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Staff member

Just decided to write something on the topic due to my own experience so that some of you may re-consider growing some of the temperate species.

First, what is your definition of growing? If it means having them stay alive for a couple of months or slightly longer than a bunch of cut flowers, then quickly go and buy the VFTs with one and a half inch traps at FEF. Enjoy them, and then plonk them in the bin.

But if you seriously want to cultivate them, meaning growing them from year to year, taking cuttings, sowing seeds, repotting...then I suggest you keep an air-conditioned room just for your plants. With very bright lights.

Even so, that's not enough.

So what's wrong with our climate here? Nothing wrong actually, most people would welcome the humidity and the sun all year round.  But for the temperate plants, it means being able to survive potential ROOT ROT, mealy bugs, scale insects and FUNGUS...all year round too. Remember how leather shoes/handbags grow mouldy in weeks? Sometimes I really wonder how much spores are floating around in the air...

Sarracenia is my favourite temperate CP. That being only after I got tired of chasing dutch cockroaches to feed my first VFT. I had assorted VFTs...sawtooth, fang etc. And had sarras and VFTs that flowered. I also had a cobra lily! And even bought a mini fridge for their dormancy.

Dormancy...first the leaves get smaller and smaller...then I checked the internet and books to make sure they are going into dormancy and keep them in the fridge. My success in getting plants through their dormancy is by keeping the plants in their pots.  It dries the leaves a little but it's better. Ahh...then it's the coming out of dormancy period. You'll succeed if you can keep the medium moist yet fungus free. How? Spray fungicide before the pot is placed in the fridge? Spray again after 3 months? I dunno. I've only succeeded once on a VFT. And it doubled in size after that.

OK. I don't give up. So I learnt to take cuttings. That would secure at least a new generation of plants right? Right! But always a generation of small, young plants. Soon enough, it's dormancy AGAIN!!!

What happened after all that?

Now, I'm resigned to keeping neps. And a ping. And maybe more resistant sundews. 'Cos capensis doesn't like our climate much and intermedia loses its dew once too often. I suspect fungus again but do I want to be spraying Captan at my delicate droseras? Or contaminating my terrarium and my study room?

Maybe when I get a house, I will try again. Build an air-conditioned greenhouse in the garden. Umm. Sounds great. Until then, it's study-room-windowsill-&-terrarium growing.
I must say that i have spent about $300 over on VFT, many of which died, and I guess the ones that I have left were naturally selected by nature, and are somewhat tropicalised.;)
I came more or less to the same conclusion, Cindy, without going through the hassle of experimenting with temperate CPs

Which is why I was very vexed to observe the "invulnerable" capensis dying on me, and to learn that N. Gentle may be more highland than lowland.

In any case, I'm determined to stick to tropical lowland neps and the occasional highland nep that can tolerate lowland conditions, and the truly tropical sundews - no more of this "grows like a weed" nonsense
Hi all,
"Lowlander" Mexican pings (I have 4 types, growing well) and sundews can be considered in Singapore climate.

I have over 30 VFTs (4 types), the oldest is 11 months in cultivation, traps are not responsive, each new growth are smaller. I will just leave it as it is and watch.

Jalan Kayu
Thanks for the advice Cindy.

My sarracenias are being attacked by some kind of mouldy fungus. I have already lost one Stevensii to this. My VTs are holding out fine, and they do catch lots of flies, but I'm a bit worried about dormancy.

I'm considering getting a wine cooler to store my plants for dormancy. You can adjust the temp anyway between 4 to 16 C for these, and with the transparent cover, it should be able to replicate roughly what these plants go thru in their native habitats.

I'm definitely not going to let them die out and then purchase new ones again
Wow! A wine chiller. That sounds really expensive. Is it possilble to put enough florescent tubes into the chiller to provide the required amount of light for the plants? I though of getting a wine chiller before but it is too expensive and I cannot drink alcohol (lack of alcohol dehydrogenase).

I think the peltier cell idea might be more practical, but I do not know if one is sufficient enough to cool down a terrarium. From what I know, depending on the power of the peltier cells, one unit can only cool a marine fish tank 2 to 4 degrees celcius (I have friends who keep marine aquariums).

