For an uber guide on Sarracenia trimming, cleaning, and dividing during domancy, click here. What you’re reading now is a really focused, really simple guide. Here I’ll outline a few tiny but immensely helpful tricks to getting a Sarracenia rhizome potted perfectly. To quote the fabulous Nathan Lane, “presentation is everything!”
Basically, this is a benchmark-level potting job. The end result is a sellable, shippable plant. You’ll want to get your rhizome placed level with the rim of the pot, submerged at the correct depth into the soil, and potted in firmly enough that you could poke it and the whole pot would move. No wiggly rhizomes here. I call this “anchoring” it.
In the demo, I use a mix of peat and perlite: 1 part peat to 1 & 1/2 parts perlite specifically. Peat already does a good job at water absorption, and less perlite than peat is ineffective for aeration. I don’t add anything else to my mix except some long-fiber sphagnum to plug up the bottom of pots with large drainage holes. Before using my soil, I make sure the it’s wet but not sloppy. If I squeezed it and a few drops of water came out, then I am ready to go. This is important because when anchoring your plant, if the soil is too wet then it may be difficult to maintain soil consistency, and you may end up with a loose rhizome (which isn’t the end of the world).
Remove all that moss and old soil. Spray it down if you must. When repotting, it’s always best to remove everything, but especially the topsoil. Rampant moss growth hinders hydrology, temperature fluctuation, and can even harbor pests.
Hold the rhizome with one hand within the pot, at the level you will plant it at. If the roots are splayed out at the bottom of the pot then that’s fine. Choose a pot that can accommodate both root space and new growth from the rhizome.
Begin by using your other hand to place soil in the bottom of the pot. In the image I’m taking the photo, but usually I have to use both hands for the job. Tamp it down firmly after every two clods or so. My “special trick” comes next…
Such a special trick! In order to solidly plant your rhizome, without it wiggling around or having any empty space under it or around the roots, you must compress the soil around each end of the rhizome, especially the rear end, so it’s anchored from behind, but also underneath the front end, so it’s anchored from directly below. This way your plant won’t wiggle around, and the soil won’t fall out when you move the pot. In short, it is now sales-worthy!
To get a perfectly level soil line, tamp down the soil enough, but not too much, and use the palm of your hand to firmly scrape off any fluffy excess.