Sarracenia seedlings

karyn1(7a)July 15, 2006

I managed to germinate a few varieties of sarracenia, flava rugelli, leucophylla and purpurea. I had them in moist moss in the fridge and didn't realize until I took them out 8 weeks later that the whole thing had frozen solid. I put them outside, still covered, to see if anything would happen. I figured they were dead when after three weeks I didn't see any growth. I was about to throw them away and noticed 1 seed sprouting, now there are bunches growing. My problem is I don't know what to do with them now. I started them so long ago that I've misplaced the instructions. When do I transplant into individual containers and what type of potting medium? What are their food, lighting and water requirements? I'd hate to kill them now that they actually started growing! lol


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Last December I was given 4 species of Sarracenia seeds and I cold stratified them by putting each set into sealed plastic bags and placed in a bucket of water, in my attic. I live in western NY and winters are cold, so the bucket was cold but never froze.

When March came I poured each bag into separate plastic pipette containers, that come with an inner section with drainage holes, and a hinged cover. I kept them in the cold, but warming attic until it was deemed safe to take them outside.

Unfortunately, a persistent rain flooded and scattered the seedlings and they were all lost.

Should the opportunity arise again for next year, I will stratify as I did before, since that part was successful. However, I will try just keeping them in the attic for the first year and take them outside the following spring, when they are larger and have more of a root system.

I wouldn't worry about feeding them. They may catch the tiny flying insects that hover around windows or you can put a rotting fruit in a container to attract fruitflies. I've done that for my plants. They may be carnivorous, but they are foremost a plant and they require lotsa light, water, and air circulation. So I would recommend transferring to permanent pots and placing the pots in plastic containers, filled with water (distilled or rO or rainwater), right at a window sill. Here's a picture of that sort of set up:

For soil media, I bog out and buy the big bags of sphagnum peat, a 50 lb bag of pool filter sand, and dried LFS. LFS is long fibre sphagnum and they come in small bags, at a Lowes or Home Depot. The peat also comes from H.D. or Lowes. Sand comes from pool supply places or H.D. & Lowes, but you should look for the industrial(?) grade sand. If you don't have the time, money, or just don't want to haul big bags of whatever, you could just buy a bag of the dried LFS and that would serve the purpose. It depend how deeply you want to get into carnivorous plants! Rinse all media well before use.

When you transplant, do it gingerly and as much as possible as one unit, so that the roots aren't disturbed.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 10:03AM
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Thanks for the info. Sorry about the flooding you had. I was talking about fertilizer feeding, not bugs. Do you use any type of fertilizer for carnivorus plants? Is the pool sand you are talking about diatomaceous sand? If so the timing will be great because the company is coming to change the sand in our pool filter next week. How big were your seedlings before you transplanted them. Mine are still quite tiny, much smaller than the ones in your pic. What is rO? Sorry for all the questions but these aren't the type of plants I usually grow.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 1:01PM
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Thanks for the sympathies. I'm sure I'll procure more seeds somewhere down the line. What goes around comes around.

Ah, foliar feeding. I haven't tried that but I can research it for you.

By diatomaceous sand, do you mean diatomaceous earth, which is that powdery substance, or the pool filter sand? The sand in the picture is pool filter sand.

The seedlings weren't big at all. They were maybe a half inch tall, with tiny pitchers.

RO stands for Reverse Osmosis water. Some people have that kind of setup with their kitchen sink. I stage plastic trash barrels to collect rainwater. The grocery store sells distilled water, which should not be confused with spring water.

What sorts of plants do you normally cultivate?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 10:45PM
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I mean the diatomaceous earth. I use that to keep slugs at bay too. I've never heard of reverse osmosis but do use distilled water for some of my plants. I have the seeds germinating in a mix of long fiber saphgnum mixed with regular fine sand. I still have the tray covered with a plastic bag which I have opened to allow air circulation. I did spray some fungicide when I saw that the seeds were coming up and so far have had no problems with mold. My seedlings are probably only about an inch with no pitchers showing yet.

I have mainly tropicals, orchids, brugs, plumeria, clerodendrom, gingers, citrus and passiflora along with other varieties, many non tropical. We have a small farm (10 acres) a few miles from our house with a couple greenhouses so I truck all my tropicals up there at the end of the growing season. It's a major PITA and I'm trying to convince my husband that we need to build another greenhouse in our back yard.

