Here is my review of progress after six weeks:
The Basil Brothers
Although I haven’t cooked Italian this week, the boys are looking rather parched. It’s been hot and I don’t seem to have given them enough water. Gave them a good drink today and hopefully they’ll perk up soon. Was planning on cooking spaghetti bolognese tonight though…
As the old pitchers continue to brown and die off the circle of life seems complete as the new pitchers grow and develop. Some have now reached maturity and have not yet turned brown, although some of the other newer pitchers are already turning brown in parts. Having scoured the internet it seems that there could be a number of reasons why the pitchers are turning brown. A pitcher may turn brown because it is going into dormancy [http://www.ehow.com/info_12030284_pitcher-plant-turning-brown.html]; because it has been over-watered [https://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090706175830AAhDI3S]; because the pitcher has filled with insects [http://www.flytrapcare.com/phpBB3/why-my-pitcher-plant-stems-turn-brown-t12938.html]. These all seem incredibly unlikely in Pitch’s case.
More likely is the suggestion at http://www.ehow.com/info_12030284_pitcher-plant-turning-brown.html that, “Pitcher plants prefer full-sun locations, but you must be careful if your plants are located in a window because they may receive too much direct sun that’s been amplified by the window and burn. It’s best to place them in a bright window where the sun doesn’t shine directly…” I wonder if the sun reflecting back off the window is scorching the pitchers. I have already noted in these pages that the pitchers towards the middle of the plant seem to be in better condition than those at the outer extremity, although closer inspection reveals that some of the newer pitchers towards the centre of the plant are also turning brown. Additionally, the sub-horizontal long curled pitcher growing out of the left of the plant is right next to the window and seems to be less brown than other leaves.
http://www.carnivorousplants.blogspot.co.uk/2005/09/pitcher-plant-leaves-are-turning-brown.html says that, “browning is part of the plants normal growth cycle“, stating that older leaves that have turned brown can be cut off without harming the plant. However, this information has been written in early September and seems to relate to, “older leaves produced early in the spring“. On the plus side the site says that sarracenia rubra, “produce their prettiest leaves in the early autumn. By late October, expect all of the plants to loose [sic] some of their leaves as they enter dormancy… the best leaves are yet to come.”
http://www.cpukforum.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=42308 suggests that if a plant has been used to lower light levels (i.e. at the garden centre from whence it came) then moving it into full sunlight may scorch the pitchers. So, acclimatisation could possibly account for the browning of the pitchers. It is certainly notable that there had been little sunshine until the summer solstice and that it was about a week later that the first pitchers began to go brown and dry. This seems the most feasible explanation.
A pitcher plant owner tells at this same site of how he gave his plant a ‘radical haircut’ and six weeks later new pitchers came aplenty. I am very tempted to give Pitch the same to maximise any future growth before dormancy.
Whilst on the subject of dormancy, I have also come across some very interesting information regarding dormancy and re-potting. Still a long way off but will make a note of the link now: http://www.wikihow.com/Raise-Carnivorous-Plants
Sunny is absolutely thriving and the curled leaves in the pictures above show that she is regularly tucking into insects who pay her too much attention. She has come on leaps and bounds and there is plenty of new growth in her pot. What a star. It looks like she might even flower soon.
Drake continues to be absolutely magnificent and being much bigger than Sunny continues to lead the way in insect munching activity. What a pair they make.
Although Piggy cannot really compete with his cousins for insect catching, the move onto the South Western windowsill has done him the world of good. Whilst there is little to report from last week, the sun dew leaves are developing nicely and I have high hopes that he’ll survive until dormancy.
As my mobile phone has recently packed up I have invested in a new one, which rather happily comes complete with a 5 mega pixel camera. This means that I am able to not only confirm but also present the new trap forming in Venus’s pot. Hallelujah. I was getting a bit worried there for a while but it looks like the old girl might pull through.
Plenty of new traps developing in Aphro’s pot too. No new snacks to report but am sure it won’t be long till the lad gets hungry again.
Cass and Aggy (The Moroccan Twin Sisters)
Whilst it has not really been long enough to tell yet, I have a good feeling that the ladies are settling in well to their new slightly shadier position. There is even a tiny new stalk growing from the soil just to the north north east of the cider pot. Although the ladies’ leaves have taken a bit of a battering from the sun, there are plenty of new leaves sprouting out. As mentioned in the week there are also flowers forming. And still no sign of a gastropod attack despite their new proximity to ground level!
I estimate that Gronda is still at curl factor 2. Have continued to spray his leaves every second or third day but will have to wait a little longer to determine whether the big drink I gave him a few days ago is enough to satisfy his thirst for a while.
As Hulk has been here for very almost a month, he must be somewhat decrying my hospitality in not yet giving him a drink. As he arrived on 1st July it seems right and just that I give him a wee drink on 1st August. It has been very difficult to monitor any change in this plant after four weeks, talk about a poker face. The worry is that decline could come rapidly once the tipping point is reached. Will give him a drink with a pinch, punch for the first of the month and we will see what occurs.
Another plant who plays his cards close to his chest. There is little difference to be spotted in this most hardy of plants, from the plant brought through the door four weeks ago. Snake seems to be happily surviving the death cave of a bathroom and the humidity from my daily shower appears to be sufficient to his needs. As you were.
Like his larger cousins, this little chap does not give away much in the way of change from week to week. My girlfriend has still not claimed him (and not sure if I’d let him go now) and I really need to find him a permanent spot of residence. It’s not a bad spot where he is currently but he’s so small and I wish to protect his vulnerability to cats and clumsiness. A better home in decent sunshine but away from ground level would seem to be desirable, fitting him in somewhere may be more of a problem.