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Carnivorous Plants/Flytraps turning black and dying off


QUESTION: Hi guys,
I removed my flytrap from dormancy in my refrigerator about a month ago. I have the plant in a southern window and have even set it outside in full sun on really nice days (above 60 degrees in north NJ). I'm watering with R/O water. It immediately began producing new growth. Once each of the newly produced leaves reached about a quarter of an inch they'd turn black and rot away and new leaves would grow in. The process has been repeating itself but over the past week or so no new growth is replacing the die off. I'm down to 2 small leaves.  This is the 2nd year this has happened with separate flytraps after coming out of dormancy. The plants eventually die. Any thoughts?


What's your soil media?  Also, if it is a peat moss mix, what is the source of the peat moss? (Brand, size bag it came in.)  This sounds like minerals or fertilizer in your soil.  Let me know.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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

It's still in the original media it was in when I bought the plant last spring. I THINK it's sphagnum but it's rather tightly packed into the pot.

Just to clarify...I have well water that goes through a softener and then the R/O unit from my sink. Would that still be harmful? Last season the majority of the water came from rain with the R/O water supplementing when there wasn't enough rain.

I can send a photo later today if that would help?



Is the filter from your sink truly a Reverse Osmosis filter, or just a carbon filter?  Do you have a TDS meter you could test your water with?  The reason I'm asking is that if you had just a carbon filter, the sodium from the softener would not be removed, and would absolutely cause the symptoms your describing.  For the short term until you can determine that, switch to bottled distilled water.  Do lots of top-watering on the plant and you may see a big turnaround.  If the plant has too much root damage it may not bounce back.  Venus Flytraps tend to be the most sensitive of cp to any kind of dissolved salts or minerals in the water.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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

Just had a chance to get back to you.
I definitely have an R/O filter. I don't own a TDS meter.

Immediately after your last response I repotted in fresh sphagnum ( watered with distilled water.

There are no more leaves to be seen and no root threads, just the white crown. Does the lack of the root threads indicate the end of the plant?

Thanks for your help.

Hi Joe,  These are a good investment for any cp grower.  It keeps you from having to guess about your water.  It will also let you know if your R. O. unit is doing it's job, or if membranes need to be changed.

Your plant will probably make it, but here's what it will most likely do.  It will start growing by producing lots of little tiny growth points.  It will take a couple years to get it back to normal size, but you'll have multiple plants you can separate when they do get bigger.  It's almost like you were propagating the flytrap.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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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.

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