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New york....the ice age state...

nepenthes gracilis

Nepenthes Specialist
Isn't it just nice to know you can grow really rare and hard to culitvate Highland-Ultrahighland Nepenthes yet can't grow a simple N. ampullaria b/c your house is too cold. Well, I am asking for everyone's help.....how do you grow your lowlands? IN front of a heater? In your dining room? Your basement next to the furnace? I am plump out of ideas....and to a lesser extent....space!
Should I move my lowlands to the wamrest room of my house? (most likely I should do that&#33
Well give your ideas and how you keep your lowlands warm in the winter. Thanks all!
sorry, can't help ya on that part but, moving them to the warmest part of the house is a good idea. mine are still out side and the temp has only gotten down to 48 so far at night and they still look ok to me. will except for one.

brrrr, just thinking how cold it is up there.
I'll see what my parents say about moving it to the dining room. It's good to eat around plants, the extra oxygen may make your food taste better!
I wonder what Tony's got his greenhouse heated at...what is it set at now Tony?
Hey nep g,

I'm also cursed with ugly weather (central Ohio) and had to come up with a way to maintain my plants over the winter. Due to space restrictions and the fact that every available space already contains a terrarium I moved to the basement. I built some enclosures (see below), not truly attractive but functional. By sealing the enclosure the humidity and heat stays up, the lights are on timers so there is a night time drop.  I am considering adding a submersible heater but need to find one that will not crack if the water level gets too low.

Lowland Terrarium:





Hi Pete! I woulda gone to the basement but ours is COLD.
SO I moved the chmaber to my dining room. Parents say it's ok but I need white paper or such to put in the front to block the light from annoying us. Well hopefully the plants will do better. My gowchamber is so beat up....I hope it holds together! BTW Pete, how big are yours, how do you access the inside, and if there is an opening do you push-pin the plastic shut or what? Thanks!
Nep G,

Well there are currently 3 of them, 1 is 6' x 6' x 4' and is the one you see, wooden frame covered with 6mill plasic sheeting. The front sheet folds up and then I have grommets in it to allow me to stretch it back and hook it over nails to keep the seal tight. There is a small one made from a single 5 shelf unit that I use for pings and the plastic is just draped down the front because I do not need the same amount of heat and humidity in it. The third unit is 5-5 shelf units put together and the sides and front plastic is usually folded up because with the number of lights in it it gets too hot.

There is not an issue of cold even though the basement is pretty chilly - the light units being sealed inside raise the temperature to an average daytime temp of 85 F and I have a large tray in the bottom that I keep saturated moss in to help with the humidity and 5 gallon pet water dispenser that a small ultrasonic humidifie sits in and keeps the fog rolling. On the coldest day I can go in there to check the plants and end up sweating.

It works very well for the lowlanders, in fact I need to expand because I am running out of room in it and the viney species keep grabbing the other plants.

Here is a poor angled picture of the 5 unit one:

You can walk in yours? Darn, that's my next step.
Project over summer.........build walk in growchamber.....make permanent structure to house lowlanders in winter.....wish I had that kind of growchamber! It'd be like a dream to have one to walk in!
I can squat in mine lol, mine measures in at 4 ft tall 3 ft wide and 3 ft long. Just moved it into the warmest room of the house next to a radiator, hopefully it will keep temps nice and high, I wil check the thermometer in a while to see what happens. In it I have an ultrasonic humidifier,aquarium heater in a plasitc barrel, and a hot rock. The plants in it are N.Bical "red",N.Truncata,N.Bical "yellow/orange", N.Longifolia, N.Mindanoensis.
I'll post a pic later.
You think that's cool, try being able to grow Nepenthes from any position in a room, like a little greenshouse
.  Very convenient.  Although, the cold windows always have condensed moisture on them from the 50+ % humidity, and on cold nights it freezes, and is starting to do damage.
N.g. i thought you had a g/h at your house. couldn't you section it off and make one part of it highland and other part lowland w/ the lowland put a space heater in it to keep that side warm. just a thought
  • #10
Hi George, yes I got the ole greenhouse. I would do that, but I am thinking it might be more for a millionare to try instead of me.
  • #11
thats understandable. i got the ok to build a g/h but, have to come up w/ the old mighty $$$$
  • #12
For heating the chambers you can use a seed heating mat. Although a bit pricey, they do the job well. You can also buy a thermostat to keep the mats even hotter. I put one in my growth chamber and the temps are 10-15° warmer than without. The lights also help keep the temps up during the day.

