Grow Tips

Nepenthes Care Guide:

I have been growing Nepenthes for almost 20 years. I have grown on windowsills, outdoors, and in greenhouses. The information I provide is intended as a guide and every grower has to experiment to find out what works best in their grow conditions. That being said, Nepenthes come from tropical Indonesia and surrounding areas. They can be found in hot humid jungles or high up in cool mountain forests. Nepenthes appreciate bright light, air movement, and high humidity.

Highland plants grow on top of  mountain ridges and scrubby hillsides, where they experience warm days and cool nights. There is plenty of moisture in the air and  bright light. Fog and rain keep things cool.

The lowland plants come from more stable areas around sea level where it’s hot and humid and the soils tend to be more sandy.

Depending on the parentage, hybrids grow in a wide variety of conditions and are usually more flexible with all growing requirements.

 

Light

Nepenthes can be grown in a variety of light levels with different results. I recommend very bright, indirect light for best color and growth. The closer to full sun, without actually growing under full sun, the better! Full sun can be possible if temperatures don’t rise above 80/85F. T5 or LED are great choices for indoor grow areas and should be placed far enough above the plants to not burn them.

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Temperature

Nepenthes are usually divided into three groups and most can be grown together with the right balance in light, temps, and so on.

Lowland

Lowland plants usually  have thinner leaves and love very high humidity around 70/90% and constant warm temperatures to thrive. If temperatures go below 60 the plants can suffer retarded growth/burn.

Daytime temps: 80F/85F

Nighttime temps: 65F/85F

Intermediate

Species that grow in a wider range of temperatures are considered intermediate growers. In example, Nepenthes veitchii can be grown with highland and lowland with great success. Usually best for windowsill growing.

Daytime temps: 75F/80F 

Nighttime temps: 55F/65F 

Highland

Plants under this group come from high elevations and are some of the most spectacular!  In short, these plants love very bright light and cool, breezy air with lots of moisture

Daytime temps: 75F/80F

Nighttime temps: 50F/55F
(required for long-term success)

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Humidty

Nepenthes thrive in humid environments. I find most plants grow best between 70/80% . If you can provide high humidity along with good air cirulation, your plants will be very happy! Misting indoor plants is beneficial. If given bright light and kept moist, some nepenthes can grow very well on windowsills. Providing a hydrofogger/wet wall in a greenhouse is greatly beneficial.

Make sure to provide proper air circulation in humid environments, as mold and fungus thrive in these conditions too.

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Water

In my experience, Nepenthes appreciate reverse Osmosis/distilled or rain water. They can be grown fine using regular tap/hose water, but the growth is best with RO. If you love growing sphagnum moss, Nepenthes favorite thing to grow in, tap water may be a poor choice as the salts in it can build up and cause the moss to break down. Again, I recommend RO water for BEST results. I find that these plants LOVE being watered every morning if possible. They love water flushing past their roots and flushing and oxygenating the grow medium.

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Soil

Grow medium for these plants can be quite diverse. Live sphagnum moss is my number one choice. Its light, airy, and holds moisture really well.  Conditions vary from inside/out/ greenhouse and its all about finding what works for you. Nepenthes appreciate soil-less mixtures that hold a lot of moisture, but don’t stay soaked. Picture a nice moist sponge:) If you can get your conditions to where you can water every morning to flush over the roots, your plants will be very happy! Many growers use combinations of perlite, orchid bark, sand, peat moss, and other inorganic substrate with great results!

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Feeding

Nepenthes are great at catching insects on their own and will not need to be hand fed. NEVER feed them raw meat or human food. Adding small fruit flies and large crickets to the traps can be beneficial for indoor growers. Nepenthes grown outside or in a greenhouse will find plenty of insects to eat!

For more advanced growers, fertilizer is a great way to supplement feeding.

Fertilizing is an extremely variable cultivation technique. The amount and type of fertilizer used depends on YOUR balance of light, water, air circulation, growing medium, and so on. Someone growing indoors may have a trickier time with solution amounts and flushing the pots with clean water the following day/s after. A grower with a greenhouse environment, who can flush with water daily, may able to use stronger solutions and more often.  This is completely up to the grow to assess and experiment in his/her own conditions. Less is more. You can really hurt a plant with too much and it very easy to over do. Orchid ferts and max sea are best. Do your research and come to your conclusions. This absolutely cannot be based on what others are using!

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Repotting

Generally Nepenthes should be repotted about every two years or when the plan becomes to big for the pot or grow medium starts to break down. Gently remove the plant from the pot and carefully remove some for the oil medium away from the roots. When potting up take care not to break the very brittle roots. Place the plant in center of the pot and very gently pour/place new grow medium around the plant taking care NOT TO COMPRESS the medium. Immediately water with RO water after repotting.