What do you do when one of your carnivorous plants has a pest or fungus problem and neem or other natural pesticides or fungicides aren’t working?
Obviously something needs to be done or you run the risk of losing the plant or infecting others in your collection.
The first and most important thing to do is isolate the infected plant(s) from the healthy ones. Then, treat the pests or fungus. We recommend using one of the sprays below and have found them safe to use on several types of carnivorous plants noted at the end of this article.
The active ingredients in both of these sprays are Tau-fluvalinate, Imidacloprid (see note below), and Tebuconazole.
Tau-fluvalinate is a contact killer for pests. It works fast to stop the immediate damage.
Imidacloprid is a systemic insecticide meaning the plant will absorb the insecticide through its tissue and roots. If a pest takes a bite out of the treated plant, it will also ingest the pesticide. NOTE: As of Sept. 2018, BioAdvanced has removed Imidacloprid from their formula due to its affect on bees. Depending on where you purchase, some bottles may still contain it if the sellers stock is older.
Tebuconazole is a systemic fungicide. It works by inhibiting fungal growth and spore distribution, slowing the spread of the disease.
Which spray should I use?
The only difference between the two sprays above is the concentration of active ingredients. The “Ready-To-Use” version is just that; it can be applied to carnivorous plants immediately. The “Ready-To-Spray” version on the other hand is designed for hose attachment for large areas and is more concentrated. Using a hose to douse all your plants probably isn’t the best idea, but the concentrate can be economical if you have several to treat. All you need to do is dilute it to equal the concentration of the “Ready-To-Use” spray by figuring out the ratios.
Active ingredient percentages listed on each bottle:
Imidacloprid………… 0.012% (removed Sept. 2018)
Imidacloprid …………..0.47% (removed Sept. 2018)
Tau-Fluvalinate ……… 0.61%
Tebuconazole ………… 0.65%
For these percentages, a ratio of 14mls of concentrate mixed with 650mls of distilled water is comparable to the Ready-To-Use formula.
What types of carnivorous plants are safe to treat?
We’ve tested this spray on several types of pitcher plants, specifically Heliamphora, Cephalotus, Nepenthes, and Sarracenia. It is safe to use on most flytraps and some sundews as well. The rule for all of these plants though is to keep the spray away from the trap portions of the plants (i.e. the dewy portions of sundew and inside pitchers). These areas of the plants are often more sensitive and absorbent and so will be more prone to burning. Try to focus the spray on the crowns, leaves, and growth points of plants as well as the soil around them. Pests and fungal infections tend to target these areas the most anyway.
Follow the package instructions on how much of the spray to use and when. This particular formula can provide protection for several days depending on what you’re treating and whether the plant is indoors in a tray or outdoors and flushed with rain.
Some Notes of Caution
- Even though we have used this spray on several types of carnivorous plants, it’s always good to test it on your own plants as well. Treat a small portion of the plant and see how it reacts or only treat a single plant if you have more than one before spraying the whole batch.
- If you happen to get a bottle that still contains Imidacloprid and your plants live outdoors, please remember to save the bees!
What about you?
Do you have a tried and true pesticide and fungicide that you use? What plants have you tested it on? Please tell us in the comments!