Growing Nepenthes NEED ADVICE!


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MY nepenthes Alata are having trouble pitchering. I would like some pitchers but can't figure out what I am doing wrong.

Five Nepenthes Alata, in individual pots, no pitchers have grown on them in the month and a half I have owned them. Humidity Average 87-90% Temperature Average: 77 f - 73 f at night. One shoplight the length of the ten gallon terrarium, and reflective aluminum wrapped around sides to amplify light. One inch vents allow good circulation. And I mist them well in the morning and evening. 15 hours photoperiod. Still no pitchers...

NOTE: These Alata began as a window sill hanging basket, I chose them for that purpose having researched N. ALATA hardiness for less humid environments, if often misted. After I realized they weren't pitchering I (two weeks ago) moved them into pots and they have been living in the environment described above ever since.

I know that highland nepenthes enjoy cooler evenings but I have no way of offering that except by placing distilled water ice cubes on their soil every night. I am currently trying that on three of my plants now.

Do you know what is missing? Know anyone who would?

Thanks for reading this!

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Light.

Pure and simple. This is what is missing. My climate is roughly the same as yours as far as a grow space, and for the most part, my neps didn't really start putting out pitchers until I increased to 4 40w tubes. They still look like they could use twice as much. The largest and most colorful pitchers of mine grow up against the reflective back wall. The pitchers that aren't in this line of light tend to be at least half of the size.

I grew N. alata outside in the sun with no misting here in NY all through out the spring and summer. It was putting out a pitcher on every leaf. Inside under lights with higher humidity and lower light it's still putting out leaves, much longer than before, but almost no pitchers now.

I'd add more light if possible.

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Thanks I will try more light. I am glad to know this, Last week I doubled my light to two 23 inch shoplights in hopes of pitchering.

Then last weekend I found a poor nep hidden on the lower shelf of a greenhouse sitting in a 2-inch pot with a plastic cup dome covering it. This plant had three dying pitchers and three new with two potentials. Finding this Nep in such little light but equal humidity as my neps made me suspicious. I check this particular greenhouse twice a week practically, so I knew that the nep grew those pitchers there. Bringing it home to safety before the lousy greenhouse killed off anymore of its pitchers...I dared to think I was giving my neps TOO much light and was burning the growing tendrils.

Thanks so much for your reply. Perhaps I'll let you know if it works.

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Just a tip if you want to get more light into your tank. Screw in type, or in general compact fluorescents would give more of the actual light to your plant, and I do believe you could cram quite a few 27w spirals in over the top of a 10 gallon tank.

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I would add to go easy on the misting inside a terrarium. It should not be necessary if the top is fairly closed. They don't need to be continuously sopping wet.

I also think your expecting too much too fast. A month is barely enough time for a plant to settle in to a new environment and start growing normally. Two weeks so far in the terrarium is even less than that. Pitcher development takes time.

Tony

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Definately listen to Tony's advice. Misting too often inside of a tank will just tend to rot things and give an avenue for fungus to set in. The only time I tend to mist inside of my growspace is if I notice the humidity is dropping a bit, and usually that in itself is just a hint that I should water some plants. (I don't really use the tray system too often)

The key thing to neps is, as long as they're growing, leave them alone. :D

Though I have noticed that light is a key element in growing them, a lot more than having high humidity from what i've noticed.

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Great Replies! Thanks. The advice from misting came from D'Amato's book the Savage Garden. However his tank was a 55 gallon. Is your advice primarily for Neps or should I avoid misting for any CP in my 10 gallon tank? What about the night temperature...should it have a heavy drop to 50-60 f ?

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Thanks! I'll keep the alata at a steady temp. : )

Hey Vertigo, thanks for the 411 on the screw in type. Today I was at the Depot and found only awkward LONG tubes that put out 40w of light. The Smaller, screw-in spiral types are cheap and space efficient. Thus, I now know what I need to buy. Amazing what money you'll fork over for the comfort of your CPs. haha Thanks for all your help again!!!

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Misting in a 10 gallon tank really shouldn't need to be done. My ten gallon tank when I had it set up had basically rain falling in it from the humidity. I mist every now and then in my growspace (roughly 4'x3'x2.5') but that's only to bring the humidity up some after I have it opened for a little bit, or to circulate some of the air without a fan. I also usually only do this when the light cycle changes. I feel it's a little more natural that when the temps change a little bit the humidity adjusts with it.

You would only need a nightime drop like that for very true highlands from my knowledge.

Good luck and let us know how they do. Remember, if you fuss too much over the nep, it'll have a lot harder of a time than if you gave it a space to grow in and left it. You have to love them from a distance so to say.

Great Replies! Thanks. The advice from misting came from D'Amato's book the Savage Garden. However his tank was a 55 gallon. Is your advice primarily for Neps or should I avoid misting for any CP in my 10 gallon tank? What about the night temperature...should it have a heavy drop to 50-60 f ?
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: ) From a distance huh...well I usually eat breakfast sitting in front of my tank just staring at my neps, analyzing each growing tendril wondering about the future pitchers. I'll try not to touch them anymore.

And thanks for the advice about the Misting. I never would have thought to not mist them. I would've felt negligent. But, as I am starting to see, Neps love to be independent. Of course, I will keep you posted on my neps and let you guys know when your advice worked!

