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A Beginner's Heliamphora Thread


A leuco by any other name would still be as glutto
It's not so much that I'm bored with the other members of Sarraceniaceae. It's more like a Pokémon-ish desire to "catchem all." As such, behold my first Heliamphora. At this early point I have

H. minor
H. heterodoxa
H. elongata
H. nutans' Czech'
An unknown Heliamphora hybrid

I have them in a make shift terrarium made from plastic show boxes. I have wired a twelve volt fan for air circulation and am using a 23 watt 6500k CFL about six to eight inches above the plants.

Here are some pictures. Let me know what I am doing wrong, kiddos!

The setup:


Minors.... all three.



Unknown hybrid...


All of the amigos...
Looks good,The only thing I might comment on is the top cover looks like it could defuse the light..Just got my first H. Minor last week,I'm hoping to not look like ur collection in a few months..but u know how that goes,,With ur collection u may want to go to walmart and pick up a cheap 10 gal. aquarium.Turn it side ways so the opening faces you..
I have a coupe minors in the greenhouse, they like a lot of light (full sun from 9-4 through beige 50% shade cloth), high humidity (70%+ is best) and good air circulation, temp wise my plants cop as high as 40C and have no problems.
I would give them much more light. I use a 42 watt 6500k CFL for my Heliamphora, and even that is not enough for good color. If you are unable to supplement with natural sunlight, as I am, the minimum setup I would use would be four 24" or 48" T-5 HO 6500k shop lights. While CFLs work fine, florescent tubes are more efficient and powerful in this situation.
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You're going to need a lot more light in there as well as some air movement.
Yep, Heliamphora require a whole lot of light to do well, and it can be hard balancing that with the high humidity and low temperatures they need as well. Mine are able to hang on due to close proximity to a very bright (I think it's a T5, not sure) bulb, and seasonal direct sun through the window, and giving them at least the low temp nights can get tricky.
Looks like you are already hitting 79f, so while I agree about the need for more light, I would wait until I did something about temperature control first.

insufficient light and you have green helis.... hot helis and you have dead helis

just my 2 cents

icps guide on growing heliamphora
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This thread exploded! Thanks to all of you were for your quick responses. You are indeed appreciated.

I wondered if the amount of light would be sufficient. The first time I read the ICPS article linked by Butch I picked up on the part that says that Helis "require at least 25 watts of fluorescent lighting or 1200 lumens per square foot (30 cm2) for 15 hours a day at a distance of about 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in) above the plants." The bulb I have is a 26 watt ~1300 lumen bulb over about a one square foot area set to run from 5:00 am to 11:00 pm; it is about six inches above the soil surface. Will this be enough to just "grow green" then? To get them to live--even if they don't thrive and color up just yet--will be a win in my book. I can tweak my setup when I can allocate more space (i.e. when I buy a bigger house or ship a kid off to college). ;)

Butch hit my main concern on the head: high temps. I am worried here. The ONLY place in my home to grow these things is near a southern exposure window. Though the sun is nice for light, it heated the terrarium too much. I remedied this with the tastefully decorative Pepsi box after I saw a max temp of 91 degrees when I came home one day last week. With only the light fixture there to supply heat I am seeing high temps in the 78-79 range; higher than desirable, I know. The temps do dip into the high sixties at night and will continue to trend lower as winter comes on. I should note that all of this is relative to my crappy little yellow thermometer. It is an indoor/outdoor unit with both the thermometer and "outdoor" prob inside the container. You would think the temps would be the same, but the probe always read about four to five degrees lower than the "indoor" temp. I suspect that the probe is more accurate; as such, the temps are only maxing out around 75 degrees. Sheesh.. what does it take to get an accurate thermometer these days?

What do you guys think about my fan? You can see it best in the second picture. Would that suffice in circulating the air?

Again, I really appreciate you folks!
I meant to mention my humidity, too. It hovers around 75-80%.

What other tips do you all of have for lowering the temperature?
  • #10
I would start by getting them out of the small, enclosed container.... its basically a solar oven.
Consider something more open.... or at least larger with some cross ventilation, even if it's simple convection based.
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  • #11
Copy that.... but that raises a newb question: how to keep the humidity up?
  • #12
You can use a cheap fogger/mister or spray by hand (a lot), you can get great little foggers off ebay for about $5-10Au, so less in US dollar, they do use a lot of power for their size but they will work in an area as large as a 3ft tank, and when coupled with a small cpu fan they have a dramatic effect on both cooling and humidity.
But you will till need more light.
  • #13
Are the foggers pretty loud? I found the little disk foggers (usually with LED lights) for ten US dollars.
  • #14
Are the foggers pretty loud? I found the little disk foggers (usually with LED lights) for ten US dollars.

Ive got one of those for my Neps, its pretty much silent, no noise made at all except for the water lightly splashing.
  • #15
Cool beans. I'll order one.

Here's to hoping my terrarium looks like a strip club soon. Light show? Check. Glitter bombs? Not yet.
  • #16
So you scoundrels convinced me to pursue this...



You can see the foil on four sides. I also have two computer fans and a fogger scheduled for delivery this week. I dont plan on using a cover or lid.

This is the only spot I could scrounge up in my place that the wifey would approve; it is in a closet. As such the only real air movement will be from my fans. I also worry about the lighting heating up the joint too much.

My plans for lighting will not include T5s or any tube fluorescents at this time. New fixtures just are not in the budget. I do have a three bulb fixture and three total 6500k 26w CFLs that I can implement though. Either that or buy two 46w CFLs on Amazon for less than $20. What is your vote in that regard? I figure I will just see which combo makes the most lumens and go with that.
  • #17
Yea. So the setup above wasn't going to work in the closet I had relegated for it: too hot in thurrr! Not enough ventilation anyway. I now have moved it to the garage and tweaked it as follows.

- Three 26 watt, 6500k CFLs (should be well over three thousand lumens)
- Computer fan for tank ventilation
- Two computer fans for cooling the bulbs (not required right now in my brisk garage)
- clear plastic cover for the ten gallon tank

Ambient conditions in the garage:

The setup:

Conditions in the tank (I just pulled the meter out to take the picture):

All of this has resulted in MUCH more suitable conditions. Lights and reflector on full blast only raises the tank temperature around ten degrees Fahrenheit... which come to think of is about the difference noted when inside.

I think this setup will work for this fall winter and next spring. My garage gets HOT in the summer though. I am sure the plants will croak if left there. I wish I had a basement. :/

...and two questions:

1) I read Heliamphora can tolerate temps down to just above freezing. The Sarrs in my garage last year did freeze up once or twice, but they weren't in a heated tank. As long as I keep them somewhat above 35 degrees Fahrenheit will I be fine?

2) I am thinking about a 24-hour light cycle. Full blast, full time. Bad idea?
  • #18

3) How do I know when the "breeze" is too strong in the tank? The plants aren't moving around or anything, but I can see *slight* rippling of the water on the fan side of the tank.
  • #19
while helis might be able to survive low temps and high airflow, growth rates will suffer....
  • #20