Pitcher Plants, Glory!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Propagate Carnivorous Plants Divisions, stem cuttings, and a technique called ‘leaf pulling’ – the world of carnivorous plants is as diverse to propagate as it is to grow. A writer recently asked about using Hormex products to root Nepenthes, Dionea, and Sarracenia. Specifically, he asked about dilutions which I take to mean what dilution to make with Hormex Liquid Concentrate. If that is not the case, you can use Hormex Rooting Powder #1 to propagate these carnivorous genera, but my instincts tell me that the HLC will be a better option in this case. Here are some notes about these plants taken from my own experience, that of a dear friend who grows them well, and the website of the Carnivorous Plant Society (http://www.sarracenia.com/faq.html). Dionaea, the Venus flytrap, will sometimes put on a second set of leaves and gets crowded. Do not be tempted to divide the plant for several years! Division is not a good option until the baby is very well-rooted. Instead, pull leaves to root from a healthy plant. Slip the plant out of its pot and look at the big white base. Pull a leaf off entirely, from green tip to white or tan bottom, without using a knife or scissors. Dip the base of the leaf in undiluted HLC for 1-3 minutes and lay it on top of a flat of well-drained rooting mix with the dipped in slightly under the mix. Put the flat in high light and on a heating pad made for greenhouse use. If it will be hard to keep the area humid, consider a plastic cloche and remember to ventilate it regularly. Keep the mix just damp and add 1 t/gal of HLC monthly during the rooting process. Little plants will appear in about 12 weeks, but they may only look like bumps for another month. After that, you are on your way to expanding your collection. Nepenthes, the outrageous tropical pitcher plants like monkey cups, make a great conversation piece and are a natural in hanging baskets where they can really be appreciated. The best clones of these plants come from green stems, not brown ones, but fortunately you can make several clones from one leafy stem. Take cuttings to produce stem segments with 2 leaves each and then trim off half the surface area of each leaf. Hydration is very important, so much so that you are advised to make the cuttings under water and stick them immediately. Dip the base of each segment in undiluted HLC for 2-4 minutes and stick it into a small pot filled with well-drained rooting media such as equal parts potting mix and coarse sand. High humidity and strong daylight are necessary, and some of the fastest rooting I’ve seen in this group comes by putting the entire pot into a plastic bag on a warm windowsill that sits under an eave. That puts the pots not direct sun, but in strong light all day. These tropicals take at least a month to root and will benefit from 2 t HLC/gallon of water when you water them. Sarracenias, the North American pitcher plants that I love to visit in south Mississippi among other places, are the best candidates in your collection for classic division. These plants like to be potbound and are best left to split the container open before dividing. Fortunately, it doesn’t take more than 3 years for a healthy plant to do this! If you are careful, you can divide every other year – just be sure to drench new plants and repots with fungicide and grow on. Pitchers will also come well from a rhizome or piece of it. Whether you have all parts or only the rhizome, let them soak in 1 T HLC/quart of water for 15 minutes and then pot them in a well-drained rooting mix as described above. The author of the ICPS website cited above says to do this in the spring, but others do the process in winter from potted plants. A few Sarracenias can be rooted from the pulled leaves as well.
Go back to Propagate This!

Login or Register to comment post.