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Thread: New member--nepenthes questions

  1. #1
    chloroplast's Avatar
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    Hello all,

    I am new to this forum, and I'm really impressed by the volume of information amassed by this group. I recently (2mo ago) bought two Nepenthes (gracilis & coccinea) and I have a few questions about them. They are doing ok for now, and coccinea is even producing new pitchers (but gracilis is not, even though they are growing only 2' from each other). I'd like them to survive for a long time, so I've read portions of a couple of books and have searched online for answers/advice, but the information I obtain is often conflicting. I was hoping people could provide me with some information based on practical experiences:

    1. My growing environment: Small apartment in New England. Both windows receive low-light (even during the summer) due to being under a 4' overhang and nearby trees. What sort of CPs can be grown here (if any). I'm thinking of buying a few more CPs (VFTs, butterworts, sundews) but I'm afraid that the light levels are too low, so I was thinking about putting them in terrariums (individually or together). However, I've tried this before, and within a month, all my plants have died of fungal/slime mold infections. Enclosed terrariums and me don't seem to get along well.....any advice?

    2. Lowland vs. Highland Nep. species: Can these be successfully grown together? Is one type better/easier to take care of in an apartment environment?

    3. Light: I've supplemented my gracilis with 100W-equivalent florescent light (12" away). Is this the right distance? I've read that light is important for pitcher growth.

    4. Humidity: I have a humidifier that keeps humidity ~60%. I mist the pitcher plants 2x/day with distilled water. I've also read that humidity is important for pitcher growth--is this enough? I'm afraid if I go higher, mold could start growing in my apartment.

    5. Fertilizer: I'm foliar feeding with 1/4 strength Schutz 19-30-17 orchid fertilizer 2x/month.

    6. Other CPs: I'm giving serious thought to buying a few more CPs (nepenthes, butterworts, sundews) and begining a collection. How is ordering online? Are the plants in good health? Any advice on housing the plants during the few weeks after shipping?

    7. Terrarium: Because of the low light condition, I was thinking of putting the CPs together in a terrarium. Is this wise, or should I put them in separate containers? Also, in the past, most plants I've put in terrariums have died of fungal infections (probably due to the extreme humidity and stagnant air). Any suggestions on how to avoid this problem and still maintain high terrarium humidity? Do you take the plants out of their containers when planting them in the terrarium? If not, how do you make the terrarium look aestheticaly pleasing (i.e., I'd like the plants to look like their growing in moss, etc.).

    Sorry for the long-winded message, but I thought I'd ask my questions at once. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
    Secretary, New England Carnivorous Plant Society (NECPS) http://www.necps.org/
    Member, International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS)
    Member, North American Sarracenia Conservancy (NASC)
    Member, The Carnivorous Plant Society (CPS)

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    rattler's Avatar
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    lack of pitchering with the gracilis is prolly a combination to little light and the fact you are fertilizing it. neps tend not to pitcher if you fertilze them, why would they need to catch food if your feeding it?

    as to your terrarium problems, you dont have enough air circulation. a terrarium doesnt have to be completely enclosed to do its job, infact for most CP's air circulation is very important.

    as to increasing your number of plants, this site is supposed to be EXCELLENT i have just put in my first order and although i have yet to recieve the plants and cannot give you my personal experiance, alot of members here purchase from them. most of my personal collection have come from the trade forum on here.

    i find lowland and hybrid neps easier because i have problems cooling down highlands in my summers. its much easier to heat up the lowlands in the winter.

    just my 2 cents.

    Rattler
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  3. #3
    chloroplast's Avatar
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    thanks for the reply.

    regarding the fertilizer, that seems to be a good point. I'll stop for a while and see how it goes.

    as for the terrarium, I think you're right again. instead of completely enclosing it, I'll try putting some large holes in the cover. That may statisfy the demand for high humidity and air circulation.

    In addition to your positive comments, I've also read some good things about this site's store.....it seems like I'll soon buy a few lowland/hybrid plants from this site.

    thanks again and talk to you later,
    Secretary, New England Carnivorous Plant Society (NECPS) http://www.necps.org/
    Member, International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS)
    Member, North American Sarracenia Conservancy (NASC)
    Member, The Carnivorous Plant Society (CPS)

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    Epythitic Blladerworts(Ultracularia) can be grown in the light levels you have.They enjoy 12 hours of INDIRECT sunlight.If you are going to try epythitic blladerworts, try U.reniformis and/or U.longifolia. I grow both of these. Butterwors also like moderetley low light levels.They enjoy partly sunny conditions.Try the mexican species first.e.g P.agnata. Not that many carnivorous plants enjoy low light levels.
    Carnivorous plants growlist:http://www.**********.com/cgi-bin....t=17597
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    rattler's Avatar
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    well if you are going to purchase from this site ill recommend the N x Miranda. it was my first Nep and is currently one of my favorites. gets decent sized colorful pitchers and is quite easy to grow.

