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Fingers crossed for my N. villosa!


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Finally decided to bite the bullet and repot my big old N. villosa! Its been in its old compost too long and also got jammed in its home in the greenhouse. I should have done it a few years back as the leaves are looking more stressed than I like and pitchering as been few and far between these last few years. The roots did not look too bad though it was a bit disturbing seeing just how thin and woody the original and basal growth gets near the roots. And found a bit of rot as well near that section. :( Cleaned it up and after washing away all the old compost repotted in a nice fresh mix and repositioned it in the pot a bit better. But still far too soon to tell how it will respond- so fingers firmly crossed!




bill (Now for that N. rajah!!)

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  • 5 months later...

Alas the villosa is no more... :(

Stayed looking ok but stressed all winter long- even looked "ok" last weekend. But rapidily the growth has wilted and blackened. Basal now a cutting and main stem will follow. But with creeping black veins running up the stem not hopeful of any rooting/recovery. Still I have had this plant longer than expected when I got it in 1998 and like expected it had got tougher to keep happy the bigger it got.

As soon as its leaves had started to curl somewhat in August I knew the outcome was likely to be bad...

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Bill, that's just tragic, I can feel your pain from this distance.

Getting villosa to that size is an amazing achievement, I only know of a couple of other people who have managed it. I'd settle for one getting beyond 5cm across.

This "sudden Nep death syndrome" is a nightmare.... I think it happens to most people from time to time, it certainly happens to me. It's like the stem develops some sort of rot in the middle..... but the leafy growing part doesn't seem to notice for months and months that it's actually dead...

I'd been wondering why a decent sumatrana, which had been growing like rocket for a couple of years, had just been treading water the last 12 months, putting out leaves and the occasional pitcher, but not gaining size... I did an exploratory examination of the stem last week and found it was rotten right through... and it had no roots at all. Somehow the leafy part had been growing slowly for months despite no connection to the compost....

Neps seem very good a tricking us like this... I'm wondering if we can learn from your catastrophe... can we recognise the early signs of impending disaster and take evasive action, maybe trying to layer the growing part or taking cuttings before total collapse?

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Sorry to hear about your sumatrana Gareth- has it all rotted?

In my case the root system rotted away- and the plant must have been living on its stem until it could not sustain it any longer. In hindsight perhaps I should have chopped up the plant in August rather than repotting. But at that stage the roots "seemed" ok and growth did return for a while quite strongly in September. But the curled upper leaf and the more wrinkled stem I first noticed in August were the warning signs. The problem with valuable plants is the risk of making the wrong decision and not being bold enough when trying to save a plant! I do get root rot from time to time- though in the case of the villosa the original compost had looked quite healthy and not compacted or slimy as LFS can sometimes get and was very free draining and open. But the plant had those first signs of stress, so leaving it in the original compost would have had the same outcome I am sure. My luck growing this beautiful plant just ran out...

I also feel that with a number of these types of neps the bigger they get the more likelyhood of something going wrong eventually.

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So what's the plan now Bill, back to a new micro-plant from Wistuba? Or is the basal in with a chance?

I have to ask: up until your plant gave up, what was your day/ night temperature regime? I just can't grow villosa, I get them to grow new leaves all the time- but no increase in leaf size.

I cut the top off the sumatrana as a cutting, and so far it's still growing- I just hope the rot hasn't spread up into that top part. It seems than these cases can go either way... the same thing happened to a truncata last year, but after removing the dead stuff from the bottom, the healthy top part continued growing well and eventually put new roots out.

I've got 2 other plants that look like they're going the same way... I've tried layering them, hoping they'll put out new roots at the cut part, whilst still being attached to the sickly looking stem.

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I had to re-cut the basal again yesterday as even in just a couple of days the white middle went brown/black. I do tend to keep recutting plants while there is any green growth left. When I trimmed back my hamata last year it took 6 attempts and less and less material before it finally took!

The reason why I consider it good luck if I get a difficult plant to do well is because I don't bother giving any specific temperature conditions. The villosa always grew in the same place on the floor of the rear of my original neps house. It got good light and also early morning sun in the summer, but not that much light in the winter. Never took any temperature readings- on average my greenhouse is about 10/15c throughout the winter and up to 25c in the summer. Though where the villosa was on the floor it must be cooler than that. This AW villosa was my second attempt in 1998. The first one in 1997 died after three months. And a BE one I got in 2006 has barely grown!! So luck plays a large part- for me anyway!! I might get another AW if he lists it as in stock. Though I might not be so lucky next time!

I do know that once plants become infected- that cuttings rarely take and usually just rot.

How is your lowland working out with this years cold snowy spells?

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So for those of us trying to grow villosa, there doesn't seem to be any magic formula.... I"m just hoping for a random miracle now that means mine take off. Must brew up some coffee for them soon... I've got seed-grown, AW and BE plants, and none of them want to get any bigger.

I really need to do a lowland house update.... but a 2kw heater has kept it at 20C even when it was minus 4 outside. It's light levels and inexperience that have been my main problems.

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