Starter Nepenthes questions

Greetings all. I joined to ask a few questions about the required conditions for some of the easier Nepenthes hybrids.

A bit of background. I saw my first Nepenthes two years ago in a local garden center, but reading up on the required conditions I didn't thing I could keep one alive. For one thing, our water ranges between silly hard on a good day to ungodly silly hard on a bad one.

Fast forward to this year and I've set up an RO unit (for a bunch of reasons) and purchased a good horticultural LED (dabbling in hydroponics), so I'm a big chunk of the way towards having good conditions for one of these plants.

The big question I have revolves around humidity. I find a lot of the resources I've found gloss over the issue with a generalized "as long as you have good humidity"... not particularly helpful. From what I understand, these plants will drop their pitchers if the humidity drops too low.

The humidity in my apartment ranges between 30% and 40% in the winter. I've played around with boiling pots of water and can fairly easily bring the humidity up 10% from ambient, but don't know if I can do much more than that. I plan to set up humidification if for no other reason than to help with dry skin/eyes/other stuff on my person in the winter.

The temperature is a pretty steady 24C/75F and I let it range up to 78 during the day in the summer. I also have a south facing balcony that will have lots of shade options in the summer, so I can move the plant(s) out for the summer.

Summertime humidity ranges between 50% and 80+%, typical south/central Ontario.

So, can I find a more tolerant hybrid that will keep its pitchers in 40% to 50% humidity? Do you have any suggestions for more dry condition tolerant plants?

I've seen suggestions for beginner plants, but none of those sites have talked specifically about tolerance to low or fluctuating humidity.

And because no thread is any good without pictures, my recently re-bloomed noid Phalaenopsis:

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Chen

Carnivorous Plant Addict
Hi and welcome to the forum. I have found with certain species of Nepenthes, they may be more tolerant of less than ideal humidity levels (less than 40-50%). I think the cutoff level of humidity is around 50% (in an enclosed space) before plants may stop pitcher development. I think the most important factors for growth are enough lighting, humidity (50%+), and temperatures (drop at night). Nepenthes are more tolerant of hard waters than other plants e.g., Drosera species, as long as you flush out the media every now and then.

In my attempts at keeping Nepenthes in ambient room conditions, the N. rafflesiana I have continued to pitcher while the N. mirabilis var. globosa or N."Viking" kept aborting its pitchers. Both plants were in these conditions for several months until I decided to get a grow tent. It is much easier to control humidity levels and parameters (temperature, lighting etc.) in an enclosed environment instead of fighting against the entire room. I can definitely recommend N. rafflesiana as one candidate, other possible species may be N. veitchii or N. truncata. You can check out this blog post by François Sockhom Mey about his successes with certain plants in his room conditions. You may have better and easier success with hybrids. The commonly available ones sold by non-specialized nurseries are N. x ventrata (often mislabeled) and N. 'Miranda'. They are quite robust growers and tolerant of less than ideal growing conditions i.e., humidity, temperatures at least from what I hear and have read.
 

Lloyd Gordon

Parasitic Plant Aficionado
Staff member
We had a discussion a while ago and people seemed to feel lighting was more important than humidity for easy indoor Neps.
 
We had a discussion a while ago and people seemed to feel lighting was more important than humidity for easy indoor Neps.
This aligns with my experience, anecdotally, as a beginner. My ventrata has been putting out nice pitchers in 25% humidity, but I have it close to a strong grow light.
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I’m probably getting more crispy pitchers than I would in higher humidity, though, as the moss it’s in dries out quite quickly. I had a rough week last month, neglected this guy, and came to see that the moss was dry and a bunch of the pitchers were suddenly half-brown and crispy. But this was ONLY a problem after some neglect, not in the months of diligent care beforehand in the same low humidity.
 
Thanks for the replies folks. Chen, I really don't want to go the route of a growth chamber.

I've seen the light over humidity hypothesis mentioned a few places. It's nice to see it has some validity here with experienced growers.

I do have the light portion covered. The LED unit I have is set at approximately 1/3 power and that Phal is about 18" away from it and happy as a clam. The LED is based on the Samsung 301 series chip produced specifically for horticultural applications and supplement by red, far red and a bit of UV. It is the board design that has pretty much taken over the recreational cannabis grower market. It is inexpensive (relatively) and highly efficient. Because the individual chips are run at 1/2 power max, the unit can be safely passively cooled.

Thanks for posting your experience Peggy. Its encouraging.

N. veitchii, N. Maxima, N. ventricosa, N. x ventrata are all widely mentioned as beginner plants. I'm just looking at the Species list on Tom's Carnivours and wow, N. Maxima grows pretty much anywhere!

