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I purchased this established cutting of "Nepenthes alata" (I don't know as it arrived with no pitchers) from a online greenhouse a few months ago and it has settled in and created plenty of leaves and began making pitchers but none are good they're all very weird looking like this:

With a lid very thin and filiform and the peristome collapsing inwards:

The pitcher made after the ones above is almost completely round and has no opening at all, just what looks like a navel orange navel. The one following that is just a dried tube.
The upcoming leaves' pitcher buds have a white stem coming out of them instead of a soft fleshy tip (I couldn't get a focus on these last abberations to show everyone).

To add to the mystery there is no visible problems with the plant like fungus, spots, marks or anything but it appears the plant is freaking out. Perhaps this is a virus inside the plant?

It gets the same water, light, temps, humidty and care as my other lowlanders. If this is a highland form would growing it in true lowland conditions cause it to do this if it were a highland plant? If so I can simply move it but if it's infected with some disease I don't wanna risk my HL collection!

Does anyone have an idea what could be wrong with this guy?

Thanks for any thoughts!
If it is a highlander in your lowland conditions that probably isn't helping it any.
What was it labeled when you got it? I am assuming just "N. alata" as you stated. The pitchers are mis formed meaning either low humidity, a possible disease or wrong climate.
Could be something environmental. I don't think it's pathogen/insect related since it appears very clean to me from pics you have shown. Could be something wrong genetically which it may or may not grow out of.
HEY! My nepenthes spectabilis has that problem too! Only the lids are half as long as the opening, and a little bit fatter... I plug the opening of developing pitchers with cotton, seens to help..
Thanks folks!

I should have also mentioned the growing point is getting smaller and smaller with the new leaves/nodes very close to together.

No Dustin, it wasn't even labeled N alata, that's just what the ad I got it from said. The photo of thier ad shows what looks like the all red lowland form. The exact plant I got didn't have much of anything but a wobbly stalk sticking in some mud-like potting mix (these problems have been fixed).
If the leaves and nodes are getting closer together then temp sounds like the problem to me.

N. madagascariensis did this to me...VERY compact and short growth habit until i moved it to ultra lowlander climate. Maybe this needs some fresh cool air as it's a highland form?
Hi all:

I am afraid i can't contribute much to solve your problem swords, but I think we are surrounded by misinformation.

last year I got a N. madagascariensis (the owners of the shop labelled it as a highland!!. Maybe that's why it died. It was a lowland.

N. anamensis is also labelled as a highland (VCPS website). Although if it is a gracilis derivative should be a lowland!! and so on. I wonder if there was a quick way to test the resistance of plants to cold or hot weather so you can place it in the right type of tank!!!!!..

It might not be getting enough light. I saved mine from a nursury where they kept it (an alata too) in very low light levels- the pitchers were much smaller than they should have been and they were severely deformed.

just my two cents
regards, hamata
The problem may be genetic, but if it is, it might be limited to just the the apical meristem if it arose recently. I would suggest that you clip the top of the plant; one of the axilary buds might grow normally.

  • #10
Hi Josh,

were the buds forming into these misformed pitchers already present when you got this plant?

My N. inermis x ventricosa also produces similar misformed pitchers under very high light levels with lowered humidity.

  • #11
This plant arrived as a rather fresh potted cutting, probably had been potted two months prior to my buying it with leaves about 10 cm each but no pitchers (just burnt tendrils). It was sent packed in shreded newspaper, no baggie to retain humidity just a box full of shreded paper with a plant tucked in. The first few leaves it made were normal but pitcherless The first pitcher it made is the second image above. The next pitcher was the first image above, the third is the navel orange shaped one I described. The fourth a dry lidless tube and the next pitcher buds are only 1/2 covered in flesh then there is a white stalk sticking out. After the 1st leaf each after that was smaller and closer together, the leaves appear healthy and green and with no weird deformities other than their incredible shrinking size...

This plant was placed in my small plant LL tank next to my others like northiana, mirabilis, bical, ampullaria, raff, eustachya, etc. Temps are 70-75*F nights / 85-95*F days.
This 75 gallon fishtank gets 240 watts of flourescent light. All plants show signs of leaf reddening (not burning) from intense light and very colorful "perfect" pitchers on all other plants.
The humidity is 80-100% at all times.
I have not been fertilizing any of my Nep plants for several months (slips my mind) so it hasn't been OD'd on fertilizer or any other chemicals by me.

Of the possible scenarios it sounds like either temps or a genetic/viral infection. It would be easy enough to set it in the HL tank but if it ends up not being temps and it is viral can it possibly effect plants it's sitting next to or touching?

If there is any chance of infecting my other plants I'd rather destroy this one cheap new plant now than risk any transmission to my other plants, which are priceless. After all, the growing time and care... and electric bills!
  • #12
Swords, I got one just like yours back in April at Lowe's. The pitchers were mashed up against the sides of the clear plastic cup and deformed like the one's shown in your pic. I attributed it to being constantly wet with no air circulation and in low lighting conditions. Mine is growing in lowland conditions and the newer pitchers now have properly formed lids. Funny thing, is one of the older pitchers is much like your pic, but the filiform is hanging from the bottom of the lid on one of the older pitchers. Looks kinda like a bical with only one fang.
Given some time, I think the pitchers will develop ok.