For a few months now, a single tray of seed grown pitcher plants have been showing signs of an illness or something and I can't figure out the problem.
It starts with most if not all new growth becoming twisted and disfigured. Afterwards existing pitchers start showing brown discoloration on the lids(not normal dying of the pitchers, the lids are still alive but the color has changed to brown).
The water quality in the tray is perfectly fine at 10 TDS. Its strange that all plants, even though they're not related genetically, have been showing these signs or have just started to. Also, 2 of my larger seed grown plants that I removed from this tray into another one earlier this year have shown no signs at all of this, nor have any of my other Sarracenia.
Finally, heres some pictures of 3 different plants showing these symptoms. The disfigured growth is firm like a normal pitcher should be, not soft like its wilted.
This one is the worst so far.
This one has put out 1 good pitcher in between all the other bad growth.
There seems to be an issue with the pitchers fusing at the front as can be seen here.
The only thing I can think of is that there could be an aquatic/soil parasite that has been affecting these plants.
I'm glad you posted this. I, along with other local growers, have been having this problem lately. It had never happened before. I have no idea what it is. Anybody have a clue. I did notice, however, that the plants recover after a good rain. But the problem comes back. I used Orthene and it seemed to work. But again it came back after a while. Michelle Meeks says it is caused by a tiny bug. She has seen them moving about the leaves.
Thirps would be my guess. Very tiny 0.5 to 5mm, typically 1-2mm. They sometimes move from plant to plant making it harder to identify them. Their tiny black specks of poop is usually easier to spot than the insects themselves.
I'll guess scale based on what little I can see in the photos. Which Orthene product did you use? Did you use a spray can or did you use wettable Orthene as a soil drench followed up in 10 days with another soil drench? If you have hard bodied scale, you might want to consider adding a little bit of Dawn dishwashing detergent to soften up their hard outer "scales". I create a 5 gallon mix of the wettable Orthene based on the label and add about 1 Tblsp of Dawn per gallon. I literally submerge the whole plant pot and all into the mix then lift if up and let it drain. From there, I flush the entire plant with rain water the following day. When I follow up in 10 days, I do not use the Dawn and only use the Orthene at 50% the quantity on the label per gallon. I do not flush the plants this time but resume regular watering. Orthene should address your issues regardless of whether you have scale or thrips. I've never had to retreat plants for scale after using the wettable Orthene as mentioned above. One thing though, I drenched every Sarracenia growing in the same area as the plants that were sold to me with scale.
Aerosol Orthene applied as a foliar has never provided me with relief from scale or from thrips.
I used a product simply called "Orthene". It's a can of white coarse salt-like granules. It's systemic. It's not scale though. I know what they look like. I don't think it's thrips either.
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I've noticed a green thrips insect on my Sarracenia this year (even in some wild plants). I haven't had the deformation that your plants are showing, but I have had to spray repeatedly this summer. Even though Orthene is systemic it needs to be repeatedly applied as directed. I have been alternating Orthene spray with Malathion. It is important not to spray while the plants are in the sun or heat stressed in any way, or the spray will do as much harm (or more) as the insects.
I had something very similar happening to my Sarracenia x readii and Sarracenia 'John's Autumnal Splendor'. The rolled/folded ala and crumpled tubes was very typical of the damage I was getting. It did not effect either the 'Hummer's Hammerhead' or "Judith Hindle" growing side by side with them.
I couldn't find any trace of insects either, however I had mealybugs on my S. leucophylla which I treated. After finding a mealybug on one of my Dionaea a few weeks later I treated all my plants including the readii and 'John's Autumnal Splendor'. The new pitchers that have grown after spraying have all been normal.
The mealybug infested leucophylla are about four feet from the readii and the mealybugs were discovered several weeks after the deformations started on the readii.
Post by John Brittnacher on Oct 6, 2007 15:17:58 GMT
I have seen lots of mealy bugs and scale on Sarracenia but don't ever remember seeing them distort pitchers. I am not sure they hurt the plants as how do you tell if they are hurting the plants or the plants are already weak and they are taking advantage of the situation.
What do distort pitchers are aphids, thrips, and I presume mites. If you are having thrip problems you should see patches of silvered leaf like:
Sure these are extreme examples but there should be some similar evidence.