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Carnivorous Plants/Preparing for Arrival of New Nephenthes

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Question
I just returned from a great vacation to Hawaii. While there, I took your suggestions and visited Leilani Nepenthes. I spent some time with Sam and his amazing nepenthes collections. I picked out six plants that he says are hybrids and should do well in my climate. He said he'd ship them out yesterday (Monday), and I expect to have them delivered today. I live in San Diego about 6 miles from the coast. Is there anything I can do to prepare these plants for their new home? San Diego is noticeably cooler than the Puna district where Sam lives. Any fail safe soil recipes? I wish I could provide what plants I chose, but again Sam assured me that they are hybrids and should do well here. Thanks much for any info you can share.

Answer
Hi Kirk,

You didn't mention anything about how you planning on keeping/growing them, but if you're going to have them outside, you will probably need a make-shift cold-frame to keep the temperature up some.  I looked at your weather, and it's not real cold, but if you had a partial (not total; it would be too hot) enclosure of some kind it would get your temperatures up into the 80's for the plants during the day you would be fine.  If you have sunny windows in the house they will grow fine there too.

One thing to prepare for is that the plants will most likely drop their pitchers when you get them.  This is mostly because of the transplanting and shipping.  Using a Superthrive soak can help before you pot them up.

Nepenthes soil media is conceptual more than anything else.  You need media that will drain well, yet hold moisture.  That's usually going to be mixes of sphagnum moss (especially in drier climates), perlite or pumice, fir orchid bark, coconut chips or other similar media.  One grower was once quoted as saying that if the conditions are good, a Nepenthes would grow on a wet brick.  

I would give a couple pointers on specific ingredients.  If you use any coconut products (coir, coconut chips), wash them well, or soak in water for a day then rinse.  Almost all of it will contain some salt, so you can get it out that way.  With sphagnum moss, I do recommend using New Zealand sphagnum.  It's just of a higher quality than domestic.  Chilean is good too, but it tends to be loaded with grass seed.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest
http://www.cobraplant.com

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