The plant Nepentes from the family Nepentie has more than 100 species growing in a tropical climate. Predatory nepentes are in their nature mixotrophs, that is, they know how to eat from various sources.
In addition to absorbing water from the soil, they also hunt for representatives of insects and even small animals, such as rodents, with the help of peculiar pitcher traps, which are modified leaves.
These jugs, depending on the type of nepentes, can have a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. An interesting fact is that despite the use of pitchers for hunting purposes, they are sources of clean water. Of course, at the bottom of the trap are unprocessed remains of animal food, but, being careful, a couple of sips can be obtained from these jugs, and sometimes more, good drinking water.
Varieties and types
Nepentes Raja grows in 2 mountainous glades of the north of Borneo, climbing to a height of 1.5-2.6 km. Its pitchers hold up to 1 liter of digestive fluids, which is quite enough for digesting frogs, lizards and rats.
Nepentes madagascar grows on the island of Madagascar, as an insectivorous perennial 60-90 cm tall. Its jugs of crimson color reach 25 cm in length.
Nepentes Attenborough - especially bloodthirsty and the largest representative of the family. Its jar with a lid holds up to 2 liters of liquid.
Nepentes winged (alat) - shrub whose homeland is the Philippines, where it can reach a height of 90 cm. It has rather narrow jugs, stretched in length by 15 cm, slightly widened in the lower zone, yellow-green in color with burgundy specks.
Nepenthes pitcher inhabits wet peatlands and marshes. Its diet includes flies and mosquitoes, which fall into jugs with a small lid, grouped into nests. This species remarkably takes root at home and does not require special care.
Good forcing and Nepentes Rebecca with brownish oblong jugs.
He also feels very good at home. Nepentes “Bloody Mary” with large burgundy jugs. For him, insects are not a necessary delicacy. His only requirement is high illumination.
Another swamp representative - nepentes amazing - grows only in the marshy lowlands at a temperature of at least 14C.
Nepentes hukeriana opened in the distant 1881th year. This natural hybrid grows in lowlands in conditions of high humidity and temperature. Therefore, its cultivation begins in the terrarium or under a glass bell to ensure high humidity and average daily temperature in the region of 22-25C.
Nepenthes sanguinea with blood-red jugs is quite widespread in the mountainous area of the Mallak Peninsula, and is also found in southern Thailand.
For irrigation purposes, it is recommended to use rainwater or separated water with a low level of inclusions of mineral salts and room temperature.
It is preferable to lower watering, the abundance of which should be increased in the summer, and in the fall and winter - on the contrary, should be reduced, focusing on the dryness of the surface of the substrate and waiting 1-2 days after it dries.
Soil for nepentes
It is also necessary to take into account the epiphytic needs of this plant and use either 2 parts of top peat and perlite for 1 vermiculite and charcoal for the soil mixture.
Either on the 1st part of the pine bark of the middle (5 cm) and the fines fraction, 2 parts of the peat moss and 1 part of charcoal, or equal proportions of the peat moss and perlite, or on the 1st part of the high peat, perlite and coarse-grained river sand, Or finished orchid soil.
Wide low pots are selected for planting, the soil of the planted specimen is covered with a layer of sphagnum moss or coconut fiber.
Nepentes transplantation is performed only when there is an acute need, in a warm season, for which late spring is best suited. Sheet earth, peat, sand and charcoal in proportions of 1: 3: 2: 1 are used as a substrate.
Transplanting should be done only with a clod of earth, with the addition of a new substrate - otherwise the root system will die. Immediately after transplantation, the predator plant requires more thorough care.
Fertilizer for nepentes
Floral complex feeding can be made in the summer - once every 2-3 weeks, keeping the concentration in the amount of 1/3.
Natural fertilizers are recommended to be applied to jugs no more than 1-2 times a month alternately, and except for dead mosquitoes and flies, feeding with meat and cottage cheese is allowed.
Nepentes way of getting food
Nepentes can catch even relatively large prey. As noted above, certain species feed on toads, rodents and birds. However, the main diet for these plants are insects.
The method of obtaining food from the nepentes is slightly different in comparison with other predatory plants. The inside of their jug is protected by a lid, while performing the function of a “landing strip” for flying insects. Like the surface layer of the jug, the lid emits a special nectar, which, in combination with the variegated color, seems very attractive for future victims of a carnivorous plant.
Getting into the inner area of the jug, the insect along the slippery inner walls quickly finds itself in a liquid filled with enzymes - the process of digestion begins.
Nepentes only occasionally propagate with the help of seeds, since they germinate extremely long, and the risk of their death is extremely high.
But the method of reproduction by the apical and stem cuttings can be considered quite effective. After cuttings are cut, the resulting wounds should be treated with crushed coal, and the cutting itself should be dipped in water containing growth stimulants to accelerate the development of the root system.
The recommended temperature is at least 26 ° C, and a high level of humidity is also required. The first root shoots should be expected no earlier than in 2 months. Following this, the cuttings are transplanted into the soil, watered moderately and ensure that the young plant receives a lot of sunlight.
As regards rooting, the greatest difficulties are manifested in the cultivation of nepentes. Rooting stimulants, as described a little earlier, are required for reproduction. Also noteworthy is the sensitivity of nepentes to overwetting of the soil, associated with the need of roots for air inflows. For this reason, the most optimal approach to their cultivation is the use of hanging baskets for orchids, which perfectly pass both air and water.
