Here is my review of progress after eight weeks:
The Basil Brothers
Have been torn this week between trying to keep the brothers sufficiently moistened in the ongoing hot August weather and trying not to over water them. When they have looked particularly droopy I have given them a good drink direct from the tap. It appears as if there is some sort of fungus growing in the bottom of the pots, with Tall Basil being the worse off. Not sure if this will be able to co-exist with the brothers without harming them. Certainly, I believe that some potted jasmine that I previously owned was finished off when fungus became established in the pot. To add insult to potential injury there is also evidence of gastropod attack. Although the leaves that have suffered such attacks have been virtually decimated, mercifully the attacks have been limited to a small number of leaves. Apart from that everything is hunky dory with plenty of new leaves developing.
Despite the scare of ‘Dry Thursday’ Pitch actually appears to be doing pretty well. Although I have still not removed the older brown and dying pitchers yet, the new pitchers are remaining in apparently rude health. Because of this I am somewhat lithe to make wholesale changes to the plant less one of my theories that the outer pitchers were providing a modicum of shade to the inner pitchers proves to be true. Provided the new pitchers remain healthy I will refrain from making any changes at all.
The temperature is forecast to drop right down this week and the supposed ‘taste of Autumn’ that is predicted to appear sees thunderstorms today and possible gales. There will be a lot more rain this week although some sunshine is still forecast particularly in the mornings. What a West American plant will make of this change in weather is uncertain especially considering how unhappy he looked before when presented with a lack of sun. S. rubra are normally, at their best in late summer and Autumn before approaching dormancy in late Autumn. [http://www.pitcherplant.com/care_sheets/sarrac_care.html] A careful eye will have to be cast over Pitch once again.
Although Sunny’s flower appears to be dying already the new leaf growth is coming along nicely. It is difficult to determine whether the flower was another victim of ‘Dry Thursday’ or whether the sunlight and heat have simply proved too much for the flower, as seems to have been the case with Drake over the last few weeks. True to her name, Sunny has blossomed as the sunshine has become more frequent since the fifth week, so her future development is uncertain as the remains of Hurricane Bertha hit. Will Summer return or will Autumn arrive early? With the English weather it is always difficult to say.
Drake appears to be the biggest victim of ‘Dry Thursday’ and it is certainly no coincidence that after doing so well since his arrival, a temporary drought was followed by the blackened death of some of his rear leaves. Luckily for me, the rest of the plant looks healthy. Of all the plants it is also likely that Drake, being indigenous, will fair best with the approaching weather. I have certainly experienced some pretty mean storms on Dartmoor where such plants can be found growing wild in the UK. Hopefully, he’ll be back to his best soon.
It is difficult to see the change in Piggy from last week and indeed from his arrival just over a month ago. Will he be a slow starter like Sunny or will he just never get going in this growing season. Time is beginning to run out before dormancy so fingers crossed, considering the threatened likelihood that Piggy will not survive the winter, that he will at least give it a bit of wallop in the latter half of the summer and into Autumn.
The threatened revival continues though perhaps it is not quite as positive as I hoped last week. The good news is that four new traps are developing. The bad news is that they are not developing particularly well. The most mature trap retains the groove apparent early in its development which now begins to look like a deformity. This trap and the second most mature trap, close to the floor, have still not as yet opened. The flower remains largely as it was, as does the older trap which remains alive despite its inability still to re-open in any meaningful way. The combination of allowing the flower to grow and ‘Dry Thursday’ may have stunted Venus’s development. I await the next few weeks with baited breath.
Aphro conversely does not seem phased by much. New traps continue to develop and the older traps still look healthy and hungry. The forecast heavy rain, and believe you me, Hurricane Bertha has certainly brought very heavy rain today, will hopefully not cause too many of the traps to close but Aphro seems to have broad shoulders capable of taking whatever is thrown at him. He looks as strong as an ox and hopefully he will continue to justify my faith in him.
Cass and Aggy (The Moroccan Twin Sisters)
The sisters are the real success story of this week. Being a little paranoid about overwatering them I had previously held back but since I started watering them more regularly their growth has absolutely exploded. I believe that good drainage from the pot is another contributory factor to the current success of these plants. The difference from last week is tremendous and if growth and expansion continues at this rate through August and September then I would expect the pot to be full inside of three weeks. As yet there has been minimal slug attack and barring disaster that pot of mint tea is assured.
Gronda is another apparent success story at the moment. It is now two and a half weeks since I gave him his drain and soak but his leaves are almost completely uncurled. Have been continuing to mist the leaves almost every other day as well. Although the moisture sensor has still not been dispatched and may not arrive until the end of August, by visual measurement I am dropping Gronda’s curl factor down to 1. All appears to be going very well but will need the proper moisture sensor eventually particularly as we head towards Autumn and Winter.
Haven’t watered him this week and he is indeed beginning to look the worse for wear. Not only is one of the spines dying as the photo above shows but the central stem at the rear now has a visible droop. I am slightly worried that the water tray will not offer adequate drainage and therefore I will now proceed with a plan where the plant is watered weekly with room temperature water but allowed to drain before being returned to his spot. I will take no further deterioration to be a measure of success.
Nothing to report. Until that moisture meter arrives there is little to say.
A bit perkier than last week since I gave him a soak and drain treatment last weekend that being five weeks after his arrival. Will look to repeat the soak and drain every four weeks so he will next be due at Week 10. In the meantime I will monitor his progress carefully.