Brown stems are not uncommon with many plants. However, it’s rare to see them with pitcher plants because they’re so small and delicate. You may have seen some other types of plants turn their stems dark green or even purple when damaged. But, there are only two species that exhibit this behavior: the common pitcher plant (Euphorbia pulchra) and the goldenrod leafed pitcher plant (Nepeta cataria). Both of these plants are native to North America. They grow in open areas where they get sun all day long. If you live in a dry area, then you might wonder if your plant will survive without water. Well, the answer is yes! There are several ways to keep your plant alive. One way is to provide regular watering and air circulation around the plant during hot weather months. Another way is to protect your plant from extreme temperatures. For example, you could place your plant in a cool location during summer months and expose it to sunlight during winter months.
The reason why most plants lose their leaves is due to lack of moisture. When the soil dries out, the roots don’t receive enough water to sustain them anymore. So, when this happens, the plant starts losing its leaves and eventually dies. But, if you’re growing your plant in a container, you can simply water it more frequently.
The soil will stay damp and your plant will be able to draw moisture from it. This will keep your pitcher plant healthy and prevent it from losing its leaves. In fact, pitcher plants don’t mind being a bit root-bound. It’s actually good for them to remain in the same pot for several years. It prevents the soil from losing important nutrients. Just make sure to add fertilizer every couple of months.
Pitcher plant leaves turning yellow can be a sign of age. It could also mean that the plant isn’t getting the proper nutrients. Give your plant a thorough inspection and make sure that its growing environment is suitable. If everything checks out, then your plant is probably old and it’s about time to replace it with a new one.
Q: My plant hasn’t been doing very well lately. I tried watering it and it didn’t seem to help. Now, there are white fuzzy things growing all over the top part of the soil. I’ve also noticed little white eggs near the base of the plant.
What is it and how do I get rid of it?
Also, the pitcher plant leaves are turning orange.
A: If you have a white fluff growing on your plant, then it’s considered a fungus. This can be a common problem if you keep your plant in a humid location or don’t water it enough. Fungus likes these types of environments and therefore thrives. Some funguses are known to attack living things.
If you ignore the problem, the fungus could spread to other house plants or even you. So, you’ll need to treat the fungus as soon as possible. The easiest way to do that is with a solution of 1 part milk and 9 parts water. Mix it in a spray bottle and generously apply it to your plant. Make sure to coat everywhere you see the white fuzz. If you don’t have any milk, then you can also use a solution of 1 part water and 9 parts alcohol. After a few days, reapply the solution again just to be safe.
The eggs are most likely from ants. You’ll need to get rid of them as soon as possible, while removing the eggs. Ants can infest your house and cause all sorts of other problems. They also tend to bring all sorts of other insects into your home.
You might find it easier to just remove the plant from your house until you get rid of the ants.
As for the pitcher plant leaves turning orange, this probably means that it isn’t getting enough sunlight. Try moving it to a sunnier location and see if that helps. It should turn green again.
Q: My pitcher plant is losing its leaves, but I’m not sure why. The soil seems wet enough and it’s in a nice sunny window. I don’t see any bugs on it and the leaves aren’t yellow.
A: The most likely reason is that the soil is either too dry or too wet. Check to see if the soil is damp. If not, then water it. Let the water drain out and then check it again.
You want it to be damp like a sponge, but no so much that it’s muddy. It also helps to keep your plant in a sunny window. However, if that isn’t possible or not enough, then you’ll need to provide it with a light of some sort. A fluorescent bulb kept 2 feet away will do the trick. Once it starts growing again, you can place it back in a sunny window.
Q: My pitcher plant has these tiny white bugs all over the top part of the soil. I’ve also noticed the leaves turning yellow and dropping off.
What is wrong with it? Should I use something other than earth worms to feed it?
A: Your plant probably has white flys. These are common insects that attack many different types of plants. The eggs must have been on the earth worm you used to feed the plant. Next time, be sure to either pick your own earth worms from somewhere other than your backyard or buy them from a pet store. You probably won’t be able to save this plant. It already has white flys attacking it and the yellow leaves are most likely due to the infestation. It’s best just to get rid of it and start over again.
Q: My pitcher plant has brown splotches on the leaves. There are also yellow and black insects crawling all over the leaves and the soil.
What is wrong with it and how do I get rid of the bugs?
