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Heliamphora looking rumpled; advice?

Joined
May 3, 2009
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Hey there gang, first post on the forum; need some help.

I've been having pretty good luck with my heli as a first-time grower up until today - I noticed 3 of the pitchers are looking rumpled and shabby. I was surprised, as so far it's been doing really very well, lots of new growth in the 3-4 months I've had it. It's had periodic aphid issues that have been a quick fix w/ a fine-bristled old toothbrush sprayed with oil based insecticide.

Setup:
It sits in a tank on a lattice over still water to help humidity, is about 80 during the days and 65 at night thanks to timed swamp cooling, top-watered 3x/ wk, 14-hour photoperiod. I have it in a tray to catch excess water, but don't really "tray water," I just use that as an indicator for when it's getting dry.

Suggestions appreciated; photos below.

Problem pitchers:

DSC03693.jpg


Good Pitchers: (same plant)

DSC03694.jpg
 
Joined
May 3, 2009
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Growing in a terrarium w/ lattice surface suspended over water. Fogger runs at night w/ fan for swamp cooling. Humidity is listed at 83% as I type this. Pic below! Photo says temp is 69, which is high for at night but it's been a warm day here and the cooler just started.

Could kick up the photoperiod, but the guy I bought it from gives them way less light than I do, and it was healthy when I bought it. I bet I over-watered the poor thing.

Oh, and to anyone who's wondering, there's a younger heli in this tank that seems healthy, plus a cephalotus and 2 Nepenthes Rafflesania.

DSC03696.jpg
 
Joined
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Far Away NY
Increasing the photo period would not make up for lack of light intensity. I think they need brighter light in the long run.

What's causing the leaf dessication is something else though. Looks like the base of the plant is rotting on that side. The leaves are shriveling because they are no longer receiving water from the rhizome which is dead/dying.
 

carnivoure12

Hear the Call of Nepenthes
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You can test if they are actually rotting buy slight tugging on a pitcher, if it comes out esily with a mushy brown base, than its rotting.


Ummm Is that square thing your only light source, your look very light deprived, you might want to invest in stronger brighter lights. Only then will you get somethin like this

Believe it or not, this is the same species as yours except it gets a lot of light.
HminorAuyantepui2.jpg

Photo Belongs to Rob M.
 
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Nope, that "square thing" is a fan that runs for swamp cooling at night, which is when this picture was taken with a flash - so the light looks very strange in this photo. They have 2 24-inch "Agrobrites" keeping things sunny. I'll check to see if things have gotten moldy and consider giving them give them more; thanks for the insight!
 

petmantis

ermahgerd
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As others have said, the plant looks a bit light deprived. Once given stronger lights, it will start making colorful pitchers, and big nectar spoons, and will be healthier. Also, the very wide mouths of the pitchers will become smaller and sturdier, as seen in the photo posted by Carnivoure12

Good luck with it :)
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
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IMHO, the dessication of leaves that are still green is a bad sign....
Two likely possibilities: 1. lack of water 2. root issues

If watering has been sufficient then I would be digging her up and trying to remove any dead or dying tissue,

Be proactive, the clock is ticking

Av
 

Not a Number

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Could be aphid damage or from the insecticide. Oil based pesticides should be used with extreme caution. Never use a petroleum based oil. Neem oil seems to be benign when used with most carnivorous plants.
 
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Michigan
Stronger lighting

The pitchers indicate a problem with insufficient lighting. The nectar spoons are underdeveloped and there is virtually no red coloration. Can you move the pots closer to the lights (4-6 inches away)? In addition, your soil mixture may be too dense. I've had good success with a 50/50 mixture of dried LFS and perlite.
Up until two years ago I grew heliamphora under lights in my basement. I've since switched to growing them on a south facing windowsill, resulting in healthier plants. The sill receives 5 hours per day of direct sun during the summer. I've supplemented their lighting with two desk lamps, each having a 100 watt fluorescent bulb.
 
