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Thread: Not Rot, Not Fungus, Not Insects, But What's Ailing My Plants? =[

  1. #9
    Moderator Alexis's Avatar
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    My suggestion, after looking at your photos, would be to repot your Sarrs in a mix with a much higher ratio of peat(2/3-3/4 peat). The media I saw in your pots looks much too airy or rocky and your plants look like they are suffering from nutrient deficiencies. CPs need peat/acidity to absorb nutrients & wate,r and the acidity of peat also acts as an anti-bacterial & anti-fungal for the roots and crown of the plants. And try a mild, dilute foliar fertilizer or a diluted liquid organic fertilizer and spray a little in the pitchers. good luck.
    Blimey, that's the exact opposite of all the advice I've heard! Plants in sodden and compressed peat are susceptible to rot and reduced root growth, whereas those in an open and airy mix tend to do much better.
    Sphagnum moss is supposedly anti-fungal, but certainly not peat.

    They're repotted every winter.
    Could be an issue. That's bound to stress them out.

    The plants don't get good coloration until later in the summer, but they're typically a richer green, and "thicker" in density overall. The Purpurea pitchers are pretty thin and frail, if that makes any sense. Like tissue paper, almost.
    I'd really expect them to be very coloured up now. In our northerly latitude and under glass, growers still see good colour in early June.

    It could be as simple as dodgy batch of peat. Whatever brand you have now, I'd ditch it and buy from another supplier. A nice and airy 2:1 peat/perlite mix or even 1:1 will make them happy.

    Above all, patience. If they don't make it, that's life. Might as well buy some more so you have some nice plants to look at this season.

  2. #10
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    They're repotted every winter. Fresh soil (50/50 peat/perlite, no fertilizers or additives of any kind),
    I still say thats your problem..
    "no fertilizers or additives of any kind" - you cant be certain of that..

    If your collection was fine for years..you repotted everything this spring into new media.
    now your *entire* collection is declining..
    the most obvious culprit is this spring's batch of new media..
    something is wrong with it..something is IN it..
    it could be continimated with something..

    that explains the whole thing..

    ditch the perlite completely..you dont need it..and I have never seen perlite that didnt have fertilizer added..
    I would go with pure peat, with a top-dressing of LFS..if you can, just buy a big "bail" of peat..its much cheaper than the small bags, and you shouldnt get any added fertilizer that way..


    Scot

    ---------- Post added at 05:57 AM ---------- Previous post was at 05:47 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexis View Post
    Blimey, that's the exact opposite of all the advice I've heard! Plants in sodden and compressed peat are susceptible to rot and reduced root growth, whereas those in an open and airy mix tend to do much better.
    Sphagnum moss is supposedly anti-fungal, but certainly not peat.
    some people like perlite..others dont..
    personally, I cant stand the stuff..it floats to the surface as makes an ugly mess..
    and I see no real benefit to its supposed "open and airy" characteristics..

    I dont like sand either..IMO *that* is what gets really dense and compressed..
    over the years, I have tried all the common mixes!
    50/50 sand/peat..hated it..turned into concrete..
    50/50 peat/perlite..hated it..the perlite is ugly, and I see no benefit to it..
    and some other variations..
    after 10 years of experimentation, I finally settled on my ideal media..and have been using it exclusively for maybe 6 or 7 years now..

    I grow my plants in mini-bogs of pure peat:



    with just a top-dressing of pure LFS..(Long Fiber Spagnum) the LFS just keep the rain from splashing the pure peat around and making a mess..
    no sand..no perlite..just pure peat...

    I repot every 2 or 3 years..I see no need to do it every year..

    Scot

  3. #11
    Woodnative's Avatar
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    I agree with Scottychaos above, in the media seems to be the likely cause. I personally don't mind the perlite in the mix. What type of peat moss did you use? A lot of comanies are "kindly" adding fertilizer to their peat moss now (GRRRR), check the package carefully. Also, there has not been any nearby spraying of herbicide, lawn care products, etc. a couple weeks back?

  4. #12
    Moderator Alexis's Avatar
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    some people like perlite..others dont..
    personally, I cant stand the stuff..it floats to the surface as makes an ugly mess..
    and I see no real benefit to its supposed "open and airy" characteristics..

    I dont like sand either..IMO *that* is what gets really dense and compressed..
    over the years, I have tried all the common mixes!
    50/50 sand/peat..hated it..turned into concrete..
    50/50 peat/perlite..hated it..the perlite is ugly, and I see no benefit to it..
    and some other variations..
    after 10 years of experimentation, I finally settled on my ideal media..and have been using it exclusively for maybe 6 or 7 years now..

    I grow my plants in mini-bogs of pure peat:
    Yep, I agree there's no right or wrong answer and everybody has success with different solutions.

    I have seen plant problems with batches of bad peat though. There is a brand in the UK called Westland which was fine until a couple of years ago. Someone emailed the company and they said they now bulked it up with multipurpose compost, despite no mention of it on the packaging.

