Note: Many grower have different ways of care for Nepenthes Cultivation but this is the way I do it and I hope it give you an idea of care.
- Nepenthes also known as the "Tropical Pitcher Plant" or "Monkey Cup's" is a group of Carnivorous plant's with over 120 species Natural species and many different hybrid's, that are cultivated and that accrue naturally. They are located in the tropic's of Southeast Asia. Varying in different shapes and sizes. Nepenthes are also known for the very beautiful and odd pitchers that they develop. Their pitchers though beautiful are deadly too insects an other small rodents. Over the years they evolved to the point where their pitchers supply them with the nutrients they can't get from they soil that they are found in. Unlike Venus Flytraps they have a more clever way of capturing and digesting insects. With their very beautiful pitchers they secrete nectar that lures insects too the plant's pitchers, where most of the surface and inter-parts are slippery (usually when wet). Once the insects slips inside they can't get out due to the waxy-ness of the inner walls of the pitcher and the almost vacuum like state of the air inside so they can't fly out assuming the insect has wings. Inside the pitcher you'll find that the plant creates it's very own digestive fluid that slowly drowns and then digests the dead decomposing insect in an almost soup like liquid. There are two main types of Nepenthes, there are "highland" and "Lowland" and also "intermediate" which is a combination of the two and is usually much more easier to grow. Lowland requires higher temperature's and grow below 3000 feet and highland above 3000 feet with cooler temperatures.I will be giving the care for both highland and lowland right after the basic care.
Anatomy of a Nepenthes Pitcher
The care for Nepenthes is almost all the same as any other Carnivorous plant but with a few exceptions. The care really depends on what kinda of species of Nepenthes that you have, because certain species require certain needs. This guide is just for the basic care of a Nepenthes so that you can understand the care a bit more, but keep in mind that you have to make sure that you can handle the care of these amazing plants, making sure that you have the right lighting and care for it. If you feel that your Nepenthes requires special care and wanna know more about them please feel free to post a new topic and we'll try to resolve you problem as soon as possible. Most of the user's on this site are very good and experts at growing these wonderful plants!
- 1). SOIL! "Media"
As you may know by now Carnivorous Plants require poor nutrient-free soil since they evolved to live in. Meaning that you have to use soil that has very little to no trace of minerals in it. An remember also that using fertilizers is very bad for your plants over all health, unless you are an experience grower that know's his or her way around with orchid fertilizers and Growth hormones. For an idea of soil mixes in case your wondering, I listed below some soil mixes that are now somewhat universal for some Nepenthe growers
- 3 parts coconut husk and 1 part dried sphagnum moss
- 1 part dried sphagnum moss and 1 part perlite (or pumice)
- 1 part peat moss, 1 part perlite and 1 part silica sand
(excellent soil aeration and drainage.you can use washed sand and silica sand too. But different grow's make up there own soil recipes but it has to be all the same.)
Remember NEVER! use any Miracle Grow products for they always have high amounts of minerals.
NOTE: Certain Soil mixes don't provide the right kind of soil aeration and drainage so be wise in the mix your gonna make
2). LIGHT (Photo period)
The most important thing for the plant's energy is light. Without light the plant will surely die eventually. Depending on what kinda of species of Nepenthes you have depends on what kind and how much light they will get. As I said, depending on your species that you have you have to use one of two options. Direct sunlight (or partial sunlight) and of course artificial lighting which is done with TFL (Tube Fluorescent lights) or CFL's which are Compact Fluorescents. If you are unsure what kind of lighting your plant needs, just feel free to ask!
- Artificial lighting
- Artificial lighting is either done with Tube Fluorescents Lights or Compact Fluorescent Lights.
- The color temperature that you're looking for is within the 6500K.
- With CFL over 100w and tube over 40w
- Acclimation to sun light
Acclimation to sun light depends on the variety of the plant. But a way too do it is slowly introducing you're plant to low light. Mainly from an East window when the sun is barely coming up, than start to gradually increase the daylight hours. By, 30 minutes to an hour every two too three days. After a week and a half you should be able too leave your plant out in a full photo period (4+ hours of sun, ideally 6+)
Warning! Sun acclimation is for plants that CAN grow in full sun!
- Acclimation to sun light
unlike other carnivorous plant's they can tolerate hard water form 250ppm and below but this doesn't mean you have to always give it to them.. make sure if you water them with hard water to drain the soil every 2 to 3 weeks with distilled water so it can wash out all the left over soilds form the soil.. but you can still use pure water and distilled to make thing's easier or water form and RO unit but the best by far is letting them sit out in the rain for the purest of waters . like any carnivorous plant make sure that the soil is always moist and never drys out!
so water like 2 times a week or as you would do with any house plant but remember don't let the soil dry completely out or else your plant will suffer
Highland Nepenthes are Nepenthes that are found over 3000ft in the wild they require the same care but since it's higher elevation they need cool night's (45° - 65°F) and day's (65° - 85°F). An Partial to filtered sun but the sunlight depends on the species that 's grown.
Nepenthes spathulata is an example of a Highland Nepenthes
Lowland Nepenthes are Nepenthes that come from below 3000ft so the daytime and night time temperature's are higher than the highland nepenthes. Lowland requires night time temperatures above 70°F and day temps in the upper 80's and lower 90's.. but sometimes with higher humidity.
Intermediate Nepenthes are both Highland and Lowland that are both crossbreed and are much more easier to maintain. Sense the plant is from both "elevations" in their natural habitat.
-Pests (aphids, spider mites, etc..)-
Either if your dealing with aphids, spider mites or some other "pest" the best insecticide to use would be one that's "water" based. From everyone here at Flytrapcare we decided that Ortho was the best.
-Ortho systemic insect spray or any water based insect spray
USE WATER BASED INSECT SPRAY! WATER BASED!!!!!!!!!!
For fungus or mold problem's best to use a SULFER BASED FUNGICIDE!
-Brown or Yellow leaves-
other common problem's are when the leave's turn yellow or brown this is due to the fact that the pitcher's leaves are getting old so the best thing to do is cut them off. this wont harm your plant at all.
dying pitcher are due to the lack of energy of the plant.. this usually happen's around fall and winter when the sun is putting off lower light than summer or spring so this is normal another reason is that the pitcher lived its life cause pitcher's don't last very long just only a few month's and they grow old and die so just cut off the dying pitcher at the end of the tendril an it won't harm your plant.
More coming soon!
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