VFT Mystery

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RhysKi

 
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VFT Mystery

by RhysKi » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:29 pm

Greetings all,
I have perused and perused for hours trying to figure this out... So, before I get to the mystery itself I will let you know the conditions which my VFT's are currently experiencing:
I have about 12 VFT's grown from seed. They are 8 months old and about only 4 mm tall/wide, but some with anywhere between a few and up to 15 traps on each plant. They are planted in a large, wide tray with glass walls, insulated around the outside where the soil is with cardboard, and a ventilated / half-open top. The medium is 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) deep of 60/40 peat moss and black silica sand with a loose gravel bottom layer. They are "injected" (I simply use a needle-less syringe / eye dropper tool to squeeze water near each plant) about once a week and occasionally top watered with a spray bottle every now and then in between injections. The soil is typically moist and very rarely completely dries out before I water again, but just enough. Temperatures are kept at about 76 - 78 degrees F (approx. 24 - 26 C) when the lights are on, and about 74 - 76 degrees F (approx. 23 - 24 C) at night when the lights are off. They receive 16 hours a day of artificial light from 2 long T8 Full Spectrum FloraMax fluorescent lights that are about 8 inches (20 cm) away from the plants as well as at least a few hours a day of sunlight (as long as it is not terribly cloudy) through the glass door they stand beside. For outdoor temp zone reference, I live in Indiana, USA.

SO, here is the mystery: I have a few plants that simply have wanted to give up in the last several weeks, with many traps just turning black on an every-other-day basis at times for some plants. However, they are right next to plants that are thriving and doing fantastically! For instance, I had 2 plants that are planted not but 1.5 inches (4 cm) apart, and one is doing amazing (very green) with over a dozen traps on it - but its direct neighbor who recently had just as many traps looks wilted and has had its traps almost all go black in a matter of a very short time (about 1-2 weeks for this one.) There are others in the same environment but doing the same thing - near very well-performing plants but have been struggling like none other for some reason since winter cold, and I can't figure it out... Why would some be doing so very well, but others next to those ones be ailing and not creating new growth as old growth dies off? Could it be that the medium needs refreshed, they're trying to go into dormancy for some reason, competition, change in closeness/amount of light, or is it the fact that they had been eating some aphids in the late summer/fall before I took care of the issue and they haven't eaten since (or ate too often before to help the newer growth thrive?) It seems so complex to me, and I keep reading differing opinions on what this could mean... Any help and feedback would be appreciated. Thank you in advance!

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SundewWolf

 
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Re: VFT Mystery

by SundewWolf » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:52 pm

To me it sounds like "runt" seedlings dying off. Usually there is a mix of very good growers, medium growers, and seedlings that will die in a few weeks. If the temp is 74-76 and they are also getting 16 hours of supplemental lighting I don't think they would be going dormant despite the outdoor cues. The gravel layer at the bottom may be leeching minerals into the soil depending on what kind it is...

A picture would help to be more certain, but I think that's what's going on with your seedlings.
plant videos: http://www.youtube.com/liguus

Plants in my collection: post186153.html

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RhysKi

 
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Re: VFT Mystery

by RhysKi » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:27 pm

SundewWolf wrote:To me it sounds like "runt" seedlings dying off. Usually there is a mix of very good growers, medium growers, and seedlings that will die in a few weeks. If the temp is 74-76 and they are also getting 16 hours of supplemental lighting I don't think they would be going dormant despite the outdoor cues. The gravel layer at the bottom may be leeching minerals into the soil depending on what kind it is...

A picture would help to be more certain, but I think that's what's going on with your seedlings.



Thanks so very much, SundewWolf! Yes, I figured there would be a few that simply would be lost to natural selection. However, at least a couple of them that were perfectly fine and appeared well-established for several months with many traps seem to have almost suddenly began to look sad & sickly. It just seems strange that they were doing fine until the last few weeks... The gravel was clean gravel and is so many layers beneath the actual medium that I wouldn't think any minerals would seep through, but that's a possibility. I would attach a picture, but they're so small my camera won't pick them up; the best photo I can get is fairly distant and may not be helpful. I am working on ordering Perlite soon if that may be better than the silica sand (the sand is a bit fine and could be more compact than they want.) Perhaps they are having issues establishing their roots in this medium mix? I do deeply appreciate your guys' feedback!

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KategoricalKarnivore

 
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Re: VFT Mystery

by KategoricalKarnivore » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:25 am

It could be due to not enough water. You said yourself they look wilted. The media should be moist at all times. Don’t let it dry out.
A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in--what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

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RhysKi

 
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Re: VFT Mystery

by RhysKi » Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:32 pm

Thanks, I'll try to keep that in mind! Although, I do admit to getting paranoid about potential rot or over-watering; so I'll keep an eye on that...
Here are a few pictures: Image & Image & Image & Image .

