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flycatchers

Sudden collapse!

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Hi.

My mature H.ionas which had looked fine the last time I checked it on Sunday has completely collapsed! All the older pitchers are brown and the new growth soft and limp!

On unpotting the plant the extensive root system looks quite healthy, but where the 4 growing points emerge from the rhizome it is brown and rotten! So despite the suddenness of the collapse this rot must have been occurring for at least a week or so I guess. Since getting it in April the plant has done really well and produced both large adult pitchers and two flower stalks. It was grown in live sphagnum moss mixed with orchid bark and watered from above. It was on the floor of my greenhouse alongside other Heli. It was in a sunny position but in a cooler part of the house. All the heli alongside are fine. And the compost looks and smells fine. So for the moment I am completely puzzled as to its decline! I have removed all the growing points and cut off all the brown and repotted what’s left- not much. And after doing the same to the rooted rhizome have repotted that.

But I would like to know what might have caused this?? And need to keep my fingers & toes crossed that some of the bits might regrow!!

Depressed!! :tu:

bill

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I'm sorry for you Bill, I hope it doesn't happen to any of the others. Have you checked for earthworms? I recently received a hispida that was apparently not doing so well for a while, and upon repotting a few days later I discovered a healthy horde of the friendlies (maybe not so, in this case). I'm still new to Helis so anyone with experience can correct me if worms do not upset Heliamphora. What I did notice was that the Sphagnum, both on the surface and below, was well on its way to mush-dom.

Amori

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Perhaps its just just a one off unlucky experience Bill. Every so often you loose a plant to rot but cannot see a reason for it, when it gets one of the sarras and I never notice until its too late, also dont see the reason why that one succumbed to rot while the ones next to it are fine.....I put it down to bad luck, sometimes these things just happen!

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Hi Bill.

Over the last few years I've lost a couple of Heli's - always the largest ones, for 'apparently' no reason, while others alongside are fine - symptoms the same as yours. I think it is down to heat stress on the roots. The larger plants just seem not to tollerate heat as much as smaller plants. Maybe the smaller plants being closer to the compost get more humidity, or with less root filling a pot don't get so hot ??

I've kept most (all the larger one) in a bit more filtered sunlight this summer and (touch wood) I've not lost any - although a couple died in the spring when I first moved them outside :thumbsup:

It's been very annoying and frustrating - especially as it's allways the biggest plants.

I don't think it's anything that is likely to spread to other plants if that's any consolation.

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I've also had similar problems with Helis, the biggest and those that have flowered have always been a problem.

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Hello,

This Heliamphora disease is caused by a phytopathogenic fungus (which I was able to identify during my molecular studies of Heliamphora by chance), which infects the vascular tissue of the centre of the plant, and can kill a healthy plant within a few days by browing heart disease/ wilt disease. This fungus lives within the tissue of a plant as an endophyte in its asuexual phase (even in wild populations of Heliamphora as it seems), and normally does not harm the plant. However, providing the perfect conditions for the fungus to propagate (which are unfortunately exactly those conditions which will make Heliamphora suffer much, and thus get an easy host for mass infection by the fungus), i.e. prolonged warm temperatures above 28°C and high humidity, the fugus hyphae start growing rapidly, filling all vascular bundels of the plant host's heart (you will recognized dark brown collapsed bundels in the centre of the plant, filled with hyphae under a microscope). The roots and leaves are still looking healthy at this stage, but the plant heart is already dead. It's very characteristic for this wilting disease that the leaves and roots are dying/rotting from the centre to the tip! This means that the tips of the leaves are still fresh and green, whereas the base is already brown and rotting.

I made some infection and growth experiments with this fungus at university in a heated chamber. This fungus can kill a healthy Heliamphora plant at 28°C and high humidity in less than 10 days after infection! On the dying plant parts in the centre of the plant, hundereds of little conidia (asexual spores) are formed for propagation by air and especially water droplets. Interestingly, this fungus is not growing well on artificial growth media, and I did not find any chemical treatment to stop it's growth yet. But I'm still working on this subject, and will keep you updated.

BTW, a related species of fungus is causing almost the same disease in Darlingtonia!

I cannot recommend any cure for infected plants so far (usually the "terminal" stage of this disease is leading to loss of the infected plant, but sometimes regrowth occurs from lateral buds, if growth conditions are changed at once), only preventation:

Cool temperatures (especially during summer heat waves!) seem to be essential, especially cool root temperatures! Spores of this fungus seem to be around everywhere (airborne?), and experienced Heliamphora growers told me that they never had any problems with this wilting disease indoors, when using pure water (not rainwater). This might be due to optimal growing conditions as well.

I only had this problem with Heliamphora grown outdoors or in my greenhouse so far.

All the best,

Andreas

Edited by Andreas Fleischmann
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Wow great info Andreas!

Do you know if this could be related to Cephalotus Sudden Death Syndrome (CSDS)?

The plant just appears to collapse, it looks as though the leaves and pitchers have dried-out having had the life sucked out of them and on examining where the leaves emerge from the compost/rhizome these appear to have black seeping up them.

Many Ceph growers have had their best plants die completely without knowing the cause. I have read that it might spread through shared water trays, which would seemt to be consistent with the fungus you are talking about.

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Andreas,

Excellent reply, many thanks for your technical insight. Unfortunately my Darlingtonia have suffered from these symptoms this year, probably as result of being infected by this pathogen, but at least I now know what the problem is.

