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Another Pitcher Plant Project

December 24, 2011 Leave a comment

My craze over Nepenthes is back after having success with African violets in the office! That prompted me to order some pitcher plants from Borneo Exotics, through my old time friend. Nepenthes ampullaria has always been my favourites as their squat round pitchers are just too cute!

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Nepenthes ampullaria ‘Harlequin’ (L), Nepenthes ampullaria ‘Lime Twist’

I have made orders for Nepenthes ampullaria ‘Lime Twist’, which bears red speckled pitchers with green peristome, and also Nepenthes ‘Harlequin’ (‘William’s Red x ‘Harlequin’), similar but red peristome. I am definitely surprised  that the plants delivered are much bigger and healthier!

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As they are shipped without potting media, I have potted them into a round glass dish filled with pumice and topped with sphagnum moss. The setup was pretty fast and simple, but the end product is simply amazing! As they are grown in office environment, the wet sphagnum moss will supplement the necessary humidity for them to grow well.

Indeed, it’s a showpiece in the office with my colleagues crowding around and asking questions. I took the opportunity to share knowledge with them and some are even interested to grow! This is definitely gratifying moment to me that I have sparked interest in many of them!

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Biodome, another gardening innovation

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

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Many of us may have heard about wick watering, where there is a wick coming out from the bottom of the pot to a reservoir of water. The water is then drawn up to the pot when the soil is dry. It was a hit within my gardeners specifically in growing African violets. We improved the design quite a bit to make the entire system last longer and better. Check out my previous entries for that!

  As I am also a carnivorous plant enthusiast, I was quite amazed that our long time dealer, Borneo Exotics, made wick watering system for tropical pitcher plants! It was named Biodome, after its dome shaped lid with an opening at the top. The pitcher plant is sitting in a small pot with a sponge collar around it, which absorb the excess water and provide humidity. The dome actually helps to contain and maintain the relative humidity in the dome, which is extremely helpful since providing humidity is always a challenge in gardening.

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There is a also a wick that leads to the water reservoir, this will mean that you need not worry about watering it everyday! All you need to do is to top up the reservoir by pouring it into the sponge through the dome opening. This actually reduces the chances of the plant dying from root rot, fairly common cause of death in growing pitcher plants.

The only downside about this is that there is too much plastic around the plant. It does not look natural, and it resembles kind of take away lunch boxes! Well, you can easily decorate it with some stuff, but I will be trying out something else.. Stay tuned, I will share it in the next post!

Pitcher Plants!

November 7, 2009 2 comments

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!

Beautiful Nepenthes!

December 14, 2008 Leave a comment

Remember the Nepenthes ‘Gardentech’ I bought from SGF 2008? It had been growing very vigorously for me. Producing a new leaf every week and there is always a red pitcher on every leaf! This wonderful hybrid can adapt to different conditions very well, my fellow gardeners also have great success with this plant.

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                                                         Nepenthes ‘Gardentech’

The parent plants are N.ampullaria and N.ventricosa, which are the few most forgiving and easy to grow Nepenthes. The pitchers bear resemblance from their parent plants, which red colouration, squat and hourglass shape. Though the plant has yet reach maturity, the pitchers are still a sight to behold!

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                   Red beautiful pitchers!                          A new unopened pitcher! 

Another plant is N.veitchii “Golden Peristome”, this particular plant can produce mature pitchers with a wide golden peristome. Considered as a intermediate plant, it can be adapted to highland and lowland conditions. The pitchers are big, and almost the same length as its leaves! The pitchers have  red colouration on the inner half of pitchers, which serve as a trapping mechanism by confusing their prey.

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       Red top, green base!                                N. veitchii “Golden Peristome”

I am surprised that it is growing very well in my current conditions. My windowsill is very windy and humidity level can fluctuate tremendously. But the plant has been healthy and putting out a new leaf with a growing pitcher! For the usual case, I do not expect a newly acquired plant to grow healthy leaves for the first few leaves formed under my conditions, and yet this plant is giving me a new pitcher! Can you imagine the mature pitchers of this plant! I jus can’t wait for it to grow!

Nepenthes ampullaria ‘Harlequin’

November 19, 2008 1 comment

I got this exotic plant from Borneo Exotics almost a year ago. It did not open new pitchers for me until only recently! I guess this particular cultivar is a extremely slow growing one. The ‘Harlequin’ produces just one leaf per month! This was also experienced by several growers too.

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One of the main motivations to grow Nepenthes ampullaria is for their spectacular basal pitchers. They are one of the few species that are able to form carpets of basals! My first mature pitcher was from a basal offshoot. It takes around 3 months from the growing tip to become an opened pitcher!

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Recently I realised my plant had somehow sped up in growing new leaves. This could possibly mean that the plant itself may take a year just to acclimatise to the growing conditions!

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Ampullaria pitchers are one of my favorites. They look like  beautiful red apples! The purple and green speckles on their pitchers really make this plant a collector’s must-have! Stay tuned to my blog, I will be receiving another batch of pitcher plants and Cephalotus soon! I will post them up as soon as I received the shipment!

Nepenthes ‘Gardentech’

October 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Borneo Exotics ‘ Nepenthes ‘Gardentech’ is a hybrid between Nepenthes Ampullaria and Nepenthes Ventricosa. This lowland tropical pitcher plant is named after a gardening and horticulture event in Singapore. The pitchers are bright red in colour and they grow real fast!

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Just like any lowland Nepenthes,  they prefer high humidity and bright light conditions. Most gardeners grow them under full sun, in order to bring out the red colouration to the fullest. They may start out as a slow growing plant, but once they acclimatised to the growing conditions, they put out a new leaf almost every week!

IMG_0590 Initially I wasn’t keen to grow this hybrid as I collect Nepenthes species only. But the shape and colour of the pitchers attracted me. The pitchers of a mature plant do not resemble the ‘hourglass’ shape of N.Ventricosa nor the “plump” N. Ampullaria. They are more of a box-like shape, just like an upright rectangular box.

I got mine during the recent Singapore Garden Festival. As my place do not have direct sunlight, the pitchers are “half-green, half-red”. The sun facing side of the pitchers are red and the rest are green! This really means that you need full sun to colour up the pitchers.