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Thread: Murderizing my first heli - ideas welcome

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    madrone's Avatar
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    Question Murderizing my first heli - ideas welcome

    Well, this isn't a very fortuitous first post to the Pitcher Plants section. But, I'd like to learn from the mistakes I've made, so am welcoming any ideas. Not sure a rescue is still an option here, but maybe what I hear from the community can help me have more success in the future.

    I received this H. pulchella in January. I keep it in a terrarium, where I grow cool, high-humidity plants. Winter temps were probably mid-low 60s with lows in the mid-low fifties, humidity is 85% or higher. There is a fan to provide air circulation. More recently, temps have risen a bit (and I've geekified my tracking):



    Pitchers are probably 9" from two led lights (I don't have specs as the retailer no longer offers them, but they are JungleDawn-esque). There is a mister in the tank, so they get some water that way, and humidity stays high. I've used maxsea in the pitchers, but they are probably not *always* topped up. I've tried both top and bottom watering, but recently felt that the mister might have been resulting in water sitting in a reservoir under the pot, so removed the reservoir.

    This has been its downhill trajectory...
    January - on arrival - I'm not sure, but I think the lower-rightmost pitcher visible in the photo might have a desiccated spoon:


    A few weeks later - note, the additional spoon/pitcher desiccating on the central-top pitcher, which was written off as "new-environment-adjustment or shipping funk":


    And this week:


    With a view of the back of the pitchers (which are in bad shape) and a peek at the only pitcher that looks semi-viable, but which has not changed much in the last 4-5months:


    I have not had the guts to pull it out of the pot, but suspect that's next. Ideas welcome!
    Last edited by madrone; 05-14-2017 at 05:50 PM.

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    International Carnivorous Plant Society

    Maybe this will help?

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk

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    madrone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadlyCarni View Post
    International Carnivorous Plant Society

    Maybe this will help?

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
    Thanks DeadlyCarni - that is indeed a great resource and one I refer to frequently. I think I'm within the preferred temperature parameters and the watering suggestions in the article - either top watering or keeping it with a small water reservoir - are both methods I've tried.

    Partially, I'm wondering if the symptoms it's showing (as it is failing to thrive) are indicative of what might be wrong? The pitchers appear to be "drying out" from the top-down, yet (I believe) moisture and humidity are adequate. If the roots are rotted or it's a fungal issue, are there things I could try in a re-pot to better the chances for survival?

    Also wondering if folks have used commercially available sources of beneficial bacteria/mycorrhizal blends - like Plant Success Great White or Inocucor's Synergro solution? Or is AmPac Biotech's Trichoderma atroviride the only way to go?

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    Just a couple of thoughts. If the roots are rotted the leaves tend to die from the bottom up instead of from the top down. You list the winter temps but what are the current temps? How much heat is coming off the lights? Can you measure the temps at leaf level? Finally, is the fan blowing directly on the plant?

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    It looks like the plant hasn't grown at all, which is surprising given that it has been 4 months. I had this happen to me with a Heliamphora minor that I was growing on a humid windowsill. It never grew but stayed green until I took it back to the states, where it promptly died.

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    madrone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntsmanshorn View Post
    Just a couple of thoughts. If the roots are rotted the leaves tend to die from the bottom up instead of from the top down. You list the winter temps but what are the current temps? How much heat is coming off the lights? Can you measure the temps at leaf level? Finally, is the fan blowing directly on the plant?
    Good to know re: rotted roots and the direction of pitcher decline. I had also read some accounts of heli "sudden death syndrome" (without pics), which sounded like similar symptomology - dessicating from the top. except this hasn't exactly been sudden. More like a slow (frustrating) demise.

    I've been measuring the temps more consistently since April, and I would say temps have been 60-65 (on average); increasing a little in the last two weeks (max: 72, min: 60, since May 1). The tank isn't that large (ExoTerra Med Wide - 24x18x18), but the lights are leds and I don't believe they contribute much heat to the tank. I can move the temp sensor closer to the plant to see if that makes a difference in what I'm measuring. Currently it's on the left side of the tank (pic below), pretty close to the door (to keep it from being misted). Because of the moss in the pot, and its constant moist state, I would imagine the root zone is below ambient (from evaporative cooling), but I haven't measured in-pot temp.

    This is a pic of the tank ( in November, before I introduced a couple carnivorous plants):


    The H. pulchella is currently just left of the middle of the tank, towards the back, to be under the brighter light. The fan tilts so that the breeze "bounces" off the glass top rather than blowing directly on the plants.

    Really appreciate everyone's ideas and questions!

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    madrone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanukimo View Post
    It looks like the plant hasn't grown at all, which is surprising given that it has been 4 months. I had this happen to me with a Heliamphora minor that I was growing on a humid windowsill. It never grew but stayed green until I took it back to the states, where it promptly died.
    I would agree. At first I attributed the lack of growth to shipping shock (even though it was packaged very well, and with a heat pack) and acclimatization to its new surroundings. But, most of my plants are responding to spring - however, not this one.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Having dipped my toe in the carnivorous pool about 18 months ago, and having had some successes, I thought I was ready for something more challenging (and I've branched out to some new-to-me genera). But, maybe this plant just wasn't meant to be.

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    Root issues do not always mean the plant will die from the base up; if the entire root system and then the rhizome rot then yes that will happen, but root damage and the subsequent loss of water uptake function can mean the pitchers rapidly wilt or die back like a normal pitcher would, but far more quickly and often before the leaf turns fully brown. Most of what I am seeing though looks like natural old leaf senescence but without replacement by new growth, which I take to mean the plant doesn't like something in your conditions; perhaps the soil is too wet, the humidity is not quite high enough, or you do not have a great enough temperature swing. Or, as some Heliamphora are rather picky and they are altogether generally slow, it might still be acclimating and developing new roots etc. so that it can grow properly.
    Everything has a reason, whether big or small. Never underestimate the power of what is or is not.
    There is far more to everything than meets the eye.
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