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Thread: Unintentional, late-season overfeeding of S. leucophylla

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    Unintentional, late-season overfeeding of S. leucophylla

    Hey, I recently scored a nice white-top at a plant sale. I was a little wary of buying a plant like this late-season, right before dormancy, but I went ahead and got it since I knew it came from a good source and I don't know that I'll find any of these locally outside this one bi-annual plant sale.

    So I brought it home, set it up in my tray where I've been successfully keeping several other pitchers and sundews all year. It's a nice, sunny spot at the edge of the garden...near some plants that are drawing in quite a bit of pollinator traffic. Usually, I'd have no issue with this. However, in less than a week, The couple of pitchers on the plant are gobbling up insects. I don't know if the proximity of flowering plants is doing more harm than good here. I removed the plant from the tray and brought it inside the garage to keep it from the somewhat sudden frost we'll be getting tonight/tomorrow. I'll be bringing it back out to spend the next few days until I get my lights set up to keep it cold, but above freezing.

    Will the sudden load of freshly trapped insects be detrimental to the plant during dormancy? Once I get the plant back out in the springtime, should I worry if it continues to trap insects at the rate it has been? I took a peek in the pitchers when I first got it, so I know the captures are recent (aside from the fact many were still writhing/buzzing). My yellow pitchers don't capture at nearly this rate, but I don't particularly know if the white-top is just that much more attractive to prey.

    I appreciate any and all suggestions!

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    My Sarracenia seem to catch the most during the fall. This is comparing spring vs fall pitchers. If it worries you, you can always trim off the pitchers once the plant goes dormant. Wildfires in the late fall would probably do that for you in nature.
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    Leucophylla sends out two sets of pitchers. 1 set in the spring and another set in the fall which are the bigger of the two. The larger of the two will catch more insects as they are larger, but overall, leuco's catch more insects then most pitcher plants. The more it eats, the more it stores for when it goes dormant. I wouldn't worry about it as you can always cut the pitchers off once it does go dormant.

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    Thanks, that certainly puts me at ease.

    Though, I'll have to say on the topic of fire - while winter burns are certainly the preferred pine savanna management approach, that has more to do with the current pressures surrounding controlled burns and less to do with the historic burn regime. Before suppression and intervention, fires in the southeastern pine forests were likely triggered in the summertime (which, could perhaps explain two sets of pitcher growth - spring and fall). That's not to say they can't sustain a winter burn.

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