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Thread: New Nepenthes fan with questions

  1. #17
    nepguy's Avatar
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    Welcome! I actually have one of those little greenhouses. I used it for a couple of years to grow nepenthes outside in my back yard. I live on a hill where I get a lot of wind, and it was a way to protect them from that. I had it tied to a pole.

    I'd like to confirm what other folks have said. I think it's always a good idea to start with easier species or hybrids and get some confidence in growing. I would suggest getting a N. x miranda, which I believe to be a form of N. x mixta. They tolerate neglect and mistakes very well, are typically not very expensive, and will give you huge colorful pitchers in a variety of less-than-perfect conditions. I had one that dried out to the point of wilting most of the pitchers, and it came back just fine. Surprisingly, N. rafflesiana is very adaptable, too. The ones I have growing without enclosures in the basement continue to grow and pitcher under the lights even in winter when temperatures remain pretty much in the 60's. Another hybrid you might try is N. x dyeriana. These are incredibly easy to grow and very adaptable to a variety of conditions. The pitchers get huge. Very rewarding.

    Many nepenthes grow great in bright indirect light (keyword: bright), but they can grow in bit of sun, too. I have some that get full sun for half a day in a southern window, and they seem to love it. Remember that natural light will produce seasonal fluctuations in growth.

    Keep in mind that although nepenthes grow slowly, most of these plants will get BIG. I have to cut back my plants all the time because of limited space, but fortunately they are very easy to reproduce from cuttings.

    Make sure the medium is airy and drains well, and use big pots so they have plenty of room at the roots. I agree with Chris Himself. Healthy roots = healthy plants.

    Keep conditions stable and consistent for your plants, even if the conditions you can provide for them are not perfect. They will adapt, but they need consistency to do so. Settle on placement and don't be moving them around a lot, except to bring them in for the winter if you have them outside in the summer.

    Dead pitchers--I cut the crispy upper portions off and leave the bottoms until they eventually turn brown, too. Keeps things looking a little neater.

    BTW that "alata" in your photo is a N. x ventrata. You can tell by the elongated nature of the bulge at the bottom of the pitcher. A true N. alata typically has a more abrupt transition.

  2. #18
    dboeren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Himself View Post
    The odd thing is I can't seem to do conventional gardening very well...
    For myself, I find that my level of effort is directly related to how interested I am in a thing.

    For instance, I am not that skilled at fixing things around the house, not what you would call a "handyman" in any sense. But, I can perform basic (non-circuit board) repairs on our pinball machines - replacing solenoids, targets, lights, soldering in a new rectifier if one burns out, etc... This I can do. It's not any simpler than conventional household maintenance, but I am much more interested in it. Nor would I consider putting this much effort into establishing ideal conditions for a lowly tomato plant or house fern.


    Back on subject, it might be useful to have a guinea pig to learn on before I order some fancier variety and mess it up I'll give the nursery a call today to find out when their Houseplants person that's been caring for them will be in. I'd like to ask them a few questions on what they've been doing thus far, and then I'll probably pick one up.

    ---------- Post added at 10:19 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:06 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by nepguy View Post
    Keep in mind that although nepenthes grow slowly, most of these plants will get BIG. I have to cut back my plants all the time because of limited space, but fortunately they are very easy to reproduce from cuttings.
    I think the plan now is to pick up this one ventrata as a learner plant, then pick out about two more to start with from mail order. Should be a while before I have to cut back any of them, but I'm fine with doing so. I think I know at least one guy I could hand out cuttings to who'd be interested in a free pitcher. If I ever get to the point where I have a really large collection I can probably move to some sort of small outdoor greenhouse.


    Quote Originally Posted by nepguy View Post
    Make sure the medium is airy and drains well, and use big pots so they have plenty of room at the roots. I agree with Chris Himself. Healthy roots = healthy plants.
    Do you think the 6" pots in the photos are big enough for a plant this size, or should I repot it in something larger?


    Quote Originally Posted by nepguy View Post
    BTW that "alata" in your photo is a N. x ventrata. You can tell by the elongated nature of the bulge at the bottom of the pitcher. A true N. alata typically has a more abrupt transition.
    Wikipedia seems to bear this out as well, plus their picture strongly resembles the ones I took:

    "Nepenthes × ventrata is a natural hybrid involving N. alata and N. ventricosa. Like its two parent species, it is endemic to the Philippines. N. × ventrata is one of the most common tissue cultured Nepenthes plants, although it is often mislabelled as Nepenthes alata. It is relatively easy to grow indoors and is usually the first tropical pitcher plant seen by consumers due to its availability in many garden shops and home centres."

  3. #19
    dboeren's Avatar
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    I ended up picking up one of the ventrata over lunch, actually a different specimen that pictured earlier that I decided was even better (and which has one fairly large pitcher on it). I also picked up some orchid bark, long fiber sphagnum, a bigger pot, and some distilled water. I'm going to wait a while to repot it so as not to subject it to everything all at once.

    Here's a shot of the best pitcher:

  4. #20
    nepguy's Avatar
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    You should probably let your plant settle into your conditions for a while before you transplant, but I would definitely put it into a bigger pot eventually. It will be happier if its roots can spread out a bit. If the medium is in good shape (still airy and not broken down, mushy, or foul-smelling) and the roots run through it so that it holds together, you can transplant with hardly any shock to the plant by making a hole in the medium in the new pot a bit bigger than the original pot and just pop in the root ball and tamp and fill the rest in. However, if the medium is stale or broken down you should replace it all. N. x ventratas are pretty tough and vigorous, and I wouldn't worry too much about doing something wrong. Just take your time and do things carefully.

    I personally stopped using orchid bark in my mix. It breaks down too quickly for me, although a lot of people use it and it seems to work fine for them. In my opinion, a good portion of chunky perlite works very well to make a medium airy and fast-draining. You can put a lot of things in a mix for nepenthes–everyone has their own magic blend.

    Cheers!

  5. #21
    Raven01000's Avatar
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    Awesome!! Good luck with your first Nep

  6. #22
    DETHCHEEZ's Avatar
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    "I also picked up some orchid bark, long fiber sphagnum"

    Just make sure that it is actually Sphagnum Moss & NOT that green decorative moss cr@p they sell
    That stuff spells death to carnivorous plants

    Also if you decide to repot it & totally want to remove the soil that's stuck to the roots
    Take a hose & gently wash the soil off the roots so you don't break or damage them
    At least that's the best way I've found of doing it

  7. #23
    dboeren's Avatar
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    My copy of Savage Garden arrived today! We've got some jobs to run tonight, but after we get back I've got some reading to do.

  8. #24
    dboeren's Avatar
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    Picked up some crickets at Petsmart and gave my plant its first meal in the new house. Little pitchers got the smallest crickets, bigger pitchers got bigger ones. The rest of them go to my Bearded Dragons.

    Anyway, so far so good. No signs of problems from the low humidity in the house. I'm keeping an eye on the baby pitchers, hoping they'll open up sometime, or at least not turn brown and die

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