Monday, September 3, 2012

Recent happenings


Its been a busy winter here in chilly Canberra – not that you’d know from the blog, which has been silent for some months! Among other things, I’ve had to balance a work trip of three weeks and a complete repotting of the entire Sarracenia collection.

I had tried to get the repotting done before I went overseas, but I sadly had to leave the entire collection baggied up in zip lock bags for over a month. I finally finished repotting everything (except the flytraps) yesterday. The collection has been rationalised down to just S. flava and a handful of hybrids now – flava is, after all, my favourite Sarracenia. In the long term, I am hoping to specialise in flava and perhaps leucophylla for some Autumn colour.

And speaking of colour, no, the above picture is not of my plants. This was literally the first sight I came across when I stepped out of my hotel, totally jetlagged, in Vancouver, Canada, on my work trip. What a welcome! These plants were being sold at a boutique nursery, and what nice plants there were too. The S. flava looking thing was a labelled as an S. oreophila hybrid, and the smaller pots included some S. leucophylla “Tarnok”, something with alata and leucophylla in it, and some S. x stevensii looking things. The nursery had them in full sun, and also had some happy looking Dionaea and Drosera capensis grown inside under metal halide lights. It was nice seeing a nursery look after their carnivores for a change!

To close, the Sarracenia collection is beginning to re-animate, with a few small pitchers and buds appearing, even on plants repotted in late January that had been outside for the whole winter. I am busy nipping out all flower buds as they appear, as they will only stress the plants further after the repotting. I will probably hit everything with some more slow release fertiliser – Osmocote for Australian native plants (N:P:K = 19 : 0.8 : 7.3) to be precise – once the pitcher are well and truly on their way up. Slow release fertilisers, if chosen and used carefully, can enhance your plants beautifully. There are side effects to using fertilisers on Sarracenia, and these need to be considered carefully before you apply fertilisers to your plants. And if you use a fertiliser with the wrong N:P:K ratio, you can end up with peat or sphagnum moss turned to a hideous looking algal sludge (or worse!)!

So how do I fertilise my Sarracenia? Is there a safe way to do it?

That will have to wait for next time!