Nepenthes ‘ Rafflesiana x Ampullaria' in 125 mm baskets Perfect giant Monkey Pitchers
NEPENTHES (HANGING PITCHER PLANTS)
These plants grow in the tropical forests of South-East Asia and very north eastern Australia.
They are vines that can climb to the top of 15 metre trees.
They have jug shaped pitchers, some varieties up to 30cm long.
These pitchers fill with liquid as the pitcher grows, and when the liquid is ready to digest prey, the lid opens and the trap is ready.
The traps can catch flies, mosquitos, wasps and bees, and even moths, rats and small birds have been found in large traps.
In the Philippines and Borneo, large pitchers are sometimes used for cooking rice and vegetables.
REPOTTING: When re-potting your Nepenthes we use a mixture of 75% 5-10mm size orchid bark, and the other 25% made up of Sphagnum peat moss, sphagnum moss and perlite. Or they can be grown in straight Sphagnum moss.
Wet your mix thoroughly through first before potting your plant into it. The best time to re-pot is in the spring when the plants are doing most of their growing. Use a pot to suit the size of the plant, giving it enough room to grow for the following year, but not
too big that it dwarfs the plant.
WATERING: Nepenthes do not like to be water logged, but do not like to dry out. Water and let the water run through the pot. During summer you will need to do this once or twice a day. Make sure the mix always looks moist. If your water is good enough to drink straight from the tap, then this is alright to use on your plant. If not you should use either rain, distilled or reverse osmosis water.
FERTILIZING: Do not fertilize with flies or insects. You will end up killing your plant this way. We feed with a mixture of Seasol and Powerfeed (Powerfeed is made by the same company as Seasol). To one litre of water, we use 4 ml of Seasol and 3ml of Powerfeed. If Powerfeed isnt available, then we just use the Seasol at 4ml per 1 litre of water.
DO NOT use any other fertilisers. We use this mix every 6-8 weeks from Spring to Autumn either watered onto the growing medium, or poured into the water tray beneath the pot. You might like to catch the fertilised water running out the bottom of the pot to reuse again once the next day to make sure the plant gets a good feed.
LIGHT: Nepenthes require a high level of light to help produce their pitchers. They need at least a couple of hours of natural light a day. A window sill inside the house that gets morning sun in summer and afternoon sun in winter is an excellent position. Otherwise you can grow them in a terrarium, greenhouse, glasshouse or porch. Don’t put the nepenthes outside in the full weather because they require more protection.
HUMIDITY: The number one reason for Nepenthes not growing pitchers/traps is lack of humidity. The easiest way to create humidity is to place a tray of water under the pot filled with pebbles. The tray underneath nepenthes should be twice the area of the pot, and the pebbles should be porous i.e. scoria, so that they absorb the water and create humidity. Change the water in the tray every month. A terrarium or glasshouse will provide warmth and humidity. But a warm sunny window sill will give you enough heat for the plant to survive.
DORMANCY: During winter your Nepenthes may not produce pitchers (traps). They will slow down in growth. Cut off any dead leaves/pitchers at the stem of the plant. In spring the plants will send up their new leaves/pitcher. You can put a clear plastic bag over the plant in winter to keep it warmer and more humid.
When a Nepenthes goes through its transition stage and starts to grow its vine, it will have a time gap before it starts to grow upper pitchers. In the wild, they won't grow upper pitchers until the vine reaches the top of the tree where it gets more light, and to catch the insects that live up there.
FLOWERING: Nepenthes will only flower in a high light situation. They will only flower once they start to produce upper pitchers. Nepenthes plants are either male or female, so cannot be self-pollinated. You need one of each to pollinate. Check Dionaea Muscipula for how to pollinate.