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Thread: Newbie Heli question : Did I miss something?

  1. #1

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    cyclopse Newbie Heli question : Did I miss something?

    Hello, this is my first post here.

    I have received these Heliamphora on 21st April 2014, as I made a terrarium for them on that night.

    They look so healthy when I received, with bunch of roots and pitchers. Which I soak them with Trichoderma for 2 hrs 30 mins before potting. Here, I will post only pictures of the problem plants.
    Ionasii photo 20140421_IMG_0466.jpg
    Ceracea photo 20140421_IMG_0476.jpg
    Minor photo 20140421_IMG_0462.jpg
    One month has passed and ,for some species, there are only few pitchers left with a very slow growth rate.
    Probably, the growing condition doesn't fit some species here.

    The condition I mentioned above is :
    Temp : 20-27c (74-80f) day, 20-23c (68-74f) night
    Humidity : 70-99% day, 80-99% night
    Light : 4x39w T5 HO Dymax Tropical (I don't know this light temperature in Kelvin) 12 inches away from plants.
    Ventilation : Fish tank cooling fan that turn on together with an ultrasonic humidifier that make chiller-cooled mist flow inside terrarium. It drop temperature down to 18-20c (64-68f) and raise humidity to 99%. They are controlled by timer to
    ventilate 6 times a day for 15 minutes each.

    Here is a picture of my terrarium.
     photo 20140428_IMG_0545.jpg
    H.minor burgandy black, H.nutans (Kukenam), N.Truncata (reddish leaves),N.Veitchii (Bareo Candy Red), N.Lowii (Mulu), and N.Robcantleyi are doing really fine there.

    The problem species are in 100% LFS with top watering once a week, no water tray.
    H.Ionasii  photo 20140524_IMG_1208a.jpg
    H.Ceracea at the front, vigorous H.Nutans at the back.  photo 20140524_IMG_1209a.jpg
    H.Minor(Auyan) photo 20140524_IMG_1212a.jpg

    I am thinking about repot them into 1part milled lfs or peat : 1part perlite : 1part Akadama(as Turface or APS substitute) what is your opinion?

    Advice and comments are highly appreciated.

    Thank you
    Vee
    Last edited by vuai; 05-27-2014 at 11:51 AM. Reason: Change host for images to Photobucket

  2. #2

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    To me one month is not a very long time for new Heliamphora to adjust, you may not have any problem at all. I wouldn't expect to see more than one new leaf grow in a month; they just don't produce leaves very quickly in my experience. So if you've observed growth in this month you are probably fine. I personally think it is hard to maintain the right soil moisture with pure lfs, but it can certainly be done. No one will agree with my recommended mix, 3 parts perlite:1 part peat moss, but I think my plants are decent. These were all tiny juveniles when I got them:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/517644...th/11890814116

    To me repotting now is risky, especially if you have seen growth in just a month, but if it seems like the center is rotting away then you should repot now. I myself would try to avoid ever letting the temp getting up to 80 F or even 75 F, though admittedly lots of people grow nice plants with highs like that or higher. I keep my plants at a constant 66 F, I'll admit that it is overkill, but 78 F and above helps fungal endophytes grow that *will* kill your Heliamphora, so why risk it? So I say keep it at least a little cooler during the day. Others will definitely disagree with me, and that's okay.

    Overall your setup seems reasonable, I'm not convinced that there's actually a problem. Even if you haven't observed any growth in one month, I wouldn't be too worried unless the center seems to be rotting. Older leaves turning brown isn't a problem. The center turning brown is a problem. What I see in the pictures is old brown leaves which is pretty much normal, and healthy looking green centers which is good.

  3. #3
    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    good advice.... not anything I can really add

    Have you observed new growth on the problem plants?
    Last edited by Av8tor1; 05-23-2014 at 04:28 PM.

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    @mikewilder,@av8tor1 Thank you. New growth can be observed and I wish they have no problems.

     photo 20140524_IMG_1223.jpg
    H.Ionasii after hair cut This guy have 3 growth points, they are all producing new pitchers; but the size is decreasing drastically.
     photo 20140524_IMG_1209a.jpg
    H.Ceracea Yesterday this old pitcher at the back suddenly turn yellow as a whole with some black spots, today it turn to be a bit more brown. Is it fungal problem?
     photo 045e3140-8e57-4a38-a36b-6a8053fdf04b.jpg
    H.Minor One new juvenile pitcher.


    But the sudden collapse of another heli in the same terrarium that make me worry.
    H.Pulchella that came together just die in matter of days, the plant look fine for several weeks with only one newly produced pitcher, then it suddenly died.
    May be the fungi attacked the root crown.
    My H.Ionasii also died the same way, all old pitchers become brown and shriveled up until there is only one new pitcher left, then the whole plant die.
    Luckily, it came in a clump of 4 plants so I still have 3 more Ionasii to take a good care of.
     photo 20140524_IMG_1231.jpg
    Root crown of a dead H.Ionasii, it look darkened.

