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Carnivorous Plants/Waterlogged Moss

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Question
Hi,

I have several Nepenthes which I like to put outside in the garden during the summer months. Now, the summer weather in England is very variable. I don't know if it can work this way in Portland, but here it could be around 24 degrees (mid 70s) for a stretch, then rain like anything for a few days afterwards. My Nepenthes are planted in pure live sphagnum moss - not a problem for most of the year when I grow them indoors in my west facing room. But when I put them out in the summer, if the rain persists for a good few days, the moss can become absolutely waterlogged, and I have noticed before as a result some of the leaves have started to brown at the edges, whilst others have shrivelled quite severely - preumeably rot? Last year to alleviate the problem I had to bring the plants back inside as I was genuinely worried there was a real risk of them starting to rot.

Obviously I like to keep them outside, so they can catch insects. I have hung one of my Nepenthes under a tree before, but this has not intercepted the water and the moss has still become soaking wet. So my question is, is there any thing I can put on the moss as a topping, or do you have any tips which may prevent the moss from getting so wet? I would like to be in control of the watering schedule - not the weather!

Thank you once again, Chris.

Answer
Hi Chris,

It basically sounds like you need to change to a better draining soil media.  The live sphagnum is a great base ingredient, but open it up more by adding some perlite and/or orchid bark to the mix.  Also, make sure you have the plants in containers that drain freely.  Be sure to not have any tray under them when they are outside so that you can just water and the water just runs out.  Rain should be able to do the same thing.  This should prevent the roots from getting waterlogged.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest
http://www.cobraplant.com

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