light distance from plants

nepenthesfreak_2007April 13, 2007

I am growing some nepenthes highlanders in a 30-gallon terrarium, and many are not pitchering. My pilosa x veitchii hybrid is actually pitchering nicely now, but my tentaculata has just produced a pathetically small pitcher with an undersized lid. I think this is because of light, because the plants are about 12 inches away. Does anyone know any good techniques to get plants closer to grow lights?

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Hello nepenthesfreak_2007,

What types of light do you have, how many, and do you have the plants in pots sitting in the terrarium or in soil directly in the terrarium?

If you can't bring the plant closer to the light directly, then you can make more light or invest in some really good reflectors along the sides of the terrarium and light to direct as much in to your plants as possible. I have my Nepenthes 5-6 inches from four 40 watt cool white flourescent tubes (12000 lumens) for 16 hour of photoperiod and no terrarium. Maybe you can add another light to your setup to increase the intensity or place it near a window that receives some indirect sun so it does not overheat yet gets that extra amount of light.

With the setup I described, this N. sanguinea pitchers continuously from every new leaf and it's newest leaves and pitchers are growing much larger and more quickly. No fertilizer and only household humidity present. (In your case, the terrarium is necessary for those highlanders with humidity and temperature requirements).

This pitcher is still not opening, however, is swelling larger than the last 3 1/2 inch pitcher and developing it's mottled red coloring.

As you noticed with your light, the intensity drops off rather quickly with every inch the plants are from the bulb. The only thing to do is place more bulbs or bring the plants closer or add reflectors where possible so far as I can think of.

Good growing with those highlanders.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 7:56PM
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N.tentaculata retains a dwarf habit for a time, not sure exactly how long though(I read that in a book). And you might not want to bring them too close to the lights as they could yellow and burn( I read that in a book too).

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 11:35PM
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Can you prop it up?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 8:29AM
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I have two light fixtures: I bought one off another hobbyist, and it came with a two bulbs, I'm not sure of the wattage. The other fixture is 18" long and I used to have it on my 10 - gallon. It worked just fine for the plants there, but they were much closer. I will consider getting new bulbs for the larger one, since the current ones don't seem too bright. I could also use an extra layer of sphagnum moss on the bottom of the terrarium to get them closer to the lights.Would this stuff work, and What's a good reflective material for terrariums? Thanks for all the help.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 1:23PM
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I have heard of reflectors that were just white painted metal panels, like the two inch ones on many shop light sides. Just make a bigger one and put it on the back and sides of the terrarium. You could also use any material that reflects light, like mirrors and aluminum foil, in the same way I would think. The terrarium glass probably reflects some light inward too, but not all of it certainly. If you use any metallic reflectors, it would probably be best to place them outside the glass to reduce incidence of mineral buildup near the plants if any of the metals might be toxic to carnivores.

Best bet would actually be trying to get more intense lights and bring the light closer somehow. Building up the moss in the terrarium sounds like a good idea too.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 1:53PM
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I just added an extra layer of sphagnum in my terrarium, and the plants are now about 8" away from the lights. I can notice a HUGE difference in the amount of light on the plants. I actually have a mirror right behind the terrarium, so I will definitely take advantage of that!
Thanks again for all the help, and hopefully I'll be getting some pitchers this month.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 9:04PM
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