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So, thanks to my limited space for growing things, but my love of nepenthes anyways, I feel sometimes the smaller varieties get ignored in favor of the giant ones, but many of them have pretty traps too. So I have made it my mission that every year I am going to purchase 1 tiny nepenthes species to add to my collection. As it happens I don't currently this year have a tiny species (ventricosa might be on the smaller side, but it isn't truly small, and my other one is a hybrid). Of course, should I fail to keep a purchase alive I am not going to keep on buying more, not without getting better at growing them first or planning on combating whatever unexpected challenge lead to the death of the new plant.

So, in a month or so I am going to pick one and order it, but I am having trouble choosing which one to get, they are all so great :-D

So here are the candidates (I have found various suppliers for all of them, so I know they are available)

Nepenthes mikei (pros, great pitchers, reasonably priced, not everyone has one though. Cons, highlander, uncertain difficulty of growth, might not pitcher black in the conditions I can give it)

Nepenthes bellii (pros, reasonably priced, lowlander. Cons, frankly, not the greatest pitchers in my opinion, likes to vine)

Nepenthes glabrata (pros, very small, very pretty pitchers. Cons, I have a hybrid with it as a parent, not the easiest to grow, highlander)

Nepenthes talangensis (pros, really great pitchers, very small. Cons, this is the second parent to the hybrid mentioned before, I have heard it is hard to get this one to pitcher, highlander)

Nepenthes adanata (pros, intermediate grower, somewhat rare, found one for a great price. Cons, can get bigger than some of the others on the list, pitchers are meh)


So I hope one day to have all of these, but I want to limit myself so I don't get overwhelmed with a bunch of new plants without getting more experience. But anyways, I am having trouble picking, so can you guys give me some help? I can imitate lowlander conditions far easier than highland ones, I love dark and colorful pitchers (I dislike green being in pitchers), the smaller the mature plant the better, and vining is a negative if the mature plant ends up being mostly vine. Growth speed isn't relevant to me, while I suppose I would like having a bunch of pitchers immediately, I have the patience to wait. How easy they are to grow is a factor though, I would rather have an easy one than a hard one with my experience.

So what do you guys think I should get?
 
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Two years from acquiring my N. mikei (it was a 4" diameter infant), the plant now has vines over 7 feet long, winding around the roof of my greenhouse. N. glabrata is the same age and has canes 5 feet long and growing fast. Nepenthes grow into vines -- its what they do! And N. talangensis is one of the fussiest species - it will likely never pitcher sitting in a windowsill.
 
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Yeah, I lost my glabrata to mealybugs a couple years ago but it vined quick! It was one of my tallest neps before long. Small pitchers but NOT a small plant.
 
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Yeah, I lost my glabrata to mealybugs a couple years ago but it vined quick! It was one of my tallest neps before long. Small pitchers but NOT a small plant.

Ugh, I hate that when looking up small species! They always refer to pitcher size and not overall plant size. But I would have never imagined that species would get so big. Crap, crossing fingers hoping my hybrid doesn't vine like that.
 
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So what species would you guys recommend if I want to keep things small? Ones which wouldn't suffer if I frequently pruned them or at least wouldn't vine a whole lot.
 
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You might consider a hybrid between highland and lowland types, so you have the best chances of adapting it to a range of temps. N. bellii X aristolochioides comes to mind. Both are smallish species, though this hybrid WILL vine after one or two years. It's what these plants do.
 
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And vines can be trimmed. When I say vining frequently would be an issue, I mean I don't want to trim them once a month or something nuts to keep the plant from being taller than me. I don't want them to take over my dorm like some cheesy plant based horror movie. I can live with some vines, I even have some poles for vines should I need them. I just need plants that won't fear the shears. Ooh, I like that hybrid, it has just the look I want without the pain of imitating super bad temp drops. Know where I could get one?
 
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No Nepenthes is going to produce vines needing a prune within a month's time. I have ventricosas that I have cut back numerous times, turning them into bushes, and it take a year, but eventually even they get back to having 3-5 foot plus vines. The species that don't vine are difficult highlanders in most cases, or truncata, but that one gets wide, well over 4 feet across.
If you want something small-ish that shouldn't have issues with cutting back vines, ventricosa is an option, as is glabrata and similar plants.
 
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No Nepenthes is going to produce vines needing a prune within a month's time. I have ventricosas that I have cut back numerous times, turning them into bushes, and it take a year, but eventually even they get back to having 3-5 foot plus vines. The species that don't vine are difficult highlanders in most cases, or truncata, but that one gets wide, well over 4 feet across.
If you want something small-ish that shouldn't have issues with cutting back vines, ventricosa is an option, as is glabrata and similar plants.

