Class 5 Nepenthes hoarder
Sarracenia not flowering
I have been trying to make a sarracenia hybrid for three years now and I am really getting frustrated over all these problems...
First year: I discovered that the hybrid had already been made, so I got two hybrid plants that hadn't been crossed and would look really cool crossed
Second year: bugs eat flower buds
Third year: the plants look excellent, but no flower buds?
This is where I am stuck at now. The two hybrids that I plan to cross look amazing but I still haven't seen any flower buds and it is now late july.
I live in california and we have had a wierd summer where summer tempatures are just starting to heat up ( this could be the problem)
Anyone else in california having the same problems? (I have 5 mature sarracenia, only one has flowered back in middle july)
I will post pictures soon. - Lance
Actually my mature sarrs have been doing really well this year... My S. minor flowered in the spring and has about 3x as many pitchers as when I bought it, and my S. purpurea produced two flowers in the spring and has started putting out a bunch of new pitchers (I was a bit worried with that one since it didn't start developing new pitchers till early July, but now they are growing fast). Interestingly, the flowers on both plants seem to be fertilized, even though they bloomed at different times and couldn't have hybridized. Can sarrs self-fertilize themselves?
Where in California are you? Temperatures have been pretty cool this year with above average rainfall. I keep my plants on a wooden deck where they get intense sun almost the entire day, so they heat up pretty fast when the sun is out. Are yours in full sun? Most species are from subtropical areas of the country, so having an adequate amount of heat and light is probably the key to getting them to bloom.
Class 5 Nepenthes hoarder
Well posting pictures is proving to be a challange.
We live in santa barbara county 2 hours north of L.A.
My Sarracenias have been getting full sun and their pitchers are quite colorful I dont think that is the problem.
I have found that many individual Sarracenia plants, even plants that appear large and "mature", wont flower for several years in cultivation, until they are well adapted to their current home..
I think I was growing Sarrs for 4 or 5 years before I ever saw one single flower bud..
I cant explain why it happens, but it does happen..
so if your plants are new (to you) that could be a factor..regardless of their size.
might they also be TC plants? in which case they might only be 2 or 3 years old..which might not be old enough to flower..
How about temperatures? Have the plants been kept in a particularly warm location in your yard? What about the nighttime temperatures as well? In the southeast where most of the plants are from, they don't have significant temperature drops once the sun goes down like California does. In fact, sometimes down there it even gets hotter during the night (that's always fun... Not). If you live in an area that has particularly cold night temps, perhaps that could have prevented blooming? I still consider myself a beginning CP keeper so all of this is just random thoughts and speculation, but I do have a lot of experience with the climates of the southeast US, so I try to keep my sarrs in a way that emulates their temperatures as much as possible. I use a large and deep tray of water with mine relative to the size of the pots to keep 24-hour temperature swings to a minimum.
---------- Post added at 10:25 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:21 AM ----------
Also, to post pictures you first need to host the photo on an external site like Flickr or Photobucket, then copy and paste the url to the image here with the image tags around it (some photo hosting sites will put the image tags on the url already).
Class 5 Nepenthes hoarder
If the 1-3 shoots that make up a division were taken from a mature plant in late winter/early spring and those shoots had not initiated flower buds the prior year, that division will not flower. In fact some species like S. leucophylla, if divided down to single growing tip pieces from a large mature clump will often sulk for a year or two, growing very little and very rarely if ever flower. Remember that a "small" division from a mature plant is not a mature plant itself.
Realize that flower bud initiation in Sarracenia usually occurs sometime in mid-late summer of the previous year to when you see the flower. It likely varies by species and might be in early fall for some. The overall good health/vigor of the plant and energy reserves built up during the late spring and summer are what contribute to the flower bud development. This is likely the primary reason many sun-requiring plants like Sarracenia fail to flower when they become overly shaded. Once formed, the flower buds remain dormant in the apices over the winter where it is likely they need some amount of vernalization (exposure to prolonged cool temps in the range of 32deg F to say 40deg F for example) to properly develop. Like tulips that need to be chilled to flower properly in the south. After passing through the dormant “cold” phase, a period of warmth is then needed to initiate final development of the floral structures and elongation of the stem and opening of the flower.
