Carnivorous Plants/Heliamphora Minor Lighting
QUESTION: Hello there. I currently have a small terrarium setup with six 24 Watt T5 lights over it. Is this enough light for a heliamphora minor? Should I place the plant closer to the lights?
Currently, my temperatures range from 60F at night to 77F during the day. Humidity fluctuates but is always above 50%.
ANSWER: Hi Sarah,
Six inches is going to be a good ballpark place to start for distance with T-5's. As the plants grow, watch them. Are you seeing color in the nectar spoons and good development? You have it about right then. Are tips of leaves burning? Move them a little further away. Are the pitchers light green and elongated? They need to be closer. These are the things I look for in judging distance from a light source. It can be very deceiving. We have three 400 watt Metal Halides in our Nepenthes greenhouse, and we have a row of trays roughly 4 feet away with small Nepenthes and some Drosera adelae. The D. adelaes are pure green which tells me that the light isn't that great down there even though the lights seem very bright.
Your temperatures sound great for an H. minor, and the humidity is good.
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QUESTION: I've only had this plant for a couple of weeks. I'm terrified of killing it and I'm being a little over cautious. I think I need to move it a bit closer to my lights.
Since it arrived I have been keeping a clear plastic cup over it to keep humidity levels really high. I'd like to acclimate it to lower levels though to prevent mold or fungus. I took the cup off this morning and I plan on replacing it after a couple of hours. Is this the correct way of going about it? The humidity in my tank was 72%. I will attach a couple of pictures of my plant. I'm not sure if it's going through shock or not due to its new growing conditions.
I had originally been misting it and top watering with refrigerated distilled water every other day or so. I also have it sitting in a tray but the only purpose is to catch whatever water may run out of the pot. I then empty it. I read online that the media should just be moist, so I stopped watering as frequently. I also know that they like to have cool roots... should I be misting with cool water or not? If so, how often?
Thank you very much. Your help is much appreciated.
If you have this in a tank, and the humidity is already in the 70% range, you shouldn't have that cover on at all. The humidity is fine. Heliamphora minor is one of the easiest Sun Pitchers to grow, and their much more tolerant of a temperature range than many others. (H. minor is found around the base of the Tepuis too, not just on top of them.) From your pictures your plant looks !00% normal.
Just water it, and a little water in a tray is ok. Just don't leave is soaking in water for long periods the way you might a Sarracenia. You don't really need to mist it or any other plant for that matter (misting is an urban legend that is of little value, and can actually inhibit pitchering on Nepenthes). When you water just be sure and fill the pitchers like they would get with rain. Normal household temperatures are fine for this plant.
The only other thing I would do is put a few drops of an orchid fertilizer mixed to 1/4 strength in the pitchers about once every two weeks. This will help with growth since it won't catch insects in a terrarium. After that don't baby this thing to death. H. minor is not that delicate of a plant.