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Thread: Unanswered Questions on Neps

  1. #1
    clippity-clip-clip Clue's Avatar
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    Unanswered Questions on Neps

    A couple of questions come to mind that I've been wondering for a while...

    1. Is there such a thing as a lowland plant that tolerates and grows well in minimal humidity without a lengthy acclimation process? I have never ever had a lowland plant do well for me (except hirsuta) because of my issues with humidity.

    2. How have you found the following to grow in your conditions: bokorensis, macrophylla, and inermis.

    3. How has coffee affected the plants that never pitchered well for you, if at all?

    4. What is the difference in copelandii from Pasian and Apo besides pitchers? I have both in my collection.

    5. What's the most vigorous Nep you ever had?

    6. What are the highland Neps that tolerate low humidity? I've ended up with a couple of non-pitchering HL's (*cough* clip x eymae *cough*) and I don't want any more of them.

    7. When does albomarginata get its whitish band? My 2" seedling has no signs of one yet.

    Thanks for some answers!
    "I, for one, can't wait to grow Nepenthes extincta!"
    Plant List ; blog

  2. #2
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    When you say low humidity.. how low do you mean?
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    1. I've had plants grown in LL conditions like sanguinea, ventricosa, truncata in 30% RH and still pitcher. ventricosa pitchers dont last very long though in the lower RH.

    3. Has not affected pitchering for me in plants that refuse to pitcher.

    5. Looks like it's soon going to N. truncata QoH x KoS, other wise mirabilis is about a vigorous as you can get.
    Maybe even ventrata.

    7. Time

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    Devon's Avatar
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    1. my only nep (raff) pitcherd in 50% humidity, but once it got lower then that it stopped.

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    I have never had a Nepenthes not pitcher for me due to low humidity, and I have had many different species and hybrids sitting on my windowsills at the house over the years. Currently I have a N. boschiana, N. ampullaria, N. copelandii, and N. ventricosa x spectabilis on various windowsills. None were acclimatized but they were established in the greenhouse first. Some lost their current pitchers when they went on the windowsill and some didn't. The one windowsill has the hotwater baseboard heater passing underneath it. We also run a woodstove almost 24hrs a day in the basement. I can't say I have ever measured the humidity because I haven't. Humidity levels for most Nepenthes are pointless and most home store humidity meters are incredibly inaccurate. I would call our humidity during the Winter with the heat and woodstove pretty dry though.

    Now that said... I have had things like N. truncata stop pitchering during the Winter in the past. I believe this was primarily caused by the much reduced light levels, short days, and cold temperatures. Why? Because they do this in the greenhouse during the Winter too, where the only big difference is the humidity.
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    To offer a foil to Tony's experience: I grew a ventrata (supposed to be easy, right?) outdoors in NC for about 4 years, taking it inside only when the temps got near the freezing mark. Despite the high relative humidity outdoors in NC, my plant never pitchered much for me - not spring, not summer, not fall. I grew it in an east, west, and south exposure over the years. The plant made lots of vines, grew vigorously, and made lots of itty-bitty pitchers on the numerous basals it put out, but only the rare full-sized pitcher here and there. Then last summer I made a "humidity box", which was basically a mini-greenhouse on my balcony. I took a cutting of the ventrata and put it in the box. Whereas the mother plant, growing just a few feet away and getting the same amount of light, made no pitchers, the cutting in the humidity box pitchered on every leaf. In that case I suspect the humidity seems to have made all the difference. (The humdity box was definitely a LL environment, but so was the outdoor space on my balcony). I later inspected the rootball of the mother plant, and the root system seemed very healthy, with minimal soil compaction, so I doubt that was an issue. The cutting was grown in an even less airy mix than the mother plant (pure LFS vs LFS mixed with a healthy dose of perlite).

    Off of Amazon I bought a relatively cheap digital hygrometer, and I bought a separate testing kit to gauge its accuracy. After using it for a while, I tested the hygrometer using the kit, and it was only 1 degree off. I also bought a second digital hygrometer, and the readings on the two (when placed side by side) are usually in agreement. Having said that, I would not trust the super-cheap dial-style hygrometers you find in the pet store.

    I think all the factors interact: light, humidity, temps, root system health, and finally: individual plant. I had another plant outside that did pitcher well for me last summer, only a few feet away from the ventrata (a mix of maxima, thorelii, truncata) - it did put out several pitchers, and was not in the humidity box. All my balcony plants received 4-5 (?) hrs of sunlight a day. The same plant, however, when put inside in a light box (single, dual-bulb T5 fixture, 12 hour photoperiod, less than 36" from the fixture) with consistent RH at or above 70%, made leaves twice as large, and the pitcher size tripled. Of the course the leaves also turned a lot redder, so maybe light was the biggest contributor to the improvement.

    A friend of mine on another forum holds the opinion that newer windows, with their UV-blocking coatings, do our plants no favors. Older glass, however, lets in better quality light. But that's his opinion, not a scientifically verified fact

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    clippity-clip-clip Clue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Paroubek View Post
    When you say low humidity.. how low do you mean?
    Usually lower than 15%. I'm pretty sure that's the problem for some of my Neps because in the summer the window is much shadier and certain plants still refuse to pitcher.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikulas
    I think all the factors interact: light, humidity, temps, root system health, and finally: individual plant.
    The light varies through the year from indirect most of the summer to direct during the winter. The humidity is fairly low and tends to remain consistently low. The temperature is usually at a high of 90 F and at the lowest can get down to 50 F. The roots on my non-pitcherers are about the same on my other plants, a flurry of inch long black fibers. My non-pitchering list is at clipeata x eymae, sanguinea "Blood Red", and lowii, not including the plants that only pitcher in the summer (hamata, copelandii Apo, Deroose Alata).

    Quote Originally Posted by mikulas
    A friend of mine on another forum holds the opinion that newer windows, with their UV-blocking coatings, do our plants no favors. Older glass, however, lets in better quality light. But that's his opinion, not a scientifically verified fact
    I'm pretty sure my window was installed in the 1980's. Some visitors have walked out with pretty bad sunburns, if that means anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by F R e N c H 3 z
    7. Time
    Good to know.
    "I, for one, can't wait to grow Nepenthes extincta!"
    Plant List ; blog

  8. #8
    nepguy's Avatar
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    1. Try a N. rafflesiana. They are more versatile than people generally suppose. I think, however, that you will have to resign yourself to enduring an acclimation process whenever you try to put any nepenthes in less-than-optimal conditions. It's just a fact of life with these plants.

    If you have issues with humidity, you can probably solve the problem by doing what Orchid enthusiasts do--use a humidity tray. Raising the local humidity around the plants works wonders for nepenthes. I found that using a double tray system works very well--a larger tray for holding water and a smaller tray in the middle for protecting the plant from being waterlogged.

    5. Try some hybrids. N. x mirandas grow aggressively and tolerate a wide variety of conditions, N. Effulgent Kotos grow like they're on steroids, and N. x dyerianas really want to live.

    6. I have a clipeata x (clipeata x eyemae) that has been pitchering happily out in the open under a widow for a few years, but our house rarely gets as dry as you described. Even so, raising the humidiy locally around the plant might change things.

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