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Struggling with Neps

Hello all

I have been on the forums for a little while now, but its time i ask for help.
I've been struggling with nepenthes for as long as i can remember, so i took a long break from them and did as much research as i could and did a lot of reading before i committed to getting more neps. After a few years without neps, i decided i had done enough research on them and bought myself a greenhouse that would be used as a lowland growing room. I purchased a Veitchii (MT), an Alata var Biflora and a nep hybrid that is meant to do well in my climate (warm temperate, Johannesburg South Africa), and yet i seem to still have problems.

Temp: The greenhouse (now in winter) gets to 28-30 celcius during the day and 16-20 at night (not 100% accurate as my temp/hydrometer is still in the mail somewhere in china but it gets very warm).
Humidity: about 70-80 % humid (again not accurate, but water condensation always on the walls of greenhouse and my glasses steam up whenever i walk in initially).
Sunlight: Bright sunlight throughout the day. The Greenhouse does offer about 20% shading and the neps are behind the shadow of a tree (shadow hits the greenhouse) to prevent afternoon light hitting them directly.
Watering: I top water my neps when the soil starts getting dry on the top.
Substrate: Veitchii in pure coco coir, other neps in a mix of clay pellets, LFS, Coco coir, peat and pearlite.




I am afraid this is root rot and sun burn, so i have moved my neps into a smaller container to offer more shade next to my live spaghnum which has just started to grow really well and i am watering much less.


Please help... i don't know why i can never get them to grow for me :(.
Thank you guys
That second one's a goner, not sure about the others. Are you sure that coir's clean?
Yes the coco is clean. I got the Veitchii from a reputable seller in my country that i have bought many of my plants from before... is there anything i can do to try save them?? :(
Have you tested the coir? Most products are extremely salty and extremely difficult to clean well enough for CP use.

If that's not the problem, the soil might be too dense. You definitely have some sunburn going on there too.
I haven't tested the coir but the provider I got them from uses coir for all his neps and they all grow really well. Is there a way I can test the coir?

I have put some shade cloth over the greenhouse which should help (I'll check how diffused the light is tomorrow at noon) and I am getting into contact with the provider of the 2 other nepenthes to determine the exact soil components, but I am not watering them as much and they are very light when I pick up their pots which could be a sign of a not too dense medium?

I am very grateful of your help. Thank you..
I don't know what else I can do to help them right now :(
Do you keep the greenhouse open or closed during the day?
You would soak the coir in water and then check the water with a TDS meter. If it's the same brand this other grower uses though you're probably fine.

Definitely try to get an accurate reading of the high and low temps in that greenhouse, especially the high. If you have some 50% shade cloth, I believe that's usually what people use for Nepenthes in greenhouses.
I keep the greenhouse closed during the day, only because its currently winter. In summer i plan to open the door.
I will test the coco, thank you! And i plan on getting 50% shade cloth tomorrow morning..
The temperatures i cant get right now.. but i will get an accurate value as soon as my hydrometer arrives
I would also suggest that the coir may be the issue. I have some friends who swear by it, but will also religiously soak it and change the water for a week at a time, prior to its use, to remove excess salts. Some brands even advertise storage / washing through several monsoon seasons; but not all products are consistent or that well processed.

Even if the plants were originally purchased in that media, they may well look good for a brief time and then slowly decline . . .
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  • #10
Ok.. ill have to look into changing the potting soil... thank you!
  • #11
If that's a plastic greenhouse that's getting direct sun, I would just about guarantee you're cooking your plants a fair bit, along with whatever issues there might be from the coir. And if it's getting that hot in winter conditions, I would seriously reconsider the conditions you're trying to grow them in; moving them indoors to a window or under artificial light may be a lot better.
Also, I've never heard of "alata biflora;" is this another term for the ever-so-often mislabeled ventrata?
  • #12
I have used coir without prewashing for any number of cps without issue. However, as has been mentioned, that does not rule out the coir you have access to possibly being salt ridden.

What is the TDS of the water you are using?

Personally, considering the color and burn marks, my leaning would be to say that they are getting far too much sun in conjunction with the heat. (Considering these are your winter temps, I'd hate to experience your summer temps!) Do you have fans running in the gh?
  • #13
So I checked up on the pure coir, the distributor ensures the coir is salt free and also puts them through a chemical process that takes out all excess salts and ensures the coir is 100% suitable for Neps. My TDS is 60ppm. I dug up a thermometer and found the gh is at 35 Celsius during midday which is a bit high, so I have opened up the doors to allow more airflow. I do not have a fan installed now but I do have the fan that's going into the gh soon..

I also put a big piece of shade cloth over the gh to keep the sunlight levels a bit lower..

I have determined that the veitchii (brown pot) has sun burn and the other 2 actually have a problem that I discussed with the seller. Their neps also have some similar problems so I am going to return the neps and ask about the coir used and possibility of root rot.

As for the alata biflora, it could be a ventrata although I am not certain. I will be seeing the other plants later today and will take some pictures for ID
  • #14
You might want to consider putting a misting system in there, set it to frequently mist during the day. While it's better to get the temperatures right in the first place, in my experience high humidity does help to offset some of the effects.
  • #15
So I went to the seller of my previous neps and found out that the damage on the 2 neps seems to be frost damage, as all her neps have that damage... so we exchanged the neps and I have 2 new ones that look much healthier. When I checked on a picture of the original neps when I first got them they did have this damage but it wasn't as obvious as it is now!

About the misting system, I got one yesterday and hooked it up inside the gh. Hopefully things will get better from here onwards !