Q/A #6 - Nepenthes with Cold Damage During Shipping

December 30, 2022

Q/A #6 - Nepenthes with Cold Damage During Shipping

Hi, my order just arrived after 13 days of shipping. I live in St. Louis, MO and temps are below freezing. Plants look stressed and was hoping you could give some advice on special TLC so these bounce back. Is there anything beyond normal care in the pamphlets I should provide them? The Drosera multifida and Marston's Dragon had some dead stems (black and soggy) that I trimmed off. Some others limp, but left alone. Nepenthes leaves look a bit weirdly mottled, but maybe that's how Gaya is supposed to look? Everything is alive, just looking for additional advice on winter stress recovery.
(Submitted in December 2020.)

Drosera Marston's Dragon (front) and D. multifida (back right)

Nepenthes Gaya

Your plants definitely got some excess cold exposure. With the D. multifida, it will be fine. Just give it time. They have thick roots, and do get frosts in Australia. The current leaves may die, but new ones will grow from the root stock once it's established in your home. 

The same is true with the Marston's Dragon. We had a large pot of this plant survive a winter outdoors at our nursery where it typically gets down to 20°F (-7°C). We did it as an experiment. The plant died back to the soil in winter. In spring, it grew from its root stock. I think we left it outside for two seasons before breaking it apart for propagation. So, it's a pretty tough plant.

I'm not quite as optimistic with the Nepenthes. They are true tropicals. It's been a week since you wrote to me, how does it look now? If it dies, write to Jacob for a replacement since it's in the 30-day guarantee window. I've CC'd him in this email. 

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I'm sorry for the prolonged transit time. These sorts of things rarely happen, but with the unprecedented volume of packages the Post Office has experienced this season, along with being short staff due to precautionary COVID measures, delays are happening a bit more frequently. Oddly enough, a couple of other packages going to MO also experienced the same fate. It could be that route is most impacted by these issues. 

Your plants are covered by our 30-day guarantee. Based on the photos, they are not at the quality we would expect upon arrival. The Nepenthes is dead or will soon be. The discolored leaves are classic signs that it was exposed to freezing or near freezing temperatures for a significant amount of time. While heat packs mitigate these issues, they only last for 96 hours. They certainly wouldn't have lasted the 13 days your package was in transit. The sundews will survive, but you didn't purchase them as outdoor perennials.

I'll ship you a set of fresh plants, but we should wait until the holiday rush is over. I'll schedule shipping for early January provided the weather in your area is appropriate. You'll get tracking information at the time of shipping. 

Submitted in December 2020. The original question and response have been edited for publication.
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