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pitcher plants in winter
pitcher plants in wint  
Hi!   I have had several pitcher plants in this container for many years.  I only water with distilled, and for many years they have been healthy an happy, producing beautiful leaves and flowers. They are on the south side of the house, and get some direct sun most of the year except for summer.   Last year, it seemed like they were barely hanging in there, and this is what they look like this winter (we are in central California in the mountains above Santa Cruz.  I dug around a bit, and it seems like at least a few of the rhizomes are rotted.  What should I be doing now to help the group?'
Thanks! Carol

Answer
Hi Carol,

This plant (now plants) is in desperate need to transplanting.  Use a mix of half and half peat moss to perlite or silica sand, well mixed and saturated with water.  If you aren't sure on mixing your own, or have difficulty finding the ingredients order some standard carnivorous plant mix from us or another carnivorous plant dealer.  Never use potting soil or any soil ingredient containing any fertilizer of any kind.

What you will need to do is drop the plant out of the pot and wash off the old soil.  You're going to find many of the rhizomes have rotted out base on the appearance.  Cut the dead ones away until you have just the healthy growing crowns.  Pot up those crowns in your new soil in separate pots, or a bigger pot for all.  If a rhizome has live roots (they will be white), it will grow into a new plant.  Be ruthless in cutting away the old dead material.  It's just a source for disease at this stage of the game.  

Once potted, make sure your pots have a shallow tray of water to sit it.  Here's a super important growing point; your plants must be in a full sun location, especially during the summer.  Sarracenia are full sun plants and should not be in shade during the growing season.  My rule of thumb is wherever you're thinking of putting a Sarracenia pitcher plant, or a Venus Flytrap, you should be able to grow tomato plants in that spot.  If you couldn't, it's not bright enough.

For detailed information on growing Sarracenia and other North American carnivorous plants, our volume #1 DVD is loaded with step by step instructions.  http://www.growcarnivorousplants.com/Articles.asp?ID=258

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest
http://www.growcarnivorousplants.com

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If your carnivorous plant is showing poor growth, discoloration, abnormal leaves or possible infestation, the expert growers at Sarracenia Northwest can help! They have a great depth of experience dealing with diseases, pathogens, and abnormal growth in carnivorous plants.

Before submitting your question, please read their care guides on their main website. Many issues can be addressed by simply adjusting your growing conditions as recommended in the care guides. Click here to read the care guides.

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