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Thread: New Nepenthes fan with questions

  1. #1
    dboeren's Avatar
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    New Nepenthes fan with questions

    Hello! I'm brand new to carnivorous plants and rapidly becoming obsessed with Nepenthes. I've already ordered a copy of Savage Garden, expected to arrive sometime next week, and have been reading online all week.

    Anyway, I'm working on researching some intial Nepenthes plants to start my collection (haven't ordered anything yet) and could use some good advice. Here's my situation...

    I live in Atlanta, GA (Zone 8). I'm willing to keep the plants in several locations, but I expect that initially they'd have to be indoors since it's winter and can get quite cold outdoors. My locations are:

    1. On a covered and screen part of the deck behind the house, facing NNW.
    2. Same deck, but on the open portion that is not covered or screened. More room and light than #1.
    3. Under the deck, on a concrete patio area. This offers the largest amount of space in a single area.
    4. Inside the house, where it may be too dry and the temp is generally in the high 60's to mid 70's depending on time of year. I could potentially set up a terrarium if needed.
    5. In the basement, where it is less climate-controlled. We have sort of a garage storage room that doesn't get heated/cooled.

    Then, presumably I'd take the plants indoors during the cold part of the winter no matter which location they usually lived in. Also, I work from home so it should be fairly easy to mist the plants during the day. So, which location sounds like it would work best? Highland or Lowland? Anything else you need to know?


    I am willing to consider a small inexpensive greenhouse along the lines of something like this or maybe slightly larger. If it was larger though it would have to go under the deck:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...KTEJQ8AAAJ9DVJ


    Also, I've been considering two different options of how to start out. Would I be better off to buy several less expensive but small plants (3-4"), or would it be more worthwhile to put the money into a single larger plant (6-8"+) that might be hardier than a young plant would be? Should I wait until the weather warms up before ordering or is it OK to start now?

    I'm also open to advice on species. I've read enough to know the most common beginner species include N. ventricosa, N. sanguinea, N. ramispina, N. 'Judith Finn', etc... but I would welcome additional recommendations that would work well in my setting and particularly with regard to hybrids and 2nd level plants just beyond the super-basic ones that would probably grow well - I have it in mind to pick up maybe a couple of beginner plants and then one semi-intermediate plant and see if I can tackle that.

    A couple of potential 2nd level plants I might be interested in include:
    N. specabilis "Giant", N. macfarlanei, N. spectabilis x ventricosa, N. bongso or N. inermis x bongso, and almost anything with teeth on the peristome. Also open to suggestions as I'm sure there's tons of great stuff I haven't even seen yet.

    Anyway, that ought to be enough for now Thanks!
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 12-05-2010 at 06:48 PM. Reason: Nomenclature adjustment - N. 'Judith Finn' is a registered cultivar, so its name goes in single quotes

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    rattler's Avatar
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    N. bongso is pretty hardy, was the first pure species i got.......likes to pout when conditions change but it just goes into suspended animation for about 4 to 6 weeks than starts growing again without a hitch...never really was a problem just stopped all growing for awhile before starting back up....
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 12-05-2010 at 06:51 PM. Reason: Nomenclature adjustment
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  3. #3
    DETHCHEEZ's Avatar
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    Hi

    I think N. ventricosa, N. ventrata, N. alata & N. sanguinea would all be good choices for 1st plants
    All of them are pretty hardy & more forgiving than most & are on the inexpensive side just in case they don't make it while you're experimenting with things

    Lowlanders would be harder to grow {IMO} unless you want to set up a high humidity heated tank
    Highlanders can take the cold better than LL, I'll rephrase that as Most HL Can / At least in my expeariance

    Where to grow them from your choices is kind of hard to say / It would all depend on the conditions of each & the plants themselves

    Neps like a lot of indirect light
    Humidity depends on the plant, some {like LL] require really high humidify while others can tolerate lower humidity

    HL like day temps in the high 70s low 80s with a night time temp drop
    Mine tolerate temps in to the high 80s to mid even high 90s & can take lows as low as the low to mid 40s
    {I grow outdoors}

    Intermediates about the same as HL 70s to 80s / Lows in to the 50s

    LL like it in the 80s & 90s & lows in to maybe the 60s at the coldest / Can't really comment much on LL since I myself don't grow any

    But that's not 100% for all plants / Just a general guide that should help give you an idea of what might do good for you giving your conditions
    It veries from specie to specie & plant to plant

    I think this site provides some good info. that may help you decide
    http://www.nepenthesaroundthehouse.com/

    As for a green house, if you're planning on getting in to the hobby I would consider getting a bigger one if possible
    Because something like that will fill up FAST, but then again it would be a nice starter one that you can always use for smaller plants and/or cuttings once your collection grows
    Check out ebay. you can get a 12 footer for around $85 shipped

    Good Luck
    DC
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 12-05-2010 at 06:52 PM. Reason: Nomenclature adjustment

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    Welcome...I myself am also new so am not knowledgeable to give great advice. One thing I can say is the 4 tier greenhouse your looking at getting works great. Right now I am using 3 of them for my nepenthes indoors until January when I will be purchasing an outdoor greenhouse. I grow mostly lowlanders and some intermediates due to my location. I'm in southern louisiana. There s alot of information and advice from knowledgeable members here who can help.

