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Gareth Davies

Some things that are looking like crap at the moment

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We all like to show off our plants when they are looking at their best. I've just put up a post with the very best plants I could find in my collection.

I then look at others' posts on the forum, drool with envy at the beautiful pitchers in the photos, assume that all their plants are just as amazing, then go to my greenhouse and sob quietly with despair.

But that's not the whole story. I can't be the only one who struggles with their plants at times.

So- for all of those who find that, from time-to-time, things don't always thrive, here's a catalogue of horrors from my collection today.

N.veitchii seedling with previous leaf turning to brown mush for no good reason at all

veith.jpg

N burkei new leaf shrivelled up and I don't know why. Sometimes this seems to happen to one of plants- a new leaf is stunted and black- the next leaf can be a mere stump- then a completely normal new leaf emerges from the wreckage. It might be from a change in environment causing damage to the growing point- that occurs deep down and takes a while to emerge. Or is it greenfly damage? Or mites? I don't know.

In this case, recovery is taking place. Slowly.

burkei.jpg

N mira failing to thrive. I'm pretty sure this is entirely down to red spider mite infection... I've been wiping the leaves with a cotton bud dipped in washing-up-liquid-water, and the problem seems to have got better. Then again it might be a fungal infection, or my growing conditions might be rubbish. Who knows.

mira.jpg

N rajah failing to thrive. This is a plant that arrived 5 months ago with no roots at all, so maybe it's just trying to acclimatise. This is sometimes the case with new plants- they arrive looking fine, but then go through a terrible period of decline before they adapt, pull themselves together, and get growing again.

rajah.jpg

N.villosa. Well, it's just villosa isn't it. Although it could be anything form this photo. I've only had it for 18 months, and it's still tiny. Actually, this is good progress, it's tripled in size since I've had it.

villosa.jpg

And while I'm at it, here's sp Doorman's Top 1, the slowest-growing Nep of all. This is actually growing, but since the previous leaves have died off, the net result is substantial negative progress.

doorman.jpg

N.albomorginata Red seedlings being overtaken by moss and mould

seedlings.jpg

There's more I could post, but this is all getting too depressing. Anyone else want to make us all feel better by joining in with pictures of everything that's failing to thrive for you too?

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I would show ypu some photos, but my plants are being nice to me at the mo...

...nonetheless, I know how you feel!

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The same thing happened to my Sanguinea as your Burkei and I don't know why. Still grows like a weed. And my Mixta have several tiny lid syndrome pitchers. Funny that my Veitchii looks very different from yours (yours have hairs on the leaves):

N_veitchii_gold1.jpg

Then there's Vieillardii who refuses to grow well and make pitchers. I've had it over a year now. Recently I repotted it (clay and leca) as someone on a blog suggested that.

N_Vieillardii_red.jpg

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Gareth, i like this post. The honesty and openness.Most of us have plants that don't thrive and we hide them away or suffer severe set backs from time to time.

Many people say nowt,and restock quietly.

I said my piece about winter losses,but good luck Gareth i don't grow neps,i hope they pull round for you.

ada

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Gareth,

I have problems with many of those same species, viellardii, mira, albomarginata etc. Sometimes its really difficult to get the conditions just right and it really isnt obvious to me at least, what the problem is. I think for some, like mira, 100% humidity really helps, but mine still sucks so...

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I know how you feel. I have a good few plants that are looking just like yours. My N.northiana is also on strike. At one stage it has been getting less humidity than usual (In my experience it likes it VERY humid) and just stopped pitchering, and no matter what I do now, it won't come out of its sulk! The same applies to N.talangensis. :wall3:

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There is some happy place for our seedlings. Somewhere below 100% humidity; but quite higher than normal, household humidity levels.

When it is found the plants grow rather quickly but when it isn't found, they grow slowly and suffer from moss and mold.

Edited by Dave Evans

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Dave- spot on.

In all my efforts to grow from seed, humidity is one of the most critical things, and they seem to need it much much lower than we might expect for Neps.

I picked up on this from an old ICPS article and never looked back.

Humidity around 70-80%, with good ventilation, that's the trick.

In the case of those albomarginata seedlings, it's just plant abuse, I really need to move them on, but I've got scores of the things.

Nadja- Yes, it's horrible when things just stop pitchering for no reason. One thing I feel about Neps is that they can adapt to many different conditions, but they need time to adapt. The adaption process can take weeks or months. Makes me think that stability of conditions is as important as the conditions themselves.

