVDs. For general plant care, please read our care guides:

For business questions:

Youtube Facebook
Follow us on Youtube and Facebook!

©2016 All rights reserved.