You are here:

Carnivorous Plants/Help! follow follow up


Dear Jeff,
 I use compact fluorescent lights and I top water when the soil is moderately dry.

Hi David,

Thank-you.  That was the relevant information I needed.  Like most sundews, Cape Sundews are bog plants and need their soil very wet.  If your soil is drying to any degree it would cause the symptoms your seeing.  You should always have the pot sitting in a shallow tray of water.  It doesn't need to be deep, and shouldn't be, but the soil should never be dry to the touch.  Our general rule is no more than 1/4th of the way up the pot.  Most sundews would have died already if their soil dried some, but D. capensis has thick roots that allow it to survive dry periods in South Africa.

You mentioned that your light is about 12 inches away.  A 20 watt CFL isn't a real big light, so you may need to get it a little closer.  Once you restore the watering, give the plant a couple weeks and see what the leaves look like.  If you're getting plenty of dew and red tentacles (provided it's not the "alba" form), the light is fine where it is.  If you're still not getting much dew and the plants is pale green, move it closer.  Go to about 8 inches away. Re-access it again after a week or two.  This is always what you have to do with artificial light since individual bulbs or lights can be so different.

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 9,000 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!

©2017 All rights reserved.