sourcing nep genders


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Hello all - I am branching out. Moving to the dark-side. I have decided to try to grow some neps. The sticking point for me is the dioecious nature of the genus. I like species (I'm not interested in hybrids), and I like to share my plants with others. I enjoying knowing I can make seed from the plants I grow and share the enjoyment these plants bring me. I suspect it is no mystery where this is going.

I'd like to grow several individuals of just a few species, but I want a chance at getting both genders; whether that be finding a good source for fresh seed, a nursery that grows or TC's their plants from seed, or a nursery that will divulge when they know if their cuttings are from males or females. Any of those give me a real shot at ending up with both genders of a species.

Being new to this, I am happy to hear any advice. Seriously, any advice. If it helps, the species I grow will have to be highland (I can't maintain high enough temperatures for lowland species - but I can keep conditions cool). And, the species I'm most interested in are:

Good

N. alata

N. ventricosa

Better

N. dubia

N. glabrata

N. inermis

Great, but no real chance

N. hamata

N. macrophylla

The dream!

N. pervillei

All thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and wacky plans are warmly welcomed. Thanks for your help!

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sanguinea is a good bet, that's nice and easy. burkei too- it's similar to ventricosa but much more spectacular IMO and the other reccomendation for you is robcantleyi but that may have to go up there next to hamata- they're a bit on the expensive side but such easy plants its well worth it.

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Are these for the windowsill? If so there are a great number of potential species to be able to grow, depending on your conditions (I'm assuming your house doesn't go under 10C)

N. maxima, N. platychila, N. burbidgeae, N. gymnamphora, ramispina, vogelii, bongso, boschiana, truncata, khasiana, tobaica, fusca, stenophylla, sanguinea.....a large number of species can be acclimatised to grow on windowsills.

As for genders - you're simply going to have to shop around and do plenty of asking. Though keep in mind, getting most neps to flower can take a good while! And the chances of your male and female flowering at the same time is small.

But enjoy nepenthes! They require patience but are very rewarding.

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Hi Silverman - Thanks for the tips on which species are easier to grow! I have to be honest though, I'm not actually interested in all neps. I am sure this will draw ire from some, but I find most neps look dull, uninteresting. It's the big reason I've never grown any before. They've never really appealed to me before. There are just a few that are exceptions in my eyes, and that I would bother to grow. The list I included previously is darn near all of them.

Hi James - Nope, they aren't for a windowsill. I grow my plants under lights in a basement. I'm currently setting up two chambers. One will be for my big interest in CP's, winter growing sundews. This one will be allowed to get quite warm in the summer and will be connected to my free outdoor air conditioning in the winter (it typically gets as low as -35C here). The other is going to be a highland chamber, mainly built to better grow epiphytic utrics, but will have a good deal of extra room in it, and that's why I thought I'd try some neps. I have a dedicated portable A/C unit for this chamber, and I intend to keep the temperature below 22-24 in the summer, but it's likely to get down to 10 in the winter. This is why I was thinking highland neps might be more appropriate.

Of the list you were kind enough to assemble, N. vogelii is sort of interesting. It sounds like it is just going to be a bit of work tracking down the genders of the species I'd like to grow. I am a little surprised nurseries down't keep better track of this given that I would assume cuttings from known females seem as though they would fetch a higher price. I guess I have a lot to learn about how neps are bought, sold, and traded. In this regard, they seem so unlike the other CP genera. Thanks again for the tips!

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Your best bet to ensure you have enough plants of different sexes and the same species would be to grow out at least ten plants from seed to maturity. If grown in natural light, several plants of the same species may flower at the same time, if grown in artifical light they'll probably flower randomly and you would have to store the pollen.

Even then there is no guarantee of seeds, i had a male and female bokorensis flower last year at the same time and did not get any seeds.

Then there is the pollen exchange scheme which is great, especially to make hybrids but still not so easy to produce species seed.

Many nursery clones are never grown to maturity at the nursery and even when they are they dont seem to bother to record if theyre male or female, at least publicly, and often you are getting a 'random' choice out of several clones anyway when you buy.

Frankly, trying to produce species seed is a very long term goal unless you pick the right species and are lucky enough to locate a female plant, which generally are much less common than males.

Places to start: perhaps look at Dicons species list and try to locate someone willing to send a cutting of a known female, then track down a male (which should be easier).

Spathulata females seem to be fairly common and easily propagated.

