Tropical Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes) Growing Tips

Nepenthes vogeliiSun:  Most Nepenthes enjoy very bright, diffused light or partly sunny conditions.  Many can be grown easily on a sunny windowsill.  Terrariums with high-powered fluorescent lights are easy to set up and ideal; we recommend four T-5 lights.

Water:  In greenhouses avoid the tray method of watering entirely and place the containers on benches or hang them so water can freely drain away.  In terrariums and on windowsills, place the pot in a shallow saucer and water overhead as soon as the water in the saucer evaporates.  Don't allow the pot to sit in deep water for extended periods of time as this can lead to root rot.  All pots must have drainage holes!

Temperature:  All Nepenthes are tropical plants, roughly divided into lowlanders and highlanders. 

  • Lowlanders come from low elevations in tropical Southeast Asia.  Constant temperatures in 80's with high humidity is ideal, although some species will grow on sunny windowsills in warm homes.  They are not tolerant of low temperatures.
  • Highlanders do best with day temps in the 70's and 80's.  They require a night time drop in temperature of about 10-20 degrees in order to thrive.  Most highlanders can be easily grown on sunny windowsills.  They can be damaged or killed by temperature below the low 40s.

Here is a very handy guide to Nepenthes temperature range by species: The Nepenthes Guide

Dormancy:  No dormancy period needed.

Nepenthes tiveyiSoil: Nepenthes enjoy loose, open soil that remains wet to moist but allows drainage of excess water.  They are tolerant of a wide variety of soil mixes.  The best are about three parts New Zealand long-fibered Sphagnum moss to one part of some combination of coarse materials, such as perlite, orchid bark, pumice, tree-fern fiber, lava rock or charcoal.

Fertilizer/Feeding:  MaxSea fertilizer can also be applied, once per month, to the leaves and pitchers of the plant.  Avoid pouring through the soil.  Osmocote 16-16-16 fertilizer pellets are also a wonderful addition to your fertilizer routine.  Put one pellet into each new pitcher as it opens.