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Do CP's Rot in Water?

Hey everyone,

I had a quick question. I've got several CP's, from S. Leuchophylla 'Hurricane Creek', to some D. Akai Ryu, to some mystery VFT's and Sarr from lowes.

I haven't had issues in the past. I live in Zone 8A in SC. I grow them all in a various mixtures of sand and peat moss, per 'Savage Garden'. They're in black 6" pots, that are tall. Just guessing, they're approximately 10" tall. I leave them in drip trays full of water all year. I've frequently had them freeze solid in winter and been just fine.

This year though, they seem to be in really bad shape. It's almost like they're rotting. The VFT's usually have a pot full of low growing traps. Now I'm seeing something like one leaf on a couple of plants. The cheapo sarrs seem to be fine, but unless it's still dormant, one 'Hurricane Creek' looks dead. The other looks like it put out a little new growth and the tips of it are dead.

One thing I noticed when cleaning up the 'Hurricane Creek' is that when I pull on the dead pitchers they'll tear off at ground level and they'll look rotten and wet.

I just didn't think a CP would rot in water. They're not submerged. Water wicks up from the trays. The pots get flushed by rain and it drains down to the level of the trays. The roots reach down for the water at the bottom. I can tell from when I repot. They never dry out either, because of the wicking action. The volunteer moss is doing great in the pots.

My suspicion is that it wasn't the water, but the weather. The last two years, we've had a cold winter, followed by a warm spell in February, and then nasty storms in March. It wasn't as bad this year, but peach trees took a loss last year, because of this. The blooms opened because of the early warm spell and then they died off in the second blast. I've had these other plants sitting out like this for several years and they've looked like they needed repotting because they're filling the pot. Now this.

Does this sound like something any of you guys have had issues with in the past? Is it the fluctuating temp. This is the only way I've wintered them in the past 5 years of keeping them. The 'Hurricane Creek' went through one winter with no issues for me. The cheapo Sarr and the new S. 'Carolina Yellow Jacket' I got last year are doing the best. The other stuff looks like it's on the verge of dying.

Thanks for the help.

Frequent or prolonged freezes can certainly be hard on the plants, particularly if they're elevated off the ground. I've lost quite a few Sarrs and flytraps to root due to that especially last year. If the bottom of the leaf is brown and mushy but the top is still green, it absolutely is rotting and you need to address it immediately to have any chance of saving the plant. If it's happening to a flytrap, there's likely nothing you can do unfortunately.
I’ve had Flytraps decline when they were in too much water over the winter. Generally I leave them out but our winters here in Seattle are generally mild and wet, so drying out is very unlikely. However a hard freeze can actually dessicate the plants, even those standing in some water, so if it’s going down to the mid 20s or below I will move the Flytraps in for the duration. Sarracenias I don’t usually have problems with (we got 3-4 days of 23-24 degree nights this year), but in places with frequent long freezes they generally do protect them. I would expect those from the warmest part of the Sarracenia range to be more sensitive to cold than others. Sorry you lost a Hurricane Creek! :-/

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It really depends on two things:

1. Species
Every species is different, and while some love sitting in water, others will die very quickly when they have "wet feet" (roots soaking in water all the time).

2. Growing Conditions
Some things are only an issue in certain conditions. For example, people say that if you top water Cephalotus, they will get crown rot. I have exclusively top watered my Cephalotus plants, pouring the water right into the middle of the growth, since 2012, and haven't experienced this. My hypothesis is that given the relatively low humidity in my grow area, the above ground plant tissue likely dries out pretty quickly, under the warm lights. If someone growing them in a terrarium did the same thing, they might have different results.

If you have a plant that has any rot around the growth point or rhizome, I would recommend uprooting it, rinsing it off, trimming as much of the decaying tissue as possible, rinsing it one more time, and then repotting into sterilized, well-aerated media. I've saved Dionaea before, by doing this, and even using a very diluted solution of H2O2 on the rhizome, but given the fact that H2O2, even at 1% (3x weaer than commonly sold bottles, around here), destroyed the Dionaea leaf I tested it on, this is riskier than using pure, running water.