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Thread: Sarracenia and VFT die off

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    Sarracenia and VFT die off

    I've got several sarracenias and a pot of 5 VFT typicals that are starting to die off. I recently moved approximately 10 miles within Colorado. The plants seemed to be doing fine before the move, but since they have started producing smaller and smaller pitchers and traps, and a few have died completely (psittacina, 2 VFTs, and a purp ven. burkeii x flava kimber). They are all outside on the East side of the house, same as before the move. They are in 50/50 peat perlite and have not been repotted. The only change other than the move is the water source. Before I was getting reverse osmosis water from Vitamin Cottage, which seemed to be fine. Now I'm getting supposedly reverse osmosis water from the 39 cents/gallon kiosks in the King Soopers (grocery store). Does anyone know if this water is no good?
    Also, it has gotten much hotter since the move, and at first I thought it might be an adjustment period, but that shouldn't have killed the plants, and I thought they would have adjusted by now. I've got several neps outside (ventricosa and sanguinea) that seem to be okay but not flourishing.
    Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?
    Thanks!

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    cp-connection's Avatar
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    Might be pests. Do you seen any fluffy white hidden under the pitchers of the purp?

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    I don't see any fluffy white anything anywhere. My leucophylla is still pitchering, but only one at a time, with one growing, one looking good, and one dying. The two that look good are my minor and psittacina x leucophylla.
    The only other thing I can think of that could be a factor is that we had a weird spring. We had a false spring, then some cool weather, then when it got warm again I put my plants outside. They started growing very vigorously, then one morning I woke up to 6 inches of snow. That's Colorado for you. After that some of them stopped growing for a while, but they all resumed growth before the move, so I don't think that could have caused these problems.

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    spdskr's Avatar
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    I don't think it is the weather, as my Sarrs and VFTs are doing fine in our area this summer. Perhaps it is your new water source. Do you have any way to test the water for purity?

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    I drink to make others more interesting. bpullin's Avatar
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    Are they getting enough light on the east side of the house? Can you move them to a more southerly location?

    And testing the water is an excellent idea. Your county may have an extension office that can test water. If not, you can check shops that sell pond supplies or high-end aquariums for self - test kits.
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    Unfortunately, I can't move the plants because of the way our house and yard is situated, but they get a lot of light - I can't imagine that's the problem. I'll try the water test kits. Should I test for anything other than ppm? Thanks.

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Leaf die off can have many causes:

    Sun burn - from low light levels to high light levels. Have the number of hours of direct sunlight increased? Did you move to a much higher elevation?

    Root drying or overheating - pots exposed to direct sunlight on very hot days are a particular problem. Lighter colored, thick walled pots, shading and sufficient water should alleviate this problem. Make sure the media does not dry out during transportation and plants are not exposed to high temperatures.

    Pests - mealybugs in the roots, mites and thrips are very difficult to detect. I recently lost a 'B52' to root mealybugs. Go over your plants with a strong magnifying glass at least 10x. Dig up one of the very far gone plants and check the roots and nooks and crannies of the rhizomes.

    Bad water - should take several weeks or months to show effects unless there are high chlorine or salt levels. Reverse Osmosis machines are safe to use as long as they do not add sodium (salt for taste, optional on some machines) and are properly maintained. The filters should be serviced at least every six months. Look for a record of service or call the vendor - a number should be posted on the machine.

    Bad media - nutrients (fertilizer), breakdown, mineral build up from bad water - should take weeks or months to be apparent. How old is the media?

    Disease - various fungi mostly. Gently squeeze the rhizome. You don't have to dig up the plant to do this. They should be firm, not mushy or hard like a piece of wood. Sarracenia should be like a raw potato, Dionaea like the "bulb" of a scallion/green onion or leek.
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