In some carnivorous plants, the leaves have become trapping devices of the most incredible shape. So, in plants of the Nepentes family from the tropical forests of Madagascar, Sri Lanka, India and Australia, the trapping leaves have changed into bright jugs up to half a meter in size. The edges of the jugs give off fragrant nectar and attract a lot of insects. Such traps are dangerous not only for insects, but also for small birds.
Nepentes Raffles. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Boivie
Nepentes, or Pitcher, Latin – Nepenthes.
The plant belongs to the Nepenthaceae family, which includes only this genus, consisting of 70 species and a large number of hybrids, mainly bred in England.
This bushy vine, as a rule, leads an epiphytic lifestyle in the warm and humid jungles of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Jugs – traps with a “lid” – this is the transformation of leaf blades. Insects are attracted by the nectar of the jugs, and they get into the sticky sap of the plant. Then they are digested in this juice and the plant receives its food in a liquid edible for them.
In culture, nepentes, unfortunately, can only be bred for a very short time, since it simultaneously needs warmth and high humidity. You should not buy a plant if you cannot provide it with suitable conditions – a greenhouse or a “closed tropical window”. Nepentes looks effective in hanging compositions or wooden baskets, from which jugs can hang freely.
Nepentes grow well in bright diffused light, they should be shaded from direct sunlight with a translucent cloth (gauze, tulle) or paper.
When growing on windows with west and north orientation, diffuse lighting should also be provided. In the autumn-winter period, it is recommended to illuminate with fluorescent lamps for 16 hours.
Nepentes prefer moderate temperatures. Species growing in low-lying areas prefer temperatures in the range of 22-26 ° C in the spring-summer period, in the autumn-winter period the optimum temperature is in the range of 18-20 ° C, not lower than 16 ° C. Long-term low temperatures can lead to plant death. For species growing in the mountains, the optimum temperature in the spring-summer period is 18-20 ° C, in the winter period 12-15 ° C. Long-lasting high temperatures can lead to plant disease in mountain species.
The dormant period in room conditions is forced (from October to February) due to low illumination and humidity.
Nepentes is moisture-loving, but more demanding on air humidity, but the soil should not dry out, but it should not be excessively waterlogged. For irrigation, it is advisable to use rainwater or settled water at room temperature with a reduced content of mineral salts, it is preferable to use bottom irrigation. In the summer, watered abundantly. In the autumn-winter period, watered moderately, two days later after the top layer of the substrate dries up. At a temperature of 16 ° C and below, watered carefully and with a little water.
Nepentes needs high (70-90%) air humidity. At home, it successfully grows in humid greenhouses, florariums and other special places with high air humidity, in normal room conditions it feels uncomfortable – jugs dry out very quickly in dry air. For spraying, it is advisable to use rain or settled water at room temperature with a low content of mineral salts. To increase the humidity of the air around the plant, a pot with it is placed on a pallet with wet expanded clay or peat, air humidifiers are used. A little clean soft settled water is also added to the water lilies, filling them by 1/3.
You can feed it in the summer once every 2-3 weeks with an ordinary flower complex fertilizer, only use the concentration 3 times less. A number of growers use organic fertilizers (cow or horse manure) instead of flower fertilizers. It is also believed that water lilies are not formed with too frequent fertilization. From time to time, you can feed the plants naturally through water lilies, but no more than 1-2 times a month, and you do not need to feed all the jugs at once, but in turn 50% to 50%, while you can completely abandon fertilizers, dead mosquitoes and flies (throw them into jug), some use meat and cottage cheese for this purpose.
Nepentes is transplanted only when necessary in the spring; if there are jugs on the nepentes, the pot corresponds to the size of the plant and it feels good, there is no need to rush to transplant. Nepentes grows very well in orchid baskets, hanging planters, better than in pots, which should be at least 14 cm in diameter. For transplanting nepentes, an orchid substrate and a pot (slightly larger in size) with several drainage holes (or a basket) are prepared so that excess water can easily seep out after watering.
The composition of the substrate for transplanting can be as follows: leaf earth, peat, sand (3: 2: 1) with the addition of sphagnum and charcoal. The following composition can also be used as a substrate: 2 parts of high-moor peat, 2 parts of perlite and 1 part of vermiculite or polystyrene. The plant reacts poorly to high soil acidity. So that the roots are not damaged during transplantation, nepentes is transferred into a new pot without disturbing the root ball, adding fresh substrate.
