Tropical Pitcher Plant - Nepenthes
Nepenthes "Black Dragon" (N. izumae x N. truncata) (Exotica hybrid)
Nepenthes bicalcarata (Germinated from seed May 04)
Nepenthes x dyeriana (northiana x maxima) x (veitchii x rafflesiana)
Nepenthes hamata (Borneo Exotics clone)
Nepenthes mirabilis - Mengkuang Titi Penang (Germinated from seed Feb 08)
Nepenthes rafflesiana (Male)
Nepenthes x Rokko clone A x Nepenthes hamata (Germinated from seed June 05)
Light: I grow my neps in a south facing sliding glass
door year round. No supplemental lighting.
Soil: I grow mine in an equal mix of
peat moss, long fiber sphagnum, and perlite.
Use a good draining soil mix.
Water: Use rainwater, distilled, or
reverse osmosis. They like to always stay moist, but hate to
sit in standing water. This causes their roots to rot.
Humidity: Varies between species. The
higher the better, but I have experimented with growing nepenthes
as windowsill plants and have had great results.
Climate: There are two different groups
of Nepenthes . Ones that grow in low elevations are called "Lowlanders",
typically they grow below 1000 meters. Lowlanders like higher
temperatures in the 70-95°F range. There is no dormancy
Ones that grow in higher elevations are called
"Highlanders", typically above 1000 meters. Highlanders
like cooler temperatures in the 55-70°F range. Highlanders
also require a 5-15°F temperature drop at night. There is
no dormancy required.
Nepenthes are found in Southeast Asia, their
largest distribution being the island of Borneo.
Nepenthes are tropical pitcher
plants which grow as scrambling or climbing vines. Their pitchers
form at the end of a tendril which extends from each leaf. Not
every leaf will produce a pitcher. At the opening around the pitcher
there is a slippery liplike peristome.
Around the peristome large amounts of nectar
are produced to attract insects . The nectar has an intoxicating
affect on many insects. They then fall into the pitcher were
the fluid at the bottom of the pitcher is usually fairly neutral
in pH. When an insect starts to struggle to get out, it signals
the pitcher to secrete acids and enzymes in large amounts. The
pH in the pitcher drops quickly and in a few day the insect
is dissolved. The plant then reabsorbs the nutrient rich fluid.
So far with my experience Nepenthes are a lot tougher then they are given
When I was first reading about them and the high humidity requirements
they need, I thought I would never be able to keep one outside
a humid terrarium.
Since Nepenthes can get large, I could not confine the plant
into a terrarium. So I started to experiment with growing them
as windowsill plants and have had great success with several
neps this way. One's that I no longer grow because of limited
space included: N. 'Emmarene' (khasiana x ventricosa), N. fusca, N. mikei, N. rajah, N. ventrata,
and N. sanguinea.
It seems that they take around 3 months for the plants to really
settle in and start to pitcher...... The plant that took the longest to settle in has been N. rajah. It took around a year to start growing and pitcher for me. I believe the main reason it took so long was because I had it growing in too small of a pot. The plant was root bound and was not growing at all. Once I replanted it into a larger pot was when it started to grow and pitcher.
I post pictures of my windowsill neps on some forums from time to time. Here is a quote someone left that makes me chuckle:
"You all must understand that this is elgecko's magic windowsill. It has properties that no other spot on earth does. That's one of the nicest hamatas I've ever seen. And it's growing with bical. In a window in his house. It's a bit creepy if you ask me."
My conditions for growing my neps as windowsill plants are like this:
Winter humidity: 30 - 50% (I have the humidifier on my furnace set to around 45%. I see lower humidity during the day because the furnace does not run much with the sun shinning into the room and warming it up.)
Winter / Fall temps: I keep the house cool. Heat set to 64 degrees. (Humidified air feels warmer then dry air) During the day it can hit mid 70's with the sun shinning in the room where I grow the neps. Nights can drop to low 60's.
