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Beginner's Culture Guides on:
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Introduction to Nepenthes
Nepenthes, the scientific name for Tropical Pitcher Plants, also popularly known as monkey cups. They are a genus of carnivorous plants that comprises of about 120 species and many more natural hybrids.

They occur in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Madagascar, Australia, Sir Lanka but with the highest concentration of species on the island of Borneo and Sumatra.

Nepenthes are mostly found in humid forest where the soil is of poor nutrient. They evolved to produce pitchers with liquid that capture insects and animals for nutrient when they die and decay. Its preys are either attracted to the scent, color or the nectar of the pitchers. Its preys die after falling into the pitchers and drown after struggling to craw up the slippery walls within the pitchers.

There are many lowland species that occurs in hot and humid places but the majority grows in tropical montane forest which received high temperatures in the day and cold and humid nights. There are only a few species that received almost cool days and freezing nights.

Cultivation of Nepenthes
Growing conditions are varied depending on original habitat of species; the best way to learn how to grow them is by studying their natural habitat.

Lowland species grows in warm temperatures between 25°C to 35°C whereas Highland species grows in cool temperatures between 10°C to 25°C. Highland species can be grown in lowland daytime conditions but they require a cold and humid nighttime, which can be easily created by putting them in a tank with air-conditioning.

Most species when young cannot be exposed to direct sunlight; hence they should be kept in bright places or under some shade. As the plants mature, you can increase the level of light they receive.

All nepenthes species would prefer high humidity level of 60% to 100%. They can be kept in a green house or in parts of your garden where it is humid and moist. The whole plant including the leaves should be fully drenched when watering them. You can also water less if the environment is humid and use a potting media that retains water.

Due to the nature of the species, potting media with little or no nutrient should be used. Peat, perlite, river sand, sphagnum moss and coco peat are some of the potting media that one can use to grow their nepenthes. You can create your own special mixture of different composition of potting media depending on your growing conditions. A recommended mixture would be to use 50% peat with 50% perlite; this will create a media that retains more water and well-draining at the same time.

~ Growing Seedlings ~
  Step 1 - Gather items
Gather all the necessary tools you need to begin growing seedlings.
1. Thumbpots or Compots
2. Growing media: Clean Sphagnum moss
3. Nepenthes seedlings
   
  Step 2 - Fill the bottom of pot with a thin layer of moist Sphagnum moss.
   
  Step 3 - Place seedling into the pot.
   
  Step 4 - Make a thin layer of moist sphagnum moss.
   
  Step 5 - Wrap the moist sphagnum around the roots and stem.
Ensure the sphagnum moss touches the roots.
     
  Step 6 - Drench the plant with water.
The sphagnum must be drenched to ensure the roots can receive water effectively. Sphagnum moss may be too wet for some species, try using other potting media such as perlite or peat mixture.
     
  Step 7 - Place newly grown nepenthes in very humid places or in a sealed container or bag.
Newly grown nepenthes need time to re-establish their roots. Some species take longer time to establish then others.
     
  Step 8 - Seal the container to provide high humidity for the seedlings.
Do not keep sealed species under direct sun. Lowland species can be sealed for long hours but do remember to allow exchange of fresh air into the container. Highland species is not recommended to be kept sealed for long hours. Air them once a day for about 3 - 8 hours.
~ Growing Highland Species in Chiller ~
  Step 1 - Gather things you need.
1. Chiller that allows temperature range from 12°C - 18°C
2. Mini fridge Thermometer
3. Nepenthes seedlings
     
  Step 2 - Place sealed highland nepenthes in chiller.
Extreme highland species can be kept constantly in cool temperatures. Most highland species requires a warm and bright daytime to grow well. Expose them to warmth and bright light for at least 8 hours each day.
     
  Step 3 - Monitor the temperature
 
 
 
 

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