Monday, October 1, 2012

Nipping Sarracenia in the bud

Sarracenia flava shooting

A few years back, I tried de-budding Sarracenia after repotting to see whether it made a difference. Although the trial consisted of one plant, it was a lot larger than a duplicate that was allowed to flower by the end of the season. This year, seeing I was not interested in making seed, I set about de-budding every repotted Sarracenia.

Sarracenia flower buds

The best time to de-bud is while the flowers are still small, preferably only just emerging from the growing point. This serves two purposes – one is to prevent the plant from wasting too many resources on the flower (which are then available for new pitchers), and another is because it makes the job easier. If done too late, the plant can continue growing the flower stalk for a good inch or more until it finally aborts the growth.

Sarra flower removal_1

To de-bud, simple grasp the new bud between your thumb and forefinger…

Sarra flower removal_2

…and gently bend the bud away from any new growth (if present) until it snaps, using your thumb as a lever to snap the bud. If done gently, the bud will come off with a clean break and won’t disturb the plant.