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Light/Temperature Water/Water Quality Potting Pests & Diseases

Whenever we take a plant out of it's habitat and try and cultivate it in an artificial environment, we should look at that habitat as a starting point for insight into how we might grow the plant ourselves. Trying to reproduce the natural habitat with respect to light intensity, temperature range and fluctuations, and moisture levels in an artificial setting is our goal: unfortunately it is near impossible to duplicate all the environmental factors a plant might encounter in the wild, fortunately plants adapt well.


In general lowland habitats experience consistent warm temperatures and moisture. The key here is CONSISTENT. Plants from lowland habitats don't experience wide swings in temperature and humidity in short periods of time. Highland habitats on the other hand experience wide changes in temperature and moisture on a daily basis. When the sun is up the plants often receive very bright light and high temperatures with a drop in humidity. As the sun goes down the temperature plummets and the humidity soars back to the dew point. The key here is Cool and High humidity at night.

Our goal is to give the plants as much light as possible without burning/bleaching the leaves. The optimized light level for each species may differ significantly. Acclimate new plants gradually to increasing light levels. Some plants remain a light to medium green even with several hours of direct sunlight daily, while others will be solid red, so don't compare leaf color between plants as an indicator. Pale green/yellow leaves usually indicates too much light. As a very general rule, Highland plants and plants with red pigmented leaves can handle more intense light than Lowland plants and plants without red pigmentation, red pigmentation aids against sunburn.
Why do we want to maximize light levels? Stronger light levels produce thicker leaves and strong stocky growth. Plants can handle fluctuations in temperature and humidity better and are more disease resistant. Pitcher color is often greatly increased with higher light levels as well.

Moisture/Water Quality

Nepenthes like consistent moisture at the roots. They hate wet soggy root conditions. The roots will quickly suffocate. For this reason we do not use a tray method to grow them. We also use a very porous potting medium so that the chance of overwatering is very minimal.. Nepenthes can survive with less than very pure water, unlike many carnivorous plants. Some species are very tolerant while others are more sensitive. Highland species are in general more sensitive to high mineral content compared to lowland. We feel however that it is still best to use good quality water low in dissolved solids. Have your tap water or well water tested! If your water tests roughly 100ppm (parts per million) TDS (total dissolved solids) or more, it is probably best to get an alternate water source or treat it. Alternatives include bottled distilled water, rain water, water from a dehumidifier/airconditioner. Methods of treating to remove dissolved solids include, Reverse Osmosis (RO) and Dionization. You should avoid bottled spring water unless it states on the label that the sodium content is zero. Many spring water manufacturers add sodium to make the water taste better and they are not required to put that information on the package. If you find your tap water is fine to use, allow it to sit in an open container for a few days. This will let chlorines evaporate out, which could be detrimental to your plants.

Potting Mix
For our growing range we prefer to use a loose airy potting media. The mix should hold moisture but also allow plenty of air to the root system. This means more frequent watering, sometimes twice a day during the summer. The majority of our plants are potted in a mix of small grade coconut husk chips, medium perlite and chopped New Zealand or Chilean sphagnum moss. Occasionally we use all sphagnum moss lightly packed. Plants which are too small for the chunky coconut husk mix are potted in a blend of Canadian peat and medium perlite (roughly 50/50) or pure sphagnum moss. Perlite should be screened to remove dust and small particles. (Wear a dust mask! Perlite dust is Harmful!!!) Coconut husk chips should be soaked for a couple days with at least one water change. This helps remove impurities and fully wets and expands the chips. Other growers have reported using such items as: charcoal, fired clay/ceramic nuggets, sand, vermiculite, and styrofoam beads within their potting mixes.

Pests and Diseases

Propagation Pictoral Tour
Nectar Glands
Often confused with insect damage or disease.
Pictoral Tour
Is it male or female? Pictoral Tour

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