You are here:

Carnivorous Plants/Pruning sarracenia


Sorry, I saw the bit on the site about not sending growing questions only after I posted it.

Hi, just had a question about some pitcher plants I got from you last year.

Saw your booth this weekend at the reptile/exotic animal expo and noticed the pitchers were sheared down to the soil.

I've been trying to figure out how to 'trim' them and have seen some people saying only trim off the 'brown' bits or dead bits. I only ask because they don't seem to be growing any new traps and wondered if my lack of shaving is the cause (they were both outside all winter).

Also, I have a flytrap I bought from you last year as well and it has been outside and while it has it's color back no new leaves are growing and I'm not sure what I can do to help it.

Hi Jesse,

We trim Sarracenia right back to the rhizome, and we are emphatic about doing this.  Clipping off last year's leaves opens up the rhizome to more sun which prevents fungal problems, and lets the new growth come up without blockage, and it develops better.  The exceptions to this are Sarracenia psittacina and purpurea.  Those plants tend to have more evergreen leaves (hybrids of those plants too), so with them just trim off leaves with browning.  It's also good to leave the phyllodia (non-carnivorous leaves) on plants like S. flava and S. oreophila.

With your plants, all of our Sarracenia are just starting to come out of dormancy.  Same with flytraps.  They have some new shoots, but none have fully developed pitchers yet.  The big ones you saw that I had at the show were forced under Metal Halide lights in the greenhouse so that you could see what mature plants look like in summer.

If you send me a photo of your plants I'll better be able to help you determine if there a problem or not.  Also, be sure and include how you have been caring for your plants over the winter.  This was a very mild winter, but depending on how the plants were being cared for, other problems can develop.  Here's a link to our current podcast showing what our plants look like:

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.