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Adorable baby N. ventrata that I would love to not kill!

Joined
May 8, 2017
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Hello! I'm brand new to the forum (I plan on posting to the welcome section next), and I have a few questions. I've read through several pages of the Nepenthes threads, but just want to clarify some things/ask a few questions of my own.

I bought my little plant a couple of weeks ago from a vendor at an orchid show, and have been obsessing over care ever since. I really don't have a green thumb; I've kept a handful of pothos and and a cyclamen alive, but not much else. I think I over-water.

So, I have my plant in a birdcage (my cat wants to chew on it), sitting in front of an east window. I've watered it a few times, but have let it go a few days this time, because I'm worried about root rot. It's just in a tiny pot, with what I think is a moss/peat mixture. It started off lively and green, with several happy pitchers, but has since taken a turn for the worse. I assume that some of this is the plant trying to acclimate, or maybe that it's just in shock; regardless, three of the six pitchers have slowly turned brown (lids first) and died. The others seem to be okay, and are full of nectar and insect goop...except for the biggest one, which was a casualty from the first feline attack that necessitated the bird cage. The plant fell over, and a whole bunch of nectar and half-decomposed ants spilled out. I filled it about 1/2 full with distilled water, and have since dropped a big house fly in it.

There's one very-baby pitcher, and then a few leaves that have what might be even tinier pitchers on the end? I think I saw them described as proto-pitchers? The littlest pitcher seems to have gotten a bit bigger over the last couple of weeks.

So, as far as my questions go...

1.) Is it bad to keep the pot sitting in a little bit of water?
2.) Is it true that coffee is good to "water" with? I've read that on a couple of other forums.
3.) Since there are very few insects in my house, how often should I feed the pitchers, and what's the best thing to feed them? I've seen crickets, mealworms, fish flakes, fish pellets, etc. Do I need to crush up stuff like that?
4.) How worried should I be about the pitchers dying off?

Even though it's not a very impressive plant, I'll hopefully be able to post pictures when I get home from work!
 
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Joined
Nov 10, 2013
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Hacienda Heights, CA USA
Welcome to Terraforums!

1.) It's fine if it is just a little bit of water. Ventrata is a tough plant so I don't think it should cause any problems.
2.) I wouldn't try fertilizing until you have some more experience, but I've never used coffee before. I'm sure some other users will chime in.
3.) Personally I put Osmocote pellets in the pitchers of my Nepenthes. Fish pellets should work well since they will sink.
3.) It is normal for old pitchers to die off. In my opinion, the best sign of health in Nepenthes is that the new leaves are not smaller than the older ones. You should look at the newer growth to gauge plant health. And even if the plant doesn't make pitchers, it does not mean it is dying.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
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1,819
Everything has pretty much been covered but I just wanted to add you can use the essential oils from citrus to keep cats out of an area if you ever expand your collection beyond what a birdcage can fit.
 
Joined
May 8, 2017
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Thanks for the answers, Tanukimo! And Grey, that's a great idea-- my cat is kind of tenacious about that window space. He also seems to think that some photosynthesis is required for him to reach his full potential.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2014
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Location
Oregon
I personally would avoid leaving the plant in standing water. While a ventrata can tolerate it, it still increases the risk of problems and will cause the soil to degrade more quickly.

I'm a fan of feeding pitchers with fish food, or you can use any sort of frozen/dried insects.
 
Joined
Feb 10, 2014
Messages
685
As fast as ventrata grows, I wouldn't recommend feeding it very often. For the sake of not having a ventrata tree within a year. Something that should be addressed is light; this hybrid thrives when it has lots of light, and often won't produce pitchers in low light. Wherever you have it needs to be pretty sunny.
 
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