Venus Fly Trap Turns Black After Eating
The first time I saw a black flytrap turn black was when I took one home from the local garden center. It turned completely dark within two days! At first I thought it might have been damaged during shipping or something like that, but then it started growing back its own leaves again.
So what happened? Was it eaten by some insect? Or maybe even worse, was it poisoned?
I don’t think so. A few things could have caused this, but I believe it was due to a fungus called Phytophthora ramorum. It’s actually very common in the wild and it usually only affects plants that are grown indoors (or at least those that get watered regularly). If your plant turns black, you’re probably infected with phytophthora ramorum. You’ll notice that the plant starts dying right away; eventually the whole thing will die.
When your plant dies, it won’t just fall over dead. It will start to rot and shrivel up. Even if you remove the dead parts, the rest of the plant may still die because of lack of nutrients. Eventually, you’ll see a big hole in the middle of your house where your plant used to be.
That’s how bad it is.
How do I know if my plant is infected?
It’s easy to tell if you have this disease. Just follow these simple steps:
1. Check the undersides of your plant’s leaves.
If they are discolored, yellow, or brown then you have the disease.
2. Smell your plant.
It should smell sweet, not like vinegar or anything like that. If it smells bad then it probably has the disease.
3. Wiggle your plant around a bit.
Does it seem loose in the pot?
If so, then you most likely have the disease.
4. One of the worst signs of all: check your plant’s roots.
If they’re black then you definitely have the disease.
These are the 4 steps to diagnosing phytophthora ramorum (the technical name for this disease). Keep in mind that this disease may also be called “red stele,” so if you’re keeping up on your technical names then you’ll know what to look for.
What should I do if I think my plant has the disease?
If you think your plant has the disease, then you have a few options:
1. Just leave it alone and let it die.
In fact, you should really just throw it away immediately because who knows where this thing has been?
2. Try to save it using treatment chemicals.
You can buy these at your local garden center or online. I actually had some success using a product called “Subdue.” It seemed to help the plant for a while, but it eventually died anyway.
3. Move your plant outdoors and hope for the best.
Yes, this disease is very common, but that doesn’t mean your plant will get it especially if you give it the right environment. If you really want to keep the plant then I think this is your best choice.
However, I don’t think any of these choices are very good and, quite frankly, I don’t think a black flytrap is worth trying to save. In fact, I don’t think it’s even worth growing (at least not the black ones). Other flytraps may not get this disease, but they can still die for other reasons. If you’re unlucky then all your plants will die and you’ll be left with nothing.
So is growing a black flytrap worth the risk?
That’s up to you. Personally, I don’t think so, but I’m going to tell you how to move forward if you still want to try.
If you still want to grow this flytrap then just follow the steps I’ve already given you. The plant will probably die, but there’s a chance it won’t (especially if you live in a place that doesn’t get very cold in the winter).
But if you’re still not sure, then I think your best choice is to leave the plant alone.
Why take the risk?
There are so many other types of flytraps that are much easier to grow. In fact, I have a whole list of them. Check it out here.
I hope I’ve given you enough information to help you make the right decision for you and your family. Thanks for reading, and happy growing!
Sources & references used in this article:
Responses of Venus fly trap (Dionaea muscipula) to factors involved in its endemism by PR Roberts, HJ Oosting – Ecological Monographs, 1958 – JSTOR
Calcium sensor kinase activates potassium uptake systems in gland cells of Venus flytraps by S Scherzer, J Böhm, E Krol, L Shabala… – Proceedings of the …, 2015 – National Acad Sciences
Insect haptoelectrical stimulation of Venus flytrap triggers exocytosis in gland cells by S Scherzer, L Shabala, B Hedrich… – Proceedings of the …, 2017 – National Acad Sciences
Construction of a photothermal Venus flytrap from conductive polymer bimorphs by H Lim, T Park, J Na, C Park, B Kim, E Kim – NPG Asia Materials, 2017 – nature.com
The savage garden, revised: Cultivating carnivorous plants by P D’amato – 2013 – books.google.com
A single touch can provide sufficient mechanical stimulation to trigger Venus flytrap closure by JT Burri, E Saikia, NF Läubli, H Vogler, FK Wittel… – PLoS …, 2020 – journals.plos.org