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Sarracenias in the tropics?

I am new to CPs and also new to this discussion forum. I live in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, so maybe I shouldn't be here in "foreign carnivorous plant resources." However, the other forums are geared more toward cultivating CPs in temperate climates. I feel closer to the comments in this forum -- particularly those of Singaporeans -- because they tend to be more applicable to Honolulu's tropical climate. .

I wonder if anyone has had any success at growing Sarracenia in a tropical climate without the use of artificial cooling. I understand that, generally speaking, Sarracenia will not grow well in a climate that is warm throughout the year because they need a cool dormancy period. However, I'm hoping that there's a hybrid or two out there that might defy the odds. Thanks for any suggestions that anyone may have.
Hi Tropics,
Welcome to the forums!
I have three different Sarrs (two species and one hybrid) and they appear to be doing okay. A friend of mine has leucophylla and they grow marvelously here. The only problem might be dormency, which might require some kind of treament in the fridge to get them to rest. I keep mine in the same pot when they go into dormency and place them in a cool, shaded area. So far, they have not died on me yet.
Hi Tropics,
Welcome to the contradiction of growing temperate CPs in tropical climate.
Singapore CPers have discussed this "problem" in the forum, see Here

There is a CP nursery in Hawaii supplying Sarrs and other CPs see Here. They will be able to answer your question best.

BTW my 2 sarrs of 6 months in my cultivation are doing fine under direct morning sun, no sign of dormancy yet.
Happy growing
Hi Tropics,

and welcome to this forum. I've grown sarras before but have lost all of them root mealies. They are still my favourite but I am out of space for them at the moment.

They were growing very well when I had them. Dormancy was a problem though 'cos they were very prone to fungus attack when they are coming out of it. I used a refrigerator for their dormancy together with the VFTs.

By the way, I love Hawaii. My deepest impression of it was when I was boardsurfing and it started to drizzled. When the rain stopped, I saw a rainbow starting from the top of a hotel at Waikiki and it ended in the sea!
That makes at least two of us who have been to Hawaii. I was there in 2001 to study crabs at the Bishop Museum.
I've been there too! Great place, I vividly remember swimming with dolphins in Waikilaua (sp)

Was there a long time ago though...
Thanks to all who have posted replies to my request for information about growing Sarracenia in the tropics. For those who are interested, the following is a summary of information gathered from replies here and on other CP discussion forums, as well as from correspondence with individuals.

The conventional wisdom is that Sarracenia cannot grow in the tropics unless refrigerated during dormancy. Yet, there are instances of individuals growing Sarracenia in the tropics without refrigeration, although it is more difficult than growing them in a temperate climate. As can be expected, Saracenia are more easily grown in the cooler areas of the tropics, such as in valleys and on mountains. In addition, certain varieties may be more adaptable, such as S. leucophylla, S. psittacina, and S. x 'Dixie Lace.'

Now I wonder if plants grown from seed in the tropics would be more adaptable than plants that are imported from a temperate climate.
Here's a further update on growing Sarracenia in the tropics. This past weekend I went to a plant sale in Honolulu and was surprised to find someone selling Sarracenia. More accurately, I was on the verge of being overjoyed because it was the first time I had seen Sarracenia for sale in Hawaii. The plants appeared to be quite healthy, and of course I had to get a couple of them. The grower had three varieties. Each S. "Scarlet Belle" plant had about 30 pitchers averaging 6 inches in length. Each S. leucophylla "Tarnok" and S. flava plant had about 10 pitchers averaging 10 inches in length. I asked the grower how he grew them. He said he initially purchased flasks of tissue cultured plants. He chose these particular varieties because they were the only ones available at the time. He later transferred them to pots, which I believe he put in a greenhouse where they were often sprayed with water. Now he has them outdoors throughout the year and waters them daily. (He does not have the plants in trays of water.) He uses water directly from the public water system, which is low in minerals. He grows them in Kaneohe, a town on the island of Oahu that is at low elevation, so it is fairly warm there throughout the year. The lowest temperature is probably about 58 degrees F. (15 degrees C.) during winter months, and the highest temperature is about 90 degrees F. (30 degrees C.) during the summer. Kaneohe is on the windward side of the island, where it is relatively cloudy and rainy compared to the rest of the island, and the average annual rainfall is about 70 inches. The plants are now 2 years old, and have never gone dormant. I asked him if he knew why, and he didn't know. He said that when he got them, he didn't know if they would grow, but he just wanted to see if he could grow them. I'd say he has done quite a good job.
What kind of potting mix are the Sarrs grown in?
  • #10
Hi guqin,

The potting mixture appears to be peat moss and perlite.
  • #11
Tropics, are your Sarracenias particularly prone to fungus? Well, mine are. For some reason, both my sarracenias, a "stevensi" and a purpurea, have died from an outbreak of fungus (grey mould I think) which did not affect plants very close to them -- VFTs, sundews, non-CP plants, etc.

And what's more, the fungus is immune to Captan, overdosage or not. They just keep coming back!
  • #12
eBeyonder, I purchased my first Sarr (minor) only 3 months ago, and leucophylla "Tarnok" and "Scarlet Belle" only about a week ago. So there's not much experience there, but no fungus so far. The minor was originally grown in a greehouse in California, and latter 2 were grown outdoors in Hawaii. I now have all of them outdoors. I don't know where your plants are, but I suspect that fewer fungal problems are encountered growing plants outdoors than in terrariums or greenhouses, although one has to deal with other problems outdoors, such as wind.
  • #13
Tropics, my plants were in the open as well. The strange thing is that the plants beside the affected Sarracenias have not been so affected.
  • #14
eBeyonder, if nothing else works for your fungus problem, you might try powdered cinnamon, which is a natural fungicide. It doesn't work for all fungi, but it might work for what you have. I haven't actually used it on CPs, but I once used it on a Phalaenopsis (orchid) leaf that had a large area affected by fungus. I mixed cinnamon with cooking oil to make a paste and rubbed it on the area. The fungus was stopped in its tracks. For your situation, I was thinking that you might sprinkle some cinnamon on the growing medium above the roots, then spray it with water so it seeps down. Just an idea.
  • #15
The plants will not require dormancy as yet because they are tissue culture grown. Eventually I fear they will decline and weaken without a rest. Their growth patterns may also suffer.
  • #16
Maybe we can give sarrs and VFTs a longer "rest period" at night? blast them with flouresant light for about 10 hours and let it rest for the rest of the day?

also where did you guys get the S. stevensi?

My sarr has been affected with grey mould(i think) before but it recovered. I pulled out all infected pitchers and some not infected to let the crowns have light and air circulation. I also put it in a windy location

So growing a plant from tissue culture makes the plant not tropical?