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Thread: Pitcherless Plant

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    The Most Uncreative Name in the History of Ever Plant Planter's Avatar
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    Pitcherless Plant

    Yes, indeed, the one with the uncreative name has returned, with yet another question. (I have so many questions. )

    If you've checked out my photo thread at all, you would know that my poor little Nepenthes fusca is unfortunately pitcherless. I know that this is a sign that something is anomalous, but it's also a very general symptom and nothing can be diagnosed just with the pitcherless status. As such I have decided to give you my plant's vitals:

    Light. Moderate-high; all day under two fluorescent bulbs about two and three quarters feet above the plant, weakened by the terrarium it's in.
    Water. The soil is kept damp at all times.
    Media. A 1:1 mix of peat and sand.
    Humidity. Hovering around 90%.
    Circulation. Little to none; the terrarium has an opening in the top (which I have kept closed to keep the humidity high) and several small holes on each side.
    Temperature. Never above room temperature.
    Food. No feeding at all.
    Age. Two months with me.
    Ailments. About two weeks ago it received mild sunburn, which, unfortunately, has advanced more than is shown in this picture:

    Scorched Nepenthes fusca photo IMG_01031_zps3213c5c8.jpg

    I think that covers everything. If any of you find any flaws in my growing, please notify me! I greatly appreciate it, along with any personal anecdotes, research, facts, opinions, blah blah blah that you would like to share!

    (End of five-minute formality. )

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Well you made a solid effort to give vital information and that's good. However it is lacking in some details.

    2 fluorescent bulbs doesn't tell me much. It's key to know how strong they are in watts. I can tell you though that without that information unless you are running 150watt+ bulbs. 2.75' above the plant is NOT moderate-high light. It's actually quite low and insufficient for long term success.

    Room temperature means nothing as I have no idea what temperature your room is. Although I suspect it's not a big deal as N. fusca is quite tolerant to a wide temperature range. Have you taken the temperature during the day while the lights are on? You may find it quite a bit warmer with the lights on for a while.

    Peat and sand is quite heavy and not very well aerated and would not be my choice by a long shot although if you can keep it from compacting and killing the roots and not overly wet perhaps it will work for you.

    Oh and kudos for the photo. A photo is a huge plus to help others diagnose plants. And what I can tell you from your photo is the following:
    It seems like a recent addition. The plant is showing moisture stress still in the older leaves, which is probably a combination of the transport adjustments and damage caused by the burning. The new leaf looks good though, so that's a plus.

    Don't be surprised if new Nepenthes additions take a month or two or six before they settle in and put on sufficient new growth to form pitchers in your care. One must have patience with Nepenthes, bad things happen fast and good things happen slowly.. very slowly.
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    The Most Uncreative Name in the History of Ever Plant Planter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Paroubek View Post
    ...2 fluorescent bulbs doesn't tell me much. It's key to know how strong they are in watts. I can tell you though that without that information unless you are running 150watt+ bulbs. 2.75' above the plant is NOT moderate-high light. It's actually quite low and insufficient for long term success...
    I don't know the exact wattage, but I do know that all my other plants get by just fine on it. Then again, they're not in a terrarium.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Paroubek View Post
    ...Peat and sand is quite heavy and not very well aerated and would not be my choice by a long shot although if you can keep it from compacting and killing the roots and not overly wet perhaps it will work for you...
    That is unsurprising. I was wondering about that but at the time of potting I had nothing better. Hopefully the Sphagnum that I picked up for my Heliamphora minor is truly "organic" and is unfertilized. If by "compacted" you mean "squashed down upon the roots of the plant" then the peat isn't compacted. I don't think you mean that, though. I will be sure to transplant it when it gets stronger (and IF it gets stronger).

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    Tony C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plant Planter View Post
    I will be sure to transplant it when it gets stronger (and IF it gets stronger).
    I would repot it sooner rather than later. If the roots are suffering in a poorly aerated medium the plant will only continue to decline, not grow stronger.

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    Carnivorous... EntHerptology's Avatar
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    Not only is the soil not well aerated, their needs to be air circulation in your terrarium. Consider investing in a small fan, but take heed in making sure your medium stays damp and the ambient humidity stays high. Also, any distance over 18" and your fluorescent bulbs will provide little benefit to your plants. More information on your lighting would be appreciated.

    Good Growing,
    Kenny

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plant Planter View Post
    I don't know the exact wattage, but I do know that all my other plants get by just fine on it. Then again, they're not in a terrarium.



    That is unsurprising. I was wondering about that but at the time of potting I had nothing better. Hopefully the Sphagnum that I picked up for my Heliamphora minor is truly "organic" and is unfertilized. If by "compacted" you mean "squashed down upon the roots of the plant" then the peat isn't compacted. I don't think you mean that, though. I will be sure to transplant it when it gets stronger (and IF it gets stronger).

    Peat/sand is heavy and yes it will eventually "squashed down upon the roots of the plant" and in doing so will reduce the amount of aeration to the roots which could kill them eventually.

    As for the lighting. One of the biggest errors I see in this hobby is failure to understand the plants lighting needs with regard to intensity. Many people spend a lot of money on plants and terrariums etc and then skimp on the lighting because it can be confusing or expensive. After a while they wonder why their plants are not doing well. Lighting is the number one most important factor for indoor growing. All the rest is for the most part pointless in comparison.

    I don't know what the other plants that get by just fine are, or how long you have had them, or what your definition of "get by just fine" is, but based on your description is highly likely they are not receiving nearly enough light. And if you want them to thrive and produce large healthy leaves and colorful pitchers long term, you should figure out exactly what your plants are currently receiving so you can make a decision as to whether they need more and how much. Note I said your plants, not just your N. fusca
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    Well, I think your media, while good for most temperate CPs is way too heavy for a highland nepenthes. Something more suitable would be a fluffy, well-draining mix that includes lfs, perlite, possibly orchid bark, maybe some coco peat. There are tons of great nep mixes out there.
    Also, are you getting any kind of temp drop at night? If so, how much? And what kind of lights are you using? T12, T8, T5? My plants are under a combo of T8's and T5s about 6-8 inches away from the lights.

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    The Most Uncreative Name in the History of Ever Plant Planter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dionysos86 View Post
    ...And what kind of lights are you using?...
    As I said earlier, I don't know the exact wattage of the bulbs and I certainly don't know what type they are. And by "other plants" I mean four Venus flytraps, one Sarracenia leucophylla, one Drosera spatulata, and one Pinguicula primuliflora. By "get by just fine" I mean (for Drosera spatulata) flowering and dividing many times, (for my Dionaea) flowering three times (twice for one plant, one for another) and dividing two times (once for each of two plants), (for my Sarracenia) growing pitchers a foot and a quarter tall with not too bad of coloring, and (for my Pinguicula) easily growing along and making scads of plantlets.

    All in all, my plants love it. Except for Nepenthes fusca. But that's different.

    It seems that the issues that I need to address are
    A) inadequate lighting (easily fixed) and
    B) lack of proper media (also easily fixed).

    I'm planning to resolve the media issue with the long-fiber Sphagnum moss that I picked up for my Heliamphora minor but never used. Would a 100% Sphagnum mix work?
    As for lighting, summer's arrived here in northeast Ohio (sort of) so I might be able to put it out in the sun if it isn't too hot. How could I keep it from overheating? Sit it in a tray of cold water? I doubt it'll work.

    Anything I missed there?

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