Carnivorous Plants/Butterwort plantlets
QUESTION: Is there any trick to removing the plantlets from the leaves of Pinquicula Primulflora to another pot and planting it. I removed two, planted them in the half/peat, perlite mix and watered them. and they curled up and died within a week.
ANSWER: Hi Craig,
Even for us, P. primuliflora has been a bit of a learning curve over the past couple of years. One of the things we are discovering about this plant is that since it is a U.S. native, it needs a winter rest period. Butterworts from the SE US, however, don't produce any kind of hibernacula, so it's been easy to just treat them like a tropical. What happens is that they just sort of "give up" mid to late winter. This could be what you're experiencing.
Here's what you can do. First, make sure your babies have a significant root system of their own before you remove them. Then during the winter keep them in a cool location with natural light, or a wintertime light cycle. The other thing that we have just started experimenting with, and it seems to work well, is to submerge your pots right to the leaf level in water. The upper leaves should be out of water, but you want to simulate being right at the waters edge. Be sure and use low-mineral water (R.O., distilled, rainwater, melted snow, etc...you probably know the drill). Change the water about once a week. This simulates the seasonal flooding these plants get in nature in their bogs. When weather begins to warm in spring, return the plants to normal tray watering with water low in the tray again. They will rot if kept submerged during warm conditions.
Several growers report doing this technique with all of the SE US butterworts such as P. primuliflora, P. ionantha, P. planifolia, P. lutea and P. caerulea. P. planifolia and P. lutea are notoriously difficult to keep alive in cultivation, but this wintertime submersion technique, even thought it seems counter-intuitive, seems to work. We are already seeing very good results.
Let me know if you try this. I'm curious to hear your results. Also, here's a link that I found very interesting: http://www.pinguicula.org/A_world_of_Pinguicula_2/Pages/diseases1.htm
The whole article is very interesting on Butterwort diseases, but especially look at the "Rosette Edge to Center Death" section. This talks more about the SE US Butterworts.
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Thanks for the link to the other site. Most of the Pinguicula I've ever had died that way. I think mine may actually be P. Lutea, because of yellow flowers. I had just put it into the refrigerator in a plastic bag, but I'm going to submerge it and put in in a basement window, where its about 55 degrees.
This plant is the first Pinguicula I'd ever had that didn't rot from outside in in the first two weeks. Its actually filled up the small pot with plantlets. I had it in a shallow water tray sitting on a jar lid to elevate it so at times its above the water level. There are sundews in the same tray.
That's great. It also sounds like you have a good location to keep them over the winter.
Once I heard about this method it made me anxious to try growing P. planifolia again. I had tried them many times in the past, but never had one live over 6 months.