I always love the start of September… actually who am I kidding… as a teacher that means the summer holiday is over and its back to work! Seriously… September is a great month for Sarraceniaphiles like myself. Many Sarracenia species produce their best foliage in the autumn!
As a rule of thumb, flava and oreophila produce their best pitchers in the spring/early summer. Plants like minor and purpurea and rubra ssp rubra are pretty consistent the whole season. Species like leucophylla, psittacina, rubra alabamensis, rubra gulfensis, rubra wherryii and alata put their finest up in the fall. Not to mention, hybrids made with these species tend to look better in the fall as well. So while the oreos are crispy and the flavas look worn, many of these fall pitchering species are looking their best!
Here is a leuco x rubra wherryii
Here is what’s left of my favorite red catesbaei. Doesn’t grow much different from spring to fall actually, I just like it… so I posted another photo!
The difference between this plant in the spring and in the fall is crazy different. This is a leuco x psittacina. By far, the best, most robust leaves are produced in the fall. I hacked this guy up this summer, so he’s not looking his best.
This is hybrid made by my long time friend John Hummer. Not sure of the parentage off hand, but its really gone crazy the last week or so…
This leuco x purpurea not only has great color, but amazing leaves in the fall.
I’m not sure of the parentage of this puppy either… I’m thinking its a minor x leuco. Regardless, you can see the little, less robust spring pitchers in contrast with the larger more robust fall leaves.
Here is an update to my mid summer Sarracenia germination project.
My idea was to start some seed in July and grow them into the fall, then move them under lights and grow them under 24 hour light all winter! Hopefully that would give me fairly large plants to move outside in the spring.
Well… I got a lot of babies to grow now!
all in all I got about 20 cups of seedlings to play around with. Some very cool stuff are in these cups too. Hopefully they do OK over the winter! I’ll keep you posted.
Crazy weather here today… thunderstorms and rain – sun – more thunder – more sun… then HAIL (pea sized the odd dime sized) and RAIN!!! Got over an inch in a half hour! Bogs couldn’t drain fast enough! and remember the cups I put outside… found the seeds all over the place in them. Go figure a 1 inch diameter hole and hail and rain found its way in! Oh well.. there were still seeds in there!
So I’m trying something a bit different this year. I have a pile of seed sitting in my fridge that I was planning on planting this spring but never got around to it. So I thought to myself, what if I germinate them outside this summer and bring them in and grow them over the winter? That way they’ll be a bit bigger when I put them outside. Granted, I put spring germinated seedling outside last fall before the winter from hell and they all came through just fine!!! Anyway… here’s what I’m doing
Everyone has their way of germinating Sarracenia. I’ve always used blended up dry long fibre sphagnum… but since I didn’t have any of that around this time… I used the usual mix of peat and sand that I’d use for adult plants.
I put my media into the pot and sprinkled the seeds. Stuck in a pot tag, sprayed it with an anti-fungal, put them in a zippy bag, and stuck them in the fridge for 4 weeks.
This is the what they looked like after their stay in the fridge.
Sorry for the blurry photo…
Then I took the pots out of the bags and dropped them into a plastic cup. Prior to dropping the pot in, I drilled a few holes in the sides of the cup about a cm from bottom. Then I snapped on the lids. I’m going to stick these out in the sun and see how it goes. Normally, I’d put the zippy bags and pots under lights and germinate them. Here’s a photo of the cups all ready to go. Only thing I’ll do when I take them outside is fill the bottoms with rain water and give the surface a spray of fungicide again!
I’ll update on the progress!
So the big theme this season has been the “coldest winter in 20 years” and the effects that it has had on my outdoor Sarracenia culture. The gist has been that the plants have been relatively unscathed. A true testament to the fact that these plants are much hardier than people give them credit for.
As I mentioned previously, there were a few losses due to frost heave. As things started growing this spring, I looked to me that there were maybe 20 or so plants that were either dead, or on the way out! However, after leaving them alone, they’ve since come back… albeit stunted by none the less, they’re “back from the dead”.
