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Carnivorous Plants/How to plant and germinate Nepenthes Seeds


QUESTION: I did luck into a seedpod from my pitcher plant last summer but when I sowed the seeds in damp Spaghnum moss - nothing grew. Do I need to refrigerate them or let them freeze outside in NY first? Is damp moss OK for germination? My pitcher plant seems to like the spaghnum moss better than the "soil" mixture I made as directed. It is doping well in just the moss.
Now that I moved twice, I lost my CD.
Thank you!

ANSWER: Hi Lauri,

I'm a bit confused.  Were your seeds from a Nepenthes pitcher plant, or Sarracenia?  The subject line said Nepenthes, but the context of your question sounds more like it was a Sarracenia.  It will be a day and night difference in what you need to do to get the seeds to germinate from each family of pitcher plants.  Let me know which it is.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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QUESTION: It is a hanging one - so Nepenthes.
If something I said in my first message is also wrong then please do let me know! Perhaps the guidance I was given about the media mixture for growing was for Sarracenia? I was moving (twice) so I never had the chance to do something with the seed pod until now. Your guidance might have to be for the next seed pod if I ever get one again! It's the only bloom I ever saw so far.

Hi Lauri,

That helps.  You didn't say anything wrong, but you mentioned seeds possibly needing a cold period, and collecting the seeds in the summer.  That sounds like Sarracenia since they're seeds do need a cold period to germinate.  Nepenthes on the other hand are true tropical plants, actual rainforest plants, which most people tend to think is the case with all carnivorous plants.  Because they do come from the tropics, there is no cold period ever experienced, so that is definitely not why your seeds didn't germinate.

Here's what I think happened.  Nepenthes plants are dioecious, meaning that they have male flowers on one plant, female on another.  Unless you had a male and female plant in bloom at the same time, and you hand-pollinated them, your seeds were sterile.  Also, if you do ever get some Nepenthes seeds, they have to be very fresh.  Most are only viable around a month.  Sowing them is very simple.  You just sprinkle them on wet long-fiber sphagnum moss, and keep them bright and warm.  They usually germinate in a couple weeks.

Long-fiber sphagnum moss or mixes of it with perlite and bark are typical Nepenthes mixes.  They wouldn't do as well in Sarracenia mix which is usually peat moss and perlite since it is much heavier.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

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