Q/A #95 - Sarracenia with Bendy Pitchers

June 11, 2023

Q/A #95 - Sarracenia with Bendy Pitchers

Would you be able to advise me on what could be causing my Sarracenia flava pots to be putting on poor bendy growth right now. The two pots in the picture are exactly the same Sarracenia flava. I divided this plant in two in January because it was too big. But since then the one on the left has not done as well as the one on the right. They are watered from the same water source (rain water) and receive the same amount of light. I don't use fertilizer. I've had this plant for 8 years. Really appreciate your help. 
( Submitted in June 2021.)


A couple things might be going on. It could be one or the other, or both. Since these are recent divisions, sometimes those sections can behave oddly until they have fully developed new roots. If the division didn't have a good root system when you divided, the rhizome may have a difficult time absorbing water, which can cause slower growth and wilted leaves.

The other possibility is an infestation of thrips. Inspect the plant with a hand lens to make sure you don't have any thrips or other insects attacking the new growth. If you do, go ahead and treat them. However, you might not always see them. Some species of thrips can be very tiny and difficult to find. I can see the other plant on the right is having a few bendy new pitchers as well, so it's likely some sort of pest issue that's spreading.

As a precaution, you should spray with Neem or pyrethrin. Both are safe to use on Sarracenia. So, if you have a pest issue, that should take care of it. Make sure to follow the directions on the label. 

I couldn't find any pests, but I thought I'd spray some insecticide anyway and then these weird tiny worm-like things appeared. Clearly not happy I sprayed. I don't know what they are but hopefully that might resolve the problem.

Based on what you described, those could be fungus gnat larvae. Fungus gnats can be a problem if they get to sufficient numbers. Their larvae will munch on plant roots and hamper growth.

For now, spray the entire plant with your insecticide again in 2 days, and another time 2 days after that. You want to kill off the adults and any hatchlings that may occur. Watch for new growth. It should look normal after the spraying. If the new pitchers are still curved, you may need to take the plant out ot the pot and inspect the roots to see if anything is attacking them, or if something looks amiss with the soil or root health.

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