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Carnivorous Plants/Sarracenia division.


QUESTION: Hi Jeff and Jacob,

I read about your suggestion for Hydrogen Peroxide at

I plan to divide some Sarracenias.  What I have done before is take the plant out of the pot and wash the roots under a tap to get rid of almost all of the potting mix.  Then the clumps were divided by pulling apart the crowns.  These were placed in a solution of wettable Sulphur and soaked there for a few minutes. Then they were potted up.  Do you suggest this method or could I get away without having to wash the roots or soaking in Sulphur?  If I did not soak in Sulphur or alternatively Hydrogen Peroxide, would it mean many more losses due to crown rot?  Sulphur or Hydrogen Peroxide could also be watered into the pot after the plant is potted.  I wonder how that would go? I also see some information regarding Hydrogen Peroxide and Sarracenia at say it can be used with Sarracenia.

Despite dipping them in Sulphur before like described above,  I still lost a number to crown rot.  I wonder if there would be less losses if I left at least a couple of crowns on each division instead of only one crown on each?

Also, bear in mind that I have had a lot of thrips on the plants recently.  However, I have cut the leaves off but there still may be some in the crowns.

Regards Richard.

ANSWER: Hi Richard,

Insect damage can often create the pathway for fungus to attack.  Be sure to treat for that preemptively.  The peroxide can be a good way to kill some fungal spores in dividing and transplanting, then dip or dust with sulfur to inhibit fungal growth when planting.  I would stay at the typical 3% solution found in medical Hydrogen Peroxide.  Spray crowns about once every two weeks in summer with sulfur spray.

Once plants start growing be sure to top-water the plants frequently if possible.  In their natural habitats plants experience frequent thunderstorms, so this has a washing effect on rhizome crowns.  We rarely get crown rot on our plants, and I attribute this to our lower humidity in summer, and constant rain in winter.  Our nights are also cooler, so it doesn't give pathogens like Pythium as much advantage.  (Doesn't seem to help with Darlingtonia, but that's another conversation.)

Leaving a rhizome bigger when dividing could help since the plant has more resources to repair from damage.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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QUESTION: Hello Jeff

Thanks for the info.

I think they were thrips on my Sarracenia before as I managed to find some.  However, about a month back I cut the pitchers off the plants about half an inch above the base.  I cannot see any thrips at the moment after I cut all the leaves off the Sarracenia.  However, they still may be there. I plan to spray them with Yates Success at . Are you suggesting that I spray the plants at the moment which have all the leaves cut off down to about half an inch above the crown?

Also, while dividing and potting, I wonder if dipping the plants in a solution of wettable sulphur will kill the thrips if I do not have suitable conditions to spray the Yates Success before potting.  Do you think so?

At I read: "WARNING, do NOT use hydrogen peroxide and sulfur based fungicides together, they will form a highly corrosive compound that will eat away at organic material. Generally speaking, it is best not to mix fungicides, but the reaction between these two is particularly dangerous."
So I would have to use either one or the other on the same day.

On my plants there are many dead leaf bases about half an inch long below where the leaves were cut off. When you divide and pot the Sarracenia, do you leave the bases of all the dead leaves on including the ones that pull off easily or do you suggest pulling the dead leaves off that pull off reasonably easy?

Regards Richard

ANSWER: Hi Richard,

Spinetoram products are not available for general garden use in the U.S., so I can only advise that you follow the label directions for application.

I've never used sulfur as an insecticide, but I know it's listed for mites on some applications.  Thrips are pretty tough, so I'm doubtful of the sulfur killing them.

It's been awhile since I balanced my chemical equations, but H2O2 and Sulfur would most likely produce Sulfuric acid, so this caution is warranted.  However, Hydrogen peroxide is very short lived, so if you used it, waited a few minutes, then gave a quick rinse with distilled water I doubt you would have any problems using the sulfur.  Mixing the two would be another matter altogether.

Remove dead material.  I always find I have to make a judgement call on this, however.  You don't want to get too aggressive or you are exposing more new tissue to fungal attack.  I take off what comes off easily, or just clip with scissors close to the rhizome.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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


I hope you got my thanks and rating as my browser crashed soon after?

Do you think it may help much if I sterilized used planter pots (with bleach) that were used for Sarracenia before which died of crown rot?  I thought of dipping them in bleach and quickly rinsing them again. I could also use wettable sulphur. I plan to use them for Sarracenia again.  However, bear in mind the pots were washed well and put in the sun for a few days.

I did not sterilize pots like this last year. However, it takes a lot of time to wash pots well so it may be better in future to only give them a quick rinse and sterilize them with bleach. Would this work well and mean it would be all right to leave some dirt in them if they were sterilized?

Regards Richard.

Hi Richard,

I did, and thank-you.

Sterilizing pots in bleach is always a good idea, especially if you've been having fungal problems.  We've been toying with this idea in the nursery to reduce pot consumption, and re-use perfectly good pots, but it's a huge labor investment.  Sulfur only creates an inhospitable environment for fungi to grow; it doesn't kill them.  Bleach oxidizes and destroys cell walls, so it will destroy spores too.

A quick rinse and bleach dip would be fine.  Just be sure to not rinse the pots so the solution can sit on them for a short time.  A little leftover soil isn't likely to harbor spores if it absorbed the bleach.  Follow the label directions for disinfection of heavily soiled areas to get the concentration correct.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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