I bought the sarracenia seeds on a whim while ordering some other seeds. I've had a few VFT's in the past but never researched how to properly care for them. I foliar feed everything with ST, BPF, SnG & Coco-wet. I also make compost tea and use a number of different fertilizers for root feedings.

Can mature pitcher plants be over-wintered in a back yard bog set up my area? It does go below freezing often during the winter. If not and they are kept in a greenhouse do they need a chilling period? Once again sorry for all these questions. I'm sure I could look it up online but I get better info from people here who actually grow the plants in question.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 9:49AM
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In my discussion forum expereince, I haven't come across diatomaceous earth as being used for CP's. Nevertheless, it's the sand that comes from the pool supply places that is recommended by many.

Sand and LFS are excellent media for them. I happen to like to mix sand & peat and then topdress with the LFS. The dried LFS eventually comes alive.

Having a fungicide handy is a good idea, though I haven't used any. I tend to open things up and keep at window sills. The sun and open environment do my bidding in mold prevention, though occasionally I have to remove a patch of mold.

I am very jealous of your many flora and greenhouses! I cannot do so. As much as I would like to have an array of orchids and cacti, and tropical fish, I can only concentrate on this one hobby for now. And I do it on essentially a "shoestring budget". One of these days I hope to have another go at a strawberry patch, veggie, and flower garden. Maybe next year....

The only foliar feed I think I recognize is ST. Is that SuperThrive? I think we've all killed our fair share of VFT's! Following the instructions on the label, without being aware of appropriate water, adequate lighting, air ciculation, and dormancy - is deadly.

Being in Maryland, it may be a tad too cool to winter the Sarracenias over for the winter, except for the S. purpurea.That's the plant in the foreground, above. But that is attempting to do so, au nateurelle. If you mulck it up, as they do up north, they can stay outside all year long. Some people also use a greenhouse. I have mine in buckets, as "min-bogs" and then I carry them up to the attic for the winter, placing them at a SW window sill. It is cold, but doesn't freeze. Still, they can take the occasional light freezes. And by late winter, the increased photoperiod naturally wakes them up. After all danger of frost is gone, I place them outside again. And yes, they DO need a chilling period, called a dormancy period, in CP lingo.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 4:51PM
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lindaflower(7 DFW)

Petio, Where do you get peat? You said you like to mix sand & peat and then topdress with the LFS. Is it just the bags you buy at home depot to add to the garden?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 2:55AM
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lindaflower- peat can be purchased in small bags or larger bales at Home Depot, garden supply places etc. Be careful,however, as I now see some companies adding fertilizer to the peat (smaller bags), which you do NOT want.
I like to grow my Sarracenia under fluorescent lights, at least for a year or so. They do not need a dormancy period the first year, but they will need a shortened photoperiod and cool dormancy once established. You may be able to winter them outside in the ground if they are protected somewhat over the winter (loose mulching of oak leaves or pine boughs, for example). I do not use any fertilizer.
You say your seedlings are an inch with no pitchers yet?. Check your seedlings closely. There should be a pair of thin leaves when they first germinate. The first "true" leaf should emerge between these and look like a very tiny pitcher.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 12:05PM
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They don't have their first set of true leaves yet, just the thin straight leaves. I do see a little nub of something developing on some of them. I guess it will be a week or two until they emerge. Should I transplant at that time? That's what I do with most of my other types of seedlings. I have a small container bog set up with mini cattails. Can I put the pitchers in with them when they get bigger?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 1:30PM
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Linda: Sphagnum peat comes in a variety of sizes and brands. From previous discussion forum topics, the smaller bags of Scott's Brand peat has fertilizer in it. This should be avoided. The larger bags (bales) come in 2.5 & 3.8 cf and the brand names that I have seen (Canadian peat)are Nirom, Schultz, and Lambert. This is what you want.

This should also be rinsed. Tap water / hose can be used for rinsing. What I do is put a few handfuls of peat in a hanging basket, add water, and knead until it's all mixed in. I keep runnin water over it until it is reasonably clean.

Karyn: You can transplant now. I would try to remove plants and soil together, as one unit, to avoid root disturbance as much as possible. I would also try to duplicate temp, light, and humidity differences, so as to avoid putting them in shock. First prepare the new container with the soilm media and then nestle the plants / media from the old container. Water afterward to fill in any spaces.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 2:02PM
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Diatomaceous earth is not the same as filter sand, you might find a description looking under filter media/swimming pools.
I don't know whether it would be harmful to CP's or not.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 4:48PM
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