Diseases and pests
The presence of problems with growing led to a relatively low popularity of nepentes in the circles of growers. Based on this, it is rather difficult to name the diseases to which a given plant has predispositions.
However, it is reliably known that it will die quickly if you do not adhere to the rules of its content, the main of which relate to temperature, light and humidity levels.
For example, the lack of lighting leads to the fact that pitfalls jugs either are not formed at all, or are formed in an amount of not more than 2-3 pieces. And the excessive content of nitrogen fertilizers in the soil weakens the plant, which can cause some of its parts to rot.
It should be noted that it is necessary to fight manually with the detected aphids and cherries, brushing the pests with a cotton swab treated with soap, since nepenthes insecticides are transferred with great difficulty.
a brief description of
Nepentes is shrub or semi-shrub vines. This plant has leaves two kinds of leaves: the first - large and oblong, and the second - pitcher-shaped. With the help of the second species, the flower produces its own food. The jug is a rolled-up sheet of a special construction, resembling a container, in the form of which it received its name. The jug is attached with antennae to ordinary leaves. Its colors are different, depending on the type of plant. These are mainly bright colors: red, crimson, pink, with spotty patterns or purple spots. The insect trap reaches a length of 2.5 to 30 cm.
Its upper edge is bent inward. On the edge of the jug, thanks to its special cells, sweet nectar is produced. Its interior is filled with digestive fluid or water. The neck is covered with a lid that protects the trap from debris.
Location and lighting
This plant prefers a bright light, but diffused. The best place for him will be south or east window sills. If the pitcher grows on the northern or western windows, then it needs additional lighting. The backlight should work at least 16 hours.
Is it necessary to additionally feed
It is not necessary to feed the soil. But if in the summer once a month to make a complex flower fertilizer, the consistency of which will be 3 times weaker than recommended, then it will not bring harm to nepentes.
When caring for nepenthes at home, do not forget to feed the flower once a month by throwing a fly, spider or bloodworm into the jar. It is not recommended to feed all the jugs, otherwise the plant will die from an excess of nitrogen. Bring insects only half of the jug-shaped leaves. You can also feed the flower with meat and curd.
This exotic plant is a liana, so it stands for prepare a prop. It is necessary to tie nepents to the support when it reaches half a meter in height. It is recommended to install a support when you transplant a one-year-old flower.
Pruning nepentes is best in the spring when the growing season begins. Only adult plants need this procedure. Pruning is to remove old shoots. Due to this, the plant not only rejuvenates and becomes compact, but also begins to grow and branch more quickly.
Do I need special care in winter
Consider how to care for nepentes in the winter. At this time, the plant begins a period of forced rest. This is due to the fact that our winters are different from tropical, the humidity of the air and the temperature is greatly reduced. It is not recommended to feed the plant during the winter period, as it does not have enough strength to digest food. Also, the intervals between watering should be increased.
In winter, the flower often begin dry jugs. Panicking about this is not worth it, because this plant is characterized by wilting of old leaves and the emergence of new ones. With the onset of spring, it is necessary to resume normal watering and apply a solution of fertilizers, and then the nepentes will again grow.
How often do I need to transplant
The transplant is made if necessary: if the pot does not match the size of the roots, or a mold has appeared on the substrate. Transplant nepentes in the spring. If the flower is healthy, then it is simply rolled into a larger pot, trying not to damage the root system.
If you are concerned about the appearance of the flower, it must be removed from the old dishes, clean the roots of the substrate and rinse with distillate. After this, you should finish the transplant in the usual way.
Next, you need to spray and water the substrate with Topaz or Fundazole. A couple of weeks after successful rooting of the pitcher, it is worth spraying it with a solution of “Zircon” and pouring the substrate over it. If the transplant is done correctly, the nepentes will live in a new pot for 3-5 years.
The ideal cutting is a cut with 3 leaves, which are cut to 2/3. At the apical cuttings can not trim the top leaf. Before planting the plants, they must be placed in the “Kornevina” solution for 30 minutes and then sprinkled with cuts with crushed coal.
Pot for planting should be well washed with bleach, then it must be rinsed with distillate. The substrate should consist of sphagnum, coconut fiber, peat (2: 3: 5). It is necessary to add a little vermiculite and process the soil in the microwave for 15 minutes. The cuttings are immersed in the ground at 5 mm and gently press the ground around them. Substrate must be watered with distilled water, and the cuttings themselves sprayed "Fundazol." After that, the pot is covered with a plastic bag or a transparent plastic cap. The plant should be in a bright place where the temperature is 23 ° C. After 14 days, spray the cuttings and moisten the substrate with a solution of "Zircon".
Mostly rooted cuttings about a month or one and a half. But after 2 weeks it will be clear if they started: if new shoots with jugs have appeared, then the petioles have taken root, and if they have darkened - the landing has failed.
By dividing the bush, the nepentes are propagated during plant transplantation. The roots of this "predator" are very fragile, so you need to very carefully carry out such a procedure. Propagating the flower in this way, it is necessary to lower the earthen ball into the water tank at room temperature before dividing - this will help to gently clean the roots of the substrate and avoid damage.
Nepentes is a plant that will decorate your home and bring in a bit of exotic. Therefore, you can put up with the difficult care of the "predator" and settle such a flower in your apartment.