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Carnivorous Plants/my sundews are turning brown


sundews leaf turning brown
sundews leaf turning b  
my sundews are passing 10 days i recieved, but my sundew leaves r turning brown, i have a small terrarium with 2x 20watt cool day light cfl(6500k), giving 12 hours of light, but no sign of dews and the plant is turning brown, i have also a small exhaust fan in my terrarium, without turning on the fan the temp is 23c-27c and humidity is 60-70% approx. i cant understand why my sundews turning brown?

Hello Soumya,

Your sundew still looks fine in the photograph. Older leaves will turn brown often, especially after being shipped and transplanted and moved to a different environment.

What species are your sundews?

Recovery for plants takes time.

The temperature and humidity sound fine. Keep the moss always moist. Water with mineral free water like rain water, distilled, reverse osmosis, or very soft water, never use tap water or water from a mineral well or drinking water.

Make sure the soil you use is sphagnum moss. If you use granulated moss, add 50% sand or perlite to add air pockets for the plant roots. Make sure that none of the soils you use contain minerals or fertilizers as those will kill your sundews.

Sundews need a lot of light to produce dew and grow properly. Ensure that your lights are less than one foot from the plants, even closer if possible as they are on the low end of lumen intensity. I tend to use 40 watt shop lights in large numbers for my plants, but for small sundews in a small space, you might try to keep them close to a window that provides additional sunlight. The problem is that you have them in a terrarium. Terrariums can work for small sundews, but are not necessary and can inhibit your ability to provide good lighting for your plants since sunlight will heat the terrarium dangerously. Even with an exhaust fan, sunlight is still refracted through the terrarium and can burn the plant's leaves.

In any event, your setup sounds adequate for the moment for most small, round leaved sundews. Just give the plants a few weeks to recover. New leaves should grow in and you will begin to see them improve if your environment is right.

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Christopher Littrell


I am capable of answering questions about the most common carnivorous plants found in cultivation. I have no personal experience with Byblis, Drosophyllum, Aldrovanda, and Heliamphora. I have not cultivated gemmae forming pygmy sundews nor tuberous sundews. For information regarding those aforementioned species, I would suggest contacting other experts. I can answer questions regarding most species of Nepenthes, tropical and temperate Drosera, Mexican Pinguicula, Sarracenias, and Dionaea. I have some limited experience with growing Utricularia, Cephalotus, and Darlingtonia.


I have grown carnivorous plants off and on for about 27 years. I have made the same mistakes and suffered the same mishaps that many growers make as they attempt to separate the myths from the realities of growing these plants. Currently, I am successfully growing a variety of tropical sundews, a Nepenthes, several Venus Flytraps of varying ages, and Sarracenias. I have been successful in stratifying Sarracenia seeds and providing artificial dormancy requirements for my temperate plants when needed.

I hold a Master's degree in Educational Psychology. Over my lifetime, I have constantly read books involving the growing conditions of carnivorous plants. I hope to incorporate the educational aspects involved in psychology with teaching other people how to cultivate carnivorous plants.

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