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Thread: Nepenthes bicalcarata growers in the tropics

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    From the Tropics mindmaze's Avatar
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    Nepenthes bicalcarata growers in the tropics

    Hello everyone!

    I've been having problems growing N bicalcarata over here in Puerto Rico since I started growing Nepenthes plants back in 2001. I'd like to know what experiences tropical growers have had with this plant growing it outside to see if I can finally figure out what I'm doing wrong. For reference, I keep these plants in >10" diameter pots which I fill up with a mix of clay pot chips, lava rocks and peat, roughly 1:1:1. I grow all my Neps in a pergola covered with shade cloth, which gives them filtered light most of the day, with some direct sun for a few hours in the afternoon. I use Tap water, which I know I shouldn't, but I have no other choice at the moment. I don't know how humid it gets, but I'd have to guess it fluctuates a lot between 65 to 100%. Any advice is appreciated.

    Joel

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    Not Growing Up! GrowinOld's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I've grown Bical for a number of years....an even greater number of years ago. What are the plants doing.... symptoms....
    Yhis may help others to make a determination as to what you have going on an what to correct.

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    From the Tropics mindmaze's Avatar
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    Symptoms are basically very slow grow, little pitcher production and little root growth. I don't have any pictures at the moment.

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    Cardiac Nurse JB_OrchidGuy's Avatar
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    You keeping them moist? I have actually heard to grow them with their feet wet. I had kept mine dryer in peat/ceder mulch and mine grew slow. Then when I had a scare about peat and root rot i planted them even dryer. Then they started down hill. I then spoke with someone and got a mix of peat/perlite/vermiculite/lfs all one to one ratio with a handful of orchid bark in the mix. Then keeping them in about an inch or so of water. Since repotting my bicals and raffs in this mix they seem to be recovering. Also they are partial sun to partial shade plants. Not too bright a light I am told. Then of course they like it hot. 90+ Since repotting one of the bicals has already spit out a new leaf.

    Take it for what it is worth, but you may be trying to grow it too dry. try the mix I listed and keeping the feet a little wet. See how that does for you.
    JB
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    [QUOTE
    Take it for what it is worth, but you may be trying to grow it too dry.][/QUOTE]
    Could be. My plants never did well, but weren't kept too warm or wet. Once I got them warmer and keep them much wetter, they are finally doing something. The larger of the 2 has probably doubled in size in a few months of these better conditions. You're right about probably not being a good idea to use tap water. I don't know how clean the water in PR is, but I'd imagine definitely over 200ppm. What are temps like there? Just really hot I assume? All of my plants get about 90 day, 82 night.
    Z polski y dumny
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    Not Growing Up! GrowinOld's Avatar
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    Hello Again,
    You have gotten some good advice so far. Also, looking at your grow list with all those Nepenthes, you obviously have the experience to get thru this.
    For starters, pitchers not forming often is an indication that the humidity is too. If the leaf tips dry out and turn brown, the humidity is way too low and/or too much direct hot sunlight.
    If your "planting" mixture holds a lot of water, then watch out for overwatering. (However, since you said the roots are slow to grow, I assume you don't see any rot, an indication of "wet feet".) If the mixture holds a lot of "air", as your mixture seems to with 1:1:1 of pot chips/lava rock/peat, perhaps you will need to water more frequently. (Test it by squeezing a handful of it. Does it give out a lot of water or not?)
    If you don't want to water them more, add more peat, or even fine sand, which will fill in some of the air spaces to help it hold more water.
    As far as your water being bad, I would think if your other Nepenthes have been doing well for some time (a few years?), then that's probably an indication that your water is not the problem. However if you still believe it might be, try collecting some rain water. (It does rain there, right?!) As a last resort, perhaps collect a bucket of clean, unpolluted lake/pond/stream water and flush it thru the Bical. pot. It's a risk, but as a last resort, what do you have to loose.

    Again, please remember, I am basing my opinion on my own experience. I am certainly not a "professional" (whatever that is) so if someone out there disagrees, perhaps you will have to try what makes sense to you.
    Good luck!

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    Moderator Cindy's Avatar
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    Symptoms are basically very slow grow, little pitcher production and little root growth. I don't have any pictures at the moment.
    Bicals are slow to begin with, especially after being shipped bareroot. Even in my year round lowland conditions, they can take up to 6 months before starting to grow again.

    All my bicals are in 50% perlite and 50% LFS. The media is well-watered and always moist. The ambient humidity can fluctuate between 35% to 70% within a day and they continue to pitcher well under such conditions. They are at my balcony with bright light throughout the day and some direct sunlight in the mid till late afternoon.

    They do get lots of air movement though. The balcony is windy year round.
    Cindy

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