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Carnivorous Plants/Cleaning and sterilizing planter pots.


Hi Jeff

I am thinking that for the healthy Sarracenia I may be able to pot one of the divided plants back into the same pot it came out of again without having to wash or sterilize the pot.  This is because the plants were growing all right in the pot that it came out of and there was no crown rot.  Could this be all right?

I was just thinking this because it takes many hours of work to wash pots, wicks and then sterilize them.  What it costs me in wages is more than the pots are worth new.  I can see the point of washing and sterilizing pots if the Sarracenia died or maybe better still not using those pots any more for Sarracenia, but instead for something else that is very hardy and common. That would save washing pots.

I used bleach (1 part bleach to 10 or 20 parts water) to sterilize the pots.  Hydrogen peroxide could be better because unlike bleach it may not have to be washed off the pots before planting in them.  However, it is expensive if it is diluted to about 3% in a bucket of water.  I am not sure how many pots can be sterilized in one bucket before the water and peroxide or bleach mix needs to be changed due to the dirty water?  If the one bucket could be used for hundreds and if dirty water did not matter, peroxide may be viable.

Also, do you think aluminum plant labels would be all right?  The problem with the plastic ones is they break down in sunlight.

Your help is appreciated
Regards Richard.

Hi Richard,

You probably can get away with just rinsing pots that had healthy plants in them.  This is going to be one of those situations, however, that it will work just fine, until the first time it doesn't.  Here in the Pacific Northwest of the US we don't have bad root disease problems with Sarracenia, but it appears you do, and folks in the Eastern US do too.  You just have to be aware it's more of a concern with cross-contamination.  It's similar for us with Darlingtonia.  I absolutely will not put them in containers that are not new or sterilized.

I would recommend the bleach dip just be cause it's cheap, and it works well.  Rinse excess soil off of pots, then do a 10% solution, dip pots, and let them air dry.  There should be no need to rinse since the Sodium hypochlorite breaks down with use and exposure.  You can buy test strips from restaurant supply companies to monitor if your solution is breaking down and needs to be replaced.

Aluminum tags are great, just much more expensive for us to use.  A trick you can do with plastic labels is to use pencil, then push the label all the way down in the soil.  This prevents sun exposure, and they will last many years.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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