Carnivorous Plants/T-5 Lighting


Nepenthes Bicalcarata Sri Aman
Nepenthes Bicalcarata  

Current Setup
Current Setup  
Hey Jeff,

I recently found/purchased a Nepenthes Bicalcarata Sri Aman from "" they are based in Texas. The plant was $23.99 plus Shipping totaled out at $32.00. We briefly spoke about my aspirations to grow this plant in my walk in closet with a similar set up you featured in your Volume 3 DVD (10 Gallon Tank/T12 Shop Light). I want to place it in a 10 Gal, with a Hydrometer to gauge Humidity and Temperature, cover the top to increase humidity, and place a heater in the closet to maintain 90 plus degree temperature.

I have been putting some serious thought in your suggestion of running a T5 HO lighting fixture on this Nepenthes. I know I want to run a 4 foot 2 Tube because it will fit over the tank without covering the tank completely, I would ideally like to set it on the tank and not have to hang it so I feel that measurement will help that. I have found these candidates, but don't know if they are sufficient what do you think? -

(Should I run that will just 2 Grow 6400K Spectrum Bulbs or 2 Bloom 3000K Spectrum Bulbs or a combo of one each?)

(I don't even know if this is High Output, I don't want to make the mistake of getting a T5 fixture that isn't High Output which is hear they make practically like T8s)

This is where I'm gathering my info about Lighting Carnivorous plants in general since we spoke -

Lastly when I picked up my Heliamphora I didn't take the time to think about how large it is, when I set it into my 10 Gallon tank I noticed the light fixture was nearly an inch away from the highest pitchers. I began to worry the light would be to close and would burn the plant, so I bought chains and raised the shop light approximately 6 inches from the plant which unfortunately raised the lamp 12 inches from the other plants (Drosera Sundews, and the Cephalotus) I began to worry now they weren't getting enough sufficient light being that far up so I raised them on "To Go Thai Food" plastic containers putting them approximately 8 inces from the T8 32 Watt Shop Light. Are these safe assumptions or am I being to paranoid? I just want to get this set up right without damaging my plants would it even matter if the Sundews and the Cephalotus are 12 or 8 inches away?

-Jack Applestill

Hi Jack,

Either of those units will work just fine.  We actually have the 8-tube Sunblaze unit we use in the greenhouse during the winter to force Venus Flytraps in February for a show in the spring.  Look for lumen output to compare to T-8 units.  The two-tube HTG has around 10,000 lumen output, and similar for the Sunblaze.  That's well over 3 times the output of a T-8 unit.  Use the 6500K bulbs.  For most carnivorous plants you want vegetative growth, not blooming, and that is what the 3200's are for.

For your current set-up what you're doing is fine.  What I've done many times is lower one chain closer while leaving the other higher to accommodate taller plants.  Just watch your plants.  You'll know from color if you're bright enough or not.  Sundews want it really bright, while the Cephalotus is a little more shade tolerant.  I'd try to get the sundews within 3 inches, and the staging you're doing with containers works fine.  Also, the T-8 tubes are not that hot, so you can have it within about 3 inches of the Heliamphora with no harm.  The T-5's will need to be a bit further away.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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