May 16, 2023
Q/A #89 - Sarracenia Didn't Survive Winter.
Sarracenia purchased last spring and summer I planted in an outdoor bog garden, in fall I covered the entire planter with a foot of leaves. I live in Wisconsin. I uncovered a couple weeks ago and have watered almost daily but have seen no emerging growth from anything. I’m tempted to dig everything up and individually repot, how would I know if the root stocks are still viable?
(Submitted in May 2021.)
RESPONSE BY JEFF DALLAS:
I'm sorry about the loss! Based on the photos I'm not seeing any tell-tale signs of rot from fungus. Instead, the rhizomes look like they dehydrated and died during winter.
Is your container free-draining, or is it sitting in a tray of water? You can unpot them and check the roots, or hope for new growth, but I wouldn't bet on it.
When the soil freezes and there's no liquid water for them to take in plants transpire their water very quickly. You mentioned mulching your plants with a foot of leaves. Were the leaves shredded or whole? We recommend shredded leaves because they provide better insulation than whole. Large pots, like the one you're using, are better at maintaining a constant soil temperature, but you still need to insulate the sides of the pot, not just the top, to slow down the freezing process.
Was the pot also elevated or on the ground. In very cold regions, such as yours, we highly recommend that pots are set on the ground (in water trays) and next to the house to reduce exposure to wintery elements. This will also provide better protection from large and rapid temperature changes.
You didn't mention if you sprayed your plants with a fungicide prior to mulching. While I don't see tell-tale signs of fungal rot (black crowns and algae growth around the crown), it still could occur beneath the soil. We recommend a sulfur-based fungicide to prevent fungus growth.
But low soil moisture might have been the biggest culprit. It's important that the soil is always moist. Whenever the temperature is above freezing, it's a good idea to check the soil and flood the soil with water. Is this something you checked on regularly throughout winter?
I know you have our digital download. Make sure to read the section on "When Winter Care Goes Wrong." See if any of those factors might have contributed to the situation.
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