I Am Totally Lost


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Hi guys,

Basically, my VFTs were in a terrarium for their first 8 months. then they started making these shock traps...basically the trap kinda prematurely dies and if it does grow..its growth is all wierd and distorted. Brad on cpuk suggested that it might be due to the water left in the terrarium. I then realised that I used a perlite underlayer for drianage and the water that accumulates under there must become toxic due to Mg release and lack of oxygen. THis was probably shocking the roots (according to Brad). Interestingly....it was probably true. I repotted my plants and after a month, all started making normal traps. This continued for quite a while with the plants starting to bulge with growth. But, suddenly....one of the typicals that finally started growing grew for a little while (2 months [rest were growing 3 months]) and then it started making shock traps again. 2 traps later...a normal trap and then since then its traps are all shock traps and now its almost stalled to very slow. Then my other typical, b52 and red dragon started showing symptoms almost at the same time. NOTE: these plants are all one beside the other. They started making shock traps as well.

Suddenly, the red dragon's growth tip in the center died. But, it made a new one on the side. THis one is now still making normal and nice regular traps. THe others still are growing for the center and still making shock traps.

NOW: considering a infection.

there is also a VFT cutting in the same very exact pot. its growing terrific. there is a vft pot with b52 cuttings and they are doing fine. Seperated from the ceph is a dentate which is doing great as well. its only the big plants which are acting wierd.

Now my hypothesis:

When I was repotting...for a blockage layer to the holes, I used lfs: cheap quality from local home depot:

img2213ed6.jpg

By vraev at 2007-05-02

Now, I am guessing that the old plants which are big...its roots are reaching this layer underneath its regular peat + perlite mix. Theyounger ones aren't there yet. So therefore maybe the old ones are showing shocktraps as probably this lfs is messed up.

NOW...a good pal here.. joosa was suggesting mealy bug on the VFT. I am having a bit of a scare of that same exact thing with my ceph on its old growth. I am not yet sure...but..interestingly the ceph pot is near all these old plants. but its also in contact with the younger ones.

---current: taken 2 mins ago----

B52: current:

1273465802_c6938bf4b5.jpg

Typical 1: current:

1272603505_99e3e16cd5.jpg

Typical 2: current:

1272607225_1088b18013.jpg

---pics of cuttings in typical 2's pot:

1035390648_9d72a07ac9.jpg

cuttng of the same exact typical 2

B52 cuttings... in a pot right beside the big plants

1035389088_458032ea63.jpg

Now..I have considered repotting. But, remember... my plants (the old ones) HAVEN'T HAD A DORMANCY YET. I got them last year near sept and skipped dormancy. I was thinking maybe I should wait till its over and then repot in spring again.

But, what if there is indeed a mealy bug infestation. How to find out? I cannot obviously see any signs. The signs of that on the ceph was like a white sticky WEB underneath the oldest leaf. However, all new leafs have shown no such signs.

I don't know what to do. I do have backups of my VFT's. The young ones (cuttings) are probably not going to dormancy this year. but, obviously...I would rather prefer that my old plants do well as well.

any help is welcome

thanks,

varun

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Hi,

I grow most of my VFT's in a terrarium with the rest outside. The problem you are facing is caused by excess water (I have experienced the same problem before) and do not believe it is from a build up of toxic substances or an infection. You have to remember that (almost) every one uses the tray method and I have not seen other people post that about toxic build-up from the water before... If you read through some of the recent threads, you will see Aidan mention that he has algae growth in his trays! so as long as you are using the correct type of water than that side of things should be fine.

Being in Canada, you probably do not need to worry about the Sphagnum Moss either. I have read that some companies dye their moss, but do not know if this does affect the plants. In my opinion, there is no need to block the holes, the peat and sand will escape regardless. Just stick to the soil mix and repot when necessary (i.e. to divide, etc).

I would work on a much lower water level to keep the soil nice and moist and allow the terrarium to dry out for a few days before re-watering... Seriously, the peat holds a lot of water. Then water again and repeat. Do not worry about having to keep it at 0.5" or whatever, water the plants so that the peat is nice and moist and that there is a little excess at the bottom of the terrarium and allow to dry out before rewatering. There is no need for a perlite base or anything else.

I think this problem occurs in a terrarium because it is a closed environment. Where plants are kept in trays in greenhouses, etc, there is much more open space for evaporation and ventalation.

Less water and less watering (but not to the extent that the peat dries) and everything should be fine.

As mentioned, I have experienced this problem too. My terrarium is not level, so when I water, the plant in the back left corner is * always * sitting in water. It is this plant that develops the blackening of newly formed traps and curling traps. All the other plants not kept sitting in water are fine, as is the affected plant when I move it to a drier location. None of my plants planted outside experience this but the environment there is different.