Spring / Summer / Fall humidity: 30 - high 80%. (Windows open and such)
Spring / Summer temps: During the day it can hit mid 80's. Night to the low 70's. (I usually have the A/C set around 74)
Since I grow my Nepenthes inside as windowsill
plants, what I do for feeding is when a new pitchers opens up,
I will place a mealworm in it. I just drop the mealworm in the
pitcher and give the pitcher a little shake. Something else
that I have tried is to use fish food pellets. I was first worried
about mold and fungus, but that has not been a problem.
Nepenthes 'Emmarene': (I no longer grow this plant do to space limitations.)
I had this plant for around 3 years.The growth
of this plant is very slow and very compact (the leaves have
almost no stem between them). The leaves are 1 1/2" to
1 3/4" wide and 6" to 7" long. The largest pitcher
it has made for me is just over 4" tall. The newest pitchers
it is forming have a lot of color compared to the older pitchers.
Something I did not know that had me very scared
with this plant was the the stem after the leaves have died
starts to turn brown and get a woody texture. I first thought
my plant was dying, but turns out most neps do this.
Nepenthes ventrata: (I no longer grow this plant do to space limitations.)
I had this plant over 2.5 years. If you can
only get 1 Nepenthes, you will not be disappointed with Nepenthes
ventrata. This plant grows incredibly fast, can tolerate low
humidity, and has nice size pitchers (largest on my plant was
This is also the first Nepenthes which I tried
a cutting from. I used peat moss, long fiber sphagnum, and perlite
for my soil mix. I cut the main stem, cut the leaves that was
on the stem in half. I made vertical cuts on the end of the
stem to be planted in the soil and dipped it into a rooting
Rooted Cutting 8/4/07
Nothing to say yet.
Purchased 6/3/06 - 6th ICPS Convention Frostburg, MD
I moved this plant to
10/06. It has settled in fine. Slow growing.
I have also notice that this plant does not like it when water gets on the tendril. The tendril will often die from this.
Nepenthes bicalcarata: Germinated from seed 5/04
I have moved this plant to a windowsill location.
I have read numerous places on the net that
N. bicalcarata likes it hot. I have
to agree because I have noticed that when the temperature drops
in the winter time, the plant will almost stop growing. When temperatures
increase again in spring it will start growing again.
This plant also has a large root system and needs a large pot.
Nepenthes x dyeriana (northiana x maxima) x (veitchii x rafflesiana) Rooted Cutting 8/4/07
Not naturally occurring. Lowlander
Grows and pitchers easily as a windowsill plant.
Nepenthes hamata: Purchased
The first time I saw a Nepenthes hamata I wanted
one in my collection. I finally purchased one. It arrived with
6 beautiful pitchers on it. Several of the pitchers after receiving
it started to die. I knew this would happen because of a change
in the plants growing condition.
This plant has adjusted to the windowsill conditions
and has been making pitchers for me non stop. The largest so
far is 7 1/2" tall.
Nepenthes rafflesiana (Male): Purchased 4/04
This plant seems to grow slow. Maybe it is because
growing it as a windowsill plant, it has household temperatures
and would grow quicker if higher temperatures where present?
I like the pitcher shape of this plant. The
largest so far is 7 1/2" tall.
Nepenthes rajah: Trade 5/6/06
It took around a year to start growing nice and pitcher for me. I believe the main reason it took so long was because I had it growing in too small of a pot. The plant was root bound and was not growing at all. Once I replanted it into a larger pot was when it really started to grow and pitcher.
This plant is a very slow growing plant and has a very large root system. Make sure you use a large pot for this plant.
Nepenthes x Rokko clone A x Nepenthes
hamata: Germinated from seed 6/05
This plant is growing as a windowsill plant.
It is taking on the N. hamata parentage.
Nepenthes Around the House, is a site I recommend to anyone
thinking of getting nepenthes to visit. (Link)
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