Sunday, 13 September 2015

Thoughts on growing ultra highland and highland nepenthes

When late last year I saw a new website selling nepenthes I had a real flutter in my stomach, because most of them were highland species. I had tried three times previously to grow  highland nepenthes with no success. The plants just got smaller and smaller and then died.
So when I saw this website newneps selling in australia I thought well I have failed,  I need to revisit what do I need to do to grow the alpine species.
I found  Robert Sacilotto's piece on his experiment with highland nepenthes seedlings and I thought
whatever the conditions the seedlings will grow in will be what the adults require.
So we had a small weather station showing humidity and temperature with a remote gauge in the area the plants will live and I used it for my ultra lowlanders so I bought a couple more and a hygrometer.
I bought a water distiller because sensitive alpine nepenthes must have a very low conductivity in their water supply. It must have a ph around 4.5 so I need a ph indicator. 
The hardest thing I thought was the temperature as I'm living in the subtropics. 
 The breakthrough  was to buy a wine fridge , I don't drink wine very much and I didn't know they existed.
 These alpine plants need a large drop in the temperature at night. below 14 degrees and the wine fridge fitted the purpose. So I bought one a week after I put my order in for my new plants .
Its now eight months later and I haven't killed one. I bought them in the middle of summer.
It was the worst time in the year with temperatures outside from 25 degree to 32 degrees celsius , so with the air conditioner on every day they sat on a wire planter in the lounge room.
under one at first now two aquarium led lights ( they are called aquaone 21 w)  from the pet shop. They are 
about 8 inches from the lights. Maybe a little too close as I noticed the rajah got quite bronze.
I planted them in spaghum moss and just kept them moist with the lights on for 16 hours a day.watered once a day , they are all seedlings,so for now there is enough light
I first bought a n. singalana , n.vogelli then later from elsewhere n rajah, n jacquelineae  
The jacquelineae I found needed at least 12 degress celsius for 3 hours daily through the summer just to survive. Throughout this winter with temperatures ranging from 25 degrees celsius to 9 degrees celsius  it has thrived outside in the garden under my grevilleas , in dappled light with a n rajah , n mira ,n aristocholides and a n chaniana at humidity levels mostly 65 percent humidity to 85 humidity and with occasional storms about once a fortnight .They sit outside on a piece of stryofoam with holes in it, and through it I stuffed sphagmum moss and underneath the stryofoam,  is a very shallow drip tray  with a small amount of water in it .
Its spring now so when these cold early mornings finish it'll be time to come inside on the wire planter again.
They will slow their growth inside so the longer I can keep them out there the better.
 This is the robert cantley when I bought it in Dec 2014
 Here is the vogelli in Dec and on the bottom nep jacquelineae in dec
 Above nep rajah in the same pot now 130915
nepenthes jacquelineae today I'm so happy it has a pitcher almost ready to open. This is one of the species
that I had tried to grow before with no success.

The vogellii has grown much more vigorously than the others

and Nepenthes Robert Cantley looking good.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Update on keeping my lowland nepenthes in the poly house

It's almost the end of my holiday time, I been able to spend more time looking at my plants.
I have a remote temperature gauge in the polyhouse . Its has registered very high temperatures at  times in our summer ,
Top temperatures twice of 42 degrees celsius at midday  but with 89 percent and above  humidity .
They are irrigated once in the morning and then in the evening but being home and with the high temperatures I given them extra water at midday .  I'll often hand water , I hand water because experience tells me to check on them contantly. I have most of them in self watering pots , I think the safest way to go .
The gauge tells me at night that the humidity levels are in the ninetys. I thought the humidity should be lower at night but the gauge tells me this constantly..The gauge tells me in the afternoon the humidity drops right down to 54 percent for a short while.
The reason I bought the poly was to get the humidity and temperatures much higher. Many years ago I killed some plants trying to get the temperatures higher and I used a solar weave product but  it gets way too hot here I found out (as I suddenly realised what I was subjecting the plants to)  when the water from the irrigation hitting the metal frame hit me and it stung it was so hot . I badly burnt them and I lost a couple of favourites before realising , and looking back, I didn't have the humidity levels high enough, it wasn't in shade  and now I wont let the irrigation hit the frame just the plants . I should have experimented first so I was cautious  getting this poly house in the right situation.
The poly house is under the shade of a tree and I didn't take all the  plastic sheets off the polycarbonate , and it gives them bright but diffused light .
The good news is its working.The ampullarias are beginning to pitcher ,In the past I only had very tiny little pitchers off one. This time a couple are goig to give me full size pitchers.
Another exciting thing I bought some n northiana seed from ebay and looks like one has germinated.
All the other lowland nepenthes are doing very well including the seedlings.