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Thread: highland vs. Lowland

  1. #9

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    Don't be disheartened Colin, I think Highlanders can be grown in warmer climates like ours. So far the highland plants I got from MT and Wistuba are growing well. The two small N. eymae from Wistuba even have 2.5 cm pitchers.

    From my orchid growing experience, cold climate plants can be grown but are not flowering as well (or not at all). I managed to get Coelogne xyrekes I got from Cameron Highlands to flower, eventhough many considered the plant not easy to cultivate in the lowlands.

    Now just considered this, that one of the greatest neps grower Exotica Plants of Australia are located in tropical Queenslands. If I remembered my geography well, Queensland do not have really cool hill stations like Cameron Highlands. So what is Exotica Plants' secrets?

    An alternative to having plants in air cond rooms or refrigerator is to install fan which jetouts water mist. These fans are very common in Kuala Lumpur sidewalk and opened cafes, as well as all petrol stations. The fans really have a cooling effect. I even saw these fans installed in one nursery around Kuala Lumpur. So, the fan not only cools the place it also keeps the plants wet and humid. But these sort of fans may not be of used to you, since water is a very precious in Singapore.

    Working in a similar principle is a hi-tech vegetable farm located 60 km from Kuala Lumpur. There, temperate vegetables (normally imported from Europe) are grown in an totally enclosed area. Vegetables with the roots in mid-air and sprayed regularly (computer controlled) with nutrient solutions.

    Give me another 12 months and I can tell you whether the hamata, ovata, inermis, burbidgeae, pilosa, spathulata, stenophylla and faizalina I have bought can be grown in the tropics.

    Choong

  2. #10
    Nepenthes Specialist nepenthes gracilis's Avatar
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    Exotica Plants, I've recently contacted tham and they use misting systems and large wall swamp coolers like I employ in my greenhouse setup. They say the key is the evaporative cooling effect with total pad wetness.

  3. #11

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    Hi fellow lowland Nep Growers,
    I don't want to rain on anyone's parade here concerning growing highland Nepenthes in lowland conditions, but maybe a few words of caution (negative) could be made into a positive thing.
    I have been growing Nepenthes for over ten years now, and my wife Michelle and I maintain a moderately large collection in a greenhouse here in Boca Raton, Florida. Our summers, mid May until mid October, are truly lowland tropical conditions, with night temperatures barely dipping below 78 degrees F for three months straight. Day temps are regularly up into the high nineties (sorry for the F. instead of C., but its what I'm accustomed to using). The greenhouse is covered in a poly material that reflects heat, so during a hot summer day, it is cooler than the outside. The problem is really achieving a night temperature drop for the highland plants. Our summer nights are very humid, typically 80 percent or more, so evaporative cooling is not very efficient. We don't have swamp coolers or other systems because the best they can do on a summer night is get temps down to about 70 F, sometimes in the wee hours of pre-dawn-maybe even 68 degrees. This is not a sufficient enough drop for most highlanders.
    We have tried a number of different highlanders, and while still small, immature plants, they are more tolerant of heat. They grow happily at the three to six inch size. As they grow up, about two years later, they start to show signs of stress, and eventually die from heat exhaustion. The climate in Queensland (Exotica Plants)is tropical, but closer to a southern California type of environment than south Florida or Singapore. They experience naturally lower night temperatures during the summer, coupled with lower humidity. This allows evaporative cooling to work better, and the Mansell's do use a swamp cooler in the main greenhouse, giving them appropriate night temperature drops for highland Nepenthes.
    If you live in a climate with warm, humid nights the best way to get an appropriate night temp drop is air conditioning or refrigeration. Yikes! There goes the electric bill!
    The next best alternative is a totally enclosed greenhouse using a combination of swamp cooler pads and misting system, with fans pulling the air the length of the greenhouse. Intermediate conditions can be achieved, and one Florida grower I know was successful with N. faizaliana, fusca, highland veitchii, all kinds of ventricosas, maxima, even spathulata. However, rajah barely held on and never really put on a show of pitchers we would want to see.
    What is interesting is how highland hybrids may be adaptable to lowland conditions: the term "hybrid vigor" really applies to Nepenthes. The other alternative is to seek out clones from the lower altitude limit of a species. You folks in K.L. have the lowland form of N. sanguinea (Antarabangsa hills) very close. I don't think this plant is even in the US., and really should be put into tissue culture. I have heard rumor of a lowland form of ramispina for years, but have yet to actually see it or really verify its existence.
    Again, my purpose is not to discourage, but to encourage other growers in warm regions to investigate alternate methods of achieving what conditions these plants need.
    Happy growing, and keep us informed with what happens.

    Trent
    Boca Raton, Florida

  4. #12

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    I live in the North, so that must explain my plants natural happyness.
    There is no item greater in value than life, for without life value would cease to exist.
    My Grow List

  5. #13

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    Thanks Trent for sharing your experience. With the prices of Nepenthes falling, it pays to try out.

    As for lowland sanguinea, I have been to Bukit Antarabangsa a few times. That place is full of posh houses and condominiums. So the sites where A. Robinson discovered the lowland N. sanguinea is probably gone. The last time I was there I spotted some N. gracilis and N. mirablis growing by a stream. But by now I think they are gone because the site was earmarked for development.

    However, I have come across N. sanguinea growing in the lower reaches of Genting Highlands. I will be going back in March to guide an Austrian couple who are here to see the endemic nepenthes. If I see any seeds, I can send you some.

    Choong

  6. #14

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    Thanks Trent and Choong for the advice. I'll try and collect more lowlanders before embarking on highlanders for the time being. Choong, I know the fans you speak of, I'm just not sure where to get them. Water shouldn't be too much of a problem, just the electricity bill [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img]

    Oh, and any chance of having you as a guide the next time I'm in Malaysia? [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif[/img]

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