I use three compact florescent tubers (32 watts, two 6400K and one 8000K) in my terrarium and the temperature hits 35 degrees celcius everytime the light comes on! This is not to mention that the humidity drops to 50% although I have a layer of RO water at the bottom of the tank. Some parts of Singapore may experience low humidity (to very low), especially if you live in a high-rise apartment. Anyone wants to build a highland growth chamber (DIY)? Maybe we can sit down and discuss plans?

Anyway, IKEA has quite a number of Lithops (living stones) for sale if anyone is interested. I think that there are more than one species, but taxonomy of these plants are difficult and the plants are not flowering at the moment.
im worried about dormancy also, my sarr is dying
it had about 70 standing pitchers and about 7 rizhomes...now theres only 1 dying rizhome left! maybe it hAD the dormancy thing...

cool a DIY growing chamber! are you making 1? where
maybe some1 should discuss with botanical gardens or something to make a growing chamber...or maybe they have 1` already
There were some discussions about making growth chambers on the forum. Look under the terrariums discussion forum. Now I no money. Peltier cells quite expensive from the marine aquarium shop that I visited (ca. S$300), but you can get a DIY one on eBay for ca. US$20, but I am not an electrician!
  • #10
Petiolaris dews should grow well in Singapore. They should be kept under warm or hot conditions year-round.
  • #11
Just an idea I had,....... what about trying to get hold of a fridge like the ones all the neighbourhood shops use to sell vitagen and yakult. They are glass (see through for adequate natural light) yet should keep your plants cool but not freezing. I have no idea if it is practical or where you could obtain one unless you call up vitagen/yakult and agree to buy a years supply of their drinks!! Just an idea!!
Happy growing, Neil.
  • #12
Sad to say I have nothing more postive to add to Cindy's comments, I too have spent many dollars on VFT and Sarras, in vain, over the years. I once bought 400 VFT's up from Australia to try and sell and they all stopped closing within days and died within about 2 weeks.

I have about 60 Neps, almost all small, and instead I have concentrated on Tillandsias, Orchids, etc.
Much as I love my CP's I am resigned to the fact that the very worst ones I find in the wild are a million times better than any cultivated ones so I'd rather leave them where they enjoy it most and where I enjoy them most.

Cheers, Troy.
  • #13
Check out the classified ads in the Straits Times published on Wednesday. Some company selling second-hand yakult (glass) refridgerated display cases for S$400!. This would be great for highlands!

Anyone read about 'modding' PC articles in the Computer Times published on Wednesday? Some company in SG selling peltier cells to cool computers for S$199. Maybe we can adapt the peltier cells for use in a terrarium?
  • #14
For $199 or so, I think can get a wine chiller the size of a bar fridge. Wld the wine chiller be good for highlanders, u think?

Not to mention cobra lilies and sun pitchers!
  • #15
Where can we buy or see these small wine chillers?
  • #16
Hey, hey... you all are challenging what fatboy and I agree upon i.e. temperate CPs are no-go in SEAsia.
And you should see the neps in our nature reserves...

Honestly, cooling is one thing. The lights?
  • #17
Well, it's certainly worth a try, Cindy

Guqin, I saw one at Suntec City (one of the megastores or electronics shop). It's small at $190 or somewhere there.
  • #18
I better get down to Suntec ASAP than! But I want to go to Botanic Gardens today for the Orchid Show.
  • #19
Guqin, maybe I'll see you there - -although I'll probably go Sunday a.m.
  • #20
I have to agree with Cindy - I only grow lowland nepenthes now since the few sarracenia I had slowly died and I don't intend to 'waste' more money on plants that don't grow well. I also tend to grow plants that grow well like fatboy, bromeliads, ferns etc.
You can either be a plants carer or its slave! A carer is someone who can water, repot etc but basically leaves the plant to grow undisturbed or a slave where you worry and fret every minute of the day because your plant doesn't seem well, you carry it to an air-con room you spend $100'ss on special water/cooling systems etc but in the end you forget to appreciate the simple pleasures of the plant itself and seeing it grow.
Listen to Cindy and fatboy.
Fatboy- thanks for your pm. Your Bali garden is great!!!!