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The neem insecticide was very cautiously applied - spritzed on a fine-bristled toothbrush and then brushed the little buggies off by hand. There are no more aphids in sight and they've been gone for a while. Soil is still very damp to the touch, so I am inclined to think it is more likely over-watered than under-watered. That said, tugging at the dessicated leaves jostles the whole plant, they don't disconnect with any mushy brown rot.

What makes the most sense to me is that the plant got too hot. It has been unusually warm in my part of the world this summer, and I am in a 3rd story apartment that gets like an oven in the sun. I know it's gotten to 90 degrees F or higher last week while I'm away at work.

I will dig a little bit and see what I can see but am somewhat reluctant to repot as I don't want to make things worse if it's just a heat issue... At any rate I will be increasing the lighting as that sounds like something everyone here agrees on.

I can't thank you all enough for your tremendous insight! Wish I had advice to return but I'm merely a lowly noob.
 
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If it were a problem with heat or drying out too much the whole plant would be reacting the same way. Half the plant looks fine with moisture in the leaves. There is a root/rhizome problem with the other part of the plant. The new shoot and the base of the leaves that are shrivelling up look brown to me. At least as far as I can tell from the photo...
 
Joined
May 3, 2009
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Okie-Dokie. I dig it up and split it up like this:

DSC03698.jpg



I repotted the good half, as well as the 2 nicer pitchers of the gross gnarly half "just in case, " but I don't have a lot of hope for those. All my helis are now under double the lights they were getting in the past. Thanks tons for everyone's help and support!

Oh, someone had asked about soil mix, it's perlite and peat 50/50.
 
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Peat and perlite is not a good mix for these plants
most of the time when i see people using this mix for this genus, it leads to rot
i suggest switching to live LFS/perlite....or pure live LFS....
there is pleanty of other mixes for helis, but peat and perlite just isnt one that you should use...
 
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IMHO, the rot is a symptom of a larger issue.... I agree they could use more light but I dont think it is the root cause.

I would be really worried about your heat and possibly the soil mix. I know mine complain when temps peak into the high 70's

Some ppl do have good luck with peat based mixes, I never have...

just my 2cents
Av
 
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May 3, 2009
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2 cents of expert opinion is worth about a million bucks worth of uninformed opinion.

Hunting for some LFS today. Starting to wonder if I should leave the fan on these guys all the time, at least in summer.
 
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Well i would leave the fan on low to atleast circulate air, its important to have air circulation....
Yeah, LFS is found commonly in Lowes or Home Depot, just make sure there is no fertilizers....
youll notice, when you pot this plant up with LFS, that sometimes you will get little grass like weeds popping up in the moss, remove them....they will grow roots which will suck the water straight out of the LFS and suffocate your plant.
 
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Hi SirKristoff,
As long as you flush the pots with water regularly and leave no standing water in the trays the plants do fine. The perlite also helps prevent rot by increasing aeration. In addition, spores in the LFS eventually germinate producing live moss. But I do hear you loud and clear. If the LFS is packed too densely and the pot is left standing in water too long rot is inevitable. I'll post some pics as soon as I figure out the mechanics.
 
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Hello,

I don't like the way the bottoms of the dead pitchers are showing a brown coloration...

I suspect some sort of fungal problem with the plant. As Av8tor stated...the clock is ticking towards plant loss at a rapid rate! I'd gently uproot the plant, clean all dead/brown growth down to the rhizome, throw away the potting media totally and start afresh. It wouldn't hurt to let the plant soak in some RO water after you clean it, just to loosen up any remaining brown areas for total removal. I grow all of mine in live LFS, but dead LFS with a little perlite is great.

Secondly, your plants are near extoliation. You need more light. Even a few florescent bulbs in addition would help greatly. Overwatering combined with not enough light is most likely the biggest contributor to your problem. Also, too much peat in your compost can reap havoc as well and hamper good drainage, which Heliamphora must have in order to thrive.. That's why live or dead long-fiber sphagnum is the best choice, in my opinion.

Good luck!

Brian.
 
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