(Purchases) Nepenthes ampullaria and bicalcarata x ampullaria

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I placed an order with Borneo Exotics through a mass order done by the local vendor in GCS a few months ago, and received both my plants today.

I’ve been eyeing these two plants for quite some time, and decided to splurge on them.

(Phone-quality images because I was busy potting (and then repotting!) them)

N. bicalcarata x ampullaria

N. ampullaria 'Borneo sunset'

N. ampullaria 'Borneo sunset' - one of the pitchers

N. ampullaria 'Borneo sunset' - basals! (And there are two more BABY basals which I was told to bury them just under the surface; those two are so young they are still albino! =D)

I’d actually planted them in peat moss mixed with LECA (Aquaclay brand), but felt very very uneasy about that because LECA is fired clay (clay potentially contains/contained minerals); so barely an hour after that, I went to mix peat moss with washed volcanic sand, and repotted both plants. All my CPs (especially nepenthes) have done well in this mix so far.

Note: This blog will be closed and used as an archive from the third week of July onwards. Please update your links to The Garden I Live In. Thank you.

(Propagation) Nepenthes Gardentech

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Basal!

When I first realized that the N. Gardentech I bought last year (which my dad ‘stole’ and transplanted into a bigger pot) had produced a sizable basal, I was ecstatic. Finally! A nepenthes I had growing a basal! It was unprecedented for me, probably because I keep all my nepenthes in small, four-inch pots due to space constraints.

Attempting to cut off the basal, I instead, by accident, snipped off the main portion of the Gardentech. Without roots, I might add.

I nearly died from the frustration at myself, the grrrrrrr which enveloped me right then.

Main stem snipped into three portions with more than four nodes each

But instead of throwing the cutting away, I decided to just heck it and try rooting the cuttings. I mean, why waste the cuttings, right? I might as well take this as my first nepenthes rooting experience.

Armed with prior knowledge in Cindy’s thread at GCS: How to take nepenthes cuttings and root them, I shortened the long cutting into two larger portions with more than four nodes each, and a smaller portion also with more than four nodes, but smaller in size.

Cutting #1

The stems being quite thin, I couldn’t really do the cut-and-flip of the outer layer which Cindy did in her thread. So I simply scraped the outer portion off.

The two larger cuttings are in pure water now; the smaller cutting is in pure perlite.

I think that roots should grow in about a month or so, hopefully.

(I’d already cut an N. ventrata cutting about a week back and did the cut-and-flip method on it. It being a common and hardy nepenthes, I thought I’d use it to learn before I tried the method on my rarer nepenthes. But ah well. Learn as I do, I suppose)

Cutting #2

Cutting #3 - the smallest one

It grew such a nice and large picther, no less! =(

(Gardening happys) Hoya multiflora, nepenthes

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My Hoya multiflora has FINALLY bloomed after having had many flowers abort. This is so exciting!

Not the greatest picture, but it shows the size of my newly-acquired Nepenthes ampullaria-spotted x albomarginata

(Photography) More neps

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A mid-range view of my N. (mirabilis x coccinea) x rafflesiana which has grown really big due to getting a lot of sun

N. (mirabilis x coccinea) x rafflesiana peristome - very beautiful!

N. albomarginata 'Brunei, green'

N. albomarginata 'Brunei, green'

Nepenthes ampullaria 'bronze nabire'

Nepenthes ampullaria 'bronze nabire' - pitcher coloring up with more sun

(Photography) Toothache plant, neps.

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Toothache plant flower #1

Toothache plant flower #1

Toothache plant flower #2

N. ampullaria 'speckled' I'd bought from Nep about a week or two back

N. albomarginata 'ringlet'

Growing tips of sphagnum moss

(Photography) Eldest cephalotus baby

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Leaf pulling was done in October 2009.

(Propagation) Cephalotus follicularis

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In October 2009, I went to Cameron Highlands with a group of friends, and bought back three adult pots of cephalotus follicularis, otherwise known as the Albany Pitcher Plant.

At that time, while I’d had some experience in growing some forms of carnivorous plants, the ceph was one I’d stayed away from for some time because of their notoriety in suffering from root shock whenever they get transplanted.

