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New name for N. lowii

I purchased a N. lowii a while ago (7/02)and it really hasn't done much of anything. It's put out one leaf (maybe two) since I got it but no pitchers on the new leaves and they are small (only a hair bigger than the previous leaves. but they do have long tendrils) The other highlanders are potted in the same 50/50 blend of orchid bark and LFS (few handfuls of charcoal). The others seem to be doing OK so is it just that lowiis are exceedingly slow?
Yes, lowii is slow. Typically, you can expect no more than 7 or 8 new leaves and pitchers
per year, at best. However, this species is so spectacular that it is very much worth the
time and effort required to successfully cultivate it.
Lowii is indeed slow! I got mine back in July and it has only made 1 new leave and even now the new leave is not fully open! It will be a long while for it to produce pitchers too almost as long as a new leave. I am still waiting for the immature pitcher it has begun to swell up to get bigger yet! I have mine in typical Ultrahighland conditons growing side by side with my Rajah,Hamata,and Burbidgeae and it shows no signs of decline but little signs of improvement, yay!  
 Just be patient as this nepenthes IS the one you MUST absouluty be extremly patient with, like Villosa but I think Villosa is even faster than Lowii!
This is off topic, but in my experience, N. villosa grows at a considerably slower rate than
N. lowii. Specifically, I've found N. villosa to produce only about 4 new leaves/pitchers
per year, which is roughly half the rate of growth of N. lowii. However, my villosa is growing
under extremely hard conditions, with temps ranging from 3 to 18 C.
How much larger do lowii leaves usually get with each successive leaf?  My fusca and hamata was almost 1/4 to 1/3 sizes larger than each previous leaf but the lowii and inermis have been very poky at doing much of anything which were bought at roughly the same time. The lowii has made one full leaf and partially unfurled a second since july the inermis has only made one leaf and opened one pitcher. I don't mind being patient (I can't wait to have a few large size lowii pitchers to look at) but I was a bit worried that it was on the verge of death or something since it wasn't doing much. I can see the 6" pot it's in will last it for quite some time! Does growth speed up after it begins to climb or does it take it's time throughout it's life?
What I've typically found is that lowii will exhibit incremental increases in size. By this, I mean
that there will be times when successive leaves increase noticeably in size, followed by periods
during which little change occurs. Since you just got this plant a couple of months ago, I'd
not worry. It will probably take four years for it to reach an appreciable size, and one or two
more for it to produce upper pitchers. It does pick up a bit of speed after settling in, which
could take about a year. Also, once vining stage is reached, it seems to me that this species
grows a bit faster. Even at its best, however, it's still pretty slow....
From my experience growth rate also depends on the clone grown. N. lowii from G. Trusmadi needs about two months or more for a new leaf while N. lowii from G. Mulu does grow considerably faster.

Here are pictures of a small N. lowii from G. Mulu I took in May when it was new and one from today:

N. lowii from G. trusmadi three years out of TC:
Biggest pitcher (8cm):

The increase in size does depend on temperature drop and daytime temps I do believe. In summer my plants are not increasing as much in size as in winter.

My N.Lowii is from Kinabalua,Sabah area anything special about mine?
Thanks for the photos.

Mine is from the G Mulu region, it's funny to know this is growing "fast" ha ha! I have a trusmadi coming soon. I'm getting the feeling this is one of those get it and forget it type of plants that will all of a sudden surprise me somewhere on down the road.

I noticed in the photos you had something in the pot that looked redder than normal orchid bark, have you added some laterite soil to the potting mix? In the one pot I tried it in it turned into  hard rocky lumps after some time.
  • #10

I do agree with your observation that lowii does not appreciate overly high temps! I know
other growers who have to contend with high summer temperatures, and the growth of
their plants slows markedly during that time. However, I've not noticed a substantial
difference in rate of growth between any of the clones I have, whether from G. Trusmadi,
Mulu, or Kinabalu.
  • #11
O god yes is the N. lowii slow. i have mine sitting next to the Rajah and boy what a diff. i cut off all the dead leaves on it to encurage it to grow some.
  • #12
George, cutting off dead leaves off of any Nepenthes is not going to make it grow new ones, the plant will regularly make new leaves over a period of time. You can cut all dead leaves off and your just going to make your plant look neater which most growers prefer to have thier plant look.
  • #13
Josh, the red parts in the soil is Seramis, which is inert, stores water and helps to get air into the soil. I have switched to Lecaton used for hydroponics for some time now, because I do think Seramis will break down in wet condtitions over time.

Jeff, maybe my special G. Trusmadi clone from Andreas is on the slow side or the conditions are not suited for this clone as good as for the plant from G. Mulu. At least I am not to unhappy with the size of this three year old specimen.

And of course N. lowii is a good grower compared to others - N. murudensis is a real pain to grow! Anyone out there wanting to guess the age (out of TC) of this plant growing in a 6cm pot? When it arrived:
Today (I dividied it into three single plants):

  • #14
i know it won't make it grow fast and triming it up does make it neater. just trying to help it along
  • #15
We have a substance for sale here in the US which is called Arcyllite (made by Shultz/Profile) it is used both as an inert clay soil aerator/conditioner as well as aquatic plant substrate for planted aquariums & ponds. I have never used it on my CPs though.
Do plants growing on "ultramafic" soils appreciate small rocky pieces in their soil? I am assuming Ultramafic means something similar to "alkaline" or "ultra basic"?
I use basically the same mix for all my highlanders (LFS and bark) but perhaps things would grow better if I added some more rocky material when the new highlanders come in?
  • #16
Ultra mafic means alot of rocky substances in the soil, aka laterite,rocks
etc. I think it would b benifical for the highlander to be planted in a maore course mix. I have all my currently in Living spahgnum and LFS and bark and perlite.
  • #17
At $3 a bag maybe I'll try some of the arcyliite with the new arrivals. It is rougly the size of granulated charcoal (maybe twice the size) but it is only baked clay granules which adds nothing to the soil as far as nutrients.
  • #18
Utramafic does indeed mean ultrabasic. More specifically, the geologic definition of the term

An intrusive igneous rock very rich in iron and magnesium
and with much less silicon and aluminum than most crustal rocks.
  • #19
Thanks Jeff! Considering the substances listed in the defenition of Ultramafic, I wonder if using a product such as Flourite could be a good ingredient to try in my soil mix?
Flourite is a planted aquarium substrate consisting of 2-5 mm granules made of porus baked clay which is naturally high in these very two elements (Fe & Mg). I use this stuff in all my fishtanks so getting a scoop for a test soil would be no problem.
What I'm most worried of is if there may be any chances of Fe and Mg "burning" nep roots? As I understand it these are very minimal slow leaching elements and shouldn't really overcome the roots witha "nutrient blast". Also Fe is responsible for nice green and red leaf coloration (at least in aquatics)...
  • #20
I don't know anything about the use of flourite, I'm afraid.

However, I have used laterite, which is also used in aquaria, in some of my Nepenthes
compost mixes. In fact, as I've remarked on the N. merrilliana page on my site, the
use of laterite granules seems to be of great value in the cultivation of that species.
Moreover, its use in the compost for some forms of N. sanguinea has also resulted in
superior pitcher coloration for that species.