I'm enjoying growing northiana, it's the challenge that makes it fun. After the "little lid" pitcher, the next leaf is substantially bigger and I have high hopes....

Mark- good point about albomarginata- I just can't get to grips with it. I think it was you who said that the red form needs very high light to survive, let alone thrive?

N.mira- looking at another post on this forum, I'm even more convinced that the "rust" on the leaves is red spider mites. Not sure why both my mira plants are affected and no others. I'm going to wipe the leaves weekly with washing-up-liquid water to see if it clears up and maybe then the plants will come back.

Pmatil- I think veitchii is very, very variable. Some hairier than others. Then again, all Nep seedlings look the same until bigger. Now that some of mine are putting on some size, I can see that some seeds I've bought aren't turning out to be the right species at all. Not just hybrids, but totally the wrong thing.

N vieillardii- only just got hold of one of these myself a couple of months ago. I've been putting off buying one, knowing it's hard. I've got it in intermediate conditions, potted in pure perlite (a trick that worked well with northiana) and it's pitchering on every leaf- although it's still small, and it's only just getting over its adaptation period (that time when a Nep "resets" itself to new conditions by producing leaves much smaller than before and then gradually building up its size from scratch.)

So- there's still plenty of time for that one to go horribly wrong.

On similar lines, I still haven't even dared try pervillei.

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N. vieillardii isn't hard, but it can be very slow growing, so it doesn't like things to change too much. I think the key with this species is to grow it in very well draining, pH neutral soil--even more well draining than than what is good for the average nep. Heavier, acidic soil N. ampullaria and N. bicalcarata might enjoy will slowly kill N. v.. Think about it, it grows on nearly bare ultramafic rock, there is no such thing as peat moss near these places. Likes to bake in the sun during the day, but cool off nicely at night. If you treat 'em right, they will grow for you.

N. albomarginata actually is more like N. v. in regards to its optimum growing conditions as compared to many species; but not quite as extreme.

Edited by Dave Evans

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Dave- any thoughts on overwintering those red albomarginatas in the uk? Do you reckon they need very bright lights to pull through?

A red albo from Wistuba is one of the very few Neps that I've killed outright- and that was last winter in lowland conditions (the sort of cool-lowland conditions where bical stops and looks a bit ropey for a few months, but then sets off happily again in Spring.)

I think I'm way out there in the lunatic fringe with my potting mix- 80% perlite as standard. This does well for an initial all-pupose mix, a good starting point before I try to improve it for each species.... and it's well-drained enough for those rock-dwelling species such as vieillardii and northiana..... treubiana thrives in it too. N.northiana does well in 100% perlite too... mine is slowly slowly increasing in size.

I had a theory that sp Doorman's Top 1 would do well in this mix: from the habitat photos, it seems to live on rocks, so I've potted mine into pure perlite with a top dressing of live sphagnum. Much as I pour scorn on my scrap of a plant in the photo above- it's actively growing. After a few months in my care, much of which I spent doubting that it was alive, I can see it making visible progress now. I think it was just doing the adaptation thing.

Any tips for anyone who wants to try pervillei? N sp Doorman's Top 1 has a reputation as being THE most difficult Nep, but I think it's just really slow.

Everyone I've heard of who tried pervillei has ended up with a dead brown stick, so I haven't even tried that one.

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Great idea,

My nepenthes jacquelineae, started to go brown shortly after I recieved it. Placed it under a plastic bag to raise humidity, and nog a new leaf is forming :-)

dscn07881024x768.jpg

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Gareth, I started noticing such symptoms when temps went up to over 90F last summer. This summer I am trying to keep it under 85F and its looking better. What are your temps since the decline started?

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Gareth, I started noticing such symptoms when temps went up to over 90F last summer. This summer I am trying to keep it under 85F and its looking better. What are your temps since the decline started?

Which of the many varied symptoms of disaster are you referring to?!

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Gareth,

Sockhom has a very nice veillardii which if i remember right he grows on windowsill dryish in full sun. Most/all of the people who seem to grow this and the red albos well seem to get a lot more sun than we do up in the north of the UK in winter or grow them under lights. My view is lack of light is a real issue for half of the year and the red leaved varieties suffer th most.

I found it quite informative to check out the average hours of sunshine for the uk N&S and vs say New Jersey, France, Colorado etc etc.

Edited by manders

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