    I agree with you that 100% LFS is not so easy to handle. I also aware that LFS have tendency to become too compact in the future.
    I want to change their media into more airy mix that give them proper moisture level. But I don't know when is the proper time to change my media.
    @mikewilder Your mix should work really well as I can see from your healthy plants. Do you let them sit in water tray?

    Thank you again for your kind and informative advise, I will make better insulation to keep cool temperature inside.
    Cooling is very challenging here, now I am torturing my aquarium chiller just to make it under 80f.
    Last edited by vuai; 05-27-2014 at 11:55 AM. Reason: Change image host to Photobucket

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    worst case scenario:

    "heli sudden death syndrome" is very easy to spot. The pitchers will die from the bottom up. They will be mushy at the bottom and pull away from their base rather easily.

    If this is the problem, it's a combination of factors but heat was likely the trigger.....

    You will need to act fast. Personally, for SDS I recommend unpotting and clearing away all the contaminated material. Dip the whole root in your trichoderma powder and then repot in fresh mix in a clean pot.

    If this is the case, you only have a small window of opportunity to save your plants...

    hope this helps
    Last edited by Av8tor1; 05-24-2014 at 01:06 PM.

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    Hello Vuai,

    unfortunately I can't see many of your pictures even if I click on them; maybe your free hosting service is slow to the usa? So I can't comment on the pictures I can't see. I did see one picture of a dead brown plant and the medium looked very wet, sort of too wet especially with heat, I wouldn't be surprised if fungus was the problem there.

    I live in Alabama, which in summer is pretty similar to Thailand climate so I understand the challenge you face with temperature. If the chiller is at its limit and you are unable to air condition a space for the terrarium, maybe try freezing some 1L bottles of water overnight and put them in the terrarium during the day, maybe that will help. I have a room full of terrariums so I just aircondition the room, but I understand that is not practical or possible for everyone. I do think it is worth the effort to try the ice bottles if that's all you can do, see if it helps. If I understand your setup, you are using the chiller to cool water that is inside a humidifier, right? Could you instead have a few inches of water at the bottom of the terrarium and use the chiller to cool that water? I would think that would be more effective but maybe I'm wrong.

    You asked about letting pots sit in water. For many years I did water my plants from the bottom, and let them sit in a little bit of water (~1/2 cm) . With the mix I use and consistently cool temperatures, that usually works fine. But since I moved to Alabama I am trying to keep my plants a little drier, and I am top watering. Mostly I try not to let plants sit in water but if the pots are tall I can get away with it. If you are asking because of that picture "ebaysept 018" on flickr where the pots are sitting in a lot of water, that was an unusual case, I had just divided a big nutans 'Giant' clump and had lots of rootless divisions, so they were sitting in a lot of water. That clone is hard to kill, I was busy with grad school, so I had them in a lot of water just so they wouldn't dry out from neglect. I would never recommend to anyone that they generally let Heliamphora sit in deep water like that. Beyond that, I definitely wouldn't let pots of pure lfs stand in even a little water. With my mix, I don't know, I've certainly grown them in shallow water for years, but I don't know that I'd recommend it, especially with species rather than hybrids. Certainly if you try the idea of having water at the bottom of the terraruim cooled by the chiller, don't let the pots sit in that water.

    The right time to repot is when the plants are happy, not flowering, and daytime temps are cool, or when they are going to die if left alone. Since they just got repotted a month ago, you should wait until they are more adjusted if you can. Obviously you are pretty much asking whether you can wait or not. Honestly I don't know. If you have observed growth and/or the center is still green, I would wait to repot and put effort into cooling, because the risk is that the shock from repotting now does more harm than good. It sounds like you divided some little clumps; in the cases where you have multiple plants I guess you could try to repot one now and see what happens. If the center seems to be turning brown then it is rotting/dying from fungus, in that case it probably will die if left alone like Butch said, so you might as well repot it and hope for the best. I have never used trichoderma with Heliamphora so I can't comment on that.

    Edit: for some reason I can see your pictures now. I wouldn't repot those now. They look okay to me and an old dying ceracea leaf is not a problem if most of the plant seems green and healthy. I'd leave them alone for a few months and try harder to keep them cool. You mentioned peat perlite turface, in the long term that should be better than lfs, but I haven't tried it myself. It clearly works well for Butch.
    Last edited by mikewilder; 05-24-2014 at 03:57 PM.

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    (I've never been able to see the pics, always times out for me)

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    I changed the image host, you might be able to see the pics now.
    Thank you for all the help.

    I drenched trichoderma on all problem plants since repotting seems to be too risky with Akadama which I haven't tried it on other CPs and I can see new growth.
    I will wait for them to be happy enough for repotting.

    The dead plant's pitcher can be pulled out easily, may be the SDS that killed them. Do I have to change the media?, dead plants was in the same pot with H.Minor and H.Ionasii.

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