Hello everyone. I was hoping you guys can help out with a few questions I have about my Nepenthes 'Lady Luck'. This is my first nepenthes. I ordered from a guy online, because the pitchers looked a really cool shade of red and this plant is supposed to do well indoors.
Amazon says I ordered it on 8/13/2015. It arrived in a timely manner. It was basically bare root. It did have some kind of black soil around the roots, but I assume that was peat. I didn't know it at the time, but there were actually two plants. I should have separated them then and I'm now reluctant, since it isn't growing vigorously, to repot it now. It had several pitchers on it that looked really good and a couple that were very pale. I assume they were dying, but that's fine. Pitchers come and go. It came with a small pot and some long fiber sphagnum to pot it with. They guy said somewhere on his site that he'll plant in sphag and orchid bark, but the instructions just mentioned the included sphag, so I used that. I did, however, use a 4" pot I had instead of the tiny one that was included.
I kept it watered from that point onward. I'd let the sphag get close to drying out, because I read that nepenthes didn't like to soak in water the way VFT or Sarrs do. Once or twice, it even got dry in a quarter sized spot on the very top of the sphag, because it still looked wet. I felt it, though, and it wasn't, so I watered it thoroughly and kept a better eye on it. I really didn't get much growth and the lower leaves started dying off. I figured this was just shock, so I didn't think much about it.
There were two new leaves coming out of the top, but they weren't unfurled, just little sticks about 1/4" long. This was after a few months. I decided it might be a humidity issue, so I cut an old 2L coke bottle up and set the pot in the bottom and put the top over it. I had to bend a couple of the leaves in to fit. I had also swapped the light bulb from a 5500k cfl to a 6500k cfl. It was much brighter and a lot of the small plants sitting in the same area stopped leaning toward the window that's 3' away and started leaning toward it. Low and behold, but the two leaf sticks took off and grew very quickly. They also put two new "sticks" out.
I thought it had finally taken off and I knew it wouldn't be able to fit pitchers inside the coke bottle, so I decided to give it another shot at being outside the bottle. It didn't seem to hurt it. I had it out in open for almost a month. However, once again, the "sticks" refused to grow and now some of the old, but nice looking leaves started to curl slightly. Whether that's from a lack of humidity or because they're just older, I don't know.
I hoped they were just getting old, but incase, I took a small clear plastic trash bag, like you'd get from an office and bagged the plant and saucer under the light. I knew the humidity had gone up, because I could see a little condensation on the bag. Again, the little "sticks" of leaf growth seem to be quickly growing and started standing up in the higher humidity.
I just need some help with this. Obviously, my house humidity is not high enough, because it does poorly until it's bagged and the humidity is raised. Also, the two new leaves had a funny color compared to the old bright green leaves. They almost had a bronze color mixed with green. One more so than the other. I've heard the leaves can gain color under brighter light, but I've only got the 6500k cfl bulb. I'd assume the grower would have had better lights than me. So I hope the different color isn't a bad thing.
I also purchased an 'AcuRite 00613A1 Indoor Humidity Monitor'. Even if it's not accurate, it'll help me get an idea of temps and humidity. I let it run for 24hrs and got the temp and humidity for my room, right next to the bagged plant. It said the humidity had a low of 40% and a high of 48% and a temp of 70 low and 75 high. This was inside, under the light, on 3/14/2016 over a 24hr period. I then opened the back an put the meter inside. The bag top is twisted up and clipped closed, but not touching the plant. The humidity immediately started to go up. After a couple of hours, the humidity read in the 90's. I got up and checked it this morning and it say the humidity was at 99%. The temps still read the same. I didn't have a low on either since it'd only been 12hrs and it takes 24hrs for the highs and lows to cycle.
I also bought a cheapo lux meter, though I haven't popped batteries in to check what it is at the plant, though. I also picked up a cheap TDS meter, though I haven't gotten a chance to do a proper check on our well water. We are on well water and not tap water, so no chlorine. I stuck it in my drinking glass from the night before and it read 115ppm, but I'd be watering the plant straight from the tap and there could have been "ugh" back-wash in the glass affecting that reading.
Any help you guys can give me would be great. I actually wouldn't mind splitting this plant into two pots and putting one outside this summer and see how it does. I live in upper south Carolina, and while I haven't done an official check of temps and humidity, I'm gonna say it averages at 110% and the devil vacations here in the summer to get away from the heat. That's not an official reading or anything.
So let me know what you guys think. What am I doing right, what am I doing wrong, and how will I handle the outside thing if I try it. Full sun (acclimating it of course), shade, partial? If it does great in the summer, how will it handle being moved inside for the winter? Thanks everyone.