Carnivorous Plants/Pitcher Edge Yellowing?
QUESTION: Hi SNW,
This winter I've made my first venture into growing under lights after acquiring plants in CA that had already woken back up, but I seem to be running into problems. Like the image description says, the pitcher in question opened about 5 days ago, and now there is visible yellowing around the edges that is not yet apparent on the plant's other leaves. At the moment I am suspecting it is due to anaerobic soil bacteria, as I have had a few episodes with a sulfur/rotten egg smell that disappears after bringing the plants outside under rain when the weather permits and then later returns. I would love to hear what you think.
Light: 4 6500k tubes running about 12-14 hours.
Soil: Half Peat/ Half Perlite
Water: 0 ppm, shaken vigorously in a bottle before topwatering, top layer of soil is allowed to dry slightly before more water is added.
Temperature: Normal house temperatures are around 72, the lights likely raise it a couple degrees.
Thanks for the help!
ANSWER: Hi Eric,
In your photo I can see the plant's flower, and since it's red, this looks like a Sarracenia alabamensis. Yellow is that plant's natural color. Late summer and fall they get very yellow. Your plant is looking perfectly fine.
That rotten egg smell happens when the peat is breaking down some. Letting plants be rained on helps keep soil fresh, so when it's warm enough to move it outside you should. What you're doing for now is fine. Don't let soil dry, however. Always leave a little water in the tray for it, and keep top-watering the way you are doing.
When you move it outside you might consider transplanting to fresh soil. If the peat is breaking down, it might be time.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi Jeff, thank you for the quick response.
The species in the photo is actually a red form of S. jonesii from Mike Wang, if that makes a difference. The yellow edge on that pitcher has since shriveled up a bit and has not appeared on any other pitchers, so I'm hoping it's a one time thing.
Regarding the smell, it first cropped up in plants relatively recently potted in LFS mixes. Would those be attributed to the soil breaking down as well? I will be purchasing a new bale of peat moss to narrow down possible causes.
It's possible that the leaf is just a little close to the tubes on your light, especially if your lights are T-5's. They can be pretty warm.
LFS can get foul smelling too if it is waterlogged for long periods. I've left batches of it in tubs of water for too long and it gets pretty nasty.