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Thread: Looking for advice on expanding collection

  1. #1
    Physalaemus's Avatar
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    Looking for advice on expanding collection

    Hi all,

    I've been keeping carnivorous plants for about a year (and stalking these forums almost as long). In the past, I've had success mostly with keeping plants outdoors (VFT, Sarracenia mutts, temperate sundews), although I've had a N. sanguinea doing wonderfully for me growing right besides my orchids. No shock to anyone, but cp's have really wormed their way into my heart and it's time to expand.

    Ultimately, I'm debating between two options for lowland-type growing setups. In either case, I'm looking to get into growing tropical and subtropical sundews, mexican pings, and lowland Nepenthes. I would love to try my hand at Cephalotus and Heliamphora, but I think it's a couple years down the line before I get into more delicate/highland species.

    Option 1: 40 gallon breeder aquarium converted into a front opening enclosure with good airflow (I've raised hundreds of frogs so this isnt as difficult as it sounds). The enclosure would then sit on top of a 3'T x 3'L x 1.5'D metal rack, wrapped in plastic. The smaller plants with more precise humidity needs would go in the tank, the bigger Nepethes on the highest shelf in the rack (with a couple more light demanding orchids), leaving a bottom shelf to store supplies / germinate seeds.

    Option 2: a full 6' T x 3' L x 1.5" D growing rack, completely wrapped in plastic sheeting with zipper access. Air (entering through a vent on the bottom) would be pulled up through the rack by a box fan hooked up to a thermostat. my plan for humidity is placing a humidifier on the top shelf or plumbing it in through the top. I'd love to do 6x4x2, but I don't have the space.

    So, from y'all's experience, what would give me the most options? Thanks in advance.

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    Frilleon's Avatar
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    My setup is similar to your option 2: I have a grow hut that I have a metal rack in. Air flow is achived the same way as you. If I were you I would but the humidifier at the bottom. That way it doesn't get sucked right out of the top of the enclosure. You want air/humidity to move from bottom to top. That way your always suck cool air in and venting the hot air out of the top. This will also allow the humidity to follow the same path as the air. Traveling through your room as much as possible. Good luck with which ever method you decide to go with!
    Grow List: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=116427
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    Lover of Mountains nightsky's Avatar
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    I never did have a tank setup, but did use option 2 for several years. Had 3 sides of the wrack enclosed in mylar, the front in clear plastic. Had a humidifier on the outside at the bottom that blew in humidified air through a tube into the enclosed rack. This setup worked fantastically.

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Sounds like a pretty good jumping-off point. The one note I'd make is that, depending on what your household conditions are, you may not need a terrarium/enclosure at all. I followed the conventional prescription of terrariums and grow huts for several years when I was getting started and in retrospect I wasted a lot of time with it, because my household conditions were actually ideal for highland Nepenthes and most other carnivorous plants. Ultimately it just made it harder to control heating from lights and problems due to poor air circulation and excess humidity, made watering more of a chore, and added an additional burden of refilling and cleaning out humidifiers. In my region I need an enclosure to keep lowlanders and heat-loving Drosera sufficiently warm, but that's it. Houseplant growing can save you a lot of time and heartache, not to mention the expenses of running and maintaining equipment like ventilation fans and humidifiers.
    I suggest taking a look at this site:
    http://www.nepenthesaroundthehouse.com/
    This guy is blessed with a warm coastal climate that allows him to grow outside under shade cloth, but the techniques can also be applied to indoor conditions with a little consideration. Fortunately, humans are naturally comfortable at just about the same ranges as tropical plants, so your typical household is a fairly hospitable place to all but the pickiest Nepenthes.
    Another really good read, mirrored from an outdated version of Barry Rice's CP FAQ, can be found here:
    http://replay.waybackmachine.org/200.../faq6010e.html
    This is a bit more conventional treatment of Nepenthes cultivation, and some of the info is a little dated, but it still offers a lot of insights into how the various requirements of Neps are interrelated. These two guides, with a modest amount of patience and determination, should give you all the fundamentals you need to be a strong Nep grower.
    Best luck,
    ~Joe
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    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    Physalaemus's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your replies so far.

    Frilleon and Nightsky - Initially, I had considered plumbing the humidifier in from the bottom. My worry was that the fog would be too heavy to rise, causing it to pool on the lower shelves. Some stratification in humidity would be fine, but do you see a big difference between shelves with your setups?

    Seedjar - thank you for linking those websites. They are already giving me ideas. I initially got into Nepenthes as houseplants. The house I'm living in now is pretty comfortable for highlanders and intermediates. I'm not home a lot, so I'm not a fan of running the heat/AC. The house fluctuates from 80d:65-70n in the summer to 70d:55n in the winter. Despite not using AC, the house is dry! I've never seen the ambient get above 20% (I'm originally from south florida, so yes that is dry). My orchids have done beautifully on humidity trays near the large living room windows and rebloom reliably.

    The main goal is to expand into species that need warmer and more humid conditions than ambient here. Growing alongside the new cp's side will be dwarf orchids and my rag tag collection of airplants.

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