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Carnivorous Plants/Water in pitchers


QUESTION: I accidentally left my heliamphora a day too long before i watered it, and the pitchers didn't fill much when i finally did. It has been sulking for a few days now since then so I just gave it a decent showering. I also bought a sarracenia purpurea x venosa hybrid and I see it has no defence against rainwater. My question is; is it damaging to a plant if the leaves go dry but the roots stay wet? How am I to go about water levels in pitchers?

ANSWER: I'm not sure what you mean when you say your Heliamphora "has been sulking a few days."  Do you mean that the pitchers are wilting?  Sulking is not a term that we use in horticulture, at least in the United States.  If your plant is wilting, it has nothing to do with watering.  It might have to do with root damage.  As I recall, you recently received this plant.  If it came to you bareroot, there is a high risk of rood damage during the shipping process.  Heliamphora is quite sensitive to root disturbance.  Sometimes they recover.  Sometimes they don't, regardless of the amount of watering you do.

Without having a proper description of how your plant is responding, I can't offer clear recommendations.  A clear photograph of your plant would be very helpful in this case.  If you suspect root damage, you should contact the original nursery for guidance.  Depending on their policy, the plant may have a guarantee of health.

As for Sarracenia, they are much more tolerant of root disturbance.  No, it's not necessary to fill Sarracenia purpurea with water.  While this species will capture rainwater in the wild, it does so to aid in capturing insects.  It is NOT a method to hydrate the plant.  The plant hydrates itself through its roots rather than through the water in the pitchers.

If you need further assistance with your Heliamphora, please upload a clear photograph of your plant.  This will help me diagnose the situation better.  I also recommend that you contact the original nursery for their input.

Good growing!
Jacob Farin

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I suppose I should have described it as wilting, there is a young unopened leaf that has not recovered from wilting, it is floppy and very very soft but not brown/dead yet. I did not recieve this plant bareroot and I thought it was growing well since it has vigorously grown a few leaves in my care.

I'm still unclear about what's going on and the timing of events.  I'm going to assume that your plant wasn't watered for a while and the soil got too dry.  Yes, if this happens, you may lose new growth, particularly developing leaves that haven't opened up yet.  Unlike other plants, if the new growth wilts on Heliamphora, it's nearly impossible to revive it.  That's the nature of Heliamphora.  As long as the other pitchers are firm and turgid, the plant is fine.  

For now, it seems you simply need to let the new leaf die off and wait for new growth.  If you need further assistance, please upload a clear photograph of your plant and detailed information of your care.  

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Sarracenia Northwest


If your carnivorous plant is showing poor growth, discoloration, abnormal leaves or possible infestation, the expert growers at Sarracenia Northwest can help! They have a great depth of experience dealing with diseases, pathogens, and abnormal growth in carnivorous plants.

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