Nepentes is a light-loving plant. In insufficient light, normal growth is disrupted. This plant requires abundant watering. It is always necessary to ensure that the soil substrate is moist.
The substrate for nepentes can consist of moss, bark and peat taken in equal parts. A drainage layer is placed on the bottom of the pot when planting. The transplant is carried out once a year, in the spring.
The optimum temperature for growing nepentes is 22-25 ° C. Nepentes may not need fertilizing.
To enhance branching, old specimens are heavily pruned in the spring. The cut stems can be used to propagate the plant.
Most hybrids are propagated by apical or stem cuttings, best of all in sphagnum moss, using root formation stimulants in a mini-greenhouse at a temperature of at least 25 degrees and high humidity. Roots are formed within 2,5 months.
Considering that nepentes grow up very quickly and at the same time require support for growth, without which the formation of jugs stops, often the plant begins to take up too much space. There is only one way out – cuttings. Of course, you can just cut it off and throw it away, but I personally feel sorry for it. I remember how long I had to look for nepentes in our stores and how much they cost, even in a miserable state. Moreover, my nepentes is very beautiful, with bright red jugs.
The pots must be washed well, preferably with chlorine-containing products. After, – be sure to rinse with distillate.
Substrate composition: peat – coconut fiber-sphagnum moss (5-3-2); you can add a little more vermiculite. The finished mixture must be sterilized in a microwave oven for about 15 minutes (pre-moistened with distillate).
Cuttings can be made at any time of the year, but preferably in the spring. Cut off nepentes with a sharp knife or better with a blade (clean).
There should be at least 3 leaves on the handle, which should be cut off by more than half (a small leaf can be left on the top handle). Cuttings are placed in a container with root for 30 minutes.
Then the prepared soil is poured into the pots, tamped, and a hole is made for the cutting. After planting the cutting, add a substrate so that the cutting is in the ground by at least 0,5 cm, finally compact the soil and spill the substrate with distillate. Then the plant is very abundantly sprayed with foundationol, in order to avoid rot. It is better to disinfect or sprinkle the cuttings with charcoal.
Pots with cuttings must be kept in a greenhouse, with good lighting and a temperature of at least 23 ° C.
After 10-15 days, the soil and the plant must be shed and sprayed with a solution of Zircon 2-3 drops per 200 ml. distilled water. Rooting lasts a month and a half. After 2 weeks, it will already be clear whether the cuttings have started or not. If darkened, then, unfortunately, this is the end. The cuttings should give new growth, and jugs will form on the very first leaves. In no case should you touch or wiggle the stalk. This will damage the roots. It is advisable to transplant only after a year, carefully transferring it into a larger pot.
We must not forget that the soil of the Nepentes should not dry out too much. In cuttings, it should always be slightly moist, but not soggy. Even an adult plant reacts to strong drying out immediately by drying the jugs. And it looks not decorative at all.
Nepentes tolerates cuttings very well. On the remaining stem, new growths are very quickly formed (in the photo below), which immediately begin to decorate the plant with new jugs.
Winged nepentes (Nepenthes alata).
Homeland – Philippines. This is one of the most common types of nepentes in the culture.
Nepenthes madagascariensis Poir. Distributed in Madagascar. Perennial carnivorous plant 60-90 cm tall. Leaves are oblong-lanceolate. The jugs are large, up to 25 cm long, winged, crimson. The lid is in the large glands. Cultivated in warm and humid greenhouses.
Непентес Раффлеза (Nepenthes rafflesiana).
Homeland – Kalimantan, Sumatra. Epiphyte. Leaves are oval, lanceolate, up to 50 cm long and up to 10 cm wide. Jug 10-20 cm long, 7-10 cm wide, light green, with red spots and stripes, on a long antenna, bluish inside, with red spots. Widespread in greenhouse floriculture.
It is a species endemic to the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. Grows on open mountain slopes at an altitude of 230 to 600 m; has varieties native to the highlands. N. truncata has very large jugs that can reach up to 50 cm in length.
Непентес двухшпорный (Nepenthes bicalcarata).
Homeland – Borneo, grows in swamps at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level. Its leaves are up to 60 cm long, and the jugs are 5-13 cm high.
Nepentes are subdivided into species growing in mountains and lowlands. Lowland species have larger and more colorful pitchers than mountain species and require more maintenance. Species growing in the mountains prefer low temperatures (not lower than 10 ° С), and species growing in low-lying places prefer not lower than 15 ° С.