No, its not Christmas… it’s late summer! The weather up here in Zone6b is starting to cool off and the smell of fall is in the air! Today, we’re supposed to top out today at 28C and a bit humid, but these days are no longer the norm. Cooler nights, in the mid teens (Celsius), with days in the mid 20C ‘s with more comfortable humidity levels is more usual in mid to late August. With this kind of weather comes a renewed vigor in Sarraceania.
Typically in the hottest parts of Summer, Sarracenia just tend to sit there. In fact, many species put up their phylodia (flat non-carnivorous leaves) and call it quits – namely S. flava and S. oreophila. Even S. leucophylla can put up phylodia for a while. This mid summer semi dormancy is quite normal!
This is a great time to clean up the plants, cut off any old flower stalks and burnt leaves and dried leaves. This will make room for the fall crop of pitchers. Most Sarracenia species put up their most beautiful foliage in the late summer and fall. This is especially true for S. leucophylla and hybrids containing this species.
Anyway, I can’t post without putting a few pics up. So here are a few of the plants after their summer cleanup.
Flowering and seeding can have a huge stress on Flytraps. The above photos show the renewed vigor after the flower cycle.
One of my favorite plants in the late summer and fall is Hummer’s Hammerhead (left) created by my long time friend John Hummer. A very robust grower! On the right is a lid-less flava. Cool… but not functional. The tubes fill up with water and the pitchers tip over after a rain!
S x chelsonii (left). This is a natural hybrid between S. purpurea and S. rubra ssp rubra. On the right is S. purpurea venosa ssp. venosa (antho free form). This plant came up in a batch of seed in Europe originally. Looking at the lid shape, I think the plant is derived from the mountain form of S. venosa. Because it was not introduced from the wild, but came up in cultivation it’s difficult to say with any certainty the true taxon of the plant. Clearly not a northern purpurea f. heterophylla and it does not look to be a Gulf Coast luteola either…
S. alata antho-free form (left), S. minor AF x S. psittacina AF (center) , S. purpurea venosa var montana x S. flava maxima (right). Notice the flush of new pitchers on the rubra in the background of the third photo.