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how much energy do nepenthes dedicate to making pitchers?

It looks like the plant spends quite a bit of energy to make a pitcher...probably about the same as 1 large leaf.

This is probably unconventional thinking at the least and sacrilege at the most but:

With a smaller nepenthes I will prune them down to 1 before they develop fully and allow 1 new one once the old one dies.

That way the plant is spending it's energy for overall growth and leaf production. Once the plant get's larger ill allow 2, then 3 and so on.

Once the plant gets 12 inches tall I think will leave it to it's own devices.

i believe you are completely correct but you would be amaze just how fast a pitcher forms i have a nepenthes growing out doors

it only gets the last sunlight of the day (sunset) and its growing red pitchers quite fast where as the one i have indoors has green pitchers and it takes way longer :(
I always allow my Nepenthes to pitcher because
1. they get food from it which eventually will make up for the energy spent on the pitcher
2. Its always good to compare the development between the last pitcher
3. Most of the Nepenthes I have make very colorful and cool pitchers which sure is a sight I don't want to miss

Hope this helps!
thanx for the input..

-basis of my conclusion is observation and geometry. if I was to take a leaf and roll it up a few times to produce a pitcher it would be pretty close.....im not looking to publish a journal.

-unfortunately it isn't humid enough for my lowlanders outside so they have to stay in their cage :( but the thought has crossed my mind to put the terrarium in a windowsill. do you have an estimation about what light would be in lumens from a setting sun would be in a windowsill compared to my setup?.....I have read the lowlanders do not like alot of light. right now I am giving them 10,000 lumens from t5 ho's.

- 1. correct me if i am wrong but a small plant can't really use but so much food and I will make sure the available pitcher(s) is happy.

- 2. good point.

-3. agree but it isn't something i plan to do forever just to help the plant get bigger. yes I will be missing out for the short term but if it does work then the larger plant will produce even more beautiful, bigger pitchers.

I'm thinking of a system of 1 pitcher per 3 inches of leaf span measured off of the newest leaf for my bical until the plant gets 10 inches tall then it can do what it wants. since the raff has larger size but small density im thinking 1 pitcher per 3 leaves until it reaches 12 inches tall and 1 pitcher per 3 inches on my mirabilis var echinostoma until it reaches 12 inches in height.
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A plant that cannot afford the resources to make a pitcher, won't. Nepenthes make pitchers for a reason. Plants that pitcher and catch prey often make noticeable advances in growth as a result. Removing pitchers seems counterproductive to me.
The cost of carnivory is rather high. Carnivorous plants make trap leaves to obtain the nutrients they cannot get from the nutrient poor substrates they grow in - mainly Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. The costs can be seen since the trap leaves are not efficient in photosynthesis as non-trap leaves. Nepenthes compromises here by having a broad petiole for photosynthesis as well as a trap. If well fertilized Nepenthes will stop producing pitchers keeping the broad petiole and grow like any other plant. They will also abort the pitchers in less than optimal conditions (temperature and/or moisture).

A good place to start reading is this article on the Costs of Carivory on the ICPS website.
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-correct me if i am wrong but a small plant can't really use but so much food and I will make sure the available pitcher(s) is happy. In nature producing more traps increases likelihood of catching prey but this is a controlled environment so likelihood just depends on when I feed it. Then wouldn't it use the extra resources for overall growth?

-interesting counter-point. If the trap leaves are terrible at energy production then that really does dull the point of pruning infant traps to a greater degree. I will give it a read. thanx!
There is no sense in stressing out your plant in that fashion, you will not make it grow any faster than if you grew it proper temps and humidity with twice weekly soil flushings, orchid fertilizer flushed through the soil every 2 weeks and bright lighting. It is more stressful for the plant to have it's pitchers (or leaves) removed needlessly if they are healthy and able to do their job.

And you are indeed wrong a plant will use all the resources available to it, the more light, water and food it gets the faster it will grow, the main impediment for Nepenthes growth is people's reluctance / fear to fertilize them properly.

Now comparing using a western facing window to 10,000 lumens of T5HO is no comparison. I have a western facing window and it's quite useless for growing plants, too dark for most of the day and too hot as the sun sets. A terrarium would probably become a little veggie steamer because sunlight heats up as it passes through glass (go sit in a sealed up car on a summer day for a few minutes). So keep using the T5HOs add more T5s if you want more light.
  • #10
Plants need nitrogen and other nutrients to grow. Carnivorous plants get most these nutrients from prey. You give them prey (or fertilizers) the same reason you fertilize other plants - for their overall growth. If they didn't need the traps they wouldn't grow them.

If you cut the pitcher off you'll have to root fertilize them for best growth. Why even have a Carnivorous Plant if you're going to do that?
  • #11
I let all of my Neps pitcher. My N. naga seedling is growing rather quickly without any pruning and making huge jumps in leaf and pitcher size. It's best to utilize the pitchers by spraying a diluted orchid fertilizer in them. Pruning live pitchers stresses the plants, so you might as well put them to work. Any dead bugs I find in my apartment end up going into a pitcher.
  • #12
i read that article and it seems the pitchers are cheaper to build as well since they are non-photosynthetic...based on all the info it seems that pruning the traps to a smaller number will yield no benefit. thanx peeps.
  • #13
The pitchers provide some of the nutrients the plant needs to grow. If you're cutting off the pitcher, you may be taking away some work for the plant, but you are also removing the rewards the plant gets for creating a pitcher. If you're worried about their growth, give them some ferts!
  • #14
i give them highly diluted 30-10-10 lightly sprayed on the leaves twice a month. any other suggestions?