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Carnivorous Plants/Nepenthes Stem Brown



Hi Christopher.

I noticed you answered a similar question in 2008, but it looks like you had another question and, I just can't tell.  Is my nepethes dying?  I have two plants in the same pot.  It took a fall about 6 months ago when my husband was doing some work near it.  The pitchers all broke and no new ones came.  I moved the plant to a north facing window and voilla, I'm getting a bunch of new pitchers.  However, on the plant that is producing the new pitchers, I just noticed that the stem is turning brown and woody in the middle. Everything else is just fine.  And like I said, producing brand new pitchers.  Is this normal?

Hello Laurie,

The brown section of stem is oddly placed. While this does seem to indicate that a section of the plant is dying off, it may not necessarily mean the entire plant is dying. What may occur is the upper stem that is still green may remain alive for months. Some Nepenthes can experience die off of sections, even losing contact with their roots, and become almost a true epiphyte. In this case, you may be able to clip the live section back and let it root for a couple of months in a vase of water like you would with an ivy clipping.  

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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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