Nepenthes Alata (maybe) repotting

bob123howApril 10, 2007

I am a compulsive plant buyer. It's getting expensive. I got a Nep. alata today from a local nursery but I've read posts and it may not be. Regardless, it is hanging on the stand my lights are attached to next to a south facing window. It has 9 good looking medium sized pitchers, 1 HUGE pitcher, 3 that are slowly crisping from the top, and 1 that has yet to open.

In the window, it won't get any direct light, as it is too high and there is an overhang on the roof, but it will get indirect daylight all day long... Do I need to add a CFL?

It can get up to 90 degrees in my room in the middle of the summer, but I have a ceiling fan on all day and an oscilalting fan on the lights/pitchers will it overheat? (RH is b/w 40-60%)

The potting mix is dry and compacted. I think I need to repot, but an afraid I will destroy the plant. I watered it but the roots aren't sitting in water. I have LFS, but my perlite has fertilizer addded, so I can't use that..., but what should I use? And finally... when repotting, do I need to physically take all of the old medium out and off of the roots, or can I just knock off the excess mix, and then just plop the whole thing into the new mix? If that makes any sense. Thanks a lot

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The plant should do well at a window sill. Mine is just in the bathroom window and has basically "tunnel vison" with respect to light.

CFL? Canadian Football League?

Same plants, two years ago, different setup. Temperature got in the 90's during the summer:

I don't do anything too fancy for my media mix - sand, peat, LFS, and pine needles. Many use perlite, peat, orchid bark, charcoal, and/or any combination of the afore-mentioned. It just needs to drain well.

I would rinse off all the old media and place it in the new. I wouldn't expect immediate results. It could take a few montsh before you seen new growth, depending upon how upset it is. Just get it in good conditions and wait it out.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 1:17PM
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Hi bob123how,

What I did with my Nepenthes is I bought Nepenthes mix pre-mixed from a nursery in Oregon at It contains coconut husk (make sure it contains no additives like salt), orchid bark, and sphagnum peat moss in one third ratios. You can also use one third peat moss to two thirds perlite, just make sure its pure perlite without fertilizer. The roots of Nepenthes are bushy and break easily, but you can just rinse them with distilled water until most of the old soil is removed, then place it in a new moist mix.

They like partial sunlight about like what your D. adelae like. Temperature tolerance of N. ventricosa is about 100 Fahrenheit, however they do not like it that hot consistently, so the 90 degrees room with the fan should be alright when it gets acclimated. If the conditions you have it in are close to the conditions of the place you bought the plant from, it should do fine. If not, slowly acclimate to your humidity if it is lower, light if it is higher, and temperature if it is very different. If the plant starts loosing color and stops pitchering, light level and humidity changes might have shocked it. Increase the light level and/or day length of light and humidity a bit and then wean it off of the humidity slowly, keep the higher light levels. That plant is quite adaptable and tolerant of repotting and regular household environments once it acclimates.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 1:31PM
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Thanks guys, I think I'll let it acclimate for a few days then repot it. CFL = compact fluorescent light, which I'm still debating. I thought of a few more questions too.
1. Should every leaf *in theory* have its own pitcher?
2. Should I cut the pitchers off when they start cripsing, or when they are totally crispy, and should I cut closer to the leaf or to the pitcher, or does it not matter?
3. It is currently above my lights, getting only natural light from the S. window, but the lights are on for a little more than 16 hours per day. Should I shorten/lengthen the amount of time my lights are on according to the season, or will the plant adapt to natural light in its natural cycle +16 hours of fluorescents beneath it. If I need to alter my photoperiod, then I'll have a myriad of other questions... Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 6:40PM
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1. No, not every leaf will produce a pitcher in every plant. Some types pitcher from every leaf and some don't. Mine.. a N. sanguinea does, but I think it likes my setup. I think that yours is good about pitchering if it is not given too many environment changes, but don't worry if it does not pitcher from every leaf.

