Carnivorous Plants/Nepenthes


I was thinking of getting a few nepenthes and grow them in a terrarium under grow lights, but I do not know how close to put them to the grow lights. I've heard of times when a nepenthes pitchers and new growth burns when it is too close to the lights. And I am pretty sure that they enjoy being sprayed with water, and I know leaves with water on them burn easily. So I was hoping you guys could help me determine how close I should put them. Thank you!

Hi Jack,

It really depends on what kind of grow lights you are going to use.  How far you have them away will depend on the size and intensity of your light.  "Grow-light" could mean anything from a single little compact fluorescent, to a two-tube shoplight, to a nice T-5 very high output fluorescent, to a 1,000 watt Metal Halide like we have in our sundew greenhouse.  When you know what you are going to be using, I'll be able to help you with distance.

Nepenthes do not enjoy being sprayed with water.  It's one of the best ways I know to inhibit pitchering.  If you want to spray plants heavily once every couple of weeks just wash off leaves, that can be beneficial, but misting/spraying is of no benefit to plants (any plant) to help raise humidity.  It's one of those old myths that make us feel better, but doesn't benefit plants.

Terrariums can be beneficial for certain species that really require high humidity, such as ultra-lowlanders, but are not needed, and could just be more of a hassle for easy growers.  A good sunny window is fine for some of the easy to grow intermediate hybrids such as N. x miranda that is found in many stores, DeRooses alata (sold as N. alata) also found sold in garden centers.  Other easy growers are N. sanguinea and many N. maxima hybrids.  Sun/light exposure, not humidity is the biggest limiting factor for most growers.

Here's some information that can help:  Our volume #3 DVD can also be very helpful in growing tropical pitcher plants.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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If your carnivorous plant is showing poor growth, discoloration, abnormal leaves or possible infestation, the expert growers at Sarracenia Northwest can help! They have a great depth of experience dealing with diseases, pathogens, and abnormal growth in carnivorous plants.

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