Ask a Question forum: Plant problem

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Name: Jared Nicholes
Post Falls, Idaho
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jnicholes
Sep 26, 2015 8:50 AM CST
Hello!

I am new to the forum, and I have a plant, a VERY INTERESTING plant, that seems to have a problem, so I came here looking for an answer. I have a carnivorous plant called a pitcher plant in a hanging basket that I water with distilled water. The pitcher parts seem to shrivel up and turn brown in a couple of days. That is the problem. Can anyone help me?

Thanks!

Jared
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Sep 26, 2015 9:49 AM CST
@Dutchlady1, can you help out with this question?
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Sep 26, 2015 10:04 AM CST
Yikes, I wish I could; I have no experience with carnivorous plants. Let me see if anyone else has some expertise in that field!
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Sep 26, 2015 10:15 AM CST
Oops, I thought you wrote that article about watering carnivorous plants. I know we have some members who grow them...
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Sep 26, 2015 4:38 PM CST
Hello jnicholes! Can you post a photo of your pitcher plant? Which type do you have? And it will be helpful to know where you are located. There are types that needs to be in standing water, and some that just needs to be moist. And depending on the sun orientation hitting your plant, you may want to consider to reposition it.

I grow my Sarracenia pitcher plants outdoors in part sun/shade. Just the limitation itself of my location, but always making sure media is moist with distilled water and in standing water. Those outdoors are my Sarracenia purpurea and Sarracenia psittacina. I am having a bit of issue too with my Sarracenia psittacina right now, I think this one really needs good humidity conditions which we really lack, so it is also doing like your plant is doing. I still keep it outdoors, since it is the way to grow it, I am hoping this Fall cool down will help it a bit more. But Sarracenia purpurea is doing much better, it just keeps growing good pitchers.

Indoors, I have my Nepenthes densiflora by the window, also making sure it is moist, the media is sphagnum moss but it is not in standing water. I tried to bring it outdoors, but it just dries out way too fast, making the pitchers die out faster, so I just maintained it indoors but by our west facing window.

If you are growing a Nepenthes type, there are either lowland or highland variety. Lowland variety requires higher humidity and more consistent warm temps while the highland variety can take lower humidity and cooler conditions.

Hope you can post your photo, so others may offer further suggestions.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 27, 2015 8:34 AM CST
I have one - is this the plant you're talking about? (click on the photo to make it big) It's necessary to make sure there is always a little bit of water inside the pitchers or they do shrivel up especially in hot weather. You can see the tops of some of mine are doing that. This plant gets a little early morning sun but is in shade the rest of the day.
Thumb of 2015-09-27/dyzzypyxxy/e58db2

I spray this plant with rainwater every day. I just keep a spray bottle next to it and give it a good wetting when I walk by. They don't like chlorinated tap water, and distilled water doesn't have any nutrients at all in it. The plants do get most of their nutrients from 'eating' bugs digested in the pitchers, but they also get drip water from trees in their natural environment. So they respond pretty well to a tiny amount of soluble fertilizer in the spray water, too. I have orchids so I just spray it with my orchid fert once in a while. Compost tea, very weak, would work well, as would alfalfa tea (made from alfalfa pellets).

Of course here in FL there are lots of bugs for it to eat, too. If you have it indoors, there may not be enough bugs! Feed it some fert then! Not on the soil as you would a regular plant, but in the spray water so it absorbs the nutrients through the leaves and pitchers. Very weak!

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Sep 27, 2015 8:38 AM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Sep 27, 2015 5:42 PM CST
Typically you can use distilled water, reverse osmosis water and better if you have good supply of rainwater, Carnivores love that. As to the fertilizer aspect, they don't really need it, and big caution to use it, since it is easier to damage them with the fertilizer chemicals. These plants have naturally evolved to get their nutrition through the insects they catch.
Name: Jared Nicholes
Post Falls, Idaho
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jnicholes
Sep 28, 2015 9:52 AM CST
Hello!

Thumb of 2015-09-28/jnicholes/3086fd

This is my plant. As you can see, some of the pitchers are shriveling up. only one is completely unshriveled. In this spot I placed it, Im in North Idaho by the way, It doesnt get much sun. The instructions said to keep it in 50% shade. I dont fertilize it. I water it with distilled water. Am I supposed to spray it? could someone tell me what I am doing wrong?

Thanks!

Jared

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 28, 2015 10:00 AM CST
I think it looks all right, Jared. The pitchers do naturally shrivel up like that after a while. Look at the picture I posted of mine up above and it has the same thing. The biggest (oldest) pitchers shrivel up, but the plant is constantly making new ones. They form at the tips of the leaves.

Growing it indoors, it probably isn't catching very many insects though. Since that is its main source of nutrients, you will have to supplement something, especially through the winter.

The best way to do that is by spraying some very weak fertilizer or nutrient tea on it from a spray bottle. Since the plant likes humidity anyway, this is going to help with both nutrition, and humidity.

You also need to make sure there is always a little bit of water inside the pitchers. Distilled water is fine for that, but rain water is better if you can collect up some.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Jared Nicholes
Post Falls, Idaho
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jnicholes
Sep 28, 2015 10:09 AM CST
Hello!

Thanks!
I thought the plant was going to die, but can someone recommend the right type of weak fertilizer I can use for spraying the plant? And should I cut off the dead pitchers?

Thanks!

Jared
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Sep 28, 2015 10:20 AM CST
What a beautiful Nepenthes! I think it is just natural leaf die off and humidity issues. You can just try to spray those pitchers as often as you can. I still do not recommend fertilizers. It is easier to kill them off with incorrect application of fertilizers. You have it growing indoors where it does not get the natural benefit of rain showers outdoors, so the concentration of fertilizer will not be washed off easily.

Yes, you can just cut-off the dead pitchers. How long have you acquired your plant?
[Last edited by tarev - Sep 28, 2015 10:28 AM (+)]
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Name: Jared Nicholes
Post Falls, Idaho
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jnicholes
Sep 28, 2015 10:41 AM CST
Hello!

I have had it for about a month and a half. I got it off of Amazon. It has actually caught a really big moth! It is an amazing plant!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
Sep 28, 2015 11:05 AM CST
Glad to know it finally caught something! Just give it time, Jared. Your plant is still acclimating to your current conditions. You just never know when an unsuspecting spider or other insect will happen to dip into the pitchers.

I saw this interesting link about caring for pitcher plants. http://www.pitcherplant.com/care_sheets/nepenthes_care.html

I also wanted to grow that particular type of Nepenthes, but I settled for a smaller one, since I do not have good humidity here and still trying to get to know it as well. Smiling
Name: Jared Nicholes
Post Falls, Idaho
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jnicholes
Sep 28, 2015 1:42 PM CST
Hello!

Thank you for all your help everyone! I really needed it! Thanks for the article!

Jared
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Sep 28, 2015 2:32 PM CST
That is a beautiful plant. Thumbs up

There usually aren't too many flying insects inside a house so I'm just gonna jump in because of something I know about attracting insects at night. If it is not too cold where you live you might try hanging the plant outside in the evening with the porch light shining on it. Insects will be attracted to the light and some will met their doom in the pitchers. This does not need to be done every night; just on the nights when the weather cooperates.

In larger pet stores they sell crickets and flightless fruit flies. You could purchase some of those and drop a few into the pitchers during the winter months when the plant must stay indoors.

Good luck and keep us posted with photos as the plant grows. Thumbs up
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