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Thread: Northiana coming soon and I just read...

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    swords's Avatar
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    I just read in Savage Garden that a Northiana should not be planted in peat or sphagnum but vermiculite pearlite and lava rock/pumice because the peat or LFS will stunt it's growth. What do you you Northiana keepers think about this? I may have to go buy some more potting stuff if it's true...

    Thanks for any thoughts!

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    Northiana is pretty fussy, but not as difficult as it's rumored to be. I keep mine in sphagnum. You have to be very careful when transplanting this one because it seems to shock pretty easily. It's also pretty demanding when it comes to humidity. When I bought mine last year, the grower wouldn't take it out of its tank until I was ready to leave. I thought he was over-reacting, but by the time I got it home, it was beginning to wilt. Might have been just a reaction to the change from his growing conditions, but I hear the comment from other growers that ultra high humidity is essential. I've always been too afraid to experiment. Oz

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    Question

    Hehehe....I finally get to act like an expert!!! >=]

    Ok, I got my Northiana from Tony a few months ago, and so far it hasn't been nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Anyway, I have mine outside with all my other lowland neps, where the temps are mostly in the mid to high 80s (in the summer at least). It takes the same humidity as all of my other plants (mostly 70%), but that can fluctuate alot during hot days. Tony shipped the plant bare root, so I had to decide what soil mix to use very carefully, lest it should start to rot the roots off the plant too quickly. I found lots of contradicting information on the internet as far as whether or not to use peat moss, but I ended up having to use the stuff that was available to me at the time! My mix was: vermiculite, LF sphagnum (the high quality orchid stuff, not the mosser lee crap ) and lava rock, 1:1:1. The northiana was really slow for a long time, but it picked up the pace after a month or 2. The only problem that I have now with the plant is that it has cercospora leaf spot on most of the leaves. I've treated it with captan, and the spots aren't spreading anymore, which is good. I think that toughened up plants are healthier plants, so don't be afraid to show them some tough love!

    Joel
    http://homepage.mac.com/mindmaze128/...lood forum.jpg
    Joel Martínez
    San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA

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    According to Nepenthes of Borneo it grows on limestone cliffs , but in pockets of peat. So it should be fine with a peat based soil.

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    I disagree with the Savage Garden on no peat for Northiana. I have heard of many very successful growers using alot of peat in the mix. For some reason people hear it grows on limestone cliffs and think that peat is bad..Some people even go so far as to recommend an alkaline mix!!! Not sure how you draw that conclusion. If you take a close look at Nepenthes of Borneo it specifically says grows on peaty soil. Even if it is not composed of true peat, most organic matter is quite acidic as it decomposes. I have some northiana potted in a mix of mostly peat and they look fine. Northiana is a true lowlander and anything other than lowland conditions will hit them pretty hard. Northiana also likes a somewhat shaded spot.
    Tony
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    swords's Avatar
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    My Northiana (among other treasures) arrived today (thanks Tony&#33 Since Neps of Borneo mentions peaty soils and you all seem to be using it I just potted it in my usual LFS & Orchid Bark. If it seems to be doing badly in a few months I'll repot in vermiculite, pearlite and a bit of sand.

    Thanks folks!

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    N. northiana is not hard to grow, once one is aware of what it really needs.
    First, this plant loves shade. If light levels are too high, leaves develop
    patches of necrotic tissue and become lighter in color. Secondly, this species
    needs very consistent, and high, humidity, and warm temps. Simply put,
    it is very sensitive and needs a very stable environment. I do not belive
    that choice of compost is a major factor in its growth. My plants are in a mix
    of bark, charcoal, and peat, with some perlite.

    BTW, I speak from experience. My largest plant is now 1.3 m in diameter.
    Keep that in mind as you grow this species; if you are successful, your plant
    will become very large.

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    swords's Avatar
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    I grow lowland Neps in terrariums using only flourescent lights as the lighting they receive. The plants are aproximately 12" from the lights at their current size My choices for the Northianas home is:

    29 gallon aquarium
    80 watts (4x20 watt tubes)

    75 gallon aquarium
    240 watts (6x40 watt tubes)

    Are regular flourescents enough to cause the plant lighting troubles? The tanks are all covered in tinfoil (with flip up front flap for viewing). If this much is too much light I could make a light blocker out of a piece of dark cloth but how dark is too dark for the plant?

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