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Thread: Rhizome Rot

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    Rhizome Rot

    So I have this giant colony of sarracenia leucophyllia that lives in a very large pot - probably a 12" pot or more. Thing popped nine or ten pitchers this fall and looks great. I was cleaning out the older dead pitchers, and got a whiff of a really sweet rotting smell, and some of the dead came out with soggy rotten rhizome clinging to the end. Clearly some rot has started - probably because of the torrential rain we've had- pot was submerged for several days in its deep tray - and I need to know how to treat it. Do I just pull out the dead and the rotten that I can see? Or must I unlit, divide, and repot? Will the rot stop on its own, with resumption of proper watering? Thanks!


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    nimbulan's Avatar
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    As far as I'm aware, the only solution is to unpot the plant and cut all the rotten parts of the rhizome off. Any part that looks even slightly brown inside (from a fresh cut, the rhizome will naturally turn brown when exposed to air like apples do) needs to go. Some people recommend sterilizing the knife between cuts to make sure the pathogen doesn't spread. Toss the soil and water, sterilize the pot and tray, treat the cut parts of the rhizome with fungicide, and hope you got it all.

    If you catch the problem early you should be fine. Usually by the time you can see the first signs of rot, 75% or more of the rhizome is already toast and it can be difficult to save the plant.

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    Well crap. Thanks for the guidance. Will it spread to other pots in the same water tray?


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    Cactusdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLTropical View Post
    Will it spread to other pots in the same water tray?
    I think that generally depends on the pathogen involved, some are more aggressive than others.

    E: Maybe sterilize the tray itself and give a thorough look at any other residents
    Last edited by Cactusdan; 09-27-2016 at 04:33 PM.

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    nimbulan's Avatar
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    I've been told it can, and that may be how my second plant got infected. If you catch it early there probably isn't much danger but I'd keep an eye on the other plants. Oddly though, I never noticed a bad smell. Are you sure it's actually rhizome rot and not just regular mushy dead leaves? I wouldn't think that 3 days submerged would be enough to cause a problem, especially this time of year. The first sign of rot is generally a wilting pitcher since the growth point (and hence the base of the leaf) has rotted out, dehydrating the rest of the leaf.

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    Hmm. I jumped to rot because of the smell, which I first started smelling a few weeks ago. It's waxed and waned, and was particularly strong. I guess it could be the media breaking down. Or another dead plant I had nearby. hmm. I'll have to wait until tomorrow afternoon, but I'll root around and see what I can find. There isn't any wilting - just smell and normal aging.


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    Steve Booth's Avatar
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    Anaerobic conditions cause smells, does it smell eggy? if your media is under water for long periods and is breaking down the gas produced can displace the soil borne oxygen that the roots need. Also it releases nutrients into the substrate that can burn the roots and give you indications similar to fertiliser burn. If the plant has been in the same soil for years the acidity may have gone from it allowing the substrate to rot and release nutrients, a full repot and removal of all soil and dead material followed by a fungicidal spray or sulphur may be in order.
    Having said that rhizome rot is easy to spot and diagnose, but the cause may not be so obvious.
    Good luck
    Steve

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    I thought I should update this. Over time, a few pitchers died off, and when I tugged on them they came off at the base. A few plants I unpotted and bare rooted. While the rhizome center was hard and healthy (I cut one open - figured I had nothing to lose) the growth points were all turning to mush. Some rhizomes lost all leaves, others lost one or two. As time went on they all recovered, for the most part.

    In hindsight, what happened was I had a deep gray tray with no drain holes. After a few days of summer rain, the tray filled with water and started to heat up. When I finally noticed, the water was steamy hot to the touch - say jacuzzi-level temperature. Essentially, I slowly cooked my plants over several days. Sundews in the same tray all died immediacy, and the sarr rhizomes lost the softest, newest tissue - the growth points. The rhizomes survived, and now seem fine.

    Moral of the story: drill drain holes. Don't cook plants if you want them to live.

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    Steve Booth's Avatar
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    No holes is generally a bad idea for the plants in containers. Daft as it sounds for bog plants, many are killed by too high a water level for too long either blocking oxygen from getting to the roots, or going anaerobic producing gas and killing the plants.
    Always keep an eye on your water levels.
    Cheers
    Steve

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    depending on the size of your pots a quarantine might not be a bad idea. sarracenia are typically more vulnerable during dormancy so the best solution is to remove all the rot. If rot is happening during dormancy the plant cannot fight it very well and chances are high that the entire plant will be lost. a rhyzome should be solid.....if it is quishy then start taking off 3-5mm cuts until the rhyzome is white. rhyzome rot is typically a rust color. brownish orange.
    Last edited by cpbobby; 01-29-2017 at 12:03 PM.

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