Carnivorous Plants/Plant health

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Lecuophylla "tarnok"
Lecuophylla "tarnok"  
Hello. I have been growing this sarracenia lecuophylla "tarnok" for about a a year now.
This year I was surprised to find the rhizome turning brown. Is this normal or is there a problem.
I grow tit in a small green house with   Fluorescent lights that are not on for more than a couple of hours during the winter. I also put a small heater in just in case it drops below freezing. I use well water for my plants and they grow well in it and seem to like it a lot. The soil is a typical sarracenia media consisting of one part peat moss to one part perlite. I live in the Salem,Oregon area of the Pacific Northwest.

Answer
Hi Jarred,

What this looks like is that the rhizome has gotten a Botrytis fungal infection over the winter.  When kept in a greenhouse, especially here in the Northwest, they can be very prone to this.  Unfortunately, it looks dead.  What you can do is un-pot the plant and see if any parts of it are still white.  If parts still look living, you can cut the brown away, spray it with a sulfur fungicide, and then pot it back up in fresh media.  If it's all brown, say some final words.

Your well water may be a factor in this too.  Sarracenia will tolerate water with a higher mineral content for awhile, but over time the build-up of minerals begins to weaken them.  Water with a higher mineral content is usually referred to as hard water, and almost all well water is hard.  It will slowly weaken them make them more susceptible to disease.  If the plants are kept outside in the rain, the minerals from the well water would get flushed out during the rainy season.  In a greenhouse if the plants are on the tray system, the minerals build up faster.

Your greenhouse can be a good shelter option for short periods such as the hard freeze we just had, but during our normal 40 degree rainy winter, they do much better outside.  Sarracenia will take temperatures down to the mid 20's with no hassle whatsoever, and if properly covered or sheltered, they'll handle down to the teens.  The rain and UV light from the sun help keep fungal problems away.

What you've just had happen is a lesson I've learned the hard way too many times.  Just a couple years ago I received my first Sarracenia "Adrian Slack" and I decided to baby it by keeping it in a greenhouse cold frame for the winter.  By the time I noticed it had a Botrytis infection, it was too late.  We almost never loose Sarracenia that are outside to cold unless a plant is up on a bench or table all by itself during severe cold.

Good Growing!

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

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