The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 11.5
- courtesy of -
The International Carnivorous Plant Society

Q: Should I trim off dead or dying leaves?

Dionaea
Grrrr!
A: Either because of rot from indigestion, or simple old age, eventually every leaf on your plant will die. Do not worry---the blackening leaf will not spread its death to the rest of the plant.

So what should you do as the leaf dies? You can can either keep the dead leaf on the plant or trim it off. It is more of a matter of personal aesthetics than anything else. Left alone, dead leaves slowly decompose naturally. Sometimes, yes sometimes, mold forms on these leaves and spreads to the rest of the plant, damaging or even killing it, but this only happens when the plant is already dying for other reasons (like bad horticultural practices). In this case the mold just accelerated the process. Grow your plant better next time.

When trimming partly dead leaves off a Venus flytrap, remove only the dead parts---do not cut into live, green tissue.

If you become skilled at growing carnivorous plants and accumulate many plants, you will probably only remove dead leaves at the end of each season, or before showing your collection off to potential romantic partners. At the end of the growing season, the whole leaf is dead and easy to remove. If this is a before-date cleanup, I have no advice for you since my dating history and success was dismal. I lucked into my wife. The learn-at-home hypnosis book helped.

Page citations: Personal observation.

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Revised: January 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005