It's taking longer than I had hoped to get my notes organized into some sort of ledgible format (I didn't know I could be so long winded, why didn't you guys tell me lol!. ) So Here is a breif recap of what happened.
I took 7 cuttings from 2 adult N. x 'coccinea' and rooted them. when the time came to plant them I decided to use them as a test for the plan that had been formulating in my brain.
The plan: I am having a hard time finding anything but the basic soil ingredients for Nepenthes, things like coconut fibre (rarely available) and osmonda fibre have remained out of my reach (yet one more reason why I don't like Naples...) What is in abbundance is pine needles, everywhere. Now I know VFTs, dews, and Sarrs, all grow in soil with pine needles, so what about Neps? Thus the experiment was born.
Of the 7 cuttings, I planted 4 in my usual soil mix of
1 part peat moss
1 part perilite
1 part long fiber sphagnum
1 part orchid bark
1/2 part coconut fiber
And the other 3 cuttings were planted in the above mix with the addition of 1 part chopped pine needles.
All the cuttings and the parent plants have been grown side by side for 9 weeks now, away from all my other plants.
Not long after the start of this experiment I noticed an outbreak of "rust spot" on the parent plants. I dedided not to treat it at this time since it didn't look like it would be fatal and I didn't want to mess with any potential findings re: the pine needles. A few days later I found that the group of cuttings without the pine needles also had the fungus.
The group with the pine needles is still showing no signs of the fungus, while both the parent plants and the other group of cuttings are progessing in the disease. The group with the pine needles are also showing stronger growth although at this point I am chalking that up to lack of disease.
This obviously raised the question of weither the pine needles are providing some sort of immunity (perhaps more acidity thus discouraging the fungus in the first place) or is it just a random fluke and the Pine group was never infected to begin with?
In an effort to answer this question I am repotting one of the parent plants in a new pot with new soil including pine needles and I am going to try to intentionaly infect one of the the cuttings arleady in the pine mix with this fungus.
If anyone has any speculations or comments I am most interested in hearing them. I am also interested in oppinions about how to make sure that the plant I am trying to intentionally infect does come in contact with the fungus.
Hope you found this as interesting as I did and I will keep everyone posted and also provide pics as this experiment progesses.