butterwort leaves turning brown

Why are Butterwort Leaves Turning Brown? (And How To Fix It!)

Butterworts are kept indoors for their looks. They look great with flat, sticky leaves(upper side of the leaves).

Butterworts are easy to care for. They don’t run into issues often. But, some people see browning of leaves in their Butterworts.

There can be various reasons why this happens.

Why are Butterwort leaves turning brown?

People often report to me that their Butterwort leaves are turning brown. This may happen due to Browning heart disease(Centre to edge rosette death), Sun stress, uneven watering, or soil quality.

Let’s look at each of the possible causes.

Browning heart disease

This is a deadly disease that affects pings and kills them eventually.

My plants went through this a year ago. At that time, I just thought the plants were just sun-stressed. Boy was I wrong?

Experts say this disease is very common in Mexican pinguiculas.

This epidemic disease occurs in hot summer (or in hot terrariums).

Browning starts from the center

If the plant is affected by this disease, browning of the leaves starts from the center. It spreads in days to the periphery.

Once the plant gets infected, it shows loss of vigor, and no new foliage is seen. The usual growth is not seen in infected plants.

The plant gets stunted!

The affected plants’ leaves are non-mucilaginous and dull green in color. If you take a look at the roots, no young roots are produced.

Healthy roots become brown, shrivel, and die. The rootless base of the plant becomes a black stump and looks like a taproot.

The base of the leaf petiole turns brown and in a couple of days, the center of the plant becomes black and then dies.

Surprisingly, the tips of the leaves are still green even when the bases turn brown.

Fungal infections aided by Nematodes!

Browning heart disease in pinguiculas is caused by a fungus called FusariumThe fungus itself cannot attack the plant directly(as the fungal hyphae and spores cannot penetrate the hard roots).

Browning heart death in Mexican Pinguicula is caused by a combined effort of  Nematodes and a fungus Fusarium.

Female nematodes enter the healthy roots of butterworts. This causes numerous injuries in the roots of butterworts.

It is through these wounds the fungal spores enter the plant and cause the disease.

These fungal spores enter the roots and that’s why the disease starts in the center and spreads to the periphery.

How to deal with Browning heart disease

You’d not want to see your plant affected by this disease. The affected plant literally dies in days!

The best way to deal with this is to prevent this.

  • Make sure you’re not overwatering your plants.
  • Do not keep multiple plants in the same tray, one infected plant will spread the infection to others.
  • A fungicide like Quintozene could control the fungus effectively.
  • Fungicides containing 140 g/l. of Oxyquinoline Potassium Sulfate like Fongiclor, Cryptonol, Dericlor can kill this fungus too.
  • Make sure your plants get abundant light.
  • Separate the infected plants, improve the ventilation, and keep the plants as dry as possible. If done right, new growth of foliage is seen!

Rosette edge to center death

This sudden death is seen in Southeastern US Pinguicula. The symptoms appear in late winter/early spring.

This is caused by a rapid rise in temperatures. The browning starts from the tip of the leaves and spreads to the center of the rosette.

This isn’t caused by a pathogen. This is caused by a sudden rise in temperatures.

Once the disorder is seen, there is no way to revive the plant. The best practice is to prevent this disease.

Slower elevation of the temperature is the only way to prevent this disorder. Make sure your plant doesn’t get temperature stressed.

How do you take care of Butterwort?

If you care for your butterworts properly, it won’t be affected by any diseases and disorders. Let’s see how you can do this.

How often should I water Butterwort?

Watering your ping properly goes a long way in preventing such diseases.

Overwatering is the main cause of root rot. Try to water your plant just enough. Only water when the soil(up to 2 inches) is a little wet.

Do not let the soil become soggy. Moist soil houses a variety of pests. Use distilled water, RO water, or rainwater for the best results.

Water consciously!

Place a saucer beneath the pot and fill it so that it has 1/4th to 1/2th of an inch. This way the plant takes up water whenever it needs some.

Normally watering butterworts people tend to damage younger parts of the shoot. This doesn’t happen when you put the plant in a tray.

If you are using a potting medium like peat moss/perlite sand in a 50/50 ratio, then water the pot as soon as you see some dryness in the peat. Do not let it dry out completely.

Quality of the soil

Soil plays an important role in the health of a Pinguicula. If the soil outdoor is suitable for the growth of this plant, you can grow it outside.

If you are planning to grow it indoors, mix equally peat moss and perlite. This medium is acidic and drains excess water.

Note: Never add any nutrients or fertilizer to your plant, adding them will eventually kill the plant.


Humidity plays a vital role in the health of a Butterwort plant. In general, they need good humidity to produce that sticky substance on their leaves.

They can get acclimated to low humidity conditions. But, then they wouldn’t be able to satisfy their nutritional needs.

Optimal conditions can be achieved by placing the plant inside a plastic/glass dome with holes. Fancy terrariums can work too.

If you don’t want to put the plant in a terrarium/dome, you’ll need to mist it frequently. This assures your plant has abundant humidity.

Note: Never put your plant in a terrarium if you put it outdoors or under direct sun.


Butterworts grow in the partial shade of other plants. They can handle 12-15 hours of indirect light every day.

If you wanna provide artificial lighting, lights ranging from 5500K to 6500K would suffice. Place the light 12-18 inches away from the plant.

Slowly acclimate your plant to light. If you place it near a window, keep it for 6 hours in its first week. Increase the time under light gradually.

If you are using artificial lighting, you can do the same. Alternatively, you can increase the lighting intensity too.


  • Butterworts like all carnivorous plants will lose old leaves. The old leaves will just wither and die back. Trim off such leaves, this is just a natural process. This gets replaced by new foliage from the center. If this is happening, your plant is healthy.
  • Keep the soil well moist following the instructions above.
  • A healthy butterwort should produce abundant dew on the leaves. This may be hindered if you recently moved the plant to a new place. Generally, humidity is the reason why they can’t produce dew.

Happy gardening 🙂

While you’re here read our awesome article on why pitcher plants’ leaves are yellowing.