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Thread: I was given a carnivorous pitcher plant....

  1. #1

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    Unhappy

    I am looking for someone that would be willing to help me with some questions and/or advise. Unfortunately, we live in a very rural area, where there is no one that knows anything about
    carnivorous plants locally.

    A good friend was given (free of cost) a Nepenthes alata "as is" by a local hardware store that said it was dead and/or considerably damaged. They told him the plant was received by their distributors by mistake. He took it home, kept it for about a week, and then decided he didn't want it anymore. I asked him if I could have it ... I thought it should have a chance, right?

    The plant originally had rotting pitchers on every leaf.... I cut the bad pitchers off and now only one pitcher remains. (The remaining pitcher has a large cut in the side of it, yet currently its still looking good.) Now most of the leaves are either bent (the main vein of many leaves are broken) or have black "dead" areas on them. It looks like there are two actual plants in one pot? From what I can tell, the tops of the plants were cut or ripped off, does this mean the plant is ruined?? I have pictures I took if that would be helpful.

    http://www.geocities.com/newbie_22_1/alata3.jpg
    http://www.geocities.com/newbie_22_1/pics/alata05.jpg

    I'd like to know what I should do with it as I would like to save it if possible. I don't know if its a "highland" or "lowland" verity or anything like that. Furthermore, I don't know if I should cut off the plant and see if it will grow again. Is that called a "cutting," and if so, can a cutting mature into a normal regular plant? I guess what I'm asking is if someone could help with identifying the plant and suggesting what pruning would be best, the sex of the plant, etc., etc. Currently, its been hanging in especially high humidity, strong indirect light, and mist it with distilled water several times a day. Thank you again for any advise offered.

  2. #2
    Capslock's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have it covered. Make sure the soil stays damp.

    The best thing to do is put it in good conditions and leave it alone. It's hard not to fuss with it, but it needs to rest in good conditions! You might want to flush it through with a bunch of distilled water to wash out whatever people put in there, but that's about all I'd do for now.

    N. alata is an intermiediate, and pretty easy to grow. It tolerates household temps well.

    Capslock
    Malo Periculosam Libertatem Quam Quietum Servitium

    My photos are copyright-free and public domain

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    From the appearance of the hanging basket that in the photo, it appears to be a N. Ventrata from Deroos nursery. The basket has a water catchment that is not removable. When watering this plant in this container, be sure to tip it sideways after a heavy flush of water. Its alright if the plant sits in water so long as it is in a well ventilated area where it can dry off.
    This plant is very durable and with the main lead removed, you will be rewarded with many side shoots. These will form new pitchers and create a cluster rapidly. It is best that you give your plant a lot of good bright light. the lower pitchers of this clone are semi green and red, as the plant matures and forms uppers, in good light, these will be solid red.
    Deroos feeds their plants often and it is in the liquid feed line that makes this plant grow rampant for them. Use caution when fertilizing as this pot has a catchment that will allow this to remain at the bottom. AVOID Miracle Grow, but use either a Seaweed fertilizer (Growmore) or a timed release (like orchid timed release or Osmocote).

    You might consider a new pot or basket to transfer this plant into, as it will outgrow their pots in short order. Good luck and thanks for saving a pitcher plant. If anything, you will get it going very well and the person who almost killed it (Lord save his soul!) will undoubtedly want it back when he sees it!

    Aloha,

    Michael
    Morticia:\"Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc, 'We would gladly feast on those who try to subdue us.' Not just pretty words. but words to live by!\"

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    Hey thanks guys for the advice, its very much appreciated! I'm rather lost as this is my first pitcher plant, and I didn't explore the requirements before attaining it. (I normally always read, read, and read about something before getting it.) I have a few questions.....

    1.) How could I find out for sure if this is a N. Ventrata or not? I think I still have the tag that was on it.

    2.) Since taking the picture, many leaves are turning black due to damaged areas. Should I remove all them leaves?

    2.) The tops are cut off. (It looks like it was just broken off) Is this a bad thing? Will the plant never grow any taller?

    3.) I have read references about "cuttings", can the side shoots start other plants?

    4.) Is Miracle Grow too strong of something? I don't have any fertilizer, but that's the only kind I have heard of..... just wondering.