pthiel: I am going to be doing something similar to what you did in your basement. Just need to find the time and clean out a space. I am currently using several 10 gal tanks and some shop lights. But, I want something larger to hold more plants.
  • #13
Hi there,
Just an idea...Do you have zoned heating in your house? My townhome has zoned electric heating, so I just took over one room (only room that's mine. The others all belong to the wife
). I just shut the door and crank the heat. All the neps are in a tank, too, with flourescents overhead...I actually have to blow a fan over them to keep the heat DOWN, even in NY.
  • #14
Keep the heat down? Jeez that's unbelivable!
Heh, well I did put the growchamber in the warmest room of my house and in the room it has 1 radiator which is always warm or hot from the furnace, and it ahs our monitor and right now the room is at 71F. So the tank should be quite warmer if the room is in the 70's.
  • #15
Interesting thread.
Peter, yours is so simple, I am hitting my head against my moniter right now. I always assumed you would neeed HID lighting for something like that(which I will do for a growchamber in the future) but yours is easy enough to do to have a smaller chamber.
Dustin, how big are your lowlanders? A tank witha submergable heater in water with the plants sitting on diffuser grid on over turned pots has worked great for some people.
The zoned heating for one room is also brilliant, but you have to get that one room to do it. If I was allowed to do that, I could have reptiles and plants all together. if you lowered the heating, does that make the house too cold elsewhere?


  • #16
Hey Joe,
The zoned heating is great. The best thing about zoned heating is each room has its own thermostat and own radiator, so they are completely independant from one another. One room can be a sauna, another a meat locker, while the rest of the house is comfortable. If your house isn't set up that way, you can't really do it, unless you go out and buy one rooms worth of heating equipment, but I have no idea how much that costs. I do know one stat is about $25 for the way my house is wired (dual line/load, 240 volt). Hope that helps.
  • #17
it isn't cheap to convert your house into a zone control temp. each room has to have its own t-stat plus a board at the furnace. also i think each radiator has to have a valve to control the flow of heat to it. haven't worked on one of them since i was in school. down here very few houses have a radiator most of them have a airhandler. something like a evaporater cooler.

ptheil, nice set up you have there
  • #18
Thanks, since it was going in the basement I did not go for beauty so it works nice, and since it is bolted together I can take it apart and move it or resize it and only need to replace the plastic sheeting. It has worked well so far and I am happy with it for now, someday - a greenhouse.

  • #19
Joe, I do have an aquarium heater in the chamber, it's set at 93F and keep humidity and temp up. Right now the grow chamber temperature is at: 70F. Warm but wish it was warmer, might have to look into one of those seedling heat mats liek Nick mentioned.
  • #20
I think I have the answer for you. I had the same problem you had. Now I have plenty of heat.
I built two chambers that is very similar to Pete's. One stands upright like his and the other lays on it's side. I built them with 1/2 pvc pipe. (I'd suggest going with 3/4. If I build another one I will). Then I wrapped them in plastic. One is 3 ft sq. by 6ft high, with two shelves. The other is 4ft sq. and 6ft wide.
Schloaty Like you I have one room that's mine and that's where I have both my grow chambers. I put it on the heating vent so that the heat would blow on the chamber but the plastic will not let the dry air from the vent in the chamber.
I use different lights then most people. I use a lamp socket with a screw in fluorescent bulb. I just tie the cord and let the lights hang down. That way I can control the distance the light is from the plants. I also have one 2ft grow light that hangs above my nepenthes. With all this my temps were still very low. So I was at Lowes and I decided to try a flood growlight to increase the heat. I just replaced one of the fluorescent bulbs with the growlight. That one bulb solved all the problems I had with temps. I watched it for a couple of days to make sure It wasn't too much for the plants or the plastic. I have a digital thermometer so I can record the high and low temps. My high temps are in the 90's.
The chamber's cost me about $6 each (excluding the lights). Tamlin saw pics of it you can ask him about it if you want.
If you want more info about this just let me know.