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Need help figuring out what I’m doing wrong with my D Regia

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Jun 5, 2016
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I’m having a ton of trouble with D Regia and I have absolutely no idea what is going wrong. I started it with two medium sized plants about a year ago and have propagated and killed several since then, I’ve tried growing them in a couple different spaces under different conditions and always run into the same problems. The first one I got was growing in a 5” deep pot, 50/50 peat/sand mix, originally from a greenhouse I had it growing in my highland terrarium right next to heliamphora, epiphitic urricularia, and highland nepenthes, all of which are very happy. Humidity 80+ with hourly misting system, temps upper 70s days and lower 60s at night, good airflow throughout the set up, top watered with RODI about once a week along with everything else, fertilized once a month with 25% strength maxsea. It did ok initially, but then started getting smaller and smaller, leaves were flopping over and turning black on the tips as soon as they unfurled, very little dew. After a couple months I repotted into the same mix with a deeper pot and took some root cuttings, it bounced back a few weeks later and started a second growth point, but after another month it looked just as bad as before.
I got another mature plant round then, figured maybe it was the constant misting that was bothering it and kept that one in a different grow space in the basement under bright t5s with some light from red/blue LEDs coming in from the side. 6 inch deep pot, this time with a highland nepenthes LFS/Pearlite/Orchid bark mix, watered weekly, fertilized occasionally with the maxsea, the room stays a little warmer, humidity in the 60s-70s, good airflow, no misting this time, growing along Mexican pings and very happy cephalotus. Same exact thing happened, leaves wouldn’t grow upright, tips turned black and it steadily reduced size. After a while I went away for 10 days and left it under a humidity dome standing in shallow water and came home to find the growth point killed off by mold. Took more cuttings, at this point I also had 5-6 small plants sprouting from the earlier cuttings and had them growing in small plastic condiments containers in sphagnum. I potted those up and they seemed to be doing well for a couple weeks in the same area in my basement, not much dew but they were growing fast and upright, then they started turning black at the tips and a couple died back, they look a little pale and aren’t as upright as before but I haven’t fertilized yet to see if that’s what’s causing all my problems. Now I have the second round of cuttings ready to be potted up and I desperately don’t want to waste them like I have the others. I have them in pretty ideal conditions from everything I’ve read, and I really don’t know what else to change up. Does anyone know what could be blamed for the browning tips and prostrate growth?
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2016
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What photoperiod are you using, and are you watering the plant with the Maxsea?

Photoperiod is 14 hours, I water with pure RODI once a week and follow that up with the 25% maxsea after one watering a month so it sits in there for about a week before mostly being washed out during the next watering. For the one I was growing in the basement in the nepenthes mix I probably only fertilized a handful of times.
 
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I would suspect that the fertilizer may be what's causing your problem. While D. regia has a reputation for being more tolerant, I've seen far too many people kill their plants attempting it to ever recommend it myself (usually with Osmocote.) I'd stick with a foliar feed.
 

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Browning/black tips are sometimes a sign of not enough humidity but that doesn't seem to be the case here.

How are you fertilizing them? I just foliar feed (light mist) twice a month with 25% strength or less Maxsea. Or I'll dump some fruit flies or ground up fish food flakes on them when the spirit moves me. As far as Osmocote goes I follow the John Brittnacher's recommendation - as I recall - 4-5 pellets per 1 gallon pot once a year in the spring. See the ICPS website for exact recommendation.

I'd suspect you may be over fertilizing them or may even be too humid. How are the being grown at the greenhouse where you obtain them?
 
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Browning/black tips are sometimes a sign of not enough humidity but that doesn't seem to be the case here.

How are you fertilizing them? I just foliar feed (light mist) twice a month with 25% strength or less Maxsea. Or I'll dump some fruit flies or ground up fish food flakes on them when the spirit moves me. As far as Osmocote goes I follow the John Brittnacher's recommendation - as I recall - 4-5 pellets per 1 gallon pot once a year in the spring. See the ICPS website for exact recommendation.

I'd suspect you may be over fertilizing them or may even be too humid. How are the being grown at the greenhouse where you obtain them?

I was top watering the fert into the media going off what I’d read about the benefits of putting osmocote in the pots, some of which would end up on the leaves, but I ran into the same problem with the plant that I rarely fertilized and the seedlings that I never fertilized. The greenhouse I got them from had them growing along side other tropical drosera in basically intermediate nepenthes temperatures and very high humidity. The only real conditions difference when I took them home is that they went from natural sun to artificial and the temps dropped a little.
 
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Light is actually the least of my worries, I thought that at first the burnt tips were due to excessively bright light until I started having the same problem with the plant in the other slightly darker set up, the main highland terrarium has high end LEDs bright enough to turn heliamphora bright red and are much brighter than the t5s I see a lot of people growing their regia under. I have heard that they do better under natural sunlight, but it’s still too cold here to experiment with outdoor growing.
 
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I think Humidity, at least for Regia, is overrated. I grew Regia during the winter in Colorado (only lived there for a few months) in an open room under T5s, and by the time I moved away they were looking better than when I brought them there. I don't remember the humidity I was measuring, but I know it was pretty low. It seemed the high light and the low temperatures were what it like.

That being said, I've grown Regias for a long time and still struggle with sudden deaths when growing indoors. Sometimes they'll grow great and then suddenly decline. The crown will die, but some roots will survive and bring up new plants weeks or months later. Sometimes these will do fine, but other times it seems like the soil is no longer 'viable'. Since this has only seemed to happen with my indoor grown plants, my current ideas are its either fungal, lack of food, or maybe even an overlooked dormancy period.
 

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I grew mine indoors and for the first couple years seemed to do well. After which they noticeably began to decline, randomly (not seasonally) dying down to roots and growing back smaller before dying down again. And taking longer to start growing again. Eight or nine years ago I moved them outdoors where the grow all year round. They've been thriving ever since, sending up offshoots - no flowers though. It would, seem as others have noted, that for long term growth this species likes a cooler/ cold season. It hasn't gotten cold or hot enough that the plants form a hibernaculum. Changing the media at least annually at most every two years seems to help too. And a good time to take root cuttings.
 
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I'm glad to see someone with first-hand experience showing that the plant does indeed seem to require seasonal variation for long-term health. It's been my hypothesis for a while that both D. regia and Cephalotus have very similar environmental tolerances and seasonal requirements to Darlingtonia (though Darlingtonia are obviously more freeze-resistant.)
 
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