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Dear Jeff,

yesterday I repotted all my outdoor balcony plants (took me 8h...)and something came up my mind.

1.) I often see that some people are putting a tube in their plants down to the bottom to water their plants. I donīt.

So my question is, maybe it is a myth too, is it true that generally speaking outdoor plants should be watered from top in summer and from bottom in winter? According to French author Jean-Jacques Labat, the reason is that watering from top in winter may increased the risk of mold... However, I have never had any issues with that. Also I ask myself if the tube in the planter is just to prevent to disperse soil around the pot when watering from top? I water gently ;-) I also believe at the same time that watering from the top is better for air circulation to the roots. How is your opinion about this?

2.) Sometimes, after watering repotted plants, the soil will compact a bit more, plants may sink a little bit. As long as the plants are still dormant and within 1-2 days after repotting, could I take out a plant again to lift it up a bit more? Would it harm?

3.)In your last video you recommend to trimm of all pitchers of Sarracenia so to have less stress when new growth emerges. But I do strongly believe that you donīt cut off phylodia?

4.) I used a 50% peat, 25% perlite, 25% sand mix for my plants, should be fine, however next time Iīll go for peat/perlite mix only ;-) However, in order to avoid floating perlite, the last 2-3 inches of the pot are pure peat, I guess it is ok, right?

Thanks Jeff, I highly appreciate your help, as usual!

Cheers and enjoy the chocolate (dark, darker, darkest!)


Hi JP,

1.  Here's a little confession in regards to watering.  If it were practical, I would never tray water.  Because carnivorous plants are wetland plants they deal with being tray watered well, but you do end up with anoxic conditions at the water line, especially in summer.  If you take a plant out of the the pot during hot weather you'll see a light brown color of the peat that was under water, and it smells like rotten eggs.  Larger planters, like our bathtub in the nursery, never have this issue.  Top watering is nature's way.  Plants get rained on.  I would only top water if it were practical, but for most folks it isn't, especially in smaller pots.  They just dry out too fast.  So, the bottom line, top watering is a very good thing for all the reasons you mentioned.

I'm not sure what Jean-Jacques Labat is referring too.  I don't think he's wrong, but it may be situational.  I know many plants, such as Phaleonopsis orchids don't like water to puddle for long periods on their leaves since it can lead to crown rot.  However, I find that when Sarracenia and other cp are fully outside they get rained on, there's wind and UV light.  All that keeps mold at bay.  Plants in a greenhouse would be much more prone to Botrytis, so there he may have a point.

2.  As long as plants are dormant there's no harm in moving them if needed.  

3.  Often in videos we keep things very simple.  It's not going to harm the plants if you cut off the phyllodia.  After all, not all Sarracenia produce them.  For S. flava and S. oreophila, however,  it is beneficial to leave them.  The plants are still getting some sugar from photosynthesis from them.

4.  That's just fine.  I did a similar trick with our Darlingtonia, but in reverse.  The bottom layer of the planter was all perlite, but the top was the peat/perlite mix.  This was to increase drainage and save peat moss which has become a precious commodity.  Doing the peat on the bottom will help to keep it out of water trays.


Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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