One other question. As a beginner Should I go with the largest (most established) plant to start with? I presume that the smaller the plant the more sensitive it will be to environment.
 

Chen

Carnivorous Plant Addict
I really don't want to go the route of a growth chamber.
I have seen some people have a humidifier on with it blowing onto their plants. I would not recommend going the humidity tray route as it adds little to no noticeable humidity.

One other question. As a beginner Should I go with the largest (most established) plant to start with? I presume that the smaller the plant the more sensitive it will be to environment.
I would think it's the other way around. If the plant is larger and more established, it will be more sensitive to any changes in its environment or having its roots disturbed. Though small seedlings may also be easily affected.
 

Dogrem

Carnivorous Plant Addict
I do believe you can grow a lot of hybrids in an house quite easily.
Yes, good light is the best, but humidity trays helps a lot.

Tomorrow morning, I've got an interview with a grower from San Francisco that grows a lot of nepenthes on her windowsill...
I believe you will enjoy the video (but it's 40 minutes long)

Thanks @Chen for the blog! I emailed him to see if he would do an interview :D
 
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Joanie

Carnivore
Hi and welcome Fred

"And because no thread is any good without pictures, my recently re-bloomed noid Phalaenopsis" ... I agree with you on this one! Nice colours.

I'm new as well and bought a little nepenthes from a small shop a few months ago ~ $20. I'm waiting for some mature pitchers to properly identify it, but it's probably ventrata or ventricosa. It seems to be fairly happy in my living room, no special humidity setup other than in the middle of my small collection. And has both natural and LED light. I figure for $20, it's my "teaching plant" ;-)

Good luck and happy growing.

And my picture...
12747
 
I have seen some people have a humidifier on with it blowing onto their plants. I would not recommend going the humidity tray route as it adds little to no noticeable humidity.


I would think it's the other way around. If the plant is larger and more established, it will be more sensitive to any changes in its environment or having its roots disturbed. Though small seedlings may also be easily affected.
It just so happens that the best place for a humidifier is right next to the grow area so that should work out well.

My brother brought in orchids from Asia occasionally back in the 80's. What he found is that larger plants had more mass to draw on to rebuild roots, so lager plants fared better. I was thinking more seedling vs larger plant thought.

Edit: forgot to mention that I plan to buy local so that I don't have to deal with a bare root plant.
 
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I do believe you can grow a lot of hybrids in an house quite easily.
Yes, good light is the best, but humidity trays helps a lot.

Tomorrow morning, I've got an interview with a grower from San Francisco that grows a lot of nepenthes on her windowsill...
I believe you will enjoy the video (but it's 40 minutes long)

Thanks @Chen for the blog! I emailed him to see if he would do an interview :D
Found your channel early this morning and watched the New Jersey interview. Will check out your latest vid.
 

Chen

Carnivorous Plant Addict
It just so happens that the best place for a humidifier is right next to the grow area so that should work out well.
One option you can have for a grow space is to have it partially walled off with mylar and then have the humidifier blow into this space. Think of a wall in an L shape if that helps with visualization.
 
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Hi and welcome Fred

"And because no thread is any good without pictures, my recently re-bloomed noid Phalaenopsis" ... I agree with you on this one! Nice colours.

I'm new as well and bought a little nepenthes from a small shop a few months ago ~ $20. I'm waiting for some mature pitchers to properly identify it, but it's probably ventrata or ventricosa. It seems to be fairly happy in my living room, no special humidity setup other than in the middle of my small collection. And has both natural and LED light. I figure for $20, it's my "teaching plant" ;-)

Good luck and happy growing.

And my picture...
Thanks for the welcome. The yellow in that phal is actually more intense than it looks in that picture. It was a gift from my brother who has a very keen eye for good genetics.

Nice picture. I like your guard dino. :)
One option you can have for a grow space is to have it partially walled off with mylar and then have the humidifier blow into this space. Think of a wall in an L shape if that helps with visualization.
I really don't want to enclose the space at all though.
 

ergonomicgrip

Seedling
Hi and welcome Fred

"And because no thread is any good without pictures, my recently re-bloomed noid Phalaenopsis" ... I agree with you on this one! Nice colours.

I'm new as well and bought a little nepenthes from a small shop a few months ago ~ $20. I'm waiting for some mature pitchers to properly identify it, but it's probably ventrata or ventricosa. It seems to be fairly happy in my living room, no special humidity setup other than in the middle of my small collection. And has both natural and LED light. I figure for $20, it's my "teaching plant" ;-)

Good luck and happy growing.

And my picture...
View attachment 12747
I have the same plant and mine is a bit bigger than yours. It's newest pitchers seem too tubby to be ventrata, so i'm leaning to ventricosa.
 
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