From Cold to Warm to Hot


Two mornings ago, we started off with FROST! Yep FIRST frost of the season… at least that made it to the ground in patches.  The temperature didn’t drop below freezing but it was a COLD start to the day.  It’s been getting warmer every since.

Here it is… Thanksgiving Day in Canada (yes I know its different from the US Thanksgiving Day! Happy Columbus Day to my US friends)  We just finished two days of Marathon Eating and I’m sitting on the back patio with my wife enjoying an espresso! And yes, I’m wearing a short sleeved shirt and shorts!  Why! Causes it warm, we topped out at 21C (70F) today… normal high is around 16C (61F).

But yet it is to get warmer! Look at tomorrow! 27C (81F) … that might be a new record!


This is all great news for my Sarracenia cause they just keep pitchering.  The flytraps have pretty much stopped growing, the drosera have made hybernacula, but the Sarracenia just keep on going!

There has been rumblings that this winter is not going to be as harsh as last years!  I’m really hoping that’s the case…   The plants made an AMAZING recovery this season.


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Looks like Summer in the Fall is coming to and END!

Greetings fellow Sarraceniaphile’s.  Kinda got inspired today write a little something.  For those not living around the Great Lakes,  I can tell you that summer has been a poor to pathetic showing this year!  It came late, was below normal to downright chilly most of the time, not to mention quite cloudy!  Just DRAB to say the least.

Well September and early October have proven to be down right awesome weather-wise… and guess what … the Sarracenia are loving it!

Sarracenia are interesting as some species pitcher the best in the spring, while pitcher their best leaves in the fall, while other’s are pretty consistent all season.  Many species will just keep on pitchering until the frost gets them… well so far, no frosts here in my part of Zone6B but it won’t be long.  So longer the warm sunny weather holds out, the longer these beauties will keep on pitchering!

So… what’s with the title of the post? Well that last couple of weeks have been unseasonably warm in these parts… mid to high 20’s C (70-80 ish F) and there has been very little rain, lots of sun and generally mild nights between 10-16C (50 and 60F).  Kinda like summer in fall! Well tomorrow a cold front is going to sweep through, rain and thunderstorms! This will cause temps to drop from a high of 25C tomorrow to about 14C the next day and only up to 11C the day after. Granted we’ll be back into seasonable temps shortly there after, but its a big change, and we likely won’t see these kind of temps until mid Spring.

With that said, I figured I’d take a bunch of photos and just post them… not to really show anything in particular, but rather just to show how beautiful these plants are looking right now and how happy they have been with the warm weather!




















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The BEST time of year! Well at least for most Sarracenia that is.


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.





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I’m a Proud Papa… again, and again and AGAIN!

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.


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That was a lot of water! and ICE!

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!


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A little unusual for this time of year!

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!


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Where there was one… there are now many!

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.

leucoI 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.




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