A Tale of Two Growers
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The growing season for temperate carnivores arrives the latest for growers in the Northeast and Midwest. Nevertheless, now that the hours of daylight are increasing and there is no longer snow on the ground, my Sarracenia collection has finally begun to show signs of life. Typically, S. flava and S. oreophila will be the first to send up new pitchers. Many plants that have reached sexual maturity will begin to put up flower buds at this time; if you do not want seeds, then you may wish to cut the flowers after blooming as seed production diverts resources.
Dealing with Rhizome Rot
Despite the excitement however, I also find this time of year to be the riskiest for my collection; consistent rain and cool temperatures throughout April mean that many plants are at risk of rot throughout early spring. Dying plants should be removed immediately to prevent the spread of fungal infection. However, noticing rot in the first place can be difficult - by the time the growth points show obvious signs of collapse, the rest of the rhizome will oftentimes already be compromised.
Although efforts can be made to save a plant if the problem is noticed early enough, it is obviously preferable to not have to deal with the issue in the first place. Here is a list of things that I personally find helpful in reducing the risk of rot:
Of course, the preventative measures listed above are not 100% effective. Emergency surgery should be performed quickly if you notice that a plant has rot and you wish to save it. Identifying rot early enough is difficult, so you must carefully observe your collection - I become suspicious of any plants that do not put out flowers or new pitchers at this time. Rotted sections of rhizome are also far softer than healthy portions; however, if it has progressed to the point where the majority of the plant is "squishy," you are likely too late.
This is what the plant looked like last autumn. Given what recently happened, it will probably be quite a while until it reaches that state again.