A: It sounds like you have Leafcurl or Leaf Scorch. This disease attacks many different types of plants and is very difficult to get rid of, especially since you have an infestation of mealy bugs, which help to spread the disease. You’ll need to entirely replace the soil and dispose of it carefully since this disease can stay in soil for years. You can also get rid of the mealy bugs by placing the affected leaves into the freezer. After a few hours, check to see if the mealy bugs are frozen and dead. Repeat as necessary.
Q: My pitcher plant is growing white and blue flowers.
Is this normal?
It’s also been a bit cranky lately and the leaves have yellow spots on them.
A: It depends on the type of pitcher plant you have, but many of them produce flowers in the spring. This is normal. The yellow spots are also normal, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. It sounds like your plant is probably getting too much water or not enough nutrients.
It could also be due to too much sun. You’ll need to open up the top of the soil and add some more fertilizer. Be sure not to over water it in the future and keep an eye on its leaves. If they continue to turn yellow, then you’ll need to get ahold of some NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium) fertilizer.
If you’re having trouble finding any of these ingredients, you can go to your local pet store and buy some food for fish. Fish food has many of the same ingredients and your plant will like it just as well.
You can also try to find a fertilizer with the NPK ratio of 5-5-5.
Q: My plant is getting these strange purple spots on the bottom of its leaves. They kind of look like little berries.
What do I do?
A: Sounds like you have gall mites. These are very hard to get rid of since they hide inside the plant and you can’t just simply wipe them off or anything. Try getting some Dawn dish washing liquid. It’s the only thing that’ll get rid of them. Try putting a little bit on a paper towel and wiping the bottom of the leaves. Be sure to use gloves since the gall mites can also infect your skin and make you itchy.
You can also try increasing the amount of sunlight your plant gets since this will scorch the leaves and make it impossible for the mites to reproduce.
Q: My plant has these strange bumps on the top of the stems and sometimes on the leaves. Most are black but some are brown.
What is this and how do I get rid of them?
A: Sounds like you have soft scales. They come in two forms, the soft white ones that are larger and the darker brown ones. If you see any, you should try to remove them with your fingers since they will ruin your plant if left alone. There’s also the hard shell varieties that are either brown or yellow and these require you to manually pick them off since bug spray won’t kill them.
You can also try getting some Vaseline and gently rub it on the leaves. The soft scales will die and fall off after a few days.
Q: My plant has lots of what looks like spider webs on the top of the soil and on the edges of the leaves. There’s also these tiny brown insects everywhere!
What is this? How do I get rid of them?
A: Sounds like you have two different types of insects here. The spider web looking things are called webworms and the tiny brown ones are called granary mites. Both of these live and breed inside the plant so you’ll have to do some major cleaning to get rid of them.
Try removing as much of the top layer of soil as you can and then rinse everything off in the shower. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies since that’s where these mites like to hide. You’ll probably find tons of dead ones after you’re done.
You can also try spraying your plant with cold high pressure water every few days. This will keep the mites from coming back as quickly.
Q: My plant seems to be dying even though I’ve taken good care of it. The leaves are yellowing and the stems are slimming.
What could be the problem?
A: There can be many reasons but the most likely one is that you’re over or underwatering your plant. This causes the roots to suffocate and die which in turn causes the rest of the plant to die as well since it can’t get the nutrients it needs.
Other reasons could be that you aren’t giving it enough light, you’ve damaged the roots, you have pests or bugs inside the soil, or you’re watering it with chlorinated water. If it is a root problem, you should see that the soil is dry a few inches below the surface. If moisture is present anywhere other than near the surface, your roots aren’t growing where they should be. Also, there shouldn’t be any strange smells coming from the soil.
Q: My pitcher plant isn’t growing or getting bigger. It’s in a nice sunny window and I water it everyday.
A: This question is very common among those new to growing carnivorous plants. pitcher plants, like many other types, thrive when their roots are under ground. Many people keep their plants in pots so that they can bring them inside, but this prevents the plant from growing as it should. If you want to grow your plant, take it out of the pot and plant it in soil. Make sure the plant is sitting at the same level it was before (or just slightly above) so that the growth remains the same.
If you don’t want to go through all that trouble, you can leave it in a pot and place pebbles at the bottom of the container so that water can drain out from the holes in the bottom. Do not use sand as a substitute. It works as an insulator and will cause the roots to suffocate. The pebbles will also allow air in while keeping water from gathering at the bottom.
Q: I have a plant that’s in a forest growing environment but there are a few things I need to know about how to keep it healthy.
A: Many people enjoy many different kinds of plants, including the different kinds of pitcher plants that grow around the world. While these plants don’t all thrive under the same conditions, there are some basics to remember.
