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Thread: N. bicalcarata

  1. #1

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    Hi...I'm new to this plant and am located in Florida. A few questions I have are:
    1. Will the plant be alright outside?
    2. What kind of soil mixture should I use for it?
    3. How often do I need to water this plant?
    4. What is a good way to get humidity to it?
    Thanks for any answers to my questions. It would help alot if you grew this plant IN Florida. I think it will be alright in my area....
    I share your sorrow and your grief…Numberless times I convey my anguish.....

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  2. #2

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    1) I'm not an expert, but I am growing two bicalcarata in Orlando, Florida. Lowland plants don't need the low night temps. They seem to grow OK in our humidity. Mostly shady areas that don't dry out quickly are perfect.

    I grow on a northern exposure under a pergola. That keeps the sun to a minimum.

    Shade, especially during the hot afternoons, is crucial.

    Oh yeah, I've never wintered my plants. So we BOTH have to make sure to bring them inside when it hits 50. I plan on using the bathrooms.

    2) I put long fiber peat and perlite at the very bottom of my hanging coconut lined baskets. Then I mix in some regular sphagnum peat (The chopped stuff) and perlite, sometimes a bit of charcoal (gardening, not Matchlight) if I have it. It's the basic mix Exotic Gardens suggests with a few additions.

    I like to put orchid bark over the top of the peat. I don't know why people do that really. It does smell pretty good.

    It all needs to be wet and mixed before it goes in, or wet it down little bit at a time as you add it. Don't try to put a bunch of dry peat, perlite, whatever in and just wet it down at once.

    You'll just end up mixing it anyway. Peat takes a while to get wet and it's a sloppy mess until you get the consistency right. It should be wet but clumpable, if that's a word.

    3) I always water if I notice the top of the basket being dry for more than a day. I mist in the mornings and evenings just to look at the plants.

    4) Find that area of the yard that doesn't get that much sun. I like the northern exposure in Florida. I've cooked African grass plants in the front (South) yard.

    I think neps like Florida if you don't cook them or let them dry out. The recent rainy season we had really made them grow like crazy.

  3. #3

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    I have a pool in the back, with an overhang from the roof...I was going to put it there. It gets pretty humid there, and there is plenty of shade. When I bring the plant inside, how do I keep it's humidity up? I don't really have enough money for a terraium that's big enough to hold a mature bicalcarata...if it ever gets to that stage [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif[/img]
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  4. #4
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    1) This depends upon where you live, N. bical is one of the more demanding lowlanders who needs hot steamy conditions to grow well. One hour outside in Minnesota in shade on an overcast 90*F+ day with 80% humidity was enough to just about wipe out my near mature N. bical. I grow in DIY grow chambers. N. bical and N. truncata are terrible choices if you can not provide a large enough grow chamber, as these are among the largest in diameter in the whole genus of Nepenthes. My big bical is 56" (5 feet) in diameter now and it may grow another 18" in diameter before it is a fully matured rosette and begins to climb.

    2) I use pure Long Fibered Sphagnum and nothing else for my N. bicals. they like it wet. I do not like peat because it is heavy and does not breathe as LFS does and eventually starts to rot and stink.

    3) I water my N. bicals (and the other large neps) at least twice weekly. I feel the top of the pot, if it feels warm I water if it feel cool I don't. If you're in doubt water it well and let it drain then pick up the pot and try to remember what it feels like when it's wet, then in a couple days when you think it may be time to water lift it up and see if it's heavy or light. Those are the clues that I use but in general I water on Wed and Sat or Sun but my plants are in climate controlled terrariums which are never below 80% humidity, evaporation from the soil is far less in there than outside.

    4) This depends upon how you're growing it.
    Outdoors controlling humidity will be far more difficult as the humidity in most American locations is much different than in Sarawak where the lowest recorded humidity value during the day is 60% and remains between 80-90% much of the time (paraphased from National Parks of Sarawak, A. B. Morishidi) it is rare in America when the humidity stays around 60%+ all day, every day. A few people living on the coasts are lucky enough to have tropical environments. If you plan on outdoor growing a hygrometer will be a useful item for you.
    Some people say daily watering and misting is enough to grow certain Neps outdoors and in the house but I have never once had a Nep produce a pitcher outside of a terraium using these methods. Florida will likely be different with the extended warm period of the year and far higher RH than minnesota. Neps will live and grow (slowly) without exactly perfect conditions but I am growing them for their diversity of pitchers not the leaves. Even in their natural environment not every leaf will make a pitcher but the plant is capable of doing so if grown in controlled conditions.

  5. #5

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    Hi Cerius,
    We grow bicals here in Boca Raton, Florida, but they are in a greenhouse. During the summer the sides are rolled up so the humid breezes can come thru the shade cloth. The top is covered. A lot of people down here successfully grow Nepenthes in screened-in pool enclosures, but they are mostly hybrids. Bicalcarata, like most species, can be a little finicky about conditions. Luckily, if there's any place in the continental US where bical can be grown outdoors, its Florida! What Swords and Beagle said is good advice, except here in summer the sun is extremely intense, and will dry out a concrete patio quicky. This means very low humidity in an otherwise humid climate, especially during mid-day when temps are high and humidity is most critical. Also, our balmy breezes can sometimes get a bit too strong, and will dry out a plant even when there's a high relative humidity. Monitor the conditions from sunrise to sunset before situating your plant.
    As for winter: when those cold fronts push through, the humidity drops dramatically, quickly. In a matter of a couple of hours conditions can go from near perfect to 60 degrees F with a humidity of about 38%, with a nice stiff breeze from out of the north--not good for lowland Nepenthes! Put them in the bathroom after running a hot water shower.
    Also, we grow our bicals in pure long fiber sphagnum moss, and we overpot. They have huge root systems. Our big female is five feet across and lives in a five gallon pot. The mix you are using should be okay. I know other growers who use a similar mix sucessfully.
    Anyway, just a few more helpful hints!
    Trent

  6. #6

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    After mowing the yard, still pretty hot out there (and several Gatorades later) -- I noted that the characters of the front and back yards are completely different for several reasons other than the N versus S thing, or the pergola.

    1) A fence and tall landscaping surrounds the back yard.
    2) Every morning I water potted plants under the neps.
    3) The patio that the pergola is on itself is surrounded by beds of landscaping. There are a couple little trees also.
    4) There is confederate jasmine growing over some of the pergola.

    All of this gets watered, upping the humidity, significantly cutting the temps and sun. The feeling one gets standing in the area by my neps -- a strip by the back of the house -- is really nothing like standing by the front door. I don't think all the neighbors' back yards would cut it.

    The ones with the built-in covered porches could pull it off maybe. Or, put more cover under a screened-in porch, maybe a covered growing rack. That's worth a shot.

    Like I said, I'm no expert. It appears that a combination of factors, some lucky, some intentional are working in my favor.

  7. #7

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    It will be under a overhang with screen on either side..and not a lot of breeze gets under it. Anyways..Do you guys have anyadvice on a large enough container that will hold the plant? I don't want to spend alot of money on it...just enough to keep the humidity up. I have heat...and mild sunlight throughout the day. I will check out those "DIY Plant Containers"...

    Thanks for all your help guys. I will enjoy the beauty of this plant and for that reason, when I do get the plant, I don't want to harm it. Thanks again.
    I share your sorrow and your grief…Numberless times I convey my anguish.....

    This is my story.

  8. #8

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    EDIT: I really enjoy this plant
    I share your sorrow and your grief…Numberless times I convey my anguish.....

    This is my story.

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