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nicmanism

Windowsill Nepenthes ampullaria

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Hello Everyone,

 

I would like to provide and update on my attempts to grow a N ampullaria on a windowsill in the UK.

 

I've always wanted to grow this plant. But since my girlfriend moved in, the space I'm allowed to dedicate to carnivorous plants has been somewhat restricted ("houses are for people, not for carnivorous plants" she says). So unfortunately I don't have space for a terrarium large enough to house a Nepenthes.

 

A couple of years ago I thought I'd see whether it was possible to grow this plant on a windowsill. I bought a nice speckled ampullaria from Andreas Wistuba and simply placed it on a windowsill (that doesn't receive any direct sunlight) under some growlux tubes. 

 

The plant immediately stopped forming pitchers and as the months passed the rosette of pitcherless leaves was getting smaller and smaller. I suspected the plant was heading for a slow death.

 

The next thing I tried was coiling a soil warming cable around the inside of the pot. This coil was attached to a thermostat which I set to 24C. Over the next few months the leaves slowly began to grow larger but still did not form pitchers.

 

So then a few months ago I placed a plastic dome over the plant to increase the humidity. Here are some photos of my plant now. It responded very posittively to the increase in humidity and is now forming very nice pitchers.

DSCF3013_zpsz1a3j86p.jpg

 

DSCF3012_zpsbaxbsehg.jpg

 

So it does appear to be possible to create the correct temperature and humidity conditions for lowland nepenthes on a UK windowsill; using a thermostatically controlled soil warming cable and a plastic dome. However this is not a cheap solution. The soil warming cable cost around £30 and the thermostatic controller cost around £45.

 

I hope this post is useful for some other growers.

 

Regards

 

Mark

 

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Thanks for sharing your experience! As I see it you build your own DIY tank miniature version, similar to a biodome from BE, and it is nice to see and amp thriving :Laie_98:

Edited by JMHoff
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Hi JMHoff,

 

What is this biodome you mention? I googled it but I don't think I found the item you are referring to. Is there already a way to control soil temperature and humidity? I was originally thinking of using a thermostatically controlled propagator but couldn't find any nice compact ones. And I wasn't sure I would get sufficient heat transfer into the bulk of the planting medium.

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But since my girlfriend moved in, the space I'm allowed to dedicate to carnivorous plants has been somewhat restricted ("houses are for people, not for carnivorous plants" she says).

Probably a bad clone of Homo girlfriendus extremus, consider the compost heap for this one and get one more adaptable to your growing conditions... :D

Interesting experiment with the ampullaria!

Edited by manders
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Hi Scotcarnivorousplants

 

I haven't had time to shop for a bigger dome. I probably should have got one a couple of months ago since the leaves began to grow under the dome. But interestingly the pitchers still formed outside the dome.

 

But yes you are correct I will buy a larger dome shortly.

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Hi Scotcarnivorousplants

 

I haven't had time to shop for a bigger dome. I probably should have got one a couple of months ago since the leaves began to grow under the dome. But interestingly the pitchers still formed outside the dome.

 

But yes you are correct I will buy a larger dome shortly.

If the pitchers are forming outside the dome, that says to me that the dome isn't needed.

Most nepenthes will still try to grow leaves if the conditions aren't quite right (light, humidity, warmth, substrate etc), but they won't form pitchers. It's a survival mechanism, and the plant may even put out new basals in an attempt to find more suited conditions by growing in a different direction.

I think the soil warming cable is helping the most, and by heating the damp substrate, it's creating adequate humidity around the plant anyway.

Great DIY bodge by the way :good2:

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[...]  So unfortunately I don't have space for a terrarium large enough to house a Nepenthes.

 

You don't need a huge terrarium. You could get away with a smallish fish tank. I have a x hookeriana (ampullaria x rafflesiana) in mine and it is no slouch. Whenever it gets too big for its boots the 'scissors of correction' come out. I think it is going all 'bonsai' on me because it now produces smaller pitchers but lots of them. The tank is not very tall and I would estimate the plant is 30cm or so including pot.

 

hooker.jpg

 

[...] So it does appear to be possible to create the correct temperature and humidity conditions for lowland nepenthes on a UK windowsill; using a thermostatically controlled soil warming cable and a plastic dome. However this is not a cheap solution. The soil warming cable cost around £30 and the thermostatic controller cost around £45. [...]

 

The tank above is 90x40cm (3' x 1' 4") which isn't very big (compared to some on here). If I were growing the Nep alone then I could get away with a much smaller tank (2' x 1') . The heat is provided by a 'reptile mat' and a controller (won the mat in an auction and the controller was about £10 (both e-bay)). The tank was my old fish tank that got cracked. Wouldn't trust it full of water but it serves just fine full of peat and stuff. The lighting is LED (again e-bay) and, apart from watering and 'pruning', I just leave the whole thing alone.

 

[...] But since my girlfriend moved in, the space I'm allowed to dedicate to carnivorous plants has been somewhat restricted ("houses are for people, not for carnivorous plants" she says).

 

Rebellion is the only answer. If houses are only for people then we can get rid of all that non-essential decoration, gadgetry, art, nick nacks, photo's, bathroom products, non-essential clothing and shoes ... children, pets etc .. need I go on?

 

Grab some stuff and make an environment that your pet amp. will like.

Edited by Hud357

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You can grow other stuff in the same fish tank ...

 

heli.jpg

 

Masses of other stuff. It's a jungle out there...

 

mix.jpg

Edited by Hud357

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Hi Scotcarnivorousplants

 

I haven't had time to shop for a bigger dome. I probably should have got one a couple of months ago since the leaves began to grow under the dome. But interestingly the pitchers still formed outside the dome.

