One more Nepenthes seed germination guide. This one is unique, but if you know Dave Evans, you know this really works for him. He would not recommend something he has not tried.
Dear Nepenthes Cultivators,
Nepenthes start their lives as extremely small babies. This letter is
intended to help you be more successful at growing _Nepenthes_ from seed to
their juvenile or rosette stage, which most everyone is familiar with.
The seeds should be stored in dry conditions, until sown.
The soil needs to be light and fluffy, well draining, yet it should be able
hold some water. The easiest mixture I have found for _Nepenthes seedlings_
follows: four parts perlite, four parts dried long fiber _Sphagnum_ moss
chopped up, one to two parts charcoal, and one to two parts peat moss. The
size of the particles should be the smallest possible. Take care not to
expose yourself to the dust which can be stirred up from the perlite and
other dry soil components by wetting while still in the bag (also you can
use a fiber glass/dry wall dust mask to help avoid the dust). Moisten and
mix the components together. Break up, any and all clumps; try to make the
soil as homogenized as possible. I have also started to bake the soil I use
for _Nepenthes_ seedlings as this pasteurizes the soil to drastically cut
down on the number of different fungus and other things from growing in the
soil, possibly harmful to the seedlings. Also, a light dusting of sulfur
works very well at keeping fungus away. This is important as a quickly
growing fungus colony can make fast work of seedlings if the conditions
favor it too much.
There are a number of ways to proceed. The soil can be placed into sealed
food containers, put into pots or you can use some other method you are
happy with. I use pots, while Seam Samia uses sealed food containers. If
you are using sealed containers, make sure the soil is moist, but not wet.
Moist means you can only see the wetness by squeezing the soil, you should
be able to feel the moisture, but it should not wet your hand just by
touching it. Also, do not spray the seed with water to settle it onto the
soil, instead just push the seed onto the moistened soil and shut the
container. If there is too much water on the seed, in the soil, or on the
seedling in 100% humidity it will never dry and will probably cause rot
killing the seedling or stunting it for quite a while. Place in pure
darkness for 10 days. That's right, no light at all.
I use pots with the soil filled about 2/3 to the top (six inch tall pots), I
pack the soil in, then sprinkle some unpacked soil for about an inch and
then sprinkle the seeds onto the loose soil, trying to space them evenly. I
use tweezers to push the seed onto the soil surface. Even into shallow
depressions in the soil surface. You can use a spray bottle with pure water
mixed with a couple of drops of Listerine (it kills germs, even those on the
soil/seed) set to mist to settle the seeds into good contact with the soil,
try not to soak. Keep the soil moist to slightly less than wet. If it is
wet, place on news paper for a while so excess water drains. Place in a
plastic bag and put in pure darkness for 10 days. That's right, no light at
_Nepenthes_ seedlings germinate in fairly low light. After ten days of
darkness, move the pots or containers to the area where you are starting the
babies. It should be the dimmest spot in your _Nepenthes_ growing area.
Some folks like to start their seed in 100% humidity, and this can work out
pretty well. I have found it easier to start the seed in elevated humidity,
at about 95% humidity. Humidity conditions lower than 100% humidity helps
keep small plants like mosses in check; it also helps avoid problems with
fungus; also the plants grow more compact are a little stronger. Be careful
though, as it can be easy to dry them out. Also, make sure the humidity
stays very high during the entire length of the seedling period.
The seed might not germinate until some moss starts colonizing the soil
surface, could be up to six weeks before germination starts. A neat "trick"
to try, once five or six weeks have passed and there doesn't seem to much or
any seedling activity, is to drastically reduce the amount of light reaching
the soil surface for about six days. Not to total darkness, but say about
one quarter of the previous level. Then bring it back up to the normal, yet
rather dimmer level for seedling growth. I believe this dimming cycle
'tricks' the seed into thinking the mosses are starting to cover the seeds
and there is enough "soil" for the baby plants to root into. Of course,
there is plenty of soil for them thanks to your efforts; but the plants are
designed to survive in an environment that is eroding, patches of tiny
plants like mosses are actually some of the only soil they have to work in
Once the seed start to germinate, ovoid misting or straying the seedlings.
They can be very delicate at first and even a fine mist can cause them to
damp-off, especially if you are growing them in 100% humidity. The plants
should continue to grow larger with each leaf grown and will enter the
rosette stage in about 12 to 14 months. Some will grow better or faster
than others. If your plantlets are nice and green, but appear to be
stretching for light; do increase the light level slightly. As they get
larger, they do need more light.
Problems I have had with my seedlings:
1) Yellowing due to too much light and/or too low humidity.
2) Salt build up on soil due to excess salt in soil (rinsing is a good idea)
possibly released by decay of soil components.
3) Slow development due excessive humidity.
4) Rotting by excess water which could not dry from the plants growing in
5) Fungus growing from soil (especially cedar mulch component) which I
hadn't pasteurized. Not a problem anymore.
Any questions, please ask.
Best of Luck,