So the other day, I was dividing up some plants for people. One person in particular wanted a Sarracenia flava rubricopora. I wan’t too keen on dividing it as it was one of the “near death” experience plants that I mentioned in my last post. Upon inspection, I noticed it had a tremendous amount of growth points! all new from this season. This plant last year at best had 2 or 3 crowns and those two or three old growth points were dead!
I looked at the albino alata next door to it… it too was believed to be dead. A closer look at that plant has revealed a mass of new growth points as well. My guess is that the near death experience caused these plants put up all sorts of new shoots to ensure survival. If you look at the alata below, it is a mess of new growth… this plant was lucky to have had 3 – 5 active growing points last season.
This AF leuco below also has a massive flush of new grow points. Like I said, stunted… but growing. Assuming a better winter, this should be a large multi crowned plant next season.
I looked around at number of the plants that I thought were dead or were going to die, and the same pattern has held. It looks like the original growing points have died and the plant is sending up a whole pile of new growth points!
So I guess that there is a positive to the nasty winter after all.
You ever hear one of those “near death” or “back from the dead” stories? If you have, you’ve probably heard about the peaceful feeling and the bright white light! Well if my plants could talk, they’d be telling me all about that white light!!!!
As I mentioned in a previous post, I figured I’d deal with some losses due to the extreme cold this winter. I reported that my Drosera binatas had died, as did a few of my Sarracenia due to heaving out of the soil from the intense freeze!
I ended up leaving the “dead” plants in the ground, hoping that they might come back! Actually the truth is, I never got around to pulling them out and giving them a proper burial in the composter. By the time I made the time to get them out and compost them, low an behold, they’ve come back to life. Some are extremely messed up, like this psittacina below.
Here is photo of my binatas! I was shocked
Another plant that I thought was dead was one of my two flava “red tube” clones. One is dead… but this one has been growing back and finally has produced a couple of leaves! INSANE!
I was convinced that this gulf coast purpurea was done! Looks like its gonna make it after all.
So the lesson to be learned here, for people growing Sarracenia in cold climates, don’t pitch the pitcher plants if they look dead in early spring cause they will come back when they see the light!
How much? How little? What kind? These are all questions I get from people with regards to watering their Bogs… or CP in general.
First lets start off with what kind of water. I’ve been asked so many times what kind of water is best, tap, RO, spring, distilled? The answer is VERY simple… rain water! That’s what waters them in the wild… so water them with rain captivity! Rain water is soft and generally acidic. Granted it can have pollutants and other non desired things in it… but that’s what waters the plants in the wild! So do what you can to collect and store rainwater. Remember, keep your containers covered or standing water can become a west nile breeding ground!
Unfortunately, mother nature doesn’t tend to water my bogs as often as needed. In the heat of the summer, water evaporation is high, so I use my reserves. I have a 200 gallon tank that I’ve redirected a downspout into. At the top of tank is a large drain pipe that takes the overflow and drains it away. My tank has a tap and garden hose connected to it at the bottom. So anytime that the bogs need a watering… I just carefully lay the hose in the center and turn on the water very slowly, and let it run for an hour or so in each bog, until I can see the water level has come up.
Here is my tank.
If push comes to shove and I’ve run out of rain water, I’ve used regular old tap water in a pinch with no ill effects.
This is all fine and dandy for large bog gardens… but what about a small tray of plants. Again, collect rain water. Failing that, I’d got with distilled and NOT spring water. Spring water has too many minerals in it!
The next big question is how often to water. Remember, roots of plants like to get air too. At the edges of my bogs, I have sunken pots. These pots allows me to see how much water is in the bog. When I water, I add water until the bogs are full (or let the rain do that). Then I let all the water evaporate in the bogs until there is no water visible in the sunken pot. Then, I let it stay like that for a few days (3-7 depending on how hot it is) … then fill the bog back up with water. I think this approach mimics the natural rise and fall of the water in the soil in nature. This also lets the roots “breathe” a bit as well. Important thing is to make sure the soil is moist! It doesn’t need to be soggy!