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New to carnivorous plants - how much water for pitcher plants?

Joined
May 27, 2013
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70
Location
central Arkansas, USA
I decided to start with pitcher plants in a container bog.

I'm using a heavyweight plastic pot 16 inches high with a 14 inch diameter at the top. (It tapers down to about 10 inches in diameter.) I used a 50/50 mix of peat and play sand, which I mixed, watered and let sit in the pot for about a week before planting.

I planted three potted pitcher plants - a hooded pitcher (S. minor purpurea v heterophylla), S. leucophylla 'red ruffles', and the drop dead gorgeous hybrid 'Judith Hindle'. The pot sits on my deck outside (I am in USDA gardening zone 7b), and gets full sun for about 8 hours per day. As we get into summer, the pot should get closer to 10 hours of sun per day.

All the plants are doing well, and I am seeing some new growth on all of them. If I place my hand on the surface of the soil, the palm of my hand is damp, but not wet, when I remove it.

How watery should this container bog be? Should there be standing water in it, and if so, how much? We've had our typical spring rains, and when we've had flooding rain, I moved the container out of the storm. (I also had my son drill a hole in the side of it about 2 inches below the soil line.)

Any advice is appreciated.
 
Joined
May 3, 2013
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Though I am new, I am pretty sure that sarracenia like to have their pots sitting in a tray of water at all times. If you get the saucer meant for the pot you have them in, always keep an inch or more of rain or distilled water in the dish at all times during the growing season and you should be good to go.
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2012
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Sarracenia enjoy being pretty wet, but I would avoid flooding them for very long. What I would do is drill a few holes two or three inches below where the rhizomes are. This will avoid them sitting in water if there's a heavy rain, but keep the majority of the soil constantly moist the rest of the time.
 

EntHerptology

Carnivorous...
Joined
May 6, 2013
Messages
161
Hello,

Your setup seems above and beyond most of ours when we first acquired Sarracenia :)
These plants generally do not enjoy being flooded over the rhizome, but there are exceptions with plants such as S. psittacina. The way you drilled a hole would be just the way I would recommend to fix this problem. Also, damp soil to the touch is top notch.

Overall, I really only have one critique, and that is:
We need pictures!

Good Growing,
Kenny
 
Joined
May 19, 2012
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Virginia, USA
overall sounds good just drill an additional hole lower in your container. I would say about halfway down the container would be perfect.
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2009
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Rockville, MD
Yeap sounds pretty good. For your future pots/mini bogs I would also consider creating a "self watering pot" as they're pretty awesome and low on maintenance. I use them all the time when I travel :) Plus if you use some insect screen you can keep mosquitoes from having extra breeding grounds. They're fairly easy and a fun, cheap diy project!
 

Plant Planter

The Most Uncreative Name in the History of Ever
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Mar 7, 2013
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Sarracenia, North American Drosera, and Dionaea tend to enjoy more water than other plants, generally. They DO come from bogs, after all! Just keep the pot (preferably with drain holes in the bottom) in a tray and keep about one to one and a half inches of pure water in it. I use a tray no taller than that so that when it rains there isn't too much water in the bottom. Either that or you could cut a notch in it at the one-point-five inch mark so that it'll drain if it gets too high, just like in Heliamphora.
 
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
70
Location
central Arkansas, USA
It was a dark and stormy night...

So in a lull in the lightning, I went out and rescued the pot from the storm, tipped out the flood and brought it into my bathroom. So I could close the door and keep my dirt eating schnuazer and nosey cats out of it.



Judith Hindle and s. leucophylla 'red ruffles'



Hooded pitcher plant, s. minor purpurea var heterophylla

 

CorneliusSchrute

A leuco by any other name would still be as glutto
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May 5, 2013
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Dexter, MO
Your plants look great! I am jealous of your minor hybrid.

I definitely agree with the hole drilled in the pot, but I would drill holes in the bottom and set the pot in a tray. That way you can flush out the media periodically by top watering. This keeps minerals and all out of your media.

Speaking of minerals, I am personally not fond of play sand for carnivorous plants because of the potentially high mineral content. Since you let it soak for a few days you might be better off, but I would definitely drill holes so you can thoroughly flush out the soil. These plants do not like high mineral content in their water and media.

If you see your plants growing oddly that is a potential sign of mineral burn from the play sand, but I say try it for now and worry if it comes down to it later.

Again, they look great!
 

Wire Man

Sphagnum Guru
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I always drill holes in the bottom of my pots. Less chance for weeds to get in that way. The only setup I have that doesn't have bottom drain holes is the bog garden, which is a modified pond liner. Sarracenia like a lot of water, but sitting in stagnant water can cause root rot. Bogs have water that slowly circulates, which keeps oxygen circulating to the roots.
 

BioZest

zesty.
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Welcome to the forums! It's good for the plants to have moist medium, but not as much as those in the pics.

good luck!
 

Plant Planter

The Most Uncreative Name in the History of Ever
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...Bogs have water that slowly circulates, which keeps oxygen circulating to the roots.

Thankfully water in trays (usually) evaporates quickly due to its high surface area that sunlight can hit. At least, that's what happens with me. That prompts me to add new water. I'm not sure how things are for anyone else, but my plants love it.
 
Joined
May 27, 2013
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Location
central Arkansas, USA
What a trip.

Like I said, I'm new to carnivorous plants. But I did do a bit of research before I ordered these. I knew a lot of people, especially folks that propagate and try their hands at hybridization, grow their sarracenia and other types of CPs in pots placed in trays.

Peter D'Amato said minibogs should be in undrained containers.

From page 57 of The Savage Garden,



So is the conventional wisdom contra to what he said?

And does anyone know if the revised edition does a 180 on that? I won't know until I get mine when the pre-order gets filled by Amazon on July 2.
 

SgtSarracenia

Sgt Sarracenia
Joined
May 23, 2012
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So Cal
Honestly, base things on what works well for you. Peter is in California and you are gonna have different water, humidity, temp fluctuations, etc.. I live in Southern California and I use the tray method because it works best for me. The temp difference between where I live and where Peter is located is quite different.

Average high and low temps and average rain fall between him and I

I have found this site quite useful for finding out in situ trends and when comparing methods with other members. You may find for example that VFT's grow really well for you outside in full sun. Mine grow fine outside in full sun, as long as I keep them quite wet due to such low humidity levels. I have found that it is easier to look at it this way; there is no 100% right or wrong way most of the time. You have to not only look at what someone else has to do, but also what they do not have to do. I leave my plants outside year round with very little to do but keep watered or trays dumped. LOL On the otherhand many people have to overwinter their Sarrs in the garage or shed. There is a greenhouse on a local college campus that grow some of there Sarrs with the pots completely submerged part of the time. To each their own. Sarrs are quite tolerant of many things and are pretty good at telling you when something is not right.

Just my two cents, that still will not buy bubblegum.

Sarge
 
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