I do not think it anything more serious than too much water.

Edited by HugoMorse
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Phew! thanks Aidan, that makes me breathe better. :D

hmmm....interesting comment Hugo. In that means.... I basically NOW use cheap distilled water at 0.99$. Before I used to get higher quality water. Hmm...interesting. I do have a lot... I mean a lot of algae growth in my pots. BUT. I am also growing pure sphagnum with it as well. What does this mean?

yeah...I do water decently. My pots are always wet ith their trays and then when it dries out....I water again. Obviously that means the soil is always wet. hmm... thats a very neat observation.

Hmm..... so might it be the water? or excess water?

thanks again guys,

varun

Edited by vraev
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Those aborted traps are again from stress. (duh, obvious) It is from failure of the roots being able to support the requirements of new growth, so the traps arrest in growth and die. It could be due to one or many different variables causing an unhappy plant. It could be a pest attack.

The information that cuttings in the same pot are thriving tells a lot. It tells me that most of the growing variables are correct. So you have to figure out what are the microhabitat differences of two plants in the same pot. Pests attacking one plant and not the other is a possibility. Another possibility, is that typically a cutting’s roots are growing in more superficial (higher) layer of the soil substrate, and a mature plant’s roots will be growing very deep in the substrate. The superficial substrate will, if not infiltrated by algae, have more relative oxygen making the cuttings happy. However, the deep substrate will have less oxygen causing a toxic zone to the roots. Not only less oxygen, but a zone for anaerobic toxins to be created by bacteria. High heat levels will only accentuate this process. Often high heat levels are what initiate this process to begin with.

So again, it could be a pest attack or any number of problems.

Nicely discussed by HugoMorse is that overwatering may be the cause. But VFT cannot be overwatered in Theory. However VFT hate stagnant water complications of low oxygen levels and toxin accumulation.

My guess is anoxic substrate leading to the time tested diagnosis of root rot. You may not have root rot yet, but the roots are not happy enough right now, to support healthy plant growth.

If new healthy growth resumes you were able to ride out the storm. Otherwise repotting one of the affected plants into new substrate may show you exactly what is going on.

Good luck,

Brad

Ventura California

A VFT rule of thumb: “happy healthy roots, make happy healthy traps.”

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hmm.....so waht do u think Brad? Do u think I should repot now.....right on the eve of dormancy? AND YEAH...indeed...the temps here in hamilton see saw a lot. Sometimes it can go to 90's and sometimes stays in 70's. But once again...the smaller plants aren't in shade or anything. They are right in the open just as the big ones.

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First, regarding Dormancy, I do not believe VFT have a Dormancy. VFT grow in cycles throughout the year in response to daylength. Temperature allows the VFT to grow at certain rates. If it gets too cold to grow then the VFT stops growing.

Some of the VFT in your photos are in Dormancy now. Their growth has arrested, they are basically Dormant. When a VFT stops growing it is Dormant regardless of the cause.

I can see new growth emerging from those plants, so they are alive and kicking, hopefully it is just a one time bad event.

Regarding repotting your VFT that is entirely up to you.

CP growing is a hobby of fun, and as much as you want and allow, scientific discovery.

Here is what I would do, it could even be dangerous, so you decide what you want to try.

1. Smell the surface of the substrate, bad smell is bad.

2. Smell the base of the pot at the drain holes, bad smell is bad. If so far, ok, then proceed.

3. Place pot in a clean bowl and top water, as the water emerges from the pot access if the drain holes are functioning as you want. After you get enough water collected in the bowl, remove the pot, and evaluate the color, quality, and also the smell of the water, bad smell is bad.

4. If everything is to your satisfaction, then hopefully this Summer Time Dormancy is a one time event and continue growing your VFT as best you can.

Good luck,

Brad

Ventura California

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hmm...I tried the smell. So far...I can't really smell anything bad. Basically if anything I might say the bottom of the pot is smell-less. Even at the top there seems to be a bit of "vegetation" type smell.

Hmm..I guess I will try the water smell thing tomorrow morning. Thanks for the help Brad. I will keep u posted. :)

Edited by vraev
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I haven't had time to read through all the replies, but, as suggested, the cuttings roots will not be as long as the larger plants. The larger plants will have longer roots, which may be sitting in water and causing the problems.

Just be careful with the watering and every thing should get back to normal. However, you may find that in a terrarium, planting exclusively in Sphagnum Moss is not ideal. As, with lower water levels and much less watering, the moss may absorb water away from the roots causing the plant traps to wilt. This is something that Brad has dicussed and advised on before and was spot-on in his analysis. I experienced this problem when using Superpshag on my VFT's in the terrarium, where traps had formed with curled traps and cilia as the pant was not getting enough water to support successful growth. Moving back to peat moss corrected this and all newly grown traps were fine.

