Monday, February 1, 2010

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.


  1. Woohoo! A sarracenida blog! I occasionally drop a mention of my sarracenias in my garden blog, but it's great you're dedicating a blog to them entirely. It'll be interesting to follow your issues of growing them where it's too cold in the winter, versus where I am (San Diego) where it's barely cold enough...