Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fertilizer Experiment

I decided to do a little un-scientific experiment regarding fertilization of Sarracenia seedlings. I have some wild-collected S. purpurea seeds from two different locations in WI, roughly 120 miles apart. So I figured I'd fertilize one of them and not the other, using a Miracid solution as a foliar application approximately every 2 weeks. Obviously, it would've been better to just fertilize half of each location, but I didn't really plan too much for this. There could be inherent differences between the two populations. Anyway, here's the first pictures taken today, 2 weeks after the first fertilizer application, and 5 min. after the 2nd. I will update this post every few weeks or so until whenever. I'm not taking any measurements of any kind - just a visual comparison. The tray on the top is from Bayfield Co., from a small boggy area right next to a backroad, on the edge of a small lake. This area was very overgrown with trees and I suspect succession is creeping in and it may not be a suitable Sarracenia habitat 20 years from now. These will be the fertilized seedlings. The tray on the bottom is from Forest Co., from an open bog habitat surrounding a small lake. This was a very "healthy" looking bog, lots of orhcids and sundews present in the area. These will be unfertilized. Both sets of seeds germinated right around Christmas of 2009 and are currently kept in a greenhouse, in near hothouse conditions. I will move them to my backyard when the weather allows in late Spring, and back to the greenhouse in late Fall.
Feb. 13, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What Could've Been

I have not had good luck raising Sarracenia from seed yet. It seems after 2 years, I lose them, to what I do not know. I have good luck the first two years, then for whatever reason, they don't make it through the second winter. I guess I baby them the first winter, but treat them like mature plants the second, which apparently is the wrong way to go about it. At least I've learned, and hopefully my large crop of 2 year-olds survives. Actually, they have all survived this winter and are beginning to grow now. It probably helps that my wife is in charge of a brand-new greenhouse where she works, and she's cool with me putting my own plants in there, which is where they are now. Anyway, I've had some potentially nice-looking plants that are now compost over the past few years. Here are/were some of my favorites:

This was from some wild-collected S. x moorei seeds, from Walton Co., FL. I believe I got them from Brooks Garcia, but I can't remember for sure. It sure was a vigorous grower and probably would've been a giant, had it lived.

This was 'Citronelli' x (flava x psittacina). Not the greatest looking plant, but it looks like it would've had a unique shape, heavily influenced by the flava x psitt parent. 'Citronelli' is an unregistered name to a leuco x alata x rubra natural hybrid.
(flava x alata) x (leucophylla x purpurea)
I was especially bummed over losing this one, it was (alata x flava) x (leucophylla x purpurea). It looked a lot like the alata x flava parent in the coloration, with a bit of the shape being influenced by the purp x leuco parent. Here's another photo:
(alata x flava) x (leucophylla x purpurea)
And another...
(alata x flava) x (leucophylla x purpurea)

Here's another that really ticks me off when I see it. A very strongly colored (alata x leucophylla) x [psittacina x (purpurea x minor)]. Even at 1 year old, I could tell this one was going to be special. Here's 2 pics of it:
(alata x leucophylla) x 'Lady Bug'
(alata x leucophylla) x 'Lady Bug'

The following plant was from the first batch of seeds I ever raised, from mixed hybrid seed from the ICPS. I had literally a hundred of them in a pot that all germinated. At one point, something happened that killed them all off except this one. I actually think they were eaten by something, if memory serves me correctly. No idea what it could've been, but I see traits of purpurea, flava and leucophylla in it:
unknown, from ICPS mixed hybrid seed

Here's yet another that I get ticked off about. Another cross I did, this one was 'Extreme Unction' x 'Ladies In Waiting', and seemed to show a perfect blend of the two parents:
'Extreme Unction' x 'Ladies In Waiting'

I have a few more that I can't seem to locate the pictures right now, but when I do, I will post them.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Stratified some seeds today, the last batch for awhile, unless something good comes along. I'm trying the "wet paper towel method", where the seeds are wrapped in a wet paper towel and placed in the fridge, till sometime in March, unless I forget about them. At that point they will be sown on long-fibered sphagnum. Before, I had always direct-sown and stratified them that way. Here's what went in the fridge:
-S. flava x open-pollinated
-S. ('Leah Wilkerson' x oreophila) x 'Leah Wilkerson'
-S. 'Leah Wilkerson' F2
-S. (purpurea x flava) x [minor x (psittacina x minor)]
-S. 'Alucard' x "unknown"
-S. "unknown" - seeds "Pyro" gave away on Terraforums

Hopefully, I end up with at least a few nice plants out of this.