I suspect that the needed amount of heat doesn’t seem to be very great, as many of us in the PNW have been experiencing one of the cooler and wetting springs and summers in recent years. Last summer (when flower buds were initiating) was relatively cool and my plants in pots which sat outside in wading pools in full sun all summer and came though the week long freezes where the minimum temps reached 10deg F in November, 11deg F in December and 13deg F in February with no protection, flowered quite heavily this year though they were a good 4-8 weeks behind schedule.
It is not uncommon to obtain a “small” division that flowers that same year. The flower bud was initiated the previous year. This will put a bit of strain on a small division, which is why it is often recommend to remove such buds immediately upon detection. If the plant doesn’t produce enough leaves and receive enough sun, it often will not initiate a bud that summer, thus no flowering the following year. In some bulbs like Hippeastrum (Christmas Amaryllis), there are a very specific minimum number of leaves needed to properly develop a flower bud. I don’t know what that might be for Sarracenia but I can say that my red-tube S. flava, which only puts out 1-3 pitchers and 2-3 phyllodia per year, has never flowered in the six years I have grown it.
Bottom line is, for maximum flowering ensure the plants grow as many leaves as possible, are in full sun, never want for water, consume a reasonable amount of prey but avoid the sin of gluttony and above all be patient.
Always end an explanation with another question. Assume a healthy, vigorous multi-shoot Sarracenia that has flowered well in the past. Does any single shoot that bears a flower and then sets a good seed pod that goes to maturity, flower then next year? Does it "rest" a year? In many plants like apples and rhododendrons, if a fruit or seed pod forms at the end of shoot then no flower bud is initiated thus no bloom on that stem the next year.
I was gonna say, maturity? Conditions?
My 'Judith Hindle' flowered this year but my "Dana's Delight" didn't... They were purchased at the same time from Cali. Carniv. and seem roughly the same "age" (i.e. size, but what does that signify, really?)
Taken May 3rd:
Class 5 Nepenthes hoarder
saturniid: so your saying I should wait and see what happens?
If the plants haven't shown a bud starting to emerging by now, they aren't likely going to flower this year. The best thing is to give them good care this summer with full sun. If they aren't capturing enough prey, toss in a few grasshoppers or wasps. Not really necessary but won't hurt. Then they might set buds this late summer and bloom next year. Not all Sarracenia are like S. flava that for the most part are reliable yearly bloomers once they get big enough. Say, 3-5 big leads each with 4+ pitchers on each lead. You say you've seen mature specimens of your two hybrids. Do you know for sure that they bloom reliably every year? Some plants just are shy bloomers. If they only put up a couple of pitchers then you're sort of stuck. They just don't have enough leaves to make lots of food/energy to build flower buds.
Occasionally a plant throws a late bloom but that is rare. I have a lot of Sars (not all are big enough to bloom) and only a couple have late buds coming up after they bloomed a month or more ago and my experience is that these late buds won't develop properly. I agree with Scottchaos that it can just take some time. I consider myself a good horticulturist and a good Sarracenia grower and I only had S. psitt bloom once in like 10 years growing outdoors. I'm pretty convinced that it is that our temps are too cool here, esp at night and in late summer early fall. We commonly drop into the upper and even low 40s. where I live. I was around 43F last night and 37F a couple weeks ago. A local friend grows psitts in a greenhouse year round that is minimally heated in winter and he gets flowers since he has a longer "growing season" and higher day and night temps all summer.
Sorry I can't give you a more positive answer to your situation. You wait till the plants get bigger or spend $$$ on physically larger plants that reliably bloom. This is the way it is for most plant breeders. Be glad you're not into crossing the big agaves which can take 10-30+ years to bloom and then they die!