Sudden issue with cephalotus watering methods
So Ive had two cephalotus for a while now. One for over a year and the other for about 5 months. The one I've had for 5 months seems to have developed a dislike of water. I've been watering them every 3-4 days every since I got them and they've put out new pitchers and done relatively well. But now the one I have had for 5 months, which is also a HG and was quite clumpy has lost several pitchers the last two months. Really don't understand the problem because it shows signs it needs water like drooping lids and soil dry below the surface. Then I wwater it even lightly and I tend to get yellowish pitchers. Doesn't make any sense to me because the other one does just fine like this and is right now putting out three large adult pitchers in Identical climate conditions.
Was thinking the pitchers it has are probably old.... Does this tend to happen with age? It is putting out quite a few new pitchers to replace what it loses but none that I think are going to be adults at this point. Can usually tell by the ribs. Hopefully it is normal. I suppose I am wondering whether my ideas of when it needs watering is correct. I do know they don't want or need a lot of it and I never use a water tray for it.
Last edited by Gigantea; 04-22-2013 at 06:16 AM.
Odd that, I sit my Cephalotus in trays of water from April to Novenber most years and I find it saves a lot of messing about with watering regimes. And yes I've had them sitting in water over winter too
I've never understood the 'keep them on the dry side' brigade. It seems odd to me to treat what is essentially a bog plant that way.
Keep them in a tray of water and don't water from above.
What is your soil mix ?
The tray method killed my German Giant in the intense heat of summer. It was quite a tall pot but the mix was LFS + perlite and I believe LFS broke down in the heat because I had the same issue with a nepenthes planted in the same mix. I didn't have this issue with any other mix in summer so just a heads up if you're using LFS as well.
They're both in largish square pots. The larger one I recently put I to a new soil mix cause I hated what it came with. It's now the same as the smaller one: 2:1:1, peat, perlite, silica sand. Laid loosely with loving care.
So... Put them in water trays? Idk. They REALLY seem to hate water.
Since I posted this, I have moved them into a more natural filtered light setting on a sun.y window. Things were better for a while... Until I watered them for the first time. I had soil moisture indicators telling me I was correct; the soil was almost dry. I watered. Now losing two pitchers between the two plants. :'(
I really do not understand these plants... Lol. My nepenthes and sarracenia are so easy....
Edit: also, my nepenthes is in LFS, orchid bark and perlite and I top water once per week and its as happy as can be. But its also in an intermediate to highland tank under lights and not sunlight.
I've been growing all my ceph cultivars in 100% LFS for awhile now. I experimented a lot with peat mixes but found they clump too densely. I use the tray method with a layer of pebbles. I'll fill it until the lower 1/4" of the pots are waterlogged and let it soak/evaporate until I fill it again. I always avoid directly watering any plants. Plus the tray method helps if you travel frequently! As a side note I grow mine indoors where the temperature never travels beyond 85 so I've never had an issue with LFS breaking down.
The whole "keep them on the dry side" is because a lot of people are concerned with sudden death syndrome. They believe cephs easily suffer from root rot where there are no warning signs. But yes I agree with fredg, cephs naturally grow at the edges of bogs. Having grown them with slight waterlogging for the past 5 years or so I have yet to experience a sudden death.
And you're correct, the lids drop because of low humidity. If your soil mix dries it won't supply humidity around the plant. I like to spray mine nightly to boost humidity and because the LFS always stays wet my lids stay up. Can't really comment on the yellow pitchers. I've had them a few times when new pitchers attempt to grow under mature pitchers. I accredited it to lack of sunlight and unfortunately they tend to never make it :\
I think you should try an experiment with the tray method coupled with the occasional spraying. Hopefully some of this helps
I've got a magic window!
The top soil may look dry, just make sure it has good drainage and not water logged at the bottom. That what happened to mine....
Check out this link:
I know some people suggest not top watering cephs, been watering that way since 2001 and never had any issues with my plants. Pics in the link above should prove that.
Felgecko: orgot to mention I have a layer of LFS and pea pebbles at the bottom of both. Drainage should be good. I looked at that link and that first pic pretty much looks like my cephs. I don't know what I can do to male it any more airy in the soil... It's so light I poke it and it goes. I can easily stab a finger into it.
Mikey, I do have some seedlings I can experiment with... Guess I will put them in a tray and see what happens before trting It with the bigger ones. I don't think I can put then in LFS, it gets too hot here for that. They get up to 90* just in my window. I used to spray mist them but then I read not to if your humidity is high.
I think the Confusion growing these is because no one can agree on anything. And learning from experience is really expensive. <<
Last edited by Gigantea; 05-10-2013 at 11:10 AM.
If you are growing on a windowsill that gets hot, I hope your growing container is WHITE, because if the soil mass heats up at all, you will have very unhappy Cephalotus in no time. They want full sun (if possible), but cool damp roots, so you have to avoid heating the soil at all costs. I grow in heavy white glazed ceramic pots, which prevent the soil from heating up.
Originally Posted by Gigantea
Well, they are in plastic... That hest exposure doesn't last long and I think some of that best is my probe exaggerating when the direct sun hits it. Based on experience in kitchens I would say its 85* when I out my hand in that area.
I did have them both under lights for a
while, but one starting looking unhappy cause I can't get the humidity high enough close to the lights. Got lids drooping. Think the light is too mucj for them so I moved them to a SW window that gets good sun from about 2-6pm.
Perhaps the heat and moisture was the issue?