 

But yes you are correct I will buy a larger dome shortly.

Last time I was in Sainsburys they had glass domes approx 30 cm x 20cm ( I didn't have a tape with me) for about £12. Unfortunately I can't tell you what they were being sold as but we're in the house/ garden bit.

Hope thIs helps .

Phil

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By any chance was the lack of pitchers and smaller leaves occuring over winter and did the pitchers start to grow in summer?

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Very interesting topic, never grown lowlanders, but I do grow all my highland nepenthes as windowsills plants, where they do very well. I think welshy is quite right about his comments.

Mark

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Hello All,

 

Thanks for your interest. I've got a rather unfortunate update to make on my windowsill N ampullaria. I returned home after a weekend away to find this:

DSCF3069_zpsfoatyyax.jpg

During the photo shoot for my previous post I managed to break the lead from the temperature probe to the thermostat. Since the thermostat wasn't getting a signal it kept supplying continuous power to the soil warming cable. By the time I realised my plant had been cooked to a crisp. :wall3: The temperature mus have been around 70C!

 

Oh well. Next time I'm definitely going to rig up some way to set off a warning if the temperature gets too high/low. I think that will be my next raspberry pi project.

 

Just in case anyone is still interested. I took a snap of the (murderous) arrangement I used to keep the potting medium warm (and eventually fry my plant):

DSCF3070_zpsub7klhjo.jpg

 

Any suggestions on where to buy another N ampullaria? I might try to find a Cantley's red or harlequin this time.

 

Regards

 

Mark

 

 

 

 

Edited by nicmanism

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Didn´t you fear this really unaware installation could cause a fire or electrical short?

Bonedry peat is an excellent fire accelerant.

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Sainsbury's large biscuit jar with COB LED. The Ampullaria stays compact due to the high light intensity...76de75c067b6688d9f7ca10e4cadb2c9.jpg

Sent from my XT1039 using Tapatalk

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That was an interesting and easy setup mobile. Is it yours?

Yes it is.

Nice one, mobile! Is it still compact?

Yes, that is a picture of it taken yesterday. I repotted it a few months ago, but it has been compact like that for a long time.

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I have a small vivarium heater pad, attached to the bottom of a marble placemat which I stand the jar on in winter. The wattage is very low, so provides gentle heat.

Sent from my XT1039 using Tapatalk

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If the pitchers are forming outside the dome, that says to me that the dome isn't needed.

Most nepenthes will still try to grow leaves if the conditions aren't quite right (light, humidity, warmth, substrate etc), but they won't form pitchers. It's a survival mechanism, and the plant may even put out new basals in an attempt to find more suited conditions by growing in a different direction.

I think the soil warming cable is helping the most, and by heating the damp substrate, it's creating adequate humidity around the plant anyway.

Great DIY bodge by the way :good2:

Hi Welshy,

I did attempt to grow the plant with just the soil warming cable and no dome for around 8 months. No pitchers formed. I had originally hoped that the soil warming cable would increase the humidity to a point where pitchers would form. I like to be able to see my plants without having to remove a dome.

 

As soon as I placed the dome over the plant pitchers did start to form.

 

Even though the pitchers did extend outside the dome the dome was covering the leaf all the way to the tendril. Perhaps only this portion of the leaf needs to be kept in humid conditions for pitchers to form.

 

Next time I attempt to grow a windowsill lowlander I might try wrapping the leaves in cling film to see whether they form pitchers.

 

Unfortunately my DIY bodge doesn't appear to be such a good one now. I'm still feel so stupid for frying my plant  :eek: 

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[...]  So unfortunately I don't have space for a terrarium large enough to house a Nepenthes.

 

You don't need a huge terrarium. You could get away with a smallish fish tank. I have a x hookeriana (ampullaria x rafflesiana) in mine and it is no slouch. Whenever it gets too big for its boots the 'scissors of correction' come out. I think it is going all 'bonsai' on me because it now produces smaller pitchers but lots of them. The tank is not very tall and I would estimate the plant is 30cm or so including pot.

 

hooker.jpg

 

[...] So it does appear to be possible to create the correct temperature and humidity conditions for lowland nepenthes on a UK windowsill; using a thermostatically controlled soil warming cable and a plastic dome. However this is not a cheap solution. The soil warming cable cost around £30 and the thermostatic controller cost around £45. [...]

 

The tank above is 90x40cm (3' x 1' 4") which isn't very big (compared to some on here). If I were growing the Nep alone then I could get away with a much smaller tank (2' x 1') . The heat is provided by a 'reptile mat' and a controller (won the mat in an auction and the controller was about £10 (both e-bay)). The tank was my old fish tank that got cracked. Wouldn't trust it full of water but it serves just fine full of peat and stuff. The lighting is LED (again e-bay) and, apart from watering and 'pruning', I just leave the whole thing alone.

 

[...] But since my girlfriend moved in, the space I'm allowed to dedicate to carnivorous plants has been somewhat restricted ("houses are for people, not for carnivorous plants" she says).

 

Rebellion is the only answer. If houses are only for people then we can get rid of all that non-essential decoration, gadgetry, art, nick nacks, photo's, bathroom products, non-essential clothing and shoes ... children, pets etc .. need I go on?

 

Grab some stuff and make an environment that your pet amp. will like.

Hello Hud357,

That is a very beautiful terrarium. Unfortunately my windowsills are very narrow. They are only 15 cm wide. But perhaps I will look into a custom terrarium.

 

You've also given me some ideas on how I can further negotiate more plants space in the house.

 

Can you believe she has even started to complain about the way I park my motorcycle in the hallway during bad weather :negative:

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