Pitcher Plants!

It’s been some time since I talked about pitcher plants. Being my main interest in gardening, pitcher plants never fail to attract attention of many people. The talks I conducted were very well received and many had lots of questions to ask about these exotic plants.

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Pitcher plants are often mistaken as challenging plants to grow. In fact, they are much easier to grow than the usual garden plants! Carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants, do not need any fertilizing or pruning at all. They are mostly slow growers and hardy.

Pitcher plants (Nepenthes) are native to our tropical region, require high humidity and fair amount of sunlight to grow well. Some species can take full sun, but most of them will be happy to be in partial shade. However, they need to grow in nutrient free potting media such as sphagnum moss and perlite.

 

nov005 Nepenthes ampullaria is one of my favourite pitcher plant.  The red pitchers (Nepenthes ampullaria ‘Harlequin’) are speckled with purple and green and have a open lid, which resemble small water pots! Nepenthes ampullaria is one of the pitcher plants that can grow a carpet of pitchers on the ground, which is why it is the one of most popular pitcher plants gardeners wanted to grow. They also come in different colours, green with red “lips”, green with “black” lips,green speckled with red, pure red and many more!

I personally prefer red pitchers as they contrast very well with my other green plants. Nepenthes ‘Gardentech’ is one of them, which grow very red pitchers! This particular plant is a hybrid between two hardy species, Nepenthes ventricosa and Nepenthes ampullaria, and was named after the gardening event in Singapore, Gardentech. My plant is still a very young plant and its pitchers are elongated, whereas a fully grown adult plant can develop stout and rectangular looking red pitchers!

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Unopened new Nepenthes ‘Gardentech’ Pitcher              Cute Nepenthes ampullaria

Pitcher plants make very good houseplants and can make your garden look more interesting. Also, these unique plants are also good education materials to show others that plants also eat animals!

  1. Susanna Tan
    November 26, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Hi Richmond
    Thanks for your very interesting blog. I love plants and is just learning through trial and error how to care for them. I had a small pitcher (slim and green) as well as a venus fly trap. Both have died. The pitcher lasted a longer time though. I hung it at my balcony that gets a lot of heat (but not direct light) from the afternoon sun. I noticed that new pitchers sprouted but dried up soon after. Then gradually, no more pitchers grew and the plant gradually died. I tried to keep the soil moist but not wet, and did not give chlorinated water from the tap. I also did not give any fertilizer. Occasionally, I would feed it with tiny insects.

    The venus fly trap too sprouted a little before it gradually died. Similarly, I kept the soil moist, and no fertilizer. I kept the pot on the balcony floor. It received filtered light and lots of afternoon heat.

    Pls give your comments

    Thanks
    Susanna

    • Richmond Tan
      November 28, 2009 at 12:46 pm

      Hi Susanna,

      From my observations the pitchers dried up is due to the lack of humidity, especially when hung in a windy balcony. Humidity level fluctuates drastically under such conditions. It is best to keep pitcher plants away from wind and close to other plants thus increasing the relative humidity around the plants. As for venus flytrap, it probably didnt do well due to the inadequate sunlight. They are sun lovers and preferably grown under 5-6 hours of direct sunlight.
      Hope this will help you to have better understanding of these unique and intersting plants. Enjoy your gardening!

      Richmond

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