Repot in a blend of peat moss and perlite or sand. Use a top dressing of Sphagnum Moss if you want too. And water less, much less but make sure the peat never dries out. This may also resolve the algae problem too.

Edited by HugoMorse
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First, regarding Dormancy, I do not believe VFT have a Dormancy. VFT grow in cycles throughout the year in response to daylength. Temperature allows the VFT to grow at certain rates. If it gets too cold to grow then the VFT stops growing.

Some of the VFT in your photos are in Dormancy now. Their growth has arrested, they are basically Dormant. When a VFT stops growing it is Dormant regardless of the cause.

Brad

Ventura California

Brad, what you say is interesting, but it goes against what is written in all CP books. That VFTs do not have a dormancy phase. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I understand you correctly, then what you are saying is, that if VFTs do not requier/have a dormancy period, they would be happy to live all year round on the equator, where there are no changes in seasons, and thus, the plant would never enter a dormancy phase.

I was under the impression, that for VFTs to thrive, they need a dormancy period (as they do in their natural habitat). Is this false?

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I have had a chance now to read through the replies. Brad gives an excellent insight.

I understand that VFT's cannot be technically overwatered, but, where they are grown in artificial environments without natural sun light, air, etc, water and over watering can be more problematic than underwatering. Before I became invloved in growing CP's properly, I had had VFT's on and off for 15+ years. Many a times had I neglected them to the extent that the soil had dried and shrunk and most refused to give up and die! Yet, put them in a terrarium, on a sunny windowsill, etc, and over water and the all manor of problems can occur including, as Amar can vouch, litterally rotting away.

Experiment with water levels and watering and do not be scared to allow the tank to dry. These are bog plants not fish and they will not die overnight without a being saturated with water.

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These are bog plants not fish
:roll::roll:
I do not believe VFT have a Dormancy

Please explain Brad. Are you trying to say that you disagree with the word 'dormancy', as it is just a period of less active growth due to lower light levels/temps, so the plant isnt actually 'dormant'. Rather, it is just kind of dozing?

Edited by gypsyjazz
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well Brad, there IS drainage. However, I last watered on sunday and when I watered today...it took a while for the water to come out... maybe a lot is being absorbed. Also....the water doesn't have a smell, bottom of pot doesn't but the TOP soil DOES. It has a smell of algaeish. There is tons of algae in the soil. Its in between the mosses that have grown. I can basically see the algae totally blocking out any oxygen that can enter. What should i do? I just tried poking around the soil and tried removing some algae patches becos i like the moss. But, obviously if it is the reason responsible for my plant's problems, I don't mind getting rid of the mosses if it takes away the algae as well.

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Varun wrote: “when I watered today...it took a while for the water to come out... maybe a lot is being absorbed.”

Probably not important, but when I top water any of my Pots (20 ml of pure water at once), water begins to run out the drain holes within seconds, easily within 30 seconds, probably less.

OK, so it took a while for the water to come out, that is not helpful. Once you saturated the soil, then added more water, how is the drainage then?, that is what is important. You want good drainage, because this is the other place the pot communicates with the rest of the world.

Also, if the soil substrate has not soured (no bad smell), which you state is the case, then hopefully things are on the road to recovery.

Good luck,

Brad

Ventura California

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yeah! once the soil has saturated...then water does freely come out of the holes. But, it manages to come out with a bit of substrate as well. very little. SO water does look a bit of brown and mostly clear. Water no smell as well. well..one thing is for sure... its definately more than 30 sec. and I think I had to dump 100 ml or so of water to get anything out of the drianage holes. pot size is 6 inches standard round. But, what about the algae though? do u think it might pose a problem. Interestingly...algae in the smaller plant pots and with seedlings is posing no hinderance to excellence at all. Maybe the algae is making the deeper substrate anaerobic??

the algae soil on top has a smell....compared to most things..its bad..but not offensive at that level or anything. But the rest of the soil (when taken some from deep) and also the bottom has no smell.

I don't know Brad. : ( The big ones have started doing this around a month ago. I have hoped everytime that maybe the next trap will be normal...maybe the one after. But nope. :roll:

thanks for all the help.

varun

Edited by vraev
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I would not want to sniff my soil :tu::D

Seriously, though, when I have used rainwater in my terrarium, at times, it has smelt like a pond with no ill effects on the plants at all.

I do not sniff my plants either, but have tried sniffing their flowers to see if they have a smell.

Edited by HugoMorse
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