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.