    Everyone now avoids it like the plague.

  5. #13
    Charlatan lizasaur's Avatar
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    Does peat go bad, then?
    I got a bale of it years ago, and a bag of perlite (it was in a brown paper bag which was about as big as I was, and was like, 99.5% perlite and .5% quartz) back in May of 2007, and that is the same stuff I've been using all this time (everything was stored in a dry, shaded place).
    I only just had to get a new bale a couple months ago, and it was from the same Home Depot, and the same brand as before (Lambert, is it?), and only the new additions have been potted it in, that and my VFTs, and those so far are doing quite well. That, and because they're so newly established, those &^%&#$%^# bugs haven't gotten into the mix yet.

    I also thought that the perlite/peat blend was best and couldn't be all cakey (which is the purpose of perlite) in order to be "good". To be loose and non-clumpy is when the mixture is good. I generally try to keep it 1:1, but I don't measure it all out exactly.
    I never have, and never will bother with top dressing. That's money, no matter how much I have, I don't need to spend. I'm not out to win some contest, I just want pretty plants. Fudge what they're growing in.

    And I do believe repotting during the growing season is a no-no, isn't it? I mean, yeah, you can uproot them and send them, but that's what can "shock" them, and I think shocking these frail plants is the last thing they need. But I'd repot them every year because I always imagined it was good to repot them every year, to increase aeration and acidity. And I'm kind of a dingbat and if I bought plants sized for 3" pot, they got put in a 3" pot, so by the end of the season they needed to be put in a bigger pot. It took me a few years, but I finally wised up, which is why practically everything's being put in big containers this dormancy. Or what I planned to do. o.O

    I'd also rather not have to buy all new ones. Mainly because I've had most of them since 2006-2007, and they've done so much growing already, I'd hate to start all over. It should also be considered that I'm not making the same money I was before and have already spent far too much this year, with a preorder of N. Hamata, Typical Ceph, Cobra Lily, many very nice Sarracenia hybrids and variations from Mike, and a bunch of "staple" Sarrs and a few flytraps from Cooks, in addition to several impulse buys from eBay.

    This is getting interesting though.
    I guess the question is, to repot, or not to repot, the ailing plants?

    Lastly, no sprays of anything that haven't been from me. We live in a house with a fenced in yard, and our yard, well...it's a sand pit, lmao. Nothing to preserve out there. I think the bug man sprays twice a year out there, but he knows better than to treat my plants (which are also up on a table). Having said that, there's been nothing but distilled water, and organic Neem oil sprayed on them, ever.

    AAAAAAND. I don't know why mine color up when they do. It must be the position of the sun or whatever. The Dana's and stuff would color up, but things like Love Bug and Purpurea wouldn't turn color until later in Summer. That's how it's always been. Perhaps they're not getting as much sun as I think they are.
    Last edited by lizasaur; 06-14-2010 at 06:45 AM.

  6. #14

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    Peat is sphagnum, its just shredded. Open & airy media is mandatory for most non-carnivorous plants but Sarrs, VFTs, Drosera normally grow in wet sodden conditions and need them. Its what they have spent millions of years adapting themselves to survive in.
    I like to use some perlite or sand but rarely more than 25% for sarrs & drosera, much less for VFTs(which like really high acicity). Depends on the plant of course. Darlingtonia & Helis like a much airier(though very wet) mix because it allows for more evaporation which keeps their roots cooler. Try adding some fine orchid bark into your mixes. All of my plants love it.

    ---------- Post added at 09:57 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:47 AM ----------

    Also, I have never had any problems repotting Sarrs mid season. Even dividing them. just keep them waterlogged for a while afterward and out of long periods of full sun for a week or so.
    Your plants may need more sun. Sarrs seem to do best with "the more sun the better".
    Also, I advise against using neem oil--or any oil on CPs. try Spinosad or Azamax--water based & supposedly(!?): organically based and don't harm beneficial insects. They've worked great for me against thrips & mealybugs & scale.

  7. #15
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Did the strange decline in health begin before or after you started spraying with the neem?

    did you notice the bugs (but plant growth still looked mostly normal) and started spraying because of the bugs alone.

    or...

    did you notice the bugs *because of* the decline in health of the plants?
    *then* started spraying with the neem? after the plants already started "looking bad"..

    the answer could determine if the problem is the neem or not..


    Scot

  8. #16
    Charlatan lizasaur's Avatar
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    Once they started coming out of dormancy, I was battling a huge infestation of spider mites.
    Got the Neem, which was pretty recommended in the thread I made for that.
    Treated the plants with it. Mites went away.
    Noticed a couple of plants doing that weird withering thing. Discovered black bugs, and they could be springtails, or harmless beetles. Also discovered Neem doesn't stop them.
    Haven't been treating with Neem since, on the off chance the Neem was causing it, and the decline has continued.

    I've actually had better success with sundews and VFTs when putting them in mixes which had high amounts of perlite. I think my concern isn't so much plopping them in a new pot, but suddenly new conditions overall.

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