One thing, if I am not misting them...they will need to be watered on a schedule. Advice I have heard has been water when the soil is getting dry. But I have also heard to not let the soil dry out. So, in the December season of my Nep Alatas...how frequent should I water from above?

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How often to water from above?

:D As often as is needed.

Like I said, I notice that the humidity tends to drop in my growspace when it's about time to water. Usually when the media is getting dry, as does the air since it gets a lot of its humidity from the evaporation off of the substrate for me.

Also, it would depend on your media mixture. A more peaty soil would require watering quite a bit less than LFS and orchid bark.

Personally, and I don't really tell people at all to grow them like this...I tend to grow them like I do my orchids. I give them a good soak now and then, other than that I check on the top of the media every few days or so, and if the LFS, milled sphag, or whatever i'm using as a top dressing is either a lighter shade, or looks like it's getting dry, I just pour a cup of water onto the substrate. If it looked really dry, I water twice, letting any extra run out to the bottom of the growspace to evaporate and help with the humidity. The keep element is to not let them dry out completely. But all this also depends on the exact specimen as well as pot size and substrate. Once a month or so, sometimes every other depending, I take each pot and set it in a container with water in it to allow it to absorb as much as it can, then I set it and forget it. :D

In the long run, watch your plants. The leaves tend to give little hints as to what's going on with the plant. Especially from what i've noticed with neps that have settled in already, each new leaf tells a little story about what the plant had to deal with to form that leaf to the best of its ability.

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I use long-fiber sphagnum moss...not live sphag. So, I will watch for it to become drier before I water. It seems I need to water more seldom than I thought. Thanks for the advice.

As for the leaves. As far as I know...the hints I can gather from leaves are: (my guesses)

Long leaf - too little light

Green leaf - good water/and light

Lighter green/slight yellow - too little light/water??

Wide leaf - not enough light

thin leaf short leaf - too much light? (is that possible for a nep) ; )

Brown - dead.

: ) What else can I an amateur learn from you to look for?

BTW Thanks Vertigo for all your prompt help!! You've been great!

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Well, I have now acquired two more compact fluorescent bulbs. Each 23w. However, they claim they are 23w with 100w OUTPUT. I don't believe that, or should I? From what I gathered from your advice vertigo...with 27w spiral compact lights, I need to buy plenty to add at least 160w.

So, now with my two new lights, and the old ones I have a total 78w shining on my plants. What an amazing different even HALF the wattage needed for my neps make! Immediately the color of the single pitcher my n. alatas came with shined vibrantly! I can can barely understand why I ever thought 30w was enough!!!! : )

Woohoo... pitchers here they come!!!!

Though, I still need 3 or 4 more lights. Sheesh, once my meager student paycheck comes in....looks like I get to spend alot of it on my neps! They're worth it of course!

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I would see how the 2 additional lights work for you before adding more just yet. I think your in the right light range at this point.

The 23w vs 100w comparison is meaningless except to indicate that fluorescent is much more energy efficient. What is important for plant growth is lumen amount and color temperature.

Tony

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Yeah, for some reason they like to compare the light output of fluorescent lighting vs. incandescent lighting. At 27w fluorescent, the bulb is giving about the same output as a 100w incandescent...without the heat of course.

You can definately give some neps too much light, or at least too much light too soon. You'll notice that this happens by red spots or markings on the leaves, actually looking a bit like burns. Never take a nep or any other plant for that matter from a low or lower light situation and thrust it into full on sun all day. Some neps do naturally get a red tone to their leaves, but you'll notice the difference when you see it.

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For anyone of you still checking this thread...

With my new lights the heat is rising causing 82 f temp or lower. This evaporates of course more water, and is building condensation on my front terrarium panel. I decided to install a light 2.5 cm computer fan in my tank to aid in circulation.

What are your thoughts with a fan in a NEP tank? A draft of air bad?

At night the humidity drops to 80% and the temp is never lower than 70 f. During the day so far, the hum. is high 90+ at times. Anything to worry about, or was this a good idea?

BTW All my NEPS are already beginning one pitcher each. One has two beginning! It's great seeing this happen!

Thanks!

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The fan should be fine I have one in mine it helps keep the front clear with just a bit of condensation in the bottom corners and the plants dont seem to mind I think the air flow is good. :lol:

James :lol:/

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I certainly agree. But that is only without any knowledge of possible CONS. Is there anyone who disagrees with james and I? Any reason for avoiding a fan in a NEP tank? Or possible things to look for and avoid?

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use aquarium air pumps. just buy a few pumps plus a few tube dividers. then place the tubes in the places you desire around the tank. turn on the pumps and there ya go. Zongyi

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Thanks...certainly something I'll do in the future with a bigger tank. One thing I have learned for sure, is that every NEP grower ends up with a massive third or fourth version of their original terrariums. I just met a guy with a 90 gallon highland Nepenthes Chamber. It sits in his living room. Cool? I think so. When I get that big, I certainly will go for the aquarium air pumps. For now I suppose my three dollar fan will have to work. Thanks Zhongi.

P.S. I love your signature....it's mesmorizing at times... : )

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