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Carnivorous Plants/Window Sill Nepenthes

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QUESTION: Dear Jeff,

I have been watching the funny pictures you sent me from the Hawaiian Nursery and the Nepenthes/Terrarium comparison ;-)

I was then thinking, some Neps might be grown on a good south facing window sill and even produce pitchers!  
As far as I know, it should be especially the case for highlanders or intermediate species.

I guess you must have heard of http://www.nepenthesaroundthehouse.com/ quite interesting website.

Anyway, I was wondering if you have any experience at your home with "window sill" Nepenthes, and if you do so, which species would you suggest me as good ones for this plan? What media do you use for your Nepenthes? I have a peat-perlite-orchid bark-sphagnum-coal mix, however I was thinking about a pure sphagnum mix, maybe even life sphagnum...

Looking forward to read your comments.

Cheers,

JP

ANSWER: Hi JP,

Many Nepenthes species do great as windowsill plants.  Ones I've successfully grown in windows and have pitchered well include N. sanguinea, N. x ventrata, N. truncata, lowland form, many N. maxima hybrids, N. ramispina, N. thorellii hybrids just to name a few.  Ultra-lowlanders such as N. bicalcurata and fussy highlanders such as N. lowii, N. hamata don't tend to do as well, but each house is different.  One person will have success when another doesn't.  

Our general rule is pick a window that gets at least 4 hours of direct sun when the sun is out, park the plant, and don't move it around.  It takes them time to adapt the the micro-climate. When I had a N. ramispina in my West living room window it took 6 months to see the first pitcher, and they often won't pitcher in winter when days are short.  Windowsill growing is definitely for the patient grower.  If you're the kind of person that gets frustrated with not seeing pitchers after one month, go get a Philodendron.  I often tell younger growers that Nepenthes are not the plant for an impatient gardener.

Here's a link to our growing page, and we have a couple pictures of plants we grew in windows in our home under "Where to Grow".  http://www.growcarnivorousplants.com/Articles.asp?ID=266

Good Growing!

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

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Jeff,

thanks for your reply!

Actually the thing is that, in spring/summer, I can put them outside on the balcony, they´ll be fine. In colder months, I have to place the plants indoor, but if temps are too cold, my sensitive girl wants to turn to turn on the heather, meaning dry air, so I move the plant again to an unheated room, but with north window... So I am kind of stuck :-/ Do you think that covering the plant with a tomato plastic cover while the heater is on, would be an option? Or maybe put the pot in a big saucer with some wet sphagnum moss? Or should I use a media which retains more water such as a sphagnum/perlite mix?

Really appreciate it!

Regards from Germany,

JP

Answer
Hi JP,

Nepenthes will usually stop producing pitchers in the winter due to short days whether they have high humidity or not.  You don't want them cold, so they should be in the heated room.  We have fan-forced heat in our house, and if the plants are given time to adapt, they often do.  As I write this I've got a large Nepenthes truncata with two good sized pitchers on it.

Sphagnum/perlite is what we use as our standard mix for Nepenthes.  It's a good mix for retaining moisture.  Also, doing something like a pebble tray under them is good for ambient humidity.  Having other houseplants around them can help too.

Good Growing!

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

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