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

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

Nepenthes 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.

Azalea Trail 2018

Azalea Trail is March 2, 3, and 4th 2018

River Oaks Garden Club (ROGC) was organized in 1927 by 27 residents of the emerging River Oaks area. It was not until late April 1935 that they held the first “Garden Pilgrimage,” as it was known then. That first year, there were 12 gardens on the tour, five of which were on Lazy Lane. Proceeds from the tour were used to beautify the grounds of River Oaks School, known today as River Oaks Elementary.
In 1936, the Pilgrimage became known as the Azalea Trail, as three gardens were opened in March to display azaleas in addition to the April Pilgrimage. People were unfamiliar with the beautiful azaleas because they were not native to the area, so ROGC used the Azalea Trail to educate the public on azaleas and horticulture.