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Basil Shoots??

I'm fairly new but I always read about growers and their plants making basil shoots. What are basil shoots? Are they good? What do they do? How do you know if your nepenthes is growing one?

They are pretty much a branch from the base of the plant, for a healthy plant they will not effect it, but they can weaken sick plants as they drain alot of energy, this is also what many growers (myself included) wait for before taking cuttings from a nep as if somthing goes wrong with the main stem you have a new one there already, so I would say good.
What do they do? How do you know if your nepenthes is growing one?

A nepenthes is a vine where new growth is done growth is generally from the top of the main stem. A basal shoot is another growing point that can emerge at the base of the plant. These will continue to grow on a healthy plant, so you would end up with two plants. As it was mentioned, you could wait to take cuttings of the main vine once you have a basal plant (alternate growth point) to avoid losing your main vine by cutting the existing growth point.

You will see small leaves and a new growth point that should look similar to your main vine at the base of your plant. You can also take a basal cutting to propagate your plant and leave the main vine to continue to grow.

A good thing about a basal shoot or plant is that is gives you new options like leave it alone, use it as insurance when you take cuttings of the main vine or remove the basal and allow it to grow separately from the main vine.
Okay I think I get the main idea of it. So will the main plant die if I don't remove it? Also just for clarification, removing the basil shoot and putting it in sphagnum, perlite and orchid mix will start a new plant to grow.
No, your plant may send more of the plant's overall energy to the basal, but in my experience, if your plant is healthy, your main vine should be fine.

Yes, you can re-pot the basal in the same manner as you would to make a successful nepenthes cutting. I would recommend a potting media that is helpful for new roots to emerge, like live sphagnum moss; high humidity is also helpful.
Another advantage of these shoots is that if you have a large nep that is making boring uppers (for most species, lowii not included) then these basals will produce lowers for you, which are in general much more impressive/larger than uppers.

I normally wait until the shoot has atleast 3-4 open traps before I take a cuttign from a basal, I find the success rate is dramatically increased, also depending on the nep you can either place the cutting in pure H2O, in a spag/perlite mix, in a peat/sand mix or use root hormone.

E.G I have found that ampullaria cutting do best in the peat/sand soil with no hormones, but maxima rot in the same mix and do best in an airy spag/perlite, I can't say much about hormones as I have always used them with success however some say they inhibit the plants natural root hormones.

The big thing with cuttings is high humidity, stable temps, moist soil and bright light (similiar to the parent plants), and obviously the larger the cutting the greater the chances, also certain species are more prone to failure.
Everything stated before is good, but here are some pictures to illustrate:

A basal still growing on the main plant.

A separated basal, rooted and growing in its own pot.
  • #10
Oh okay makes perfect sense! I have a Nepenthes Alata and I can see a small little basil shoot growing so that's why I asked. I'm thinking of switching to live sphagnum moss now because I didn't know it helped roots grow. I grow my plants outside, I live in San Diego, CA. I have 2 alatas, a st.hedwig, ventricosa, and 2 more that I don't know the names :( .. I've had them for about a month and a half, still waiting for new pitchers to form. A lot of them have died I'm guessing because of shock but new leaves are forming on all of them :) I'm sooo excited!! The Alata is the only one with a basil shoot. Bout it at Home Depot .
  • #11
My basil shoot is definitely smaller than that but thank you soo much for the pic. This will then grow lower pitchers only or both ?
  • #12
The basal will start out growing lower pitchers, but once it gets to a certain size and height it will begin to produce upper pitchers.
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  • #13
Basil is a culinary herb. The vegetative shoots that develop at the notion of Nepenthes are basals, with two A's.
  • #14
But it's so much funnier to read "Basil" shoots! :awesome:

J/K we're all new at one time!

I've never had a plant die because it made a basal shoot but I have had a plant start to weaken for some reason and then it sent up a basal which took over as the main plant. N. hamata x platychilla actually is the last one who did this. Other ones just send up basals while the main vine keeps on going. I've noticed basals tend to start when the main vine is long enough to lean across the pot or over the pot. Though once years ago instead of creating a basal my old N. hamata decided to split into two at the top growing point of a 2 foot vine for no apparent reason. The two vines were both healthy and each grew a further couple feet before I got tired of waiting for it to flower and ran out of space and had to turn it into cuttings.
  • #15
Something to consider is that sometimes the basil shoot can be more vigorous than the main stem of the Nepenthes and it can sometimes compete for light and nutrients.

  • #16
Hmm, is that the Rare N. hamata x Salvia divinorum cross? :lol:
  • #18
Thank you all for the information on the "basal" shoots ha I really appreciate it.

  • #19
I did have a Mirabils nearly DIE once from over Basaling, it was a healthy (but small 1 foot long) plant but then for some reason made 4 Basal shoots at the same time, the energy consumption was so much that in the end I made a cutting from the main growth (which lived) but the basals all DIED, on the other hand my Ventrata and one of my Maxima readilly send up 2-3 basals at any one time, but they are fairly large plants and can handle it.