S

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it sounds like some kind of vermin to me!

i'd suggest, spray it well (not into the pitchers!)

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hmmmm maybe this is what is happening to my heli........

Sometime last week I noticed that the pitchers were wilting. On unpotting the plant I noticed that the rhizome was rotting and that most of the roots have gone black. I have cleaned away all the dead pitchers and roots and re potted anything that may just have any chance of survivaland put the plant in a much cooler place in the house in a mix of peat and perlite (more perlite than peat). Fingers crossed it will make some sort of recovery!!! If not then it will be the second and final loss of my heli's....................hmpffffff!!!

Thanks for the fab info......

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Apologies for ressurecting an old thread. After losing most of my helis to this fungus years ago, i was wondering if there was any new information on it (couldn't see anything on the forum). In my case most (all?) of the deaths started after recieving a new heli from another grower. Is the fungus common in the uk or does it have to be spread in some way? Any prevention methods? I would really like to add to my one surviving heli but very reluctant to spend loads of cash just to watch them die one by one to this disease.

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Any prevention methods?
Cool temps (as Andreas notes) and some people believe strongly in the use of Trichoderma.

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Cool temps (as Andreas notes) and some people believe strongly in the use of Trichoderma.

All my affected plants died in autumn or winter when it was of course much cooler. And I have been using Trichoderma for about 6 years now. So believe that there are other causes.

I did rescue two bits of the H. ionasii although their growth since them has been much slower. My recent big H. neblinae was not so lucky as every bit I turned into a cutting rotted completely. When I first discovered it there was an unaffected bit complete with roots which I potted up. But that went the same way in less than 24 hours. And although it along with another more "healthy" bit did grow for a while one soaked in benlate and potted up- still rotted about two weeks later. So once this disease gets going it seems to affect all the tissue whether it stills looks healthy or not.

bill

Edited by flycatchers

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I'm a bit sceptical about the temps also due to plants dieing at random times of the year, im curious whether its a fungus that spreads anyway, or whether it has to arrive on another heli? Tc plants would initially be free of the fungus.

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Thanks Andreas.

You describe a problem I have had with my Heliamphoras and Darlingtonias for years. Here in Sydney, Australia it regularly gets over 28 C in Summer though this Summer was alot colder. As Andreas wrote, by the time you realise there is a problem it is too late.

A few years ago a friend of mine suggested I use a fungicde available here called Fongarid. I began using it immediately and found a drop of 90% in plants affected and even when a plant was affected I was able to cut away all the affected section and repotted what is left. After treatment with the Fongarid ALL plants recovered. I have not completely lost any plants since I started using this fungicide. In fact I now treat all my plants on a semi regular basis and find they are all doing well. I use it more as a prevention now rather than a cure. I don't know if this product is available in your particular parts of the world, but if it is I srongly recommend using it.

Heliamphoras are to expensive and hard to get to be losing them to this rot.

Hope this helps

Jose.

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Hi Jose

What is the active ingredient of this fungicide? Over here thanks to EU laws nearly all of the worthwhile chemicals (not that I particulary like using them!) are now banned.

On my neblinae I did try some old Benlate I still had- though it still rotted away. But the chemical of course is well past its sell by date and nothing currently available would have budged this nasty diease!

In my case Mark I had not added any new plants to my collection since early 2011 and that was in a different area to my affected plant. Prior to this winter I would have rated this plant as tough as old boots!! :(

bill

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Hi Bill,

The package states that the "active constituent" is 250g/kg FURALAXYL.

It is for controlling damping off and root rot caused by Pythium and Phytophthora.

It's worked wonders for my plants.

Hope this helps.

Jose

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Hi there,

I just lost a large and old clump of H.heterodoxa x minor with this syndrom of rotting away from the rhizome. Luckily I put some spare in a diffrent pot before it satrted! I think the reason it became susceptible to the fungus was a sudden lack of light. I kept it in bright conditions before, but then had to mve it into a different tank with lower light because of space problems. I noticed the plant was unhappy becuase new pitchers were awfully etiolated. However, I was not anticipating a sudden death!

But the worst thing is, death occured when I was not there to separate the plant out, thus during regular automated watering excess run-off dripped onto my large and 7-years old seedgrown N.veitchii on the tray below. This plant is now dying with the same symptoms as descreibed earlier: Rot spreads up the stem and kills leaves off from the soil upwards to the apex. By the time I noticed it was too late for a tip cutting...

I recommend to isolate infected/dying plants immedtaitely to prevent spreading of fungus by water droplets as Andreas experienced.

reagrds, Mathias

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I'm going to resurrect this thread to ask if anyone has had further success with fungicides?

 

I have had a curious thing happen with my plants in recent months. They had been growing quite well in a terrarium in my office. Then, suddenly, they began declining. At first, I suspected that the night times must not be getting cold enough (or something similar) any more. As a consequence, I took the plants home, but took the precaution of isolating them individually. Some, have recovered quite well. Others, of the same age, but different species, have continued to have bizarre and harmed growth. One has died. I am suspecting that a fungus has caused this harm as other plants - new plants - are doing perfectly well in the same set-up with the same media/etc. The only difference is that they are isolated from one another. I would like to treat the ones doing poorly, but first wanted to see if anyone has had better luck with fungicides, particularly ones available in the US.

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