    I hope to give this plant the care it should have. And to think it was going to be thrown out... [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_o_32.gif[/img]

  5. #5
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forums! I think your plant still has a chance.
    Once it's healthy and pitchering again, you'll be able to match the pitchers against photos of other N. alata and x Ventrata and see which it looks most like. Unless you want to pay for lab work, there's no better way of telling what the species is (or if you have the tag that might help.) The growers around here are pretty sharp... I'm sure that they'll be more than happy to figure out what it is for you. My bet, based on your photo, would be x Ventrata as well, or possibly alata x (x Ventrata), a plant I have which resembles yours, and was also originally from Deroose.
    I'm not totally sure, but I think you can trim the dying parts off of the leaves. Don't go in with your shears just yet though - I've never nursed a damaged Nep back myself, I'm just regurgitating what I've seen around the forums and other resources. I'm exhausted and it's late so I'm not totally sure that pruning would be appropriate just yet.
    The plant will grow taller once it gets moving again. Neps are fickle and need consistent conditions to grow well, so your plant won't be getting huge any time soon. I see new a new growth point on it in your first photo, on the end of the vine in the foreground. The way it's tipping over, it will probably grow hanging from the pot, and that part will get longer, not taller, but eventually it will put out new leaders from the roots or the bottom of the vine, and these will grow up. If you give it an arbor, it will probably grab hold and climb it (some species need to be trained to climb, others do so readily - I think alata and x Ventrata are both climbers.)
    Yes, once the plant has recovered, you can start many new plants from it. Segments of vine can be cut from the plant with two or three leaves, and these can be grown into new, full-sized plants. Usually, rooting hormone (and sometimes fungicide) are used to start cuttings, but some more robust species can be rooted in water alone. Some plants have been in existence for decades this way, propagated from cuttings, identical clones of the original.
    Miracle Grow certainly is too strong for Neps, but you can always dilute fertilizers. I think the issue is more that Miracle Grow is just the wrong mix of nutrients for Neps (this is another thing that I've read a lot about but don't grasp especially well.) You don't need to worry about fertilizing now, I don't think. Neps grow in nutrient-depeleted soil and can go very long with very little in the way of fertilizer. You may want to look in to buying a produce called Superthrive, however. Superthrive is mostly B vitamins (and some "secret ingredients," apparently) and not an actual fertilizer. It's a growth hormone or something, essentially, and many Nep growers say it's great for bringing plants back from illness and injury. You may be able to find it at your local garden center, but if not, I believe that **********, the host of these forums, carries it as well.
    It sounds like you're already giving it great care! If only it had come to you in better health... But no worries, the folks here will help you along. In a month or so you'll have the beginnings of a very handsome plant.
    Best luck,
    ~Joe

    PS - Try the Nep FAQ at Barry Rice's CP FAQ page. There should be everything you need to know to get started in there. Neps Around the House and Neps for Everyone are also excellent guides.
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    Wow, I'm impressed with all the helpfulness. Thank you all very much. I looked for the tag after reading the post above, and found it. If it means anything, when I got it, the tag was stuck in the soil next to the pot. Also, I can ask my friend what store gave it to him?

    Heres the pictures of the tag ...

    http://www.geocities.com/newbie_22_1/tag01.jpg

    http://www.geocities.com/newbie_22_1/tag02.jpg

  7. #7
    endparenthesis's Avatar
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    It's funny that even the tag has a picture of a Ventrata. I think I read somewhere that often tags like that are specifying just the mother or father plant or something. I have no idea why they would do that.

    I think the people who sell the big basket plants like that break the tops off on purpose. That way they can wait for all the lower leaves to have pitchers so it's nice and showy. I imagine the vine they cut off gets turned into cuttings for future plants. Then I think they wait a little while longer for a new leaf to emerge from a bud at the top just so the plant doesn't actually look broken and will make some progress after it's bought.

    The plant will be really easy... it'll just take a while. Neps seem to move in slow motion compared to a lot of plants... even the fast ones.

  8. #8
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I'm told that Deroose specifically tags plants with the name of the mother, so you probably have the same plant as me, sometimes referred to as Deroose's Alata. It's actual parentage is alata x ( alata x ventricosa ). I'm very fond of mine, and it's quite prolific. Mine (three plants in one basket) has put up five new leaders from the roots since I bought it this winter, maybe more, and I haven't even topped it. As the pitchers get bigger, they develop relatively wider mouths with a scalloped lip. Smaller pitchers are red and green, while more mature ones are varying shades of red. BobZ's CP photo finder will almost certainly have some photos of this plant, if you're curious.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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