  5. #5
    dboeren's Avatar
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    If they prefer indirect light then I would think the screened part of the deck or the patio beneath the deck would potentially be good options after the weather warms up. They'll have a bigger nighttime temperature drop out there than they will indoors, and the uncovered portion of the deck will get direct sun for at least 6 hours or so.

    I'll have to measure the humidity and see where we're at there. I would prefer to have the plants be able to grow well without having to set up a greenhouse, humidifier, etc... if that's possible. The fewer environmental modifications you depend on, the less there is to go wrong.

    I've been thinking Highlands were probably the way to go, most of what I've read seems to say that they're easier than Lowlands and most of the recommended beginner species are Highland plants.

    Thanks for the eBay tip, I'll check there for greenhouses too.

    What do you think about whether it's better (for the same money) to get several small (3") plants or a single (6-8") plant? I guess I'm still not sure what my primary problems are going to be. Maybe it will be a struggle to keep the plants alive, or maybe they'll be bursting out and running me out of room. At this point, who knows?

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    Raven01000's Avatar
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    Just some input on the humidity issue: I keep all of my Nepenthes except N. hamata out in regular room humidity (you can take a look at my grow list to get an idea) and pretty much all of them are pitchering. You can acclimate almost any Nepenthes to low humidity if it is used to high humidity by placing a plastic baggy tightly over the pot and cutting a few small holes in the bag every few days until the humidity in the bag is equal to the humidity in the room. This can take a couple weeks or more, but it's important to make a gradual change so that the plant doesn't go into shock.

    Also, I know a lot of growers suggest drops into the 50s for highlanders, but I know the temps in my house don't fall below 60 degrees at night and everything is growing quite well regardless.

    A few plants that grow very well and vigorously for me that you might like to try: N. maxima, any hybrid with ventricosa in it, N. spectabilis, N. "exotic lady" or the reverse hybrid "lady pauline", N. copelandii, N. spectabilis x aristolochioides, and N. clipeata x (clipeata x eymae).

    If you're worried about killing your plants, I'd recommend starting with some easier ones that appeal to you and then if you succeed with them get some harder ones. And if the hard ones turn out to be easy, then challenge yourself with some even harder ones.

    As for small versus large: I like small plants in that eventually they will be big plants and they save space and money in the meantime. On the other hand, it's nice to buy a few big plants so that you can enjoy their awesome pitchers while you wait on the little ones to grow up.

  7. #7
    dboeren's Avatar
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    Thanks, that sounds like really useful advice. Reminds me of what I used to do when I was raising African Cichlids, gradually mixing in tank water into their bag to acclimate the new fish. So, as long as you do it gradually the leaves will have time to build up a better wax layer to prevent drying out too fast (as long as the humidity doesn't get TOO low or you have a species that really does need higher levels).

    I think I'm probably going to buy a couple of small plants (3-4") and maybe one bigger one (6-8") as something to look forward for my little guys. We'll see what's available when I'm ready to place the order.

    I can get a deeper temperature drop if I put the plants in the basement (which we don't heat at night). I'll put my digital thermometer down there tonight - it has a high/low memory so I can see how low it drops overnight.

    Thing is, I don't KNOW if I should be worried about killing my plants. Maybe they're tougher than some folks let on. I saw some N. alta today at a Pike Nursery and they weren't being treated well but the guy said they had been at the store for a couple of months. Yeah, some of the pitchers were turning brown and wrinkled but they were still alive and growing new little pitchers. I'm pretty sure they were just getting hose water like all the other plants, not distilled. The air wasn't humid, they weren't in a greenhouse or tent or anything, and it was fairly cool in the store, probably quite cold at night. If that didn't kill them, I'm sure I can do better than THAT.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice and species list. I'm hoping to figure out my order by next week, give myself a few days of setup time after "Savage Garden" arrives to make sure I've got all the supplies I need. Proper soil mix, distilled water (might find a better source later), prey items (probably shared with my Bearded Dragons), etc... I need to look into lightning as well, might have to pick up a shop flourescent light or something.

    I don't know how many of these things are strictly necessary and how many are somewhat optional, but I've collected various sorts of animals over the years from African Cichlids to constrictor snakes to tarantulas and in all cases I want my buddies to thrive, not just barely survive.

  8. #8
    Nep'tard Chris_Himself's Avatar
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    I think when buying Nepenthes, the starting size is semi-important. If you're impatient like I am, you literally watch your plants grow and it'll haunt you that you didn't go larger.

    Also good with larger plants is that they're more hardy, you pot them in larger pots so they don't have to deal with fluctuating moisture levels in their media, AND you're just that much closer to them vining out and making nice cuttings material for trade on TF

    That being said, I was the same way with Nepenthes before I became really lazy with my cultivation, so it's mostly temperates for me these days. My Sarracenia say hi from underground by the way...

    This is a truely fascinating hobby that isn't the most expensive one and you'll make a lot of friends here. Welcome to TF.
    Nepenthes Outdoors in CA

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