Carnivorous Plants/Nepenthe's Truncata Stem Snapped
QUESTION: Hi Sarracenia Northwest,
My Truncata Stem was snapped on July 13. I tried to mend it by putting cling wrap around the break and made as solid of a stent as I could. The plant seemed to be recovering but within the last few weeks has been slowly getting worse. The leaves are becoming easier to bend and susceptible to what looks like insects that I am spraying for. The leaves are also curling. This was the plant that sparked my hobby so any help is greatly appreciated.
ANSWER: Hi Patrick,
Essentially what you were doing by trying to re-attach the broken branch is a graft. The techniques used for trees would probably work for Nepenthes, but it may or may not make it. It's hard to say. Grafts fail frequently on trees too. If it does fail, the plant will generate side shoots.
The leaf damage looks like it might have been from a leaf miner, a bug. Unless you see actual fungal presence, I wouldn't spray it. Also, your plant is in desperate need of transplanting. Considering how big Nepenthes truncata get, it needs a larger pot. Be sure to give these a very open soil media. If using typical long-fiber sphagnum mixes like ours it helps to add a little more perlite or some lava rock.
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QUESTION: Thank you for the quick response! My follow up question is two part.
First I decided to inspect the plant for fungus to make sure the spot where it snapped was still clean. Upon inspection I believe the plant is showing signs of root growth coming out of the top half of the break. After seeing that I put a combination of super thrive and distilled water on a paper towel and wrapped it onto the damaged portion and rebandaged with cling wrap, and today the plant's leaves are noticeably less curled. If it is indeed growing roots now what would you guys do in this situation? The stem is 3/4 snapped and there's still a little bit of tissue connecting the two halves.
The second part is that I was planning on repotting it back in August and have the tropical mix you sell as well as the 5 and 6 inch pots, but then the stem snapped and I was reluctant to go ahead with the repotting due to the plant already being stressed from the break. Should I go ahead and repot it anyways?
From your first question I didn't realize that the stem was still partially attached. That makes a big difference. With some cambium tissue still intact, the stem often will still survive. By using the damp wrap with Superthrive, you essentially did and air layer. It's quite possible that it is trying to root. What you will want to do is keep it wrapped and damp, by adding a layer of plastic wrap around the break. You'll need to give it a few more weeks, and you should have roots protruding. Typically the area is packed with damp sphagnum moss then wrapped to encourage root development. Here's some helpful information: http://www.cpukforum.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=8130
After about another month, if you have roots, you can severe the stem just below the break, plant it, and you'll have two plants.
I would wait until you finish this rooting process before doing a transplant to minimize disturbance.