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Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Parameters for Growth

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Most species of Nepenthes require a minimum of 3-4 hours of direct sunlight per day or about 30-50% greenhouse shade cloth (depending upon local climate).  Good lighting will not only enhance the growth of most species, but it will also bring out full coloration in the pitchers and help to stimulate flowering. Insufficient lighting is a common problem when growing Nepenthes, symptoms include large floppy leaves and/or failure to produce pitchers. A few species, such as N. ampullaria, N. bicalcarata, N. hirsuta, N. macfarlanei, N. rafflesiana, and others, prefer somewhat shadier conditions.

At Malesiana Tropicals, we have used the following mixtures for our Nepenthes with excellent success:

Potting Mix 1

1 part granite chips*
1 part tree fern root fibre
1 part charcoal (optional)

A very well-drained mix suitable for daily watering and epiphytic species.

*Pumice, lava rock, or coarse sharp sand may be substituted for granite chips.

Potting Mix 2

2 parts coconut peat**
1 part vermiculite
1 part tree fern root fibre

A good general mix for lowland terrestrial species; high moisture retention.

. ** Regular sphagnum peat (peat moss) can be substituted for coconut peat.

Potting Mix 3

2 parts sphagnum moss
1 part tree fern root fibre(optional)

An excellent mix for many highland species. Also good
for some lowlanders.

Air & Humidity

Being wholly tropical plants, sufficient humidity is a key factor in the health of Nepenthes foliage. Generally it is recommended to maintain the humidity at a minimum of 70%, which can be accomplished in non-tropical climates by frequent misting or growing the plants in a greenhouse or terrarium. Species with thick waxy leaves are able to tolerate somewhat drier air and make good candidates for windowsill growing (see below). Those with thin, delicate leaves (e.g., N. hamata, N. tentaculata, N. muluensis, etc.) are very susceptible to humidity fluctuations.


The genus is generally divided into two sections, lowland and highland species, according to their altitude of origin and different climatic preferences.

Lowland Species Highland Species
Natural Habitat Sea Level to hill forest.
(0-1000 meters elev.)
Montane forest to alpine scrub.
(1000-3500 meters elev.)
Temperature in Cultivation Hot days, warm nights.
(80-95 F or 27-35 C day)
(70-80 F or 21-27 C night)
Warm days, cool nights
(70-85 F or 21-29 C day)
(50-65 F or 12 - 18 C night)
Suggested Growing Situation Hothouse, Heated Terrarium, Outdoors (Tropical Climates) Greenhouse, Cold Terrarium, Windowsill (see above)

Due to their different temperature requirements, it is usually necessary to cultivate lowland and highland species separately. A few highland species (N.fusca, N. maxima, N. veitchii, etc.) can be considered "intermediate" plants, and at least some varieties of these can be successfully grown along with lowland species.



Nepenthes appreciate frequent watering and the soil should never be allowed to become dry. Watering can be done on a daily basis (in warm temperatures), or once every 2-3 days during winter. Pots should never be left in standing water as this will quickly suffocate the roots. Clean, pure water should be used whenever possible (rainwater, distilled water or reverse osmosis are ideal) as the excess dissolved minerals frequently found in tap water can accumulate in the soil and cause damage to the sensitive roots.