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Thread: Pitcher Die-off on Nepenthes pulchra

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    Pitcher Die-off on Nepenthes pulchra

    Recently the pitchers on my Nepenthes pulchra have been dying off. I got the plant a few months ago and it has been growing in the same conditions with 80 degrees in the day and low 60s at night and close to 100% humidity the whole time. I have the plant under CFLs for 10 hours every day. The largest pitcher started turning black a few days ago. It was a few weeks old though, so I didn't think much of it. I had fed it a few ants but that didn't seem to cause a problem.



    However yesterday I noticed that the newest pitcher has also begun turning black. I don't even think it has opened yet.



    The rest of the foliage doesn't seem to be affected. I have a veitchii and macrophylla under similar conditions but I've only noticed this on the pulchra. The growing medium appears to be a mix of LFS, perlite and peat. I got the plant potted and haven't disturbed it at all. I mist it several times a day but don't water it.

    Here is a picture of the whole plant:


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    Slowly reduce the humidity. You should also consider unpotting the plant to observe the health of the roots and repot into something a little lighter, like 50/50 sphagnum/perlite or something with that consistency. Sometimes premature leaf senescence (and likewise, pitchers dropping off) is a sign of stagnation at the root zone, caused by the inability of the roots to absorb nutrient ions and transfer them to the shoot system, thereby forcing the plant to reallocate nutrients from older to newer leaves. It's essentially the last warning the plant gives you before things go very wrong.
    Last edited by mato; 07-02-2015 at 02:14 PM.

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    Chief Cat Behavior Specialist Knuckles's Avatar
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    I was going to offer similar words to mato's reply. It seems possibly too wet & the beginnings of root issues. However, I would not completely repot if it were my plant because that may further weaken the plant in its current state. I would simply unpot & gently squeeze the media & see if its waterlogged & aerate it. Remove the old mix around the outside yet keep the center intact around the roots. Place it in a mix with what mato suggested, or 1:1 sphagnum-perlite or 1:1:1 peat-perlite-sphagnum. Allow some more time in between waterings & see how recovery goes. It doesn't look far gone & I see that its current leaves havent begun to brown on the edges so it likely that it will be fine. Are the leaves soft/floppy or are they still firm?

    Good luck

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    Not much else to throw in other than that I agree with the previous recommendations. They're good ones. Possible chance of a root issue.

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    I would be hesitant to reuse old media, especially when signs of hypoxia are evident. Besides oxygen depletion to the root zone, the other problem is the proliferation of anaerobes in the media that may pose a threat to the health of the plant. By reusing the old media you face the risk of transferring any possible pathogens.

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    "I mist it several times a day but don't water it."

    This combined with a 100% humidity atmosphere (and probably ZERO air movement) is a recipe for disaster. If new pitchers are dying before opening, you likely have a severely compromised root system.
    And never, ever re-use soil components.

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    Chief Cat Behavior Specialist Knuckles's Avatar
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    If your soil is ridden with unwanted pathogens then of course it would not be advised to reuse. Unfortunately you do not know this unless you perform an analysis or unless intruders are in such large numbers/size that they are visible to the naked eye. Nevertheless, I see it as something plants are unable to do in the wild (get rid of old soil & replace it with new). Nutrients are replenished, organic components are broken down, & beneficial bacteria builds. Plants cared for in a controlled setting such as our homes are not exposed to the same circumstantial situations yet can still be compared. I have reused many types of soils over many years without ever incurring issues & so have 1,000s of others so saying that soil should never be reused is not true. Soil is like water in that it continually gets recycled. It is a matter of preference & if you believe that your soil needs to get tossed every so often then by all means stick with what works for you. Some plants need nutrients replenished & there are many means of accomplishing this. Elements can be added yearly as well as drainage & aeration components but I will not get into this b/c thats an entirely different subject. lol anyways this is just a bit of info.

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    Thanks for the advice everyone. I will repot all of my Nepenthes tomorrow into a lighter mix and look at their roots. Hopefully the damage can still be reversed.

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