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Thread: Light for Neps, drop dead temps?

  1. #1

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    As a relative newbie to neps just getting into my first dangerous period of potentially cold and dry weather, I just wanted to discuss light and "death" temps.

    Basically, what does too much look like?

    What does too little look like?

    What lows kill what neps? In other words, does it vary?

    For one thing, I recently noticed shorter leaves and smaller pitchers before I moved my plants -- too little light?

    All I know is that I've been battling light and humidity ever since I got my plants. They both seem to matter a lot, IMO. At first it was protecting my neps from the sun.

    When I first got a couple rafflesiana and ventricosa from Exotic Gardens I kept them inside in a terrarium by a sunny window. Everything grew pretty well. Around the same time, I got some large hanging neps that looked pretty scraggly from the local nurserys. Those had been grown outside without any TLC.

    To summarize, eventually everything went outside, including a whole variety of types of lowlanders and hybrids. Our Central Florida Summer was very wet and humid. Fall was moreso. I had shaded areas I used during the brightest Summer days around the solstice (June 21st). Neps grew like red clover in the cracks of my driveway.

    Well, now the sun is at the opposite end of the spectrum, around the Winter solstice (December 21). Our photoperiod is pretty lousy and the solar intensity is way down. Our humidity is still high for most places, but down for us (50-80%). I've moved everything to the exact other side of the porch to scrounge what little light there is.

    What happens now? Any hints or tips?

  2. #2

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    I'm in almost the same boat as you. I live a little south of you, so temps are a few degrees warmer over the winter, but still can possibly be damaging. What I'm going to do is just leave my Neps outside. I have no other options, really. My collection is now too large to bring inside for the whole winter. If I remember, I will bring my plants in when it gets below freezing which only happens for a few days in a row during the winter.

    Unfortunately, one of my larger Neps is really suffering from lack of light. I'm going to have to wait until spring in order to fix it though as it is too late in the season to get it to adapt to outside temperatures before cold hits. Signatures of lack of light are : Less coloration, larger/wider leaves, smaller pitchers.


    SF

  3. #3

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    Oh yes, if a few leaves get burned on my plants, I'm not going to worry about it. I know that come Florida spring they will explode into new growth. I don't think Florida weather can kill any decently healthy Nep as long as proper precautions are taken.

    Does anybody know if plants "feel" wind chill?

    SF

  4. #4

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    Hi Florida Nep Growers,
    To answer SF question about wind chill, the answer is yes. Cold, dry air in rapid motion takes the water right out of the leaves. Severe damage looks like someone took a blowtorch to your plants. Just as air movement cools the plants in summer in a positive way, a stiff breeze at 50 degrees F can do some real damage to anything but the hardiest highlander. It may not kill the plant, but it can seriously set it back.

    Trent

  5. #5

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    Hey Trent,

    Didn't Cyde Bramblett have plants destroyed by Hurricane..(was it Andrew?) winds , plants that were frozen to death, just because the wind velocity was 200 mph?
    This is an extreme example, but wind chill will definitely effect plants. It's one of the biggest downers to living in Nebraska.

    Regards,

    Joe

  6. #6

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    Yep. After Andrew blew away most of Clyde's greenhouses, the Neps that were still there looked like someone walked through the area with a blowtorch. It was extreme cold damage. The temperature may have been 80 F, but the 200 mile an hour wind had a serious wind chill. As a side note, the anemometer at Homestead AFB blew away at 210 MPH.

    Trent

  7. #7

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    I guess our recent lows around 50 are NOT good. Drat! I do have the plants in their plastic growhouses now. I recommend those for people as one option for cover outside. My neps fit in them pretty well. I try to keep them just open enough to not bake in the sun during the day.

    As I move hedges from one bed to another, I'm opening up space for growhouses (covered racks, really) and my el cheapo greenhouse. Still need to move about three more LARGE bushes. Those root balls weigh about 80 pounds when I dig them out. Who said gardening is low intensity?

  8. #8

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    Lows here in Boca Raton are about 65 at night and low 80 's during the day. I've already put up the west and north side walls to cut the NW wind. Today at lunch, humidity was at 70 percent. All of the Neps are very happy now.

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