    Rattler
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    I`ve had very good experience with Pft`s plants they arived healthy and promptly. If you`r wanting to purchase the more common\easy growing plants then Pft is the way to go![img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]
    [img]http://home.**********.com/users/pondboy/Neps/Neps%20sig..JPG[/img]

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    Hi Chloroplast, welcome to the forum!
    Let me see if I can address some of your questions:
    1. Well, it seems like light is your biggest problem here. There are some neps that don't mind lower light levels, but VFT's, sarracenia and most sundews need at least some direct sunlight (some more than others)...Many of these you can grow under flourescents, but you need to have the tubes less than 6" from the plants in most cases.
    I would say the lack of pitchers on your gracilis is most likely due to two things: low light and shock. Neps can go into shock when their environment changes (sounds like you lucked out with the Coccinea). This is normal, and the plant will recover as long as you can keep the new environment stable. Gracilis is a hardy nep, so I think the chances are good. I would also move the light closer than one foot.
    With regards to a terrarium, most cp's won't even need a terrarium at 60% humidity. Even in the winter (with humidity down to the single digits/teens...darn electric heat), most of my tanks are only about 2/3 covered. Only exceptions are the nep tanks...I have a couple of neps that don't take kindly to low humidity (bicalcarata, campanulata).

    2. Well, yes and no. This is entirely species dependant. Some neps are adaptable, and some aren't (and, naturally, everywhere in between). Again, your biggest hurdle here is light, since you seem to have tackled the humdity issue (this will be a bigger problem in the winter with the heat running). The only nep I can think of off the top of my head that really doesn't mind lower light is N. truncata. This is a lowlander that doesn't mind occasional drops even into the 40's (at night). Trouble with this sucker is that it gets HUGE.

    3. Well, I partially addressed this in 1, but I have a question...what are the light measurements for your bulb (100 watt eqivient is only somewhat helpful). I need to know brightness in lumens, color temperature and CRI (color redereing index).
    4. Perfectly acceptable for the plants you currently have. Just give them time to adapt.
    5. I (almost) never fertilize my neps, but I know that some people do. I just feed them! Much more fun. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_m_32.gif[/img]
    6. Ordering on line is really dependant on from whom you order. This sight is always great. I already mentioned N. tuncata for your window. If you do a terrarium, your options increase mightily.
    7. Pots, or plant right in the tank: That is the question. Here is how I determine: Will I have to move the plants with any regularity (i.e. dormancy requirements, or maybe I just like rearanging stuff)? If the answer is yes, then go with the pots. If the answer is no, you can do either or. I've done both, and both work.
    It seems everyone has already said why you get the mold....no air circulation. Like I said, keep the tank somewhat uncovered.

    Good luck!
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    chloroplast's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your replies. This information will bring me one step closer to keeping my CPs alive for more than a few weeks. I've been an indoor gardening enthusiast for 7 years now, but I know that successfully growing CPs comes with a new set of challenges (and rewards).

    Rattler_mt: thanks for your suggestion. N x miranda will be one of the neps I buy. I'll let you know how it is doing after I get it.

    Pondboy: you, rattler_mt, and schloaty all highly recommend this site. I'm certainly going to buy from here!

    Starman: I like look of the butterworts--they're able to capture bugs without the use of grandiose pitchers or closing flytraps.....they're interesting. Regarding bladderworts, I never gave them much thought because I thought they were aquatic. I'll have to rethink this.

    Schloaty: Thanks for all the info; I appreciate it.

    1. Yes, light has always been an issue. I have the terrarium tank, so I think that I'll use it (because the plants will be right near a radiator, which runs across most of the walls of my apartment). Now that I think about it, the only problem is the tank is a 55 gallon tall, which will make the lights far away from the plants if I place them at the top of the tank.

    2. I'll look into N.truncata. I hope, however, it doesn't get too large.

    3. I bought the warm white florescent lights (Commercial Electric brand) at home depot. They're 23W with an equivalent output of 100W. Sorry, the package doesn't list the lumens or CRI.

    4. I thought the humidity would be fine. It's amazing what it does for even regular houseplants. Sounds like you have a problem with humidity in your place during the winter. If so, I suggest you get a "Honeywell 1.5gallon warm-air humidifier." I did research on all the different types/brands of humidifiers and this seemed to be the best. I LOVE IT! They cost ~$35, are totally silent, and can easily raise the humidity of a large room up to 90%. They boil the air before releasing it, which reduces the vapor-spread of molds and bacteria. They are very easy to maintain (dishwasher clean plastic parts 1x/month). They only raise your electric bill by ~$25/mo if used 24hrs a day.

    7. I think I'll try the pots, and keep the tank uncovered to reduce the chance of mold. I figure that it will be easier to take individual care of the plants, and to clean the tank. Also, if some of the plants need a dormancy period, it'll probably be easier to do that too.
    Secretary, New England Carnivorous Plant Society (NECPS) http://www.necps.org/
    Member, International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS)
    Member, North American Sarracenia Conservancy (NASC)
    Member, The Carnivorous Plant Society (CPS)

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