Questions about my first pitcher

poolboy101(TX, 9)July 4, 2007

I went to lowes today and bought a pitcher plant. It looked very healthy (bright green leaves, great color on the pitchers) I'm loving my plant, but im kinda clueless when it comes to these. Here are some pics and questions.

Is this normal? it looks as if the pitcher was torn off.

Will this broken leaf hurt the pitcher it is connected to?

The pitcher that is connected to the broken leaf does not have any liquid in it but a small fly in it. should I take the fly out?

How large does a pitcher have to be before I can give it flies i catch around my house?

and also what can i feed them when i cant find flies? does anyone know the species? all it said was Nepenthes. Sorry for all the questions.

Thanks for any help

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The first pic looks like it was torn, no problem.
The broken leaf won't be a problem.
If there is liquid in the pitcher chuck in a fly although you don't have too. They can live without insects if need be. Insects are like a desert for CPs!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 6:58PM
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At this young a stage it is a bit hard to tell, but with the new colorful pitchers, it might be a Nepenthes ventricosa or hybrid of that species. They produce pink to reddish pitchers.

Broken and torn leaves, tendrils, and pitchers are unavoidable in transit sometimes, don't worry about it, it is a plant and will grow more.

Fluid loss in pitchers after transit is also normal, dont worry about that either. If an insect is already in the pitcher, just leave it there, there really is nothing more you can do about old dead insects in the traps. The pitcher should make more fluid and continue digesting the dead insects in a few days or a couple weeks according to how much a environ change your home is from where you got it. If the humidity is much lower by about 20% than where you got it it might take time to adapt and might even stop producing pitchers. Keep it misted frequently and lessen the amount of mists you give it over the course of a couple weeks and that should help it a little in adapting.

Also, keep it in a good slightly shaded or indirect sun window or undr 6000 to 12000 lumen florescent lights about 5-6 inches from leaves. Light is what helps the plant make more fluid and grow nice pitchers (along with adaptation to your home humidity). Keep the lights on for 16 hours or keep it in that well lit window all day, dont move it around any more than you have to. Direct sun tends to burn their leaves, and they normally live under trees where they receive dappled sunlight. A morning sun window should be just about right.

Nepenthes need more insect nutrients than other carnivorous plants to produce pitchers and grow well. Right now, you dont have to feed it anything. Later on, you ca peek in the pitchers to see if it catches anything on its own, which it will do. If in doubt, it wont hurt to drop a small ant or fly or anything else that will fit comfortably inside the mouth of the pitcher. If you want, you can kill it first. Make sure you only feed insects and spiders to it. Before feeding, make sure it produces its own fluid. You do not have to put fluid in the pitchers at all, some people say to do that, but I never have for my sanguinea and it requires very similar care as a ventricosa. All it gets is 12000 lumens of florescent light 5 inches from its leaves, distilled water every 2-4 days to keep its soil just moist, no waterlogging and no tray, misting once a morning, and I feed it an occasional fly, spider, or beetle every week or two if the household pests are not plentiful enough.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 8:24PM
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poolboy101(TX, 9)

Since I posted this I kind of pretended thing were ok and I was a little to impatient with aclamating my nep to my house.although the leaves look great the pitchers are turning black. I have the pot in a dish with about half an inch of water. Is this the problem cause i have read neps like the water to pass through the soil quickly.

There is still not a drop of liquid in the pitcher. Should i put a little water in the pitchers to keep them alive till i fix my mistake?

I was watching some videos on expert village of a guy named wes major(Dont know if you know who he is) and he is supposed to be an expert on CP and every time he talked about Neps he says You can fill the pitchers part way with water. I have read a couple posts discussing this and most people discurage against this, so is this a good thing to do?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 8:08AM
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Hello poolboy101,

It is not that putting distilled water in the pitchers is a bad thing, it is just that is serves no discernable purpose when it is humidity adaptation that the plant needs. Keeping the pitchers by putting water in them only serves to cover up the symptom without solving the problem. What you often end up with is a plant with only half a pitcher since the water only keeps the parts of the pitcher alive that are closest to it.

It sounds like you do have a humidity problem. What you can do is place a clear plastic bag over the plant and punch holes in it every 3 days.. About 4-6 1/4 inch holes around the bag every 3 days will slowly allow less humidity to build up and adapt the plant slowly to your household. After 2 weeks, the bag should be so full of holes that it does not hold humidity in anymore and the bag can be taken off.

If overwatering were occurring, the plant would blacken from the top down and all of the pitchers and leaves would die back down the stalk as the roots slowly rotted. Just use the tray to hold excess water after watering and remove it if any is left in the tray after an hour or two. You want the soil to soak up some water without making it waterlogged all the time, just moist. A little water left in the tray wont really hurt anything, but it is best to be sure the plant is not overwatered, just always moist.

What kind of light does the plant get? Window, hours of sun, or lumens and distance from light if applicable for florescent light. Nepenthes tend to need much more light than an ivy, but less than a Venus Flytrap, to remain healthy. Making it an ideal indoors plant for a morning window.

Dont fret too much, those plant bought from hardware stores are always weak and suffer from environ changes the most. Nepenthes are tough plants though, so it will survive. It looks good, just loosing its pitchers, it will be fine. One thing to try after adapting it to your humidity level and making sure it gets enough light without burning it is to fertilize it. Yeah, I normally dissuade people from fertilizing their carnivorous plants, however; when a Nepenthes refuses to pitcher, sometimes it is the only way to perk it back up and make it grow well again. Fertilizing must be done in moderation for Nepenthes, so only use weak 1/4 strength or less fertilizer and best used is blood meal orchid fertilizer in foliar feed method, that is by wiping it on their leaves one swipe each leaf with a cotton swab. Only do that once every couple weeks to once a month and stop fertilizing when it makes a new pitcher as then it can catch its own fertilizer. If the plant experiences leaf burn from the fertilizer, cut back on strength and times of application a bit. Never get any fertilizer in its soil.

Keep up the care and it should be back to normal in a couple of months.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 7:13PM
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