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Carnivorous Plants/Nepenthes x wrigleyana growing pattern



I hope this isn't an embarrassingly simple question, but I have been growing a Nepenthes x wrigleyana for a year now, and by all accounts it seems to be thriving; it has grown a great deal, consistently produces pitchers (two large ones are visible at the bottom of the photograph - sorry for the poor quality), and three more are forming.  It sits in a southwest facing window, with lots of light.  I water it every day with distilled water, and it is potted in tropical pitcher mix from Sarracenia Northwest.  My concern is that it just keep climbing taller and taller, without any corresponding apparent strengthening of its base.  In fact, the plant base just above the level of the soil is significantly thinner than its girth halfway up and above.  At first I propped it up with some flexible plastic, but then it got too tall, and I just rotated the pot so that it leans against the window.  It definitely cannot support itself, and I'm worried about it tipping over.  I don't know how they grow in the wild, but it definitely doesn't act like a climbing plant, so I'm not sure of the best way to stabilize it, and whether its continued growth beyond the height even of the window is a bad thing.  Thanks for any help you might be able to provide, and sorry in advance if this is a stupid question.


Hello Michael,

Each species of Nepenthes has a different growth pattern. Some adopt a long vine that crawls along the ground, others have stouter vines that grow straight up several feet on their own. In your case, you have a species of Nepenthes that eventually will lay down across the ground if it has nothing stout to grasp with its upper pitcher tendrils. They usually grow up trees. In the case of a Nepenthes getting too big to house, simply prune the main vine. Soon enough, new vines will grow around the base and from the growth nodes above each leaf, creating a bushier plant.

In addition, you can try a bit of rooting with the pruned cutting by placing one foot sections of the cutting in a vase of water. Make sure the vase is opaque and keep it full of water for several weeks. After a month or two, you may see that the cuttings are developing roots of their own. At that point, plant them in soil and let them grow on their own. (Not every Nepenthes takes to rooting from cuttings readily and I have not grown the species you have, however; it would be a shame to waste cuttings without trying).  

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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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