Wilting Leaves on Nepenthes

edward_growerApril 9, 2007


For the past 2 weeks now, the top five or six leaves on my nepenthes alata have begun to wilt and are drooping down quite severely. I have read on other sites that misting the plant will get the leaves back to their normal position. Is this true? What else can I do to help?

Thank you in advance for any help!

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Hello edward_grower,

Wilting in Nepenthes can be from any number of problems. It could be pests, so examine your plant for insects and odd colorations under its leaves and on it's stems. If you suspect pests, spray leaves and soil with neem oil extract with pyrethrins. You can use sulfur based products too. Avoid anything with copper or natural fat and oil based soaps.

How much water are you giving the plant and what aeriation is it getting? Nepenthes like good air circulation, but not enough to lower the humidity drastically. They do not like waterlogged conditions. An overwatered Nepenthes will wilt as if it is not getting enough water simply because it's roots rot and die. Nepenthes like top watering once every 3-4 days and no excess water in their tray. What kind of water do you give it? They prefer distilled and rain water with no salts and mineral impurities.

In short, what conditions is your plant experiencing? Temperature, humidity changes, pests, chemical toxins, fertilizing the soil, overwatering or underwatering, wrong potting mix, etc. all can cause the conditions you described.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 12:59PM
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OK. Well my nepenthes was sitting in a room for the past 5 and a half months to shelter it from the winter and I just put it outside today. Now that I come to think of it, the amount of air circulation in the room was quite low.
I water my plant every 5 days or so with clean, fresh water from a fountain. I don't water it with too much water. Maybe that's not enough?
The temperature in the room was around 19-20°C and 40% humidity. I sometimes misted my plant every several weeks.
I doubt that there could be any pests on the plant since it was indoors, but I could be wrong here? However, I have noticed some very tiny yellowish dots (slightly waxy) on the stem...
I used the potting mix I bought it in, so I'm not quite sur what that consists of. I have not used any fertilizer.

Maybe now that it is outside things might improve? Today it stayed relativly warm but during the night it might get quite cold, maybe around 5°C.

Any further thoughts? Thank you mutant_hybrid!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 2:45PM
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Hello edward_grower,

Two things come to mind now. If it has been in an unventilated room overwinter for 5 months, it might have built up fungus or bacteria in it's soil. That can inhibit and kill carnivorous plants. Second, you say you water the plant from a fountain. I am uncertain about what you mean by fountain. If the fountain gets it's water from the tap outside, it still contains minerals that might have built up slowly over several months in the plant's soil. Mineral buildup is a slow killer in carnivorous plant soil. It changes the Ph of the soil over time and rots their roots. If the fountain is fed from a natural source, it might be ok, but if it goes stagnant or moves slowly, it might have bacteria and organic compounds in it that would provide nitrogen to the soil, again killing your plant slowly.

You might want to repot the plant in fresh Nepenthes mix. Such soil comes in several varieties and can be mixed with 1/3 peat moss/and 2/3 perlite or 1/3 peat moss/orchid bark 1/3/and coconut husk 1/3 (make sure it does not have salt in it). You can mix it yourself, just make sure the moss is a bale and Canadian sphagnum peat and smells slighty sour, not like potting soil. If it has fertilizer, it will kill the plant. Better yet, do a search online for nurseries that provide premixed Nepenthes soil.

Clean off the roots carefully with distilled water, they are fragile, and repot it in the new damp soil. Next, place it in partial sun under a tree and protect it from extreme temperature changes. They are tropical and so like temperatures around 65-80 degrees. Some like a drop in nightly temperatures too, but those are less likely to be found in a hardware store nursery. Spray it with a sytematic neem oil extract and pyrethrines mix for good measure. Water it with only distilled water and rain water. Never fertilize the soil of a carnivorous plant. Nepenthes can be fertilized with orchid fetilizer in extremely weak solution on their leaves, however, I have never done so.

So long as the soil is moist, the plant is watered enough.

I bet if you checked the pipes in the fountain, that some would be copper, which is harmful to carnivorous plants.

If none of those suggestions help, I am at a loss.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 3:31PM
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It could be the water weakening it in conjuction with a significant enough change in conditions, putting it past its threshhold. After following the above advice, I would provide distilled water, decent lighting, and a lot of patience for it to come around. A Nepenthes can remain in a funk for a few months. Basically, provide it with good conditions and then leave it alone to recover.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 12:54PM
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