I decided to risk it anyway. Once I got home, I set to transferring them out of their too-wet long-fiber sphagnum media, and into a potting media which I’d pre-mixed (and which has worked on all the CPs I’ve owned thus far).

Unfortunately, all three parent plants died on me over the course of a few months.

Thankfully, during repotting, I’d done leaf pullings (about six leaves) and had plonked them tip-end into pure peat moss in a clear plastic container.

For almost five months, there were no signs of anything happening. The leaves remained green.

My policy with CP propagation is that…well…I’m terribly lazy to clear out anything, sometimes for months on end. And a few times, this has worked in my favor really well, because even when the leaves rot away (like those of my venus flytraps), plantlets will still grow provided you leave them alone.

So, after about six months, I saw the first shoot. It was nothing more than a single green point then, but it has now grown to form a shape and some pitchers.

Three other leaves have sent out shoots also. I gave the second-eldest away, and am now left with three in total.

Not bad for a total newbie at cephs, methinks. =)

My method: Hold the parent plant firmly, and use a pair of sharply-pointed tweezers to grab hold of the leaf as close to the parent plant as possible. In a stable move, pull the leaf downwards so that part of the main stalk tears off along with the leaf. Place the pointed tip into a layer of peat moss in a clear plastic container, and water thoroughly so that the peat is moist but not boggish in conditions. Leave the container in an area with bright sunlight (mine gets two hours of direct morning sun a day, and bright shade thereafter). Do not disturb unless you see leaves yellowing or rotting away – remove these ASAP. Note that one ceph. website (I can’t remember which) states that new growth can take anywhere from one month to nine. So, do be patient.


The eldest plantlet in the box.


The second one…


The youngest for now.


Four out of six (remember, I gave one away) is an acceptable average. Now, to manifest the last two leaves growing something too…

(Growing conditions) Nepenthes species

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I have little experience in growing nepenthes. Well, okay, not really little. But the larger part of my experience consists of killing many plants instead of them flourishing for me. Of course, any competent grower goes through the same learning process – killing many plants, coughs coughs – but still.

There are various media the nepenthes plants can be grown in. These range from live sphagnum moss (LSM), long-fiber sphagnum (LFS, known also as fried sphagnum), and peat, either all purely used in their own states, or mixed with draining media like river sand, or perlite.

Most of the growers I know live in landed properties, which means that in general, their nepenthes get long hours of sunlight. Since it is essential for the roots and media to not dry out, these growers mostly use 90% of LFS with the occasional sand or perlite mixed in.

However, I find that that growing media causes a huge problem for me.

Since everyone must take into consideration the growing conditions at their place, and I live in an apartment where my carnivorous plants growing area gets only four to five hours of morning sun, many nepenthes have actually died on me due to root rot, even if they like their roots moist-to-wet. Many a time, sheer laziness in changing the media they were grown in have resulted in their demise.

It took many tries to finally get a good combination of media for me: 50% volcanic sand (from World Farm) and 50% peat moss from the Horti brand. There is a reason for this success: while most other growers may have little need to pay attention to how wet their media is (as long as it remains wet), with a lessening amount of sunlight, complications will occur.

It is a lot easier to handle how much water a plant needs if a relatively well-draining media is used. If it dries out, one can always simply water it. Easy-peasy. However, if the media is too wet, the plant might suffer instead. To rectify that, one must take out the whole plant, and either use newspaper to soak up most of the water from the media (which might not work to the fullest effect), or halve the original media, adding in new and dry media. What a trouble.

With this combination of potting media I’ve found out, none of my nepenthes have died on me till date. It has been a lot easier for me to judge how much water to pour into my tray a day using the tray watering method. And each day, the media of my plants dry out just the tiniest bit, enough so that the roots can breathe, and they get fresh, new water each morning to keep them through the day.

(Propagation) Venus flytrap

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Many people I know are quite wary about propagating any sort of carnivorous plants. They’re worried about the hows, and whether the plant will suffer from root shock, how long new plantlets will take to grow, and all that.

For venus flytraps, the dionaea muscipula, one doesn’t have to worry so much, as the plant isn’t that susceptible to root shock. Of course, all due care should be taken to make sure that one doesn’t jar the roots too much.

For ease of propagation, you may want to uproot the whole plant carefully and clear the soil from the roots first, so that you can see what you’re working with a lot better.

