Nepenthes Hookeriana

Nepenthes Hookeriana not overly happy with the Houston heat
Nepenthes Hookeriana not overly happy with the Houston heat
~ 5 yrs

~ 4 years
~ 3 years

These started in test tubes I ordered on eBay. They have been extremely easy to grow.

They are named after Joseph Dalton Hooker who discovered them. The first mention of them seems to be around 1848

Originally thought to be a species they are a natural hybrid between N. ampullaria and N. rafflesiana. They are found deeper in the jungles climbing up the trees. Early descriptions disagree on everything from the leaves to the pitchers to the growth habit. The wings and roundness of the pitcher seem to be all anyone agreed about.

I haven’t seen upper pitchers on mine yet, but read that they are longer and without wings.

Common to lowlands of Borneo, Malaysia, Sumatra where they grow in bogs.

High humidity, 60’F-90’F, easier to pitcher than some other Neps. I find they do best in open orchid baskets filled with sphagnum which are placed in a dish in which I maintain 1/2″-1″ of distilled water.

Nepenthes Alata or Ventricosa

I purchased this as a Nepenthes Alata, yet everyone tells me it’s a ventricosa. Which is it? Most likely it’s a cross between them, ventricosa x alata x alata is very commonly found in shops

Nepenthes Vetricosa
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepenthes_ventricosa

Ventricosa:
– distinct line between colors on pitchers
– lip at top of pitchers has distinct ridges
– no ridges running up pitcher

Nepenthes Alata
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepenthes_alata

Alata:
– ridges run up pitcher with hairs (aka fringed wings)

…. And does it matter?
Both plants grow in mountain forests and grow well as windowsill intermediate plants.

I have found my Nepenthes are happiest in open orchid baskets filled with sphagnum moss, which is still in dish containing about 1″ of water. Use distilled water, no fertilizer. A bright window that doesn’t receive direct afternoon sun is best.

This has been the easiest of my Nepenthes to grow from cuttings.
– cut a 6″-8″ stem
– remove bottom leaves leaving only one at the top
– plant in sphagnum and keep in a closed terrarium
– slightly shade it
When new leaves appear
– slowly increase light
– slowly adapt it to grow outside terrarium

Nepenthes Aristolochioides

This is an intermediate Nepenthes from Sumatra, most note worthy for its unusually shaped pitchers. Willem Meijer first found them in 1956, on a mountain about 6000′ above sea level where they grown in sphagnum moss along ridges in the forest, occasionally found in pockets of moss on trees.

It’s a climber, stems may branch.

Upper and lower pitchers are similar, reaching ~ 2.5″ in length when full size. Lower pitchers grow in the moss leaving only the opening visible.

It is unusual among Nepenthes in that it uses light through the back top like many US pitcher plants. Inner walls of the pitcher are sticky, acting like fly paper to trap insects.

This is a critically endangered plant due to poaching. You can find clones at reputable plant sellers. Getting endangered plants into the hands of as many gardeners as possible may be our best hope for saving them.

I’ve found it prefers bright fluorescent light to sunlight and high humidity.

It prefers cooler temperatures (50’F-75F’).

I grow it in an orchid basket filled with sphagnum in a dish with about an inch of distilled water I refill when dry.

Nepenthes Ampullaria

This is my most unusual plant. It is a lowland, swamp loving Nepenthes that was a carnivore and has switched to a detritivore diet. Though they don’t mind an occasional bug. The pitchers have enzymes and bacteria to break down and digest leaves, insects and insect larvea. The pitcher fluid is more basic than is found in other Nepenthes. Many insects will make homes for themselves in the pitchers.

I started with a batch of seeds I purchased on eBay. The first couple years growth is very slow, they make up for it the third year.

They are native to the rainforests of Malaysia and Indonesia. You’ll often see them at food stands, the pitchers stuffed with rice. I’ve also seen them called ‘monkey cups’.

In Malaysia a tea made from the roots is used to treat dysentery.

Keep them warm 60’F-80’F humid, wet and out of direct sunlight. I’ve done best growing them in orchid baskets full of sphagnum moss. I seat the baskets in a clear pot and keep an inch or so of water in there. Only use distilled water, they are sensitive to chemicals in drinking water.

I found started Nepenthes seeds in terrariums on top of peat moss works best.

Nepenthes ampullaria are most strongly related to Bicalcarata. Ampullarias are most easily identified by the tiny, narrow lid on the pitcher. There is a large variation in pitcher size, colors are solid green or green speckled with red.

Some leaves do not have pitchers, but instead grow tendrils.



The fluids of Nepenthes pitcher plants are habitats to many specialized animals known as inquilines, which facilitate the conversion of prey protein into pitcher-absorbable nitrogen forms such as ammonium. Xenoplatyura beaveri (Diptera: Mycetophilidae) is a predatory dipteran inquiline that inhabits the pitchers of Nepenthes ampullaria. Larvae of X. beaveri construct sticky webs over the fluid surface of N. ampullaria to ensnare emerging adult dipteran inquilines.

Our results show that a terrestrial, inquiline predator can contribute significantly to nutrient sequestration in the phytotelma it inhabits, and suggest that this interaction has a net mutualistic outcome for both species.

Nepenthes

I loved my Nepenthenes Miranda so much that when I started rebuilding my carnivorous plant collection I put them at the top of the list.

Right now there are 10 small Nepenthenes scattered about the house and just as many jars of seeds I’m hoping to germinate.

I ordered seeds on eBay from several different sellers, eBay has the best offerings for the price and a jar of the ampullaria just germinated today. The apullaria seeds took about a month to germinate, some N. Madagascarier took only a week. The seeds are on a south west facing windowsill. The temperature varies from about 100’F-70’F. I spray them in the morning and evening with distilled water to keep them damp. The seeds are on peat moss that has sphagnum moss on top.

While digging for information on Nepenthenes I ran across Growing Nepenethes Around the House which has more information than any other site I’ve found on these plants so far. My seeds are germinating in 60-70 days.

Terraforums has lots of information on growing them from seed.

My nepenthes addiction has superseded my orchid addiction. The house is now full of them. I’m growing all lowland nepenthes. They are divided into lowland, intermediate and highland. Depending on where you live you’ll want to chose some that like your growing conditions.

Lowlands prefer light shade, or dappled light, and warm temeratures 60’F+
Intermediates fall between the two and make good house plants for most climates.
Highlands wants lots of light and cool temperatures 40’F-70′
All of them prefer very high humidity.

Both do well on windowsills where humidity tends to be high and there’s difference in day and night temperatures.

The lowland ones mostly grow in swamps, keep them pretty damp. The highland ones like it slightly drier but don’t let them dry out.

Nepenthes have black, thread like roots and not a lot of them. Keep them in small pots.

I’ve done well with them planted in net pots ( like you use for aquarium plants ) and sphagnum moss. I also have some in plastic wine glasses and peat moss. Some I have planted in clay pellets like the orchids. The clay pellet semi hydro is a bit tricky for the nepenthes. A few were lost when I switched them over.

Most Nepenthes have different upper and lower pitchers, notice the change in both color and shape:

Different upper and lower pitchers on Nepenthes