Of the ones on your list be carefull of all the alatas out there, most will likely be hybrids.

I tend to agree with you that many nep species are quite dull and a lot depends on the particular clone you get, (i well remember my tedious dull and boring wistuba wavy maxima clone).

What impressed me most as a youngster with neps was not so much the individual pitchers, but seeing an entire back wall of a public greenhouse (sadly no longer existing) covered with lengthy vines and dozens of pitchers and thats something i hope to partially reproduce with a few easier species, I think its really sad to see stunted terrarium grown specimins (especially my own, lol).

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Hi Manders - Thanks for the information. Fantastically helpful! It sounds like it is going to be a challenge and I should pick one species to begin with, which will better allow me to grow the numbers necessary. Though I do grow my plants under artificial light, I'm pretty good about varying the daylight seasonally (though not as good as a local CP grower I know who has programmed his lights through a controller he built to perfectly mimic the sinusoidal day length variation at a chosen latitude). I go to the effort of modifying the day length for my plants to synchronize dormancy in some of my plants, particularly the winter growing sundews. I'm hoping the same will work for neps someday too - only time will tell.

I don't know what "Dicons species list" is. A quick internet search wasn't much help. Could you elaborate?

I'm also glad to hear there is someone else who isn't enamored with all neps. At my local society meetings everyone, and I mean everyone, besides me is enamored with every nep species and hybrid out there. It manages to make me feel atypical within a hobby that is already atypical. I can see what attracted you to them from your story. A wall of neps would be an impressive site. Maybe I just need to find a way to afford to see them in the wild. Thanks again, you've been most helpful!

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Oops just realised you are not in the EU, Dicon (a member of this forum) maintains a list of what species people have flowering so that we can exchange pollen/seeds etc. Not much help to you in getting a cutting as we cant send plant material to the states.

It's the opposite over here, most people are probably sarracenia growers followed by sundew/byblis/heliamphoras/pings/utrics, and neps seem to be the least active, at least it seems that way, perhaps because you need a lot of heated space to grow most neps.

I was never a fan of hybrids, although have made a few myself as theres usually not much else you can do with the pollen.

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Hi Manders - Well, at least I don't feel too foolish for not knowing. International restrictions do make things a challenge. I feel as though the availability of all CP's is better in the EU than here in the States. However, that may just be a perception of the grass being greener on the other side of the pond, if you will. Can you not ship pollen internationally? I thought it was only prohibited with CITES 1 species, making it possible for most neps. Seems like I should read up a bit more on CITES as well. Thanks again for your replies, they have been greatly appreciated!

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As for genders - you're simply going to have to shop around and do plenty of asking. Though keep in mind, getting most neps to flower can take a good while! And the chances of your male and female flowering at the same time is small.

This isn't quite accurate. Actually, once the plants are large enough and estabished in the same conditions, you can expect that the males and females of the same species will flower concurrently on a regular basis. Some species even flower twice a year.

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Hi Manders - Well, at least I don't feel too foolish for not knowing. International restrictions do make things a challenge. I feel as though the availability of all CP's is better in the EU than here in the States. However, that may just be a perception of the grass being greener on the other side of the pond, if you will.

true, while the political gerrymandering is frustrating in the extreme, the EU does at least have the benefit of a free trade agreement allowing plants and other goods to pass freely within europe.

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That is a symptom of the freedom fighters here is USA. They hate Freedom and do everything they can to ignore and dis their constitutes. They want power, but don't deserve it. Gerrymandering is a crime.

Just listen this scumbag:

These folks are too stupid to realize, they have to work for your votes. Since they childishly don't want to do their jobs, they in turn don't want you to vote. The message is, "Give us your money and Go Scratch". Did that moron actually say, "Too many Christians want to do the right thing and get people to vote, and that is not the right thing". This guy is not a conservative; he is a dirt bag.

The less power goons like these have, they better all our countries will be.

Edited by Dave Evans
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Yes, shipping pollen is ok or seeds, just not live plant material due to phytosanitary and cites restrictions.

Hi Manders - Good to know! It makes it even more appealing that if I can get some plants flowering I could help out folks all over.

true, while the political gerrymandering is frustrating in the extreme, the EU does at least have the benefit of a free trade agreement allowing plants and other goods to pass freely within europe.

Hi Silverman - True enough. I understand the basis of the concerns, but appropriate implementation in ways that achieve the important goals without hindering other efforts is always going to be problematic.

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