The first is location.
Where does this plant naturally grow?
The key here is the soil. Most carnivorous plants like acidic, boggy soil with little drainage. One problem you may have is that many places don’t have soil that can support these plants. You may have to buy special soil or create your own bog garden. Some ideas for a bog garden are:
1. Use two or more trash cans and drill holes in the bottom of them.
Place a few inches of water in the bottom and add soil. Add carnivorous plants and wait a week or two to see if they survive. If they do, you know that you have the right soil mix. If not, keep trying!
2. Find a shallow pond or marsh that is not used much and collect some soil.
3. Dig a hole in your yard and fill it with the right soil mix and plants.
Q: My plant doesn’t look like the one in your pictures.
A: Many conditions can cause differences in how plants grow. The most common reasons are lighting, water, and temperature. Your plant probably just needs a little adjustment.
Lighting: Different lighting conditions will cause differences in plant structure. Your plant is used to the sun, while your fluorescent lighting may be unnaturally glowing and bright. This is most obvious with the Sarr if you grow it using both methods. It’s hard to tell because plants grow at different rates, but a month or two should show you a difference.
Lighting can also be too dim. While uncommon, some people have grown plants under night lights or other unusual lighting. If you’re using a fluorescent bulb (CFL or similar), make sure that you turn the lights on. If you’re using normal lights, try turning them up a bit.
Water: Your water may contain certain chemicals that are not present in regular rain water. If your water comes from a well, it may contain too many chemicals. Try using bottled water. If that doesn’t work, try distilled water (you can buy this at most grocery stores).
Temperature: Temperatures can vary greatly between different locations. The temperature should be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take a few degrees. This can easily be tested by placing your hand a few inches above the top of the soil. If it is comfortably warm, the soil is at the right temperature.
Watering: Your pitcher plant requires more water than a typical plant. Most plants require watering once every week or two. A pitcher plant should be watered once every three days. If you live in a place where rain is uncommon, you should probably water your plant twice a day.
Decorations: If you have added many decorations to the terrarium, make sure that there is enough air for the plant to breathe. Air will help the soil to dry out between waterings. This prevents many problems with over-watering.
Also, make sure that the decorations do not cover up the holes that let air in. This is very important.
Lighting: More lighting is required for Sarr multiplications than for normal plants. Use two bulbs instead of one and increase the hours of operation. This should be done for about a week or until you are ready to pot them up.
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Q: My Venus Flytrap is dying! It’s all shriveled up and dry!
A: Most likely, your Venus Flytrap needs water. Check to see if the soil is dry by digging your finger down into it. If it feels dry, you need to give it some water. Be careful not to over water it–only water it when the soil has dried out.
If your plant is completely shriveled and dry, try watering it and placing it by a sunny window. It probably won’t recover, but you can try giving it some plant food to give it a little boost. If that doesn’t work after a few weeks, throw it out and buy a new one.
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Q: My pitcher plant has lots of bugs in the bottom but not many in the top part.
A: The most common reason for this problem is over-watering. Make sure that all the soil is dry before watering it again.
The other possibility is that the drainage is poor. If you can see water at the bottom of the pitcher when you hold it upside down, you need to either re-pot it or drill lots of small holes in the bottom of the pot.
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Q: My plant has little white spots around the top part of the inside of the tube.
A: Congratulations, you have the beginnings of babies! This means that your plant is healthy and ready to reproduce. Keep an eye on it for the next few months. If the white spots start to turn green, that means that they are ready to be removed.
At this point, cut them off with a knife or scissors and place them in a cup of water. This will encourage them to produce roots. After a couple of weeks, you should have some little babies ready to be planted!
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Q: It’s getting really big and I can’t even close my door anymore!
What should I do?
A: This is a common problem for many who choose the carnivorous plant hobby. If you haven’t done so already, find a place for it outside–perhaps a garden or a deck.
Sources & references used in this article:
Leaf-Browning of Ficus spp., new host plants of Aphelenchoides fragariae (Ritzema bos) by J De Maeseneer – Nematologica, 1964 – brill.com
Transmission of viruses by plant nematodes by DJF Brown, WM Robertson… – Annual review of …, 1995 – annualreviews.org
Witch Doctrine by E Cook – 1974 – University of Toronto Press
The host-parasite relations and ecology of Trichodorus viruliferus on apple roots, as observed from an underground laboratory by AL Browning – 2017 – indigo.uic.edu