Why is my Carnivorous Plant Dying? (And How To Save Them)

By Josh Koop •  Updated: 03/06/20 •  5 min read

Carnivorous plants can be quite finicky to most new gardeners when trying to start growing them. Unfortunately, when the plants die this leaves you believing you have a black thumb and you just don’t have the skill to successfully grow plants, and nothing is further from the truth!

Why is my Carnivorous Plant Dying? There are many reasons why your carnivorous plant could be dying. The most common are from overwatering and over fertilization of the soil. Though you may also experience issues with mold and many other side concerns also.

As we dig into this topic and cover some of the most common culprits to your plants demise along with some other less common disease issues I hope you learn how to combat them. Nothing makes me happier than when you can keep your plant healthy!

What Can Cause Plant Death?

While there are ways your plant could die from natural causes, more often than not it is due to something unplanned for or done incorrectly in the care. Today we will be covering the most common causes of carnivorous plant death and then we will cover how you can manage this and help your plants thrive.

Over Watering

One of the more typical issues for new gardeners is the belief that more water is better than too little. This is far from the truth as plants can literally drown in their soil, you would be much better off to give them just enough or too little as you can add more if it needs it.

The amount of water required for each plant is a little different so make sure you read up on your plant choice and its desired amount of water.

Using Fertilizer / Over Fertilization

Similar to the watering issues above, everyone thinks they must fertilize their plants for them to succeed and grow strong. While this is true for a great many. and probably most, other plants this is devastating to carnivorous plants.

Carnivorous plants typically grow in very poor soil that contains little to no resources which then requires the plant to be effective at trapping prey. If they don’t have to work because the soil is too rich you can have all kinds of issues due to having an oversupply of those resources.

Some of these issues can be in leaves which are too fragile and dainty to do their job any longer.

How To Manage Specific Issues / Causes

There are more issues you can experience with your plants that aren’t specifically due to over-care though that you need to be aware of. A large one for carnivorous plants is mold growth on the plants, you want to pay attention to the leaves, stalks and more on a visual inspection on a schedule to catch external issues early.

Mold Growth

One of your largest concerns with plants is the growth of molds on their stem, leaves or other areas. The most common issue most people appear to find when searching online, on Reddit and on forums is the issues with mold growth.

The mold looks like little black splotches on the plant and should be cleaned off with a damp cloth to wipe away without using abrasive cleaners. This will ensure a healthy plant that can ensure a longer life you strive for when becoming a gardener.

Environmental Stress

The environment your plant is growing in can also provide you some clues to issues you may encounter. This is more along the more intangible areas of your care, many of the carnivorous plants are very environmentally dependent.

Sunlight – The amount of sunlight provided to your plant may be too great or too little, pay attention to how they sit and what type of exposure they are receiving. This can help you know whether you need to provide them more or less sunlight.

Humidity – Carnivorous plants grow naturally in bogs and areas with high humidity (60% or greater) levels compared to many other places in the world. If you live in a place with very low humidity then this could cause serious issues for your plant. Your easiest way to help your carnivorous plant would then be to move them into a terrarium where you could better control the environmental variables.

Repotting – If you just purchased a new plant and moved it into a new pot? Your plant more than likely just needs time to adjust to its new conditions, traps dying on a newly repotted plant is totally normal, and essentially an expectation.

Dormancy – When going dormant, many carnivorous plants may lose all of their traps and end up with just a few remaining traps left. If this is the case there will not be much new growth until the next spring, so the only solution is to be patient and wait.

Bottom Line

While it is possible that you have a black thumb and are able to kill plants with a startling ability and power this is more than likely not the case. Carnivorous plants are quite temperamental and need to have some care and patience when things aren’t going right to make sure you take the right and correct actions.

What you need to do when you start to see any issues with your plants is to first think about the normal issues which could be causing them external stress. Make sure they are getting plenty of sunshine (but not too much), that they have the correct necessary amount of moisture in the air and that you haven’t over or under watered them.

If all these appear to now be the issue at hand then you can start looking at the more general issues around molds or possibly just end of life.

Josh Koop

I have been fascinated with carnivorous plants since I was a little kid and my dad had me watch Little Shop of Horrors and ever since these plants have just absorbed my attention as they are amazing. I hope to share this love with everyone now and help grow you all into carnivorous plant lovers also!