Now I am confused, are the ones in my original list fine then so long as I frequently trim (I guess that will be ok, more propagation opportunities)? Or will the plants suffer from too much trimming and they have to be allowed to get big?
 
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If you're tight on space and want something small and easy to maintain, either Highlander x Lowlander hybrids or intermediate species are the way to go.
Here's a few suggestions that are relatively compact and pitcher readily:

As Paul mentioned already, N. Bellii x aristo and i'll add two more vent x aristo, spectabilis x aristo. These 3 are quite forgiving and easy to maintain/pitcher.

Species wise: vogelii, maxima var minor, some forms of spectabilis can grow quite compact, burkei is slower than ventricosa and woent need to be cut back. Veitchii is another relatively slow one and can adapt and be tolerant of poor conditions.
 
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Although you mention it in a few of the descriptions in your original post, I think you may be underestimating the difficulty in growing many of your target species. You may also be overestimating the problematic nature of vining. If you get plants that will adapt to dorm conditions - grow them on a windowsill & let them vine around the window. When they get too long, chop, root & use the newly-created plant as trade fodder - especially if it's something desirable -- your 'problem' becomes an asset.

I'm not familiar with the hybrids previously mentioned and I would pass on veitchii as they are monsters & the stem is thick, not receptive to being 'trained'. A small form of N. maxima may work well - I've grown a large form on my windowsill & it handled the summer heat & winter lack of humidity w/o issues.
 
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Although you mention it in a few of the descriptions in your original post, I think you may be underestimating the difficulty in growing many of your target species. You may also be overestimating the problematic nature of vining.

+1
 
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Although you mention it in a few of the descriptions in your original post, I think you may be underestimating the difficulty in growing many of your target species. You may also be overestimating the problematic nature of vining. If you get plants that will adapt to dorm conditions - grow them on a windowsill & let them vine around the window. When they get too long, chop, root & use the newly-created plant as trade fodder - especially if it's something desirable -- your 'problem' becomes an asset.

I'm not familiar with the hybrids previously mentioned and I would pass on veitchii as they are monsters & the stem is thick, not receptive to being 'trained'. A small form of N. maxima may work well - I've grown a large form on my windowsill & it handled the summer heat & winter lack of humidity w/o issues.

I have a humidifier now so lack of humidity is no longer an issue. I was concerned about vines because I wasn't sure if plants needed to be allowed to vine to remain in good health.
 
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I have a humidifier now so lack of humidity is no longer an issue. I was concerned about vines because I wasn't sure if plants needed to be allowed to vine to remain in good health.

What is the daytime relative humidity in the space now?
 
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I agree w/ some of the folks here that you may be operating on incorrect information regarding some of the plants you mentioned, but everyone's conditions & experience can vary. For instance, N. talangensis always immediately vines for me & produces copious pitchers & flowers.

To maybe help your search, I have a few plants on hand that I would be happy to trade if you're interested:

For species, I'm thinking N. alba/N. gracillima. They are cool looking plants, dark pitchers, and have been very small/slow growers in my experience. I've been growing several of each of these for years, and none have entered the vining stage. Granted, this could be because I'm growing them in highland/ultrahighland conditions, so they can never really take-off.

N. maxima "watutau dwarf" and N. maxima "lake poso" have also stayed very small under my care, but that could also be for the same reasons. Growing as intermediates they might do the normal maxima "get crazy big" thing.

I know you specifically are asking about species, but I also have a few trade-able hybrids that could fit the bill:
  • N. lowii x campanulata - slow (thanks lowii!) & has stayed tiny for me. might just be my conditions though.
  • N. bellii x ventricosa - (rare?) hybrid I picked up from Peter D'amato in the 90s that has been a great terrarium grower for me. Nice little red pitchers.
  • N. glabrata x aristolochioides - new hybrid just released by BE which should be quite small & very showy. Might be too "highland" for you though.

I would also say that, based on your description, your holy-grails should probably be N. argentii (if you can keep it cool) & N. campanulata. Look into them a bit. Happy to talk about getting you those during one of your future annual searches when you have your conditions locked down.
 
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Lowland conditions I can imitate with great ease, highlander a bit tougher but I feel I can do it with enough effort on my part.
 
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I definitely agree with alba/gracillima and lowii x camp. I've grown both and they've both stayed relatively small for me (esp. lowii x campanulata). I do grow my neps in HL conditions though so I'm not sure how well they'd do in yours, but they could be okay. I just don't know. Size-wise they're both good choices.
 
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