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Thread: Massive die-off

  1. #1
    SpyCspider's Avatar
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    May 2004
    San Antonio & Sugar Land, TX
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    Massive die-off

    Hmm I'm pretty perplexed by what's happened to my plants in the last month. Ever since I posted pics of my outdoor collection in the Greenhouse/Terrarium thread, I've come back to a progressive die-off of many of my Sarracenias and Dionaeas. Many of the tall Sarracenias suddenly shriveled from the base near the rhizome while many of the VFTs just died completely back. Water hasn't changed, it's been pretty hot, but otherwise nothing's dramatically changed in terms of care.

    Couple of factors I was thinking about.

    1. Insect/fungal attack? But why would some pitchers be ok and not the others? I don't see any either. I've uprooted some to check and they look ok. No sign of mealy bugs, thrips, or even sooty mold.

    2. Drop in humidity? I live in Houston where it gets pretty humid, but there were couple of weeks when it didn't rain and it felt like a desert. But with humidity drops, I would expect pitchers to die from the top down rather than bottom up. And the sundews (usually first to go) are still glistening with no problems.

    3. BP oil spill? LOL, I was playing around with this idea just suddenly. Would that have affected rain to the point it became more toxic in general?. But the rest of my garden plants and some CPs still look ok. Anyone else around the Gulf coast experiencing some weirdness?

    It really seems like a chemical/water mineral problem. The plants look as if somebody sprayed pesticide randomly on them and they're dying of a slow poison. I will post pics when I have a chance. Thanks.

    ---------- Post added at 07:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:35 PM ----------

    Here you can see the rhizome of this pitcher turning brown

    Flytraps were much healthier a month ago. Flowers were all cut off.

  2. #2
    just your friendly neighborhood INTJ... amphirion's Avatar
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    soil looks pretty compacted. that's probably why the flytraps are looking a little shoddy. dont know about the sarrs. a sudden drop in humidity could be the culprit. they can adjust to drier conditions with no problem given time, but an abrupt drop could do it.
    " You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." -Inigo Montoya
    +petiolaris drosera going dormant?
    +picture thread

  3. #3
    Gardening freak! tommyr's Avatar
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    "My best advice to anyone who wants to raise a happy, mentally healthy child is: Keep him or her as far away from a church as you can." - Frank Zappa

  4. #4
    dashman's Avatar
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    Are there drainage holes in those pots? It could be bacterial or anaerobic soil perhaps?

  5. #5
    Not Growing Up! GrowinOld's Avatar
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    Being a radical sort of guy who is also used to working with plants, I would probably tear it all apart, clean off the plants completely and dump the old soil mix in the trash (lest possibly polluting my yard with a possible toxic fungus...) and clean the pots with water and a sterilization of bleach solution... and then re-pot is all back up again!
    It wouldn't hurt to try that with one of the planters at least, and see if it does any better or worse than the others in time.
    When planting mix gets old, it breaks down anyway... [try smelling a handful of it from down below]. If it smells nice and organic...great! But if it smells like something gross... well, I would definitely try re-potting then.

    Like I say, re-potting can be a good idea, especially if you have a good hand for it. (Some people here have never re-potted much, so they do more damage than they fix... however if you are careful, it should work out fine.)
    I transplant and re-pot plants often, so it is second hand for me to do. It will also give you a chance to see what is happening to the roots/rhizomes/"bulbs" to get a better idea of their condition and what is causing the problem.
    When planting back up, I usually dust plants with rootone or another rooting compound that contains a fungicide, which should help to get them off to a good start.
    And be sure to keep the dug-up plants (bare!) damp and in a shaded location until you can get them planted back up. Cooking them in the hot sun is not a good thing at all, even for a short while! (Also, don't postpone planting them back up for too long!)

    Well, that is my approach to things when I encounter what you have.
    The situation you have also depends on how long ago you planted them in the first place. A year or two is sometimes all I can get, before having to refresh the "soil" mix anyway...

    Results with re-potting do vary, depending on the extent of damage/conditions. Use your better judgment to decide what to do. It seems you potted them up to begin with, so re-potting them shouldn't be too much a problem really. (I usually clean off most all the dead material before potting things back up, to avoid more rotting dead vegetation from feeding some fungus!) Be careful and gentle when doing any cleaning however.

    Again, it could be just the heat... or perhaps an effect of taking pictures of your plants!

    Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

    PS: You could try a lawsuit against BP, but I imagine there is a line of others already, with worse things than this to bring to their attention! (Don't get me started on that un-needed "event" in our lives and environment!)
    Experience is the best teacher. At least it used to be.
    But then, common sense isn't so common anymore, is it.

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