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Greenhouse for Highlanders in FL? I need your expertise... Thanks in advance!

Hello guys,

After getting one highlanders and one intermedia Nepenthes I want to get a greenhouse so that I can add more highlanders to my collection. I posted a picture below of a 7x10 GH. I've been reading a lot in this forum and apparently temperatures in the summer in FL will get too hot for highlanders if kept in a GH? I have a huge fence backyard I have a big shaded area. I was wondering if putting the greenhouse in the shade would be better for HL Nepenthes instead of putting the GH on the open full sun? I was putting automatic opening vents and an ac unit to drop temperature at night. I don't know if a swampcooler will help lower day temps, but I am afraid of mold, since here in Fl humidity is very high in summer. I love highlanders and I don't want to put a greenhouse that after all the work and time invested will still not be able to accommodate HL. Any advice and input will be greatly appreciated it.

The swamp cooler cools really well if the greenhouse is in shade for me. In the sun, the swamp cooler will just keep it at the outside air temperature. If you want a cooler greenhouse, put it in bright indirect sunlight.
Thank you for the input Pineapple, good to know
A swamp cooler may not be efficient enough to provide sufficient cooling given the higher humidity of Florida.
It will be extremely expensive to cool a GH in FL to levels where HL Nepenthes will be comfortable and happy. LLers will probably almost grow themselves in your climate.

If you are dead set on HLers take into consideration the cost of properly setting up and running a HL GH in a hot climate. One wall will need to be large exhaust fans blowing out of the building and the opposite wall will need to be a drip system or other louvered cooling/humidifying system. This alone may not be enough in FL, It works for the HL orchid & Nepenthes house at the orchid shop but we're in Minnesota. You may need to add some sort of air conditioning unit(s) to get daytime temps down to 75*F every day. Temperatures OVER 80*F during the days and 50*F at night and most true HL Nepenthes will become unhappy and weaken and eventually start to die off.
Actually, I think those temp ranges are a major misconception...

I have a HL greenhouse, as you probably know, and I moved all of my Nepenthes out before I had the swamp cooler hooked up to outside air. That was during the really hot days of May. It was at around 94F/<30% humidity one day and all of the highlanders were fine and continued to pitcher. Another day it got up to 90F. One night it got below 48F because the weather said it would be 50F so I didn't have the heater on and it was incorrect... I think if you stay between 45F and 85F, HL will thrive. 90F for many consecutive days may cause issues. My local nep store said their greenhouse got to 105F back in April when it was 90F outside. All highlanders in the collection were fine.

I do have to say, when the humidity was low for some of those days around 30% (I didn't have the swamp cooler hooked up to outside air) the lids on some intermediate pitchers wilted, like boschiana x mira and vogelii... But now that it stays in the 60%s in the day, they love it.

What I'm saying is you have more room for error than you think. Ultrahighlanders like rajah or villosa may croak in hotter temps, but highland/intermediates will be flexible. It's not a good thing to keep them above 85F though... Just my experience however.
I see, here in St Pete FL, temperatures are always in the 90's in the summer & since I live close to the beach humidity isn't too high. I guess my best choice will be install the GH by the shaded area and only grow lowland & intermedia nepenthes. a lot of the intermedia's I've seen are beautiful. whats the night drops for intermedia? around 70 or 65? I should be able to leave the green house on the 90's as long as humidity is high? would a misting and fog system help with that?

Thank you
Pineapple is in California and the humidity out there is nothing compared to what it is here. I don't have a greenhouse but I do not think they would work well unless you have a giant one. The point it to take cooler air from outside that's dry wet it and make it cool by passing through the cardboard filters. But if the air's already hot and wet it kind of defeats the purpose. I'm also concerned about just how shady will it be. I was considering putting some of my neps under some big oaks but realized it's probably too dark. If you're going to go with an outdoor greenhouse I'd stick to lowlanders. You just have to keep it from over heating. It's ok to let it go in the 90's but you'll still need an AC to keep it from going over that. I wouldn't let it go over 93 if possible. The outdoor humidity works for itself especially in the summer though right now during the day the humidity has been around 30-40%. At night it's perfect and it is too in the morning from 70-100. Don't worry the humid days are not far though. The problem is bringing in the lowlanders during our 3 month winter.

If you want highlanders it's best to grow them inside with AC and a humidifier. You could build a chamber or dedicate a whole room to it. I actually want to build an indoor greenhouse on my patio out of PVC. I'm buying the pieces slowly over time. I keep the few HLers I have in a fridge at night.

If you can get out to Sarasota check out Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Ask one of the staff about the greenhouse. Perhaps they can help. They have a giant swamp cooler. I got a video of it here

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ZpBrNKaMa7U" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

It's a 14 minute video but the swamp cooler is at the beginning. I think I go to inside the greenhouse at the very end if you want to skip to that. I did buy a swampcooler for a chamber I was going to build inside. It said it would drop the temps 20 degrees. It didn't work. It was more like a fan and now I think it's because of the humidity. Inside my house it's about 40-60% so I can grow intermediates well inside provided there's enough light.
  • #10
Thagirion I'm going to stick to Lowland N. outside in the greenhouse then. I want to provide the right care for the plants. I think your idea of an inside GH for HL is good and easier to maintained. I'd look into that. I may be able to do it in the office.
  • #11
That sounds good. Office are nice and cold from what I've seen and very bright. You'd only have to worry about humidity. They do sell little humidifiers you could use in an out of the way corner. I'll be looking on craigs list soon for a slightly used but working window unit soon.
  • #12
By the way I wanted to share a few recent pics of my CP's :)



N. robcantleyi & N. lowii x truncata on my south west window room set up


n.robcantleyi new pitcher on its way. its been in my care for a month now.


& this is my N. lowii x truncata "Wide peristome" from Tony :)

This is y front pond and you can see in the upper left my lowland N. miranda now starting to make pitchers and bottom left my tray of Sarracenia's Drosera filiformis and VFT's :) Hope you guys enjoyed. sorry for the bad picture quality.

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  • #13
Oh lovely little plants. What a nice start to your collection. Wish I had a robcantleyi. And I got a lowii x truncata wide from him too. If our plants turn out to be opposite genders in the future we should cross them. That's a very nice little stand you made. Could you show a pic of the base? Is it PVC? That would be something I'd like to try and make.
  • #14
i love my robs and truncata crosses :) They look nice, hope ur rob colors up nicely for ya.
  • #15
Nice! Ya it would probably be best to have a lowland GH outside.
  • #16
Thagirion I made a regular square base and used a drilled bit to put the PVC tubes and then made another hole on the PVC and hooked the rebar and then i just painted everything white. the base is in top of a coffee table and I put the Humidifier under it :) I gladly trade pollen if our plants our opposite genders "fingers crossed" & thank you for the compliments!

& thank you mylesG! :) & thanks you lance :)