How to tell if a carnivorous plant is dead

Carnivorous plants are difficult to maintain

Carnivorous plants attract a lot of attention. It is a fact. Whether they have traps that look like mouths, leaves with a sticky substance called mucilage, or vases filled with water, each one is so curious that it’s easy to want to buy one. The problem is that the care they need is different from that required by common plants, so they are not easy to care for.

And it is that, for example, if we put soil rich in nutrients or if we water them with alkaline water, their roots will suffer significant damage, since they are not programmed to absorb nutrients directly. So, Let’s see how to know if a carnivorous plant is dead, and what to do to recover it.

Carnivorous plants are not easy to care for

To know if a carnivorous plant is going through a bad patch, just observe it and see what symptoms it presents, which can be one (or more) of these:

  • Brown or black leaves
  • Bad traps for no apparent reason
  • You don’t see the growth

However, this does not always indicate that he is dying. For this reason, below I will explain each of them in more detail so that in the end you know what to do:


Brown or black leaves

When our carnivore has leaves of a color that is not his, they can mean several things: that they have been exposed to direct sunlight without being used to it, that they are thirsty or suffocating, or that the temperatures are too low and it is cold.

How to know? Well, sunburns appear overnight, and only on the most exposed leaves; that is, those that are hidden will not have suffered any damage. A carnivore that burns can be recovered, since it is enough to take it to a place where it is not directly exposed to the sun.

If you are thirsty, we will see the earth dry and also the new leaves will turn yellow quickly, since they are the ones that need the most water to complete their development. The solution is to take the pot and put it in a container with distilled water for some time, it can take half an hour or an hour, depending on the dryness of the substrate and its ability to absorb said liquid.

In case drowns, we will see the soil very wet, and the lower leaves turn yellow since they are the first to receive more water than they need. When the situation gets too bad, the roots suffocate and thus die. What to do? It is important that the substrate is changed to a mixture of white peat with equal parts perlite, and planted in a plastic pot with drainage holes. And to wait, because it is not always easy to recover a plant that has been overwatered.

Yes if it is cold, the damage will appear as quickly, From one day to another. As in the case of burns, it is enough to move the carnivore from one place to another.

Bad traps for no apparent reason

Carnivores can have bad traps

Traps have a limited lifespan. For example, those of the Venus flytraps, after 4-5 hunts, dry out and die; and those of Sarracenia live a little longer, but they also eventually turn brown after a few weeks. For this reason, it can be difficult to tell if carnivores are dying just by looking at traps. Besides, there are many that produce them smaller and smaller as autumn and winter arrive.

Now well, Yes, we can suspect that something is wrong if:

  • They do not complete their development. For example: if they do not open, or if they remain very small in spring or summer.
  • They dry out after a few days even if the weather is nice.

What to do in these cases? The first thing we need to do is see if we are watering at the right frequency. When traps look bad, it’s usually because the roots aren’t getting the amount of water they need.. To correct it, the soil should always be kept moist, but not flooded. They are plants that are not drought resistant, but it would not be good to take care of them as if they were aquatic plants, because they really are not.

Another cause is low ambient humidity.. This is especially detrimental to nepenthes, as it forces them to pull out smaller and smaller vases that don’t always open. But to know if this is the problem, we must know what degree of humidity there is in the place where we raise our carnivores, because if it is high, that is, 50% or more, and we spray water on them, what’s going to happen is they’re going to be full of fungus. Therefore, we will google this information, or we will get a home weather station like this:

And if we see that it is low, then yes, we spray distilled water once a day, or we will put containers with water around so that the ambient humidity increases.

You don’t see the growth

Carnivorous plants generally don’t grow fast, except for some like Sarracenia which can take out multiple traps each season. However, when the years go by and you don’t see him grow, you have to know if something is happening to him. For example: it may be running out of potty space if it has been there for more than three years, or it may not be receiving proper care.

So if you have roots sticking out of drainage holes, or if it has been in the same pot for a long time, don’t hesitate to plant it in another that is about 4 or 5 centimeters taller than the one you currently have. Remember that it must be plastic and have a hole in its base so that it can grow well.

In case you suspect he is not taking good care of himself, here I leave you a basic care guide What do these plants need?

  • Location: They need a lot of light, and some, like the Sarracenia, direct sun.
  • earth: the standard mixture can be used, which is the following: unfertilized white peat + perlite in equal parts (on sale here).
  • Irrigation: it must be watered with rain, distilled or reverse osmosis water (it works with air conditioning). The frequency will vary depending on the plant in question and the climate, but in general you should water 4 to 5 times a week in the summer and 1 to 2 times a week the rest of the year.
  • Flower pot: It must be made of plastic and pierced with holes in its base.
  • Pass: never has to be paid. His roots wouldn’t support it.

Cephalotes are small carnivores

We hope it has served you.

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