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Carnivorous Plants/A Nepenthes, my grow light, and humidity


QUESTION: Dear Mr. Littrel,

About half my carnivorous plants live indoors under a 195-watt Black Dog LED grow light that shines daily from 6 a.m. to midnight.  D. muscipulas, S. Scarlet Belle's and Parrot Pitcher Plants seem to thrive there.  But I hesitate to buy a Nep. hybrid I found at ( because I can't lower temperature in my pant room at night.  Someone from that nursery thinks the plant would "appreciate" the constant room temperature, though I worry that the room won't be humid enough for that plant.  Since I want to give the plants the best conditions they can get here, do you think I should let that nursery keep the plant I want?  Thanks.


ANSWER: Hello Bill,

There are a great many species of Nepenthes in the world, each with its own tolerance levels and needs. What species of Nepenthes are you planning on growing indoors? Right now, I have Nepenthes sanguinea and N. truncata growing indoors in consistent temperatures and they are doing fine. There are other Nepenthes, like N. rajah, that are infinitely more difficult to grow without very specific temperature variations and humidity control.It all hinges on your choice of plant, environment the plant needs, and whether or not you can simulate that environment.


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QUESTION: Hello Christopher,

Thank you.

Here's a link to information about the plant I want.

Most of my plants live under a Black Dog LED grow light I bought from here (  So I hope it'll be good for the plant you've read about just now.


ANSWER: Since the species (complex hybrid) you plan to buy tolerates a range between lowlander to intermediate, it would be fine so far as temperature and light indoors so long as your light system can cover a large enough area for it as it grows. Some Nepenthes get rather large. So far as humidity, most Nepenthes can adapt to low humidity levels. Check your indoor humidity. Even with AC going, I have 45-55% humidity near my plants. Some growers indicate that they have intermediate Nepenthes growing in less than 15% humidity. Check with the grower to determine what humidity level they grow their plant in, then check your home humidity to determine if there will be a great difference. If your humidity is much lower than the grower's, you may need to baby the plant a bit at first to get it to adapt to lower humidity (clear plastic bag over the plant, punching a few small 1/4 inch holes in the bag every three days progressively until the humidity has equalized over about two weeks, then finally removing the bag). The grower you plan on buying from is well known in the industry and is a trusted source.

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QUESTION: Chris, thank you.  If you think the plant will grow much larger than a large adult S. Scarlet Belle, I'll let my friend Damon Collingsworth sell it to another customer instead.  I would adore an S. Blood Moon,too, but here in zone 5, it probably wouldn't be very "happy" in the winter.

I have no information about the size of the particular species your intending on buying since it is a hybrid, but N. bellii itself is stated as a small plant; but there is a great range in Nepenthes sizes. Some, like my N. sanguinea grow vines out to over 6 feet in length with pitchers between 6-9 inches tall, others even larger. Some Nepenthes only grow about a foot or two high.

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Christopher Littrell


I am capable of answering questions about the most common carnivorous plants found in cultivation. I have no personal experience with Byblis, Drosophyllum, Aldrovanda, and Heliamphora. I have not cultivated gemmae forming pygmy sundews nor tuberous sundews. For information regarding those aforementioned species, I would suggest contacting other experts. I can answer questions regarding most species of Nepenthes, tropical and temperate Drosera, Mexican Pinguicula, Sarracenias, and Dionaea. I have some limited experience with growing Utricularia, Cephalotus, and Darlingtonia.


I have grown carnivorous plants off and on for about 27 years. I have made the same mistakes and suffered the same mishaps that many growers make as they attempt to separate the myths from the realities of growing these plants. Currently, I am successfully growing a variety of tropical sundews, a Nepenthes, several Venus Flytraps of varying ages, and Sarracenias. I have been successful in stratifying Sarracenia seeds and providing artificial dormancy requirements for my temperate plants when needed.

I hold a Master's degree in Educational Psychology. Over my lifetime, I have constantly read books involving the growing conditions of carnivorous plants. I hope to incorporate the educational aspects involved in psychology with teaching other people how to cultivate carnivorous plants.

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