You are here:

Carnivorous Plants/Drosera Filiformis black leaves


sundew in distilled water
sundew in distilled wa  

the dead-looking leaves
the dead-looking leave  

I recently became interested in carnivorous plants again, and I bought a threadleaf sundew from an internet vendor about two months ago. It sits in a saucer of distilled water outdoors, recieving direct sunlight for about six hours, and bright indirect sunlight for the rest of the day. The soil is pure sphagnum moss. It was doing well and making plenty of dew until a few weeks ago, when the younger leaves and emerging leaves became black and dead- looking. I live in southern Michigan, but recently there's been a bout of rainy, windy weather. How can I save my plant? Any help would be very much appreciated.

Thank you!

Hi Jiung,

Your soil media and water are fine, but here's a couple things that could be the issue here.  First, the plant may just be going dormant.  Depending on when this filiformis came out of dormancy in the spring, and the geographic origin of the particular strain of this plant, it may just be time for it to shut down.  We definitely have some that really slow down after blooming this time of year.  Our D. x hybrida's which are from New Jersey, start forming their hibernacula right now.

The other issue might be your pot and saucer.  A net pot may not be to this plant's liking since it's not an epiphyte like an orchid.  Try switching to a regular pot so the roots are not exposed, and use an opaque saucer.  I'm not real fond of clear saucers since they can concentrate heat like a little greenhouse.  The water can get very hot in this type of saucer, and root damage could cause the symptoms you're seeing.

If you really like D. filiformis, I recommend getting some seeds this fall, and sow them on several pots and leave them outside for the winter.  They'll germinate in the spring, and you'll have more of them than you know what to do with. :)

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.