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Collection

Here is what I have as of today:

MiniBog #1 (2006)
The oldest minibog and in definite need of dividing this spring.
S. (oreophila 'Sand Mtn' x flava) x leucophylla
S. alabamensis x oreophila
S. oreophila x 'willisii'
S. x 'Lady Bug'
S. x 'Love Bug'
S. x 'June Bug'
S. x 'Red Bug'
S. x 'Doodle Bug'
S. x catesbaei F2
S. x unknown - probably psittacina x rubra

MiniBog #2 (2007)
S. x 'Judith Hindle'
S. purpurea x flava
S. (rubra x oreophila) x purpurea
S. minor x psittacina
S. oreophila
S. purpurea x psittacina
S. 'Wilkerson's Red' x 'Flies Demise'
S. leucophylla x purpurea
S. (rubra x oreophila) x (purpurea x flava)

MiniBog#3 (2009)
S. x 'Mardi Gras'
S. x 'Ladies In Waiting'
S. x 'Scarlett Belle'
S. x 'Red Sumatra'
S. x 'Imhotep'
S. x 'Cobra Nest'
S. x 'Dixie Lace'
S. leucophylla 'Tarnok'
S. oreophila x purpurea
S. flava x purpurea
S. alata x leucophylla
S. (leucophylla x rubra) x [(purpurea x flava) x flava]
S. leucophylla x flava

Individually Potted Plants
I definitely want to get these moved into new minibogs as time/money permits.
S. x 'Red Blush'
S. x 'Cobra Nest'
S. oreophila x psittacina
S. x unknown (Bob Ziemer H2)
S. x unknown (all-green, but not antho-free, flava-ish, maybe some purpurea)
S. x 'Flies Demise'
S. purpurea x flava ornata
S. oreophila
S. flava rubricorpora
S. alata "Black" x flava "red"
S. (purpurea x leucophylla) x purpurea
S. leucophylla "yellow-flowered"
S. (leucophylla x minor) x (minor x psittacina)
S. minor
S. (leucophylla x psittacina) x flava
S. purpurea x rubra (antho-free)
S. x 'Abnorma' (2 different clones)
S. x 'Gin Goblin' (2 different clones)
S. x 'Judith Adrian' (3 different clones)
S. x 'Medusa'
S. x 'The Minor Hybrid'
S. x 'Roccoco'

I also have a ton of seedlings that sprouted in Feb. of '08 that are doing great.
I have one lone seedling from '09 left, and it too nearly died.
I have a ton of seeds that sprouted around Christmas 2009, and a bunch more that are about to be put into stratification. I will go into more detail on the seedlings in future posts, because they are much more exciting to me.

A Little Backstory

I've been growing Sarracenia since roughly 1997, when I started grad school in Missouri. Spent 1 year in Virginia Beach, VA after that, and have been back in Wisconsin since 2004. At that time my collection was at its peak, probably around 75 different plants. However, the first few winters were deadly, for unknown reasons, and by 2007, my collection was probably close to 1/3 of what it had been. To this day, I really don't know what killed off my plants. I've been keeping them in our unheated garage for the winter, usually late Nov. to April. One winter I kept a thermometer in there to see how cold it actually got. The lowest temp I ever actually saw was 15F, and that was during one of those cold snaps where it would get down to -20F at night and barely make it to 0F during the day. Each spring, when I moved everything back outside, everything looked fine, as far as I could tell. Most of last years' leaves would be brown, but there would still be green or red color at the bases, and the growth points themselves looked alive. It was also not uncommon for flowers to start poking up while still in the garage. It was after moving them out that things deteriorated. The best I can describe it is that the plants quickly dessicated somehow. Where every part that still had color suddenly turned pale and brittle, as if all water was removed. I never saw any signs of fungus until after a plant had died. Maybe I didn't water enough during winter, although they pretty much would stay frozen solid for most of the winter, so I saw no real need to water. Occasionally I would dump fresh snow on them, but that was it. One thing I did notice that most deaths were to plants that were in individual pots, which was the vast majority of them. I have one minibog that is several years old now which has not lost a plant. Another one that is a year younger that only lost a couple. Last year, I planted a bunch in a huge minibog, maybe 3' long, 2' wide, and 1.5' deep. We'll see how that comes through in another few months.