Q/A #131 - Nepenthes Seems to Be Dying

July 23, 2023

Q/A #131 - Nepenthes Seems to Be Dying

I’ve had this Nepenthes Gaya for just a few months. I repotted it into a mix of peat moss and perlite, equal parts. It was doing really well until about a week ago. It seems to be dying. I try to keep the soil moist and mist with distilled water. My other 3 Nepenthes are doing well. not making many pitchers but lots of good leaf growth. They hang in a south facing window but the house has deep eaves, so it’s all ambient light.
(Submitted in July 2021.)


You have a few things happening here. First, this isn't enough light for any of your plants. Even your Phalaenopsis orchid could use a bit more light. Nepenthes in a window need 3- 4 hours of direct sun. This is why they are all so pale, and not producing pitchers. You definitely need a window that doesn't have the long eaves, or if this is the only window you have, then you will need to supplement with artificial light. 

Next, the plant is question is in the wrong soil media. Nepenthes need to be in a sphagnum moss mix. Our tropical mix is long-fiber sphagnum moss with perlite mixed in. The key is that it needs to drain freely, has lots of aeration, yet holds moisture. The mix you have it in is for our bog species such as Venus Flytraps and Sarracenia which stay very wet, and sit in water. You can use peat moss and perlite as a soil mix for Nepenthes, but the ratio should be 1 part peat to 2-3 parts perlite. A mix of equal parts peat and perlite doesn't have enough aeration that Nepenthes require.

From the appearance of the leaves it looks like some root rot is happening. I can also tell from the empty macrame hanger that this plant was in the shadiest spot due to the shrub and the window frame. The combination of low light and wrong soil are causing the issues.

This plant may be too far gone to save. When I see the black leaf tips, that's a pretty bad sign. You can try getting it into the correct media and to a brighter spot and see if it pulls through. Consider using artificial lights. We have a video about that. There's also a product called Superthrive available at garden centers that may help the plant rebuild roots if there's enough left.

If your other Nepenthes are in a peat mix, consider repotting all of them into a mix of 1 part sphagnum moss and 1 part perlite. This is the standard tropical pitcher plant mix we use with all of our Nepenthes. 

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