Monday, February 29, 2016

Time for the Autumn pitchers (or: a leap-day post!)

Sarracenia bog gardens, 28 February 2016

Species Sarracenia don’t produce pitchers all season long. Instead, each species produces their main flush of growth at a particular time of year. This is very possibly to exploit different flights of insects, although I’m not sure much work has been done on this. Here in Canberra, the spring pitcher producers (S. flava) clean up on the immense flights of hoverflies we get in November.

Hybrid bog garden

At this time of year, the autumn pitcher producers (S. leucophylla and S. alabamensis plus the hybrids) clean up on the late summer and autumn flghts of muscoid flies (house flies).

Sarracenia leucophylla cv. 'Tarnok'

Before now, I had always written S. leucophylla off as a poor plant for Canberra conditions. That was before I got to see the collection of a nearby grower, Owen, who has a large number of leucophylla obtained with the English family went out of Sarracenia. Here’s a pic of his collection taken last spring:

Owen's Sarracenia

I was so taken with his leucophylla that I didn’t get photos that I consider do them justice. Maybe next time I’m up his way… but anyway, the plan is to swap out the hybrids for leucophylla after everything goes dormant. I’ve already begun to collect some good leucophylla clones and am very partial to the variety alba, which has no red venation in the upper part of the pitcher, giving the plants a very white appearance. So far, I have cv. ‘Schnells Ghost’ and one from Owen that he plans to name as a cultivar in due course, plus a variety of other forms. Re-doing the hybrid bog also means I get to swap out the heavy blue metal gravel in the bottom for the lighter setup I used in last year’s flava bog. I’m sure I’m going to have sulky plants for a while, but it will be worth it for a magnificent leucophylla collection that looks great when the flava finish pitcher production for the year.

In other news, I’m due to receive some Nepenthes ampullaria (amps or amp for singular) for the terrarium in the next few days from While I am suspicious that the “hookeriana” I currently grow may actually be a spotted form amp (the pot I got it in even had an Exotica Plants label reading Nepenthes ampullaria!), it would be great to get some bona fide amps. I am really looking forward to finally getting a red pitchering form, which I have not had the opportunity to grow before, plus a green form that I grew but lost.

‘Til the Neps arrive and the terrarium gets a doing over, good growing!