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Thread: Acclimatizing neps & things to lower humidity

  1. #1
    instigator thez_yo's Avatar
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    Acclimatizing neps & things to lower humidity

    As you may well know, I torture my plants something awful. I leave them outside in the scorching San Diego sunshine, and water them once a week (in a cocoa chunk + lfs with some perlite mix) without misting them except for with neem if I see any bugs.

    I've bought plants from the U.S. as well as overseas, and some people aren't so terrible with their plants, so I need to acclimatize my new plants to their new home so they don't go into shock and die. What is my technique? Here are some pictures with explanations to follow:




    Number one: ICU Heli tank (from a high-humidity grower, small plants for the most part). You see that I have an aquarium/terrarium, helis sitting on "egg crate" trays, and a large glass plate on top. There are egg crate trays to increase the volume of water (more water = holds cold longer/better...), and the helis sitting in water is to ensure that their roots are in contact with the coolest thing I can provide (cool water). There are tall sides to the terrarium so that while the humidity is being created from the body of water, it *has* to either sink back into the water, or rise up out of the terrarum through all of the heli pitchers, thus creating more humidity for them. The glass plate is on top, and *round* for a reason: trap the humidity in, but leaving the corners of the terrarium free to exchange air so I don't grow mold and rot everything in the terrarium. It keeps a good lot of humitiy in, while allowing for air exchange, but I have to watch for overheating (set a fan on if you put it in bright lights/the sun otherwise you'll broil them alive!!!). I started out misting it twice a day with the plate on top for a month...the past two days I misted about 5X a day leaving the container exposed without the plate on top (it was the weekend) and I left them uncovered all of today with just 2X misting and they appear OK so far. I'll be leaving them uncovered but misting 2X a day for the next couple of weeks. Also, I let the water level in the bottom reservoir drain free from the helis once every week or two to ensure that their roots get drained every now and then (either by evaporation or tipping the terrarium at an angle to either side for a couple minutes).

    Number two - various plants in different stages of humidity retention. Starting from the left - bagged hamata that has been in my care for around a month, so the bag is mostly open on top already so it gets slightly higher humidity, but not really much condensation. Second from left - plant that just came in from Hilo, Hawaii so I assume it's used to sopping wet. It's in a mostly-closed ziplock bag because i hear the person grows outside so the plant isn't as soft as ex-vitro by a day, but still not up for my climate quite yet. If it just came as a soft ex-vitro plant, the ziplock bag would be sealed leaving a 1"X1" hole on top for air exchange (and I'd air it out while misting it down once a day in the morning most likely..). Third from left: ceph root cuttings. Have a bag on top, that's what the closeup in the third pic is, small hole on top to make sure it doesn't mold and roast, but otherwise pretty saturated with humidity. I take the bag off every 5 days or so to check to see if anything's sprouting. Third from right: nep basal cutting, sitting in a saucer of water in lfs : perlite, with a deli cup overtuned over the pot with holes cut in the upper corners for air exchange (and because it's square, the upturned-top of the container has air holes too from beneath the "soil" line). I plan on letting the plant soak up all that water, leaving the tray dry for a day, then refilling it. I won't be taking the dome off anytime soon until it starts growing again. Second from right: heli growing in the same setup as that nep basal...that's its permanent habitat til I free up some room in the heli tanks. Also in sitting water...I lift it out and let it drain once a week, but it's always sitting in water. I spray it down now and then, but it doesn't really need it I think. Rightmost: rightside up deli cup, filled with some water on bottom, housing a small sundew that likes it hot and wet. It provides an inch of walls around the pot through which humidity can rise and surround the plant, but it's pretty free to breathe. I've grown small helis this way and they do fine.

    3. non-ICU heli tank, these just grow on egg crates submerged a little in water, same mix (lfs : perlite), and don't really need misting. The sides of the terrarium provide sufficient humidity-storage that this can grow outside on my balcony when it's not threatening to be 80's outside. My moss looks great in this - I'm even starting some sheet moss on a cork slab to make it look prettier!

    I guess this should be in general discussions, but most of the time people are most worried with acclimatizing soft TC clone neps, so I thought to post it here.

  2. #2
    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    While my experience is more heli based I was asked to chime in...
    I'm not a biologist so please forgive/correct my mistakes

    When new helis arrive their roots are usually stressed or sometimes nonexistent. This poses the problem of desiccation via transpiration and evaporation. In other words the plant's water loss exceeds water intake and it dries out. At some point in this process the damaged occurred exceeds the ability of the plant to recover and death soon results.

    Some of the factors at play are:
    Vegetative mass
    Root mass and condition
    Substrate type and texture
    Substrate moisture content

    The plant gets the majority of its water via the roots through osmosis. When the roots are stressed or nonexistent then obviously their ability to process moisture is reduced.
    The plant loses the majority of its water through transpiration and evaporation. These loses are directly related to the vegetative mass, ambient temps, ambient humidity and airflow rates.

    Bagging the plant during this phase is a common practice. This helps buy the plant time until the tender roots recover from the damage incurred in shipping and transplanting. We want to keep the humidity levels high, airflow low and temperatures reasonable. Then as the plant heals we slowly acclimate through a gentle introduction into the new environment. Sometimes the more aggressive approach of trimming back the vegetative mass is also used.

    A similar problem occurs when a plant is grown under tender conditions. In this case it is not so much root issues as much as it is acclimated to a more highland condition. A plant will not use energy developing moisture holding capacity if it is not needed. This would be a waste in energy.

    Finally, sometimes we encounter both conditions at once. In any case the procedures are basically the same. Take steps to reduce moisture loss until the capacity for moisture intake is sufficient.

    A fresh batch of "Wistubas"
    I begin the process by cutting one corner of the baggy, then a week later another... etc.

    The young heli below is showing the first signs of dessication. Notice the roughness of the largest pitcher.

    Last edited by Av8tor1; 08-10-2010 at 07:10 AM.

  3. #3
    sarracenia21's Avatar
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    Nice job, I use a similar method for my neps.
    "Due to the recent economic crisis and budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel has been shut off. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused."

  4. #4
    Zero's Avatar
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    I put my new neps right into low humidity high light with no problems.
    Helis are a different story. I spray them and keep the humidity high.
    SK-8 OR DIE


  5. #5
    Zhilin's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing the experience. Great!
    My Grow-List and Want-List
    If you know other unique plants that can walk, can talk, can sing, or can eat people, please tell me and I definitely want to get one.

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