You are here:

Carnivorous Plants/appropriate lighting


QUESTION: Dear Jeff,

   I have 1 nepenthes(poi dog), 4 sundews(capensis var., aliciae multifida), and 1 pinguicula (gina). I grow them with Primo water and I grow them on an east window and grow them about 12 inches away from a 18watt, 120 vac, 60z 260ma compact fluorescent light. The sundews are pale and gangly and the nepenthes hasn't grown pitchers these past 2 years, so I am starting to question the lighting for my plants. I was considering to buy this light: Please tell me if this will be right for my carnivorous plants.

         Thank you

ANSWER: Hi David,

The signs your plants are showing definitely sound like too low light levels.  If you're going to use an CFL, use one of these:  It's a much better spectral output.

Since you have several plants, here's a much more efficient way to do this.  Use a simple two-tube shoplight type fixture with either T-12 or T-8, cool-white tubes.  If you can find a way to hang it you'll have much more plant growing space.  They also make some T-5 type units like this now that are much stronger light output.  Here's an example of the more common type:

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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

QUESTION: Thank you for your information! I bought some T12 40 watt flourescent lights. I couldn't find a way to hang them though. So I put the light fixture on the side and I was wondering if light coming in sideways is fine.

         Thank you,

ANSWER: Hi David,

Do you like your plants growing sideways?  That's what will happen if you illuminate them from the side.  Plants do what's known as phototropism; the bend toward light.

If you could send me a photo or two of the type of light you have and your growing area I might be able to give you some better suggestions on how to get the light over your plants.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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

Plant lighting fixture
Plant lighting fixture  
QUESTION: Here is my light fixture.

Hi David,

You just need to find a way that works for you to suspend the light over the plants.  That can be done with longer chains from the ceiling, a small frame you could build or purchase, or even blocking the light up with bricks or other objects.  I've also used small shelving units for this purpose.

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 8,800 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!

©2016 All rights reserved.