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Algae, sphagnum and dormancy oh my!

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Algae, sphagnum and dormancy oh my!

Postby Grey » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:32 pm

Hello community,

I've sped onto the forums in a blind panic. I've noticed one of my venus flytraps looking particually black. It has dying traps as any VFT does, but the black is "spreading" up from the rhizome rather than the traps dying first -- is this a sign of early dormancy? The plants are on my windowsill and it has been rather cold lately, I've tried to maintain a decent temperature but the breeze that comes through my window is shockingly bitter. I've tried to get some photographs, and I hope they're all right.

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Also, my supersphag is turning green. I've had this before and put it down to algae so I replaced the green stuff and reduced the amount of water I was giving it. Now it's back with a vengeance. My mother thinks it may be new sphagnum growth, or my dehydrated stuff coming to life but I'm not sure. Any ideas?

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If it is algae, does anyone have any suggestions on how I can eradicate it? Is it harming my plants?

Thank you.
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Re: Algae, sphagnum and dormancy oh my!

Postby moof » Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:23 pm

Umm I see nothing wrong with the VFT?
The green thingy is likely algae, you can't dou much with it... try to use a spray bottle. But algae won't harm your plants.
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Re: Algae, sphagnum and dormancy oh my!

Postby Veronis » Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:31 pm

A close-up of the "algae" might help. It actually looks like it *might* be live sphagnum moss to me. Dry LFS is known to kick out live growth eventually.

As for the flytrap, it looks very healthy to me as well. The colder days w/ seasonal sun probably set it off. It looks like a healthy plant to me. The leaves around the rhizome of many green flytraps turn reddish or darker toward autumn; most temperate CP's (especially sarracenia) show their most brilliant colors in autumn.

After that, when they're almost dormant, several leaves will often turn a sickly looking yellow/brown, then turn black. Most of the healthy traps will also close, and no longer function at all.
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Re: Algae, sphagnum and dormancy oh my!

Postby Grey » Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:43 pm

Thank you both for your replies, it's very reassuring to hear. It's hard to get a closeup of the "algae" tonight, but I can try in the morning when the light is better. The sphagnum was originally thought to be dead, chopped up stuff but I'm not sure. Either way I'm glad it won't harm my plants.

As for my flytrap, I'll keep an eye on it and if the blacking progresses (it could be a trick of the light) then I'll get another photo and upload it. Thank you kindly.
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Re: Algae, sphagnum and dormancy oh my!

Postby Veronis » Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:47 pm

Pick up a few pieces of the green stuff and take a really good look at it, try to wipe the green off. If the stuff looks almost segmented (like a centipede) and no algae comes off on your fingers, it's live sphagnum. Leave it be and let it grow. :) It's a very slow grower but it can bury small low-to-the-ground plants over time to keep an eye and trim it back a bit if ever necessary.

Chopped up dry dead sphagnum commonly generates live sphagnum.
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Re: Algae, sphagnum and dormancy oh my!

Postby Grey » Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:21 pm

Veronis wrote:Pick up a few pieces of the green stuff and take a really good look at it, try to wipe the green off. If the stuff looks almost segmented (like a centipede) and no algae comes off on your fingers, it's live sphagnum. Leave it be and let it grow. :) It's a very slow grower but it can bury small low-to-the-ground plants over time to keep an eye and trim it back a bit if ever necessary.

Chopped up dry dead sphagnum commonly generates live sphagnum.


I just did that, and it's definately live sphagnum! Oh I'm very excited!! :D Thank you!
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Re: Algae, sphagnum and dormancy oh my!

Postby Steve_D » Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:53 pm

Regarding the Venus Flytrap, I don't think anything is wrong with it, judging from the photos. In fact, it looks very happy to me. The darker areas at the base of the leaf often happen when tender parts of the leaf, whitish parts that have not been exposed to sun much, suddenly receive much more sunlight. At that time anthocyanin dye develops and turns those exposed parts of the leaves first reddish, then dark as they leaves also turn green from chlorophyll. So the combination of the chlorophyll green and the red anthocyanin looks dark. But the leaves, and especially the new growth at the center of the rosette, all look very healthy.

So don't let your worry make you do something impulsive that may actually cause harm when everything was really fine to begin with. :)
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Re: Algae, sphagnum and dormancy oh my!

Postby Grey » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:19 pm

Thank you Steve! Gosh I am relieved. I recently had another of my charges perish (not a plant, though) and have been a little overly-worried lol. Thank you.
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Re: Algae, sphagnum and dormancy oh my!

Postby moof » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:19 pm

Are you sure the sphagnum is alive? It looks dried out good. When it's covered with algae, it looks almost like it's alive. If the green things are small new growth points then it's great, but if the "old" sphagnum turned green then there's nothing sure.

Peter
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