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Nepenthes spp . . . Tropical Pitcher Plants


Eighty-years young Denver Botanic Gardens’ super volunteer Larry Knowles and Nepenthes alata at our Information Desk.

There are seventy species of tropical pitcher plants, first described in Madagascar in the 17th century. Insects and animal life are captured and digested when falling into sweet smelling nectar at the base of the modified leaf extensions…pitchers. Fantasy-stories speak of man-eating pitcher plants. Rodent capturing leaves are more realistic. The tropical pitcher plants are heavily vining, and do great in hanging baskets! They are dioecious, each plant bearing male or female flowers; thus, two plants are needed to produce seed. New plants can also be grown by cuttings. See pitcher plants right now at our Information Desk.



i picked up a N. alata at one of your spring plant sales oh so long ago. i'm having an easy time keeping it alive... and i know that carnivorous plants typically come from very moist (and therefore low nutrient) soil, hence their carnivorous nature. however... my poor nepenthes only grows like gangbusters, rarely forming pitcher pods. and when it does, they shrivel up almost immediately. any advice? i mean, aside from moving to indonesia or something. ~_^
Joe Tomocik

The plant seems to be a bit weak. Do not allow it to dryout and give it plenty of sun. Repotting with a light soil mix might rejuvinate your pitcher plant. We do not fertilize our carnivorous plants and we water with RO (reverse osmosis...distilled) water. Good luck!
sarah guillory

I need help in re potting and taking a cutting, from my nepenthe's. I have the soil, rooting powder and superthrive, it's all ready to go, but I'm not sure how to re pot. I've lost all my pitcher's has well. I water with distilled, and rain water. But it's growing, very green.
Joe Tomocik

Dear Sarah, For a cutting cut a stem portion having seven leaves; removing one half of each leaf. Insert stem into perlite creating as much humidity as possible. This will probably be slow growing. For repotting use one size larger if plant is rootbound. Peat moss is ok, Nepenthes are not that particular about soil; firm moderately. Provide much sun. Nepenthes are an exception when it comes to fertilizing. Fertilize twice a month with a foliar feed type fertilizer...no Miracid. Good luck, Joe T.

My pitcher plant is N. Alata and I was just wondering the same thing as Jack, all the new pitchers my plant puts out shrivel up before they get big enough for me to put water in them. Should I get an eye dropper or something for these or is this normal for a pitcher plant? Also, I had a question about the pitchers that catch a fair amount of bugs. Some of the water is sludge like, and in one of my big pitchers some of the water has seemed to start evaporating. So my question is this, should I add more water even if the water level is already at 1/2" on a really hungry/full 6" pitcher?

About the liquid in pitchers, is that automatically generated by the plants, or we have to add water into them?

I think my pitcher plant is Alata. It looks very health and new leaves have small pitchers. But, new small pitchers (about 1" to 2" long) are completely dry up, and the larger pitchers are dry up only the upper half part. Do you know what is the problem??

i want to buy a nepentes, like the picture one, I live in mexico, and Idont know how to get it here. If somebody can help me just tellme.... tanks.

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