Nepenthes – The Pitcher Plant
Widely called ‘pitcher plants’, Nepenthes are but one of the carnivorous plants, not only fun but fascinating for collectors.
Nepenthes are a large genus and most are the climbing or ‘hanging’ pitcher plants (see picture right) mainly from South East Asia including islands such as Borneo, some are from Northern Queensland.
Species include plants such as Nepenthes attenboroughii, Nepenthes ventricosa and Nepenthes mirabilis, some of the best known of what we commonly refer to as ‘pitcher plants’. Today many of these are sourced from tissue culture laboratories.
These carnivorous plants are popular with collectors and gardeners alike. Nepenthes truncata is originally from the Philippines, fairly easy to grow and a real eyecatcher.
Nepenthes rajah is an example of a highland species, these generally require cool night time conditions and warm days, conditions that are not easy to replicate. Valued for its large pitcher and huge lid, well worth a try if you have a greenhouse or live in the mountains in QLD.
Growing conditions and care
Growing conditions for Pitcher Plants vary greatly depending on species, so be sure to get a fact sheet that is relevant for your specific Nepenthe.
In general they require watering on a regular basis, they do like a well drained environment, but do not like to dry out. Nepenthes ‘natural fertilizer’ is insects and this is generally enough.
Do not feed pitcher plants meat or similar. A little liquid fertilizer in the potting mix once a month will help.
Can you grow Nepenthes in cool to temperate climates?
Well yes but some species are more suitable than others and temperatures will need to above 0 degrees at all times, look for N. maxima, N. sibuyanensis, N. alata and associated hybrids. But if you are really keen maybe a glasshouse or try growing them indoors.
- Nepenthe truncata – This is a very large growing species with the ‘Pitcher’ reaching 30 – 50 cm in length. Green pitcher and ochre/red lips. Best grown in warm climates with high humidity. One for the tropics unless you have a greenhouse. Two forms are available, a highland form and a lowland form.
The highland form copes with cooler temperatures and less humidity. Lowland forms are best in a temperature range from 27C to 35C with a night temperature of 15C.
Propagation, Seeds, Hybrids and Cuttings
Nepenthes can be grown from cuttings, tissue culture or from seed, many hybrids are now becoming available some with huge pitchers. Nepenthes lowii, sumatrana, belli and burbidgeae are all popular candidates for hybridisation.
Nepenthes are available for sale from the following nurseries
Wide range of Bromeliads, Nepenthies pitcher plants, Anthuriums and Tropical Rhododendrons or Vireyas. All available for sale by mail order from Riverside Bromeliads and Denali Bromeliads.
357 Monbulk Road SILVAN VIC 3795
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