The sand is black and does have some "sparkly" bits in it. I think quartz, just fyi that it isn't mold or fungus... Anyway, you can kind of see how some are doing fine it seems while others are somewhat dying away... For instance, the one in the first image with the 2 right next to each other (1 very green on right & 1 turned half black on left) occurred in just the last several days (about 4-7) when at one point they looked almost exactly the same. Some have been (like a few of the others shown with red/black leaves/traps) simply on a downhill slope. Perhaps I'm overreacting, though I'm not sure.

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SundewWolf

 
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Re: VFT Mystery

by SundewWolf » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:28 pm

I can't see the attached photos.
plant videos: http://www.youtube.com/liguus

Plants in my collection: post186153.html

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RhysKi

 
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Re: VFT Mystery

by RhysKi » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:42 pm

SundewWolf wrote:I can't see the attached photos.


Sorry, here's a link to the pictures on a temporary hidden page on one of my personal sites for reference: https://sites.google.com/view/jessica-teeters/vfts

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SundewWolf

 
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Re: VFT Mystery

by SundewWolf » Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:14 am

It's hard to tell how wet the the soil is under that particular lighting, and they all looked a bit washed out color-wise to me, although I guess that may just be the lighting. I still think its just some weaker seedlings dying off an the rest should be fine. I also though one of them could have rotted if it was too wet once, or a particular raised area of soil dried out once. They are a bit sensitive to fluctuations in their environment until they gain some size.
plant videos: http://www.youtube.com/liguus

Plants in my collection: post186153.html

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RhysKi

 
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Re: VFT Mystery

by RhysKi » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:11 pm

SundewWolf wrote:It's hard to tell how wet the the soil is under that particular lighting, and they all looked a bit washed out color-wise to me, although I guess that may just be the lighting. I still think its just some weaker seedlings dying off an the rest should be fine. I also though one of them could have rotted if it was too wet once, or a particular raised area of soil dried out once. They are a bit sensitive to fluctuations in their environment until they gain some size.


Double checked the sand, and it claims to be pure, clean black silica and not volcanic or containing any minerals...
That could be true... one or two are a bit pale and a few almost seem to be pushing themselves upward into "mounds" of medium. The sand may be compacting to where they are doing so, allowing for your aforementioned fluctuations possibly. I'm looking into perlite and perhaps re-doing the medium mix as I have more seeds on the way actually, as long as I don't end up doing more damage than helping in doing such! *crossing my fingers

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mutikasha

 
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Re: VFT Mystery

by mutikasha » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:31 pm

Sand can be silicate and Black, but this is not quartz sand. Three is no such thing as Black quartz appart a few mineralogical varieties with graphite and such, but this are in larger crystals. If it is not quartz, it will leach minerals.

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salty

 
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Re: VFT Mystery

by salty » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:46 pm

Pretty sure quartz is made up of silica so if it says it’s pure silica it should be good for our purposes

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1cashew

 
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Re: VFT Mystery

by 1cashew » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:03 pm

Yes RhysKi
I do think you have a problem. First off I think it is possible to buy black silica sand so I rule that out. Second I have never seen an eight month old plant display any signs of 'dormancy' whatever that means. Whatever it means an 8 month old plant should not be obviously losing leaves. My next concern would be exactly what is your soil media. Next would be to question what do you mean you are growing in a tray? My thought is that you have a soil pathogen and need a soil fungicide but clearly as others have said before you have allowed your plants to possibly desiccate. Poor environmental conditions often lead to declining health but soil pathogens are noted for a quick decline in plant health.

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mutikasha

 
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Re: VFT Mystery

by mutikasha » Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:32 am

About the sand again... Quartz is 100% silica but numerous other minerals (which are Black) also have high ammount of silica in them but the thing is they do like to leech and a lot even. I woul be very wary about using something in a cp medium which has special requierments about minerals leeching. Your choice.

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RhysKi

 
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Re: VFT Mystery

by RhysKi » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:39 pm

OK! I was wrong in guessing about it having quartz - that was just a guess until I looked up my sand again!

I also mentioned that my medium was 60/40 pure, cleaned (I rinsed all of these materials with R/O water several times myself before use) peat moss and the silica sand.

As far as the tray goes, as I mentioned, it is simply a deep tray with about 6" glass walls installed around it to help maintain temp. No water underneath, half open lid, just very deep medium. I don't know why it would take 8 months for the silica to all of a sudden start leeching either... It was a bit too sudden, I think, to pin on leeching minerals/etc.

In regards to fungicide, I have begun applying some around the plants to see if it improves things, just in case...

Like I said, there were some temp. and possible dryness fluctuations (such as while I'm at work) during that really cold time period here in the n/ne USA. My apartment wasn't even able to hold set temperature during that time period. Maybe that was it? Some are looking greener and bouncing back now, but some seem to be inevitably lost (hopefully not.)

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1cashew

 
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Re: VFT Mystery

by 1cashew » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:55 pm

Mutikasha makes a good point about the sand. I use 100% pure silica sand for my cp's (rinsed until the water is no longer cloudy) and it appears that black silica sand does not fall into the category of 100% pure silica sand so I would consider it risky. I use a well draining vessel for my seeds and seedlings with a tray underneath for bottom watering. It seems easier to keep the soil as close to optimally hydrated as possible using this method.


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