Holding the plant’s stalk firmly with one hand, use the other to tug on a leaf of the VFT, pulling downwards so as to tear off a part of the stem with it (the slightly whitish part). This will allow a much greater rate of success in rooting. Cut off the flytrap’s head to conserve energy for the leaf.

Prepare a clear container and fill it with about half an inch of peat moss. Wet the peat thoroughly so that the moisture is even throughout. Make sure that the peat is wet enough to mimic a bog condition, but not so wet as to cause excessive rot throughout. Place the white part of the leaf pulling slightly into the peat. After you do so, cover the container and leave it in a place with bright shade, out of the way of direct sunlight.

Plantlets should form in about a month or two from where the white tip of the pullings touch the peat. You may chose to repot them with care at this stage, and gradually expose them to stronger sun.

(Article) Diet of Contaminated Insects Harms Endangered Carnivorous Plants

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Adapted from Science Daily

Scientists in the UK are reporting evidence that consumption of insects contaminated with a toxic metal may be a factor in the mysterious global decline of carnivorous plants. Their study describes how meals of contaminated insects have adverse effects on the plants.

Full article here

(Article) The Training of the Shrew: Pitcher Plant Evolves Into Toilet

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Adapted from Treehugger.com

Pitcher plants are carnivorous and usually eat insects for nutrients and nitrogen. But in the highlands of Borneo there are not enough for it to survive on insects alone, so the pitcher plant evolved into a toilet plant, complete with standing lid that serves an unusual purpose.

Full article here

(I, and the person who found the link, couldn’t believe the news at first. So off he went to Google it more intensively, and found an article written to and published by the Royal Society Publishing.)

Adapted from Royal Society Publishing

Nepenthes pitcher plants are typically carnivorous, producing pitchers with varying combinations of epicuticular wax crystals, viscoelastic fluids and slippery peristomes to trap arthropod prey, especially ants. However, ant densities are low in tropical montane habitats, thereby limiting the potential benefits of the carnivorous syndrome. Nepenthes lowii, a montane species from Borneo, produces two types of pitchers that differ greatly in form and function. Pitchers produced by immature plants conform to the ‘typical’ Nepenthes pattern, catching arthropod prey. However, pitchers produced by mature N. lowii plants lack the features associated with carnivory and are instead visited by tree shrews, which defaecate into them after feeding on exudates that accumulate on the pitcher lid.

Full article/letter here (PDF format)

(Photography) Try to take over the world!

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One of the nepenthes albomarginata var. ‘rubra’ pitchers.

(Photography) Carnivorous plants

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Close up of cephalotus’s teeth.


Cephalotus hair.


Teeth of typical venus flytrap.

Note: I was using the Canon S5IS with a macro converter, which unfortunately gives an extremely shallow depth-of-field; I can go only to a maximum of f/8 on it. Meh.

(Photography) Nepenthes albomarginata var. ‘rubra’

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Lid has opened. =)

(Photography) Nepenthes albomarginata var. ‘rubra’

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Some simple pictures of the Nepenthes albomarginata var. ‘rubra’ I have now, one of which is forming this adorable baby pitcher.

(Propagation) Venus flytrap

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I recently bought a typical venus flytrap again after my old one died a long time ago. I’ve learnt from various experts (and have successfully propagated the flytrap once [which was the only time I tried propagating; so I suppose it’s a 100% success rate for me]) , and would like to share how to do it. It’s very simple.

You will have to perform leaf pullings on your VFT, by gripping each leaf as close to the stalk as possible and then pulling outwards and downwards. It is best to get as much of the white portion of the main stalk as possible, as that portion will increase the chances of a successful propagation. It is a lot easier if you’re able to dig up the whole parent plant and pull the leaves.

After that, cut off the traps from the stalks. This ensures that no energy is lost and all the energy of the bare stalks can be channelled to producing new roots and plantlets.

Fill a transparent plastic container with a thick layer of peat moss, and wet it enough so that the peat becomes a little bit boggish. Press the VFT stalks with the bottom portion (the one where it was connected to the parent plant’s main stem) into the peat. Cover the container partly, and leave it in a bright area.

New plantlets should start growing in about a month or two, I believe.

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