2. It really does not matter how you cut them off, but it might be a good idea to leave the entire pitcher until it is totally dried, then clip it off at the tendril. Usually the leaf stays alive for a while after the pitcher dies off, so is a good source of photosynthesis for the plant still. When the leaf finally dies, just clip it near the stalk and the rough brown callous will move up the vine as the plant gets longer.

3. I have mine 5-6 inches from leaf to light from two sets of 40 watt shop light flourescents (12000 lumens at about 800 footcandles), just make sure it actually gets light. The 16 hour photoperiod is what I have mine on now. So long as you see the plant getting hit by light from the window and compact flourescent brightly enough and for several good hours, I would say it will be alright, but I am not able to see the setup... In any event, if it still pitchers and produces leaves normally, and maintains its colors on its new pitchers, it is getting good light. If not, give it more. It will take it about 2-4 weeks to make a new leaf and pitcher from each vine, so just keep an eye on it and be patient. One thing, don't go over 16 hours of photoperiod for plants as they need down time like people. They make sugars during the day with light, carbon dioxide, and water, and then can't use those sugars until it is dark. Night time is when they repair and regrow and they don't do that unless it is dark from what my understanding is.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 8:06PM
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This lighting has me confused. I'm unsure about what direct/indirect light means. On my windowsill (all 4 inches wide of it) there is what I assume to be direct light. If I put my hand in front of something on the sill, it makes a shadow. This registers over 2000 on my dinky little light/moisture/pH meter. Since my latitude is what it is, and I live on the third story of an apartment complex with an overhang on the roof of about a foot, only the windowsill gets direct light. If I stand a foot back from my window, approximately where the nep is hanging, the ambient daylight registers between 1500-2000 on the light meter, but no shadow is cast, is this indirect light, and is it enough. I have two D. adelae (Hubert still dewless) and three cattleya orchids under an 85 watt cfl, also about a foot back from the windowsill and none more than a foot from the light , and they register about 1500 at night, when the sun isn't adding, just for some scale. Oh and one more thing... There looks to be black mold growing on the underside of some of the lower leaves, it comes off if you rub it, and it might be dirt, but I don't know... Thanks again for putting up with my nitpicky posts, but I would hate to subject one of these plants to terribly untoward conditions.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 11:02PM
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direct sun would be outside where ultraviolet light and full intensity can reach the plants leaves. Indirect or partial would be inside or under a tree where some shade would be. I am not sure what your meter measures, is it footcandles or lumens or lux? In any event, you will need at least 6000 lumens (about two 40 watt flourescent tubes, which are less than real sunlight) of output 5-6 inches from tropicals. If the window and cfl are providing enough for your other plants, it should be enough for the Nepenthes if it is being hit by the light in the same way.

The sooty material on the Nepenthes is probably just a mold or dirt... if it is black or brown and rubs off easy, it is harmless.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2007 at 12:11AM
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Hmmm... I was under the impression it was a bit different... I assume the meter measures footcandles, but it does not say anywhere. The Nep is *above* the level of the lights, so it isn't getting anything substantial from them. And the natural light it gets will not make a shadow. Furthermore, I don't know what Lux is, but Lumens are the total output from a fresh bulb, at the source (bulb). Thats great for us humans, but the plants aren't right up aginst the light, so we use footcandles or lumens per foot squared to describe light for them, since the light degrades with the distance. You probably knew all of this already, its mostly semantics, but I got a lumens/footcandles lecture a while ago, and felt I should pass it on. I think I'm going to wait, repot it this weekend, wait a little more, stop hovering incessantly, and then make a game time decision as to whether it is enough light in a few weeks when new growth post-nursery is evident. Again, thanks to everyone; mutant, petiolaris, and necro in particular, y'all have been so helpful and insightful with regard to my babies, if not for y'all I would have trashed the D. adelaes after their flattenings due to not knowing.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2007 at 12:15PM
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