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Thread: Can anybody diagnose this?

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    I'm really worried i'm going to lose all my new VFT varieties because they've stopped growing and are looking a bit... burnt? Can anybody tell me what's wrong?

    Thanks!
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    Far too old to grow up now. Kate's Avatar
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    A few questions for you

    1) what are your humidity and temps?
    and 2) Did you happen to put them in direct sunlight?
    I typo, therefore I edit.

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    I need to buy a hygrometer, no doubt, but there are much more humidity-sensitive plants (eg nepenthes) growing in the same environment, and showing no signs of burn or wilt. I believe the humidity did drop a bit a week ago, but it's always pretty humid in my growing area.

    Temps have fluctuated from around 80 to perhaps 50.

    No direct sunlight, just lots of fluorescents.

    I was hoping somebody would confirm my suspicions before i revealed this clue, but when i first planted the (bareroot) vfts about a month ago, i used something called "Aquatic Plant Soil" by Schultz that is supposed to be inert and pH neutral instead of sand (which i hadn't been able to find). However, i have heard rumors that this stuff does tend to leech certain mineral salts. I was hoping the VFT burning was something else, but it is possibly due to the buildup of salts over the last month. It was growing robustly until just recently, however. What do salt-burned VFTs look like?
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    Once would assume (perhaps wrongly), that mineral burns would be more evident in the root system....

    That browning on the edges happens to me when leaves get really old (if they don't catch too big a bug and rot on me, that is). Are those brand new leaves?

    If you are worried about minerals & salts, try flushing the pots with pure water...that should wash away any build up. I don't know anything about the soil you mentioned....someone else will have to chime in there.
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    I do not know what variety of VFT you show in the picture, but the leaves look a bit transparent and light green with not much red in the trap. But, you say "No direct sunlight, just lots of fluorescents". With lots of light, the traps should be darker green and more red. Also, if increased light intensity and associated heat is recent on tender leaves, you could get some burning of the trap tips. You also said that you "first planted the (bareroot) vfts about a month ago". Were the leaves (that are now burned-looking) on the plant at the time you planted or are they new leaves since planting? The shorter prostrate leaves look OK as does the newly emerging leaf. If the 2 burned leaves in the photo coincided with the transplanting, perhaps transplant shock is the cause. I have not heard of "Aquatic Plant Soil" but would be suspicious.

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    It's supposed to be a "blood red traps" variety. I don't really know if the leaves in question were there when i potted it, but i guess the point is that they have been under the same lighting since i potted them, and only recently developed the burn. In addition, the burn has become much more noticeable in the last few days. The "typical" VFT i planted has been affected even more adversely, losing all of the previous leaves, and the new leaves (which are on very long petioles (like summer leaves) have small, somewhat malformed traps.

    I noticed what you said - the prostrate leaves seem to look better. That's true on the "blood red traps", but not on the typical. Maybe there are two different problems involved. I think i'll give them another week and see if the new leaves stay healthy. I just thought maybe somebody had seen this before and could give me their account of what happened. I don't want the root system to collapse and the plants to suddenly die on me!

    Thanks for your thoughts on it - if anybody else has had their leaves burn like this, please tell me the circumstances.

    The plants are about 8" under a bank of 4 32W cool white fluorescents and a 40W gro bulb.
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    Like I mentioned and so did you, I would be suspicious of that "Aquatic Plant Soil", particularly if I did not know what it contained. I have always used nothing but Canadian sphagnum peat moss with good success for many years. It is available in nearly all garden shops. I have experimented with various combinations of peat/sand/perlite, and always come back to using just sphagnum peat moss. Often when someone tries something exotic, it ends in disaster. I am not saying that your "Aquatic Plant Soil" is the cause, but ...

    I am still concerned with the color of your "blood red traps" plants. Perhaps it is just the photo.

    It looks like you have an emerging leaf about ready to open. As you suggest, I would wait to see what that looks like before taking drastic action -- like repotting in another soil.

    -Bob-

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    Oh, i know what's in the "Aquatic Plant Soil". It's 100% arcillite, kiln-fired Fuller's Earth.

    Quote
    a natural mineral that has been kiln fired to create ceramic granules. It is non-toxic and won't cloud water or float around to clog filters and pumps.[/QUOTE]

    There's some hype on there about NASA using their profile products for hydroponics, too.

    I checked on the web to learn about arcillite and Fuller's Earth, and it sounded pretty safe. You're right, though, anything exotic is a risk. It's just that i'd really like to decrease the amount of peat moss i use, because it's a limited resource.

    Anybody know anything about Fuller's Earth? Considering how little there was on the web about arcillite, i'm not holding my breath... [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif[/img]

    Anyway, thanks Bob.

    PS Don't puzzle too much about the color - the photo was taken under the 3000K bulbs i had before i swapped some for 4000K. Hence it looks very yellow.
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