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Hi all, me again with a question for seed growers, especially Nepenthes attenboroughii seed.
I'm a beginner and tried my first Nep seeds: I bought some (probably old) Nepenthes seeds online and sowed them the 13th of september. Only the attenboroughii germinated (october 15th), now 8 plants (from which 4 still stuck in the seed with their top)
I am very happy with them, it's a rare and beautifull species, but now I'm worried about their growth: after 1,5 months, they haven't anything but the cotyledons. (I'll post a pic this week) My reaction today was looking in 3 guides from terraforums on growing Nep from seed, but the guides specialise in germination, not first growth. So I have some questions.

Oh yes, my setup is a bit poor: windowsill in a plastic tray with the lid leaving some apertures for air circulation and lower humidity then 100pcnt, temperature around 21 Celcius or 70 fahrenheit. No fertilisation so far, no sterilisation of medium, no fungicide: nothing, only rain water. I can't measure humidity yet, I'll buy a hygrometer when I see one in the store :)

First of all what are you experienced guys' seedling conditions? One guide mentioned not too much humidity, not spraying them...? Temperature like they were adult? Moisture of soil... Say everything you know ;)

Can coffee be used when diluted and then sprayed on cotyledon-sized seedlings?

Those tiny black bugs in the medium, are they harmfull? (rather fast bugs on the dried sphagnum)

How common do germinated seedlings die and from what?

The plants who have the seed on them, should I help them a bit' by trying to remove it carefully?

The lid leaves 2 inches air space from the soil and some apertures. Is that enough, or Should it be like 6 inches?

Please share your seed growing experiences, I would be so pleased if I could keep only 1 Nepenthes attenboroughii :D
Mine are not kept is 100% humidity, but it is high, and they need at least moderate light. With N. attenboroughii I don't have experience, but since it's a highland plant you'll be needing to give them fluctuating temperatures. Moisture for highland seedlings should be about the same for adult plants: moist, but not running out the bottom of the pot moist. At this size don't use coffee just yet, wait until they have a couple of true leaves, and the seed coat staying on them shouldn't be a problem unless at least part of the leaves isn't visible and it's only the stem. If it's just sticking off the end of a cotyledon, it's fine. The bugs you are referring to are probably fungus gnats: kill them before the larvae eat the seedlings! Just about anything works on them. And seedling die-off can be common, but keep an eye on them and make sure fungus or pests don't et to them, and they should be fine.
Thanks for the first answer.
The seed on the cotyledons prevent them to open, so the're not just at the tip.
I don't know much about the bugs: when I type fungus gnat larvae in google, I see some sort of long clear-to-white-colored thing with black head. I had some of them too but don't see them anymore: The bugs I meant are short (round) and black, much faster than the fungus gnat larvae too. They remind me of mites (because I don't know a single thing on any of these creatures), I hope this info is enough to ID it :)
I can't give you any info on growing the seeds, but from what you mentioned I would say that you're probably referring to springtails. They seem to jump from place to place and are really fast, and have multiple legs. They shouldn't cause any harm.
You stated that the temperature on your windowsill is 70F, but you don't say whether or not that spot gets a significant drop in temperature at night.....does it? A day temp of 70F is OK (a few degrees higher once in a while would be helpful too), but Nepenthes - highland varieties in particular - need a temperature swing of at least 15 degrees from night to day. A twenty degree variation would be even better, with a night temp of 55F and a daytime high of 75F. Seedlings grown at a constant 70F may suffer and possibly die, so I hope you have taken the temp fluctuation factor into account. The fact that after 6 weeks you still have only cotyledons makes me suspect there is something not right about the growing conditions, and either temperature or (lack of) humidity are the two most likely culprits.

I suspect you have Springtails, which won't do any damage, as they are detritivores (they eat dead plant matter)
Oh yes, a temperature drop: I thought that seedlings would love it a bit warmer then adult plants, but there is no reason that would be of course so that was misconception. At day our windowsill is warmed probably more then the rest of the house, so maximum 72 (22 celcius) and maybe the winter sun makes it go even higher, at night the house isn't warmed and that makes 64, minimum 61 degrees fahrenheit (close to the window). I'm glad it is winter or there wouldn't be a drop at all. I'll place a thermometer at the windowsill if I don't forget. That isn't a big drop, but I hope it's enough for them. For now I can only move them to a colder spot (night and day), which wouldn't better the situation.

On the springtails: I googled it and they look much longer in length then mine, mine don't seem to jump too, I'll take a closer look tomorrow.

Thanks for the help so far, anyone who could tell if spraying is allowed and if not: why not? (that's how I'm watering them currently) and should that be done every day?
It takes a little practice, but I have removed the seed coat to help the plants along, and have had about 90% success keeping them going afterward. With how far along it looks, it shouldn't be hard to just slip the coat right off.
From first appearance I can tell that the algae on the sphagnum could cause issues in the future. I used Physan 20 a few times to keep the algae at bay. How close is your lighting? Mine didn't even germinate until I moved a small 12" light a foot away from the soil surface (of course they were enclosed in a tubberware to keep the humidity high). As for repotting, I repotted my plants when they had roughly 5 pitchers. I probably would have been better off by waiting a little longer, but they weren't growing too fast in the sphagnum and they are now in a rocky media consisting of peat, laterite, and some perlite. This is where the most seedling deaths is to be expected to sort out the runts from the strong seedlings.
  • #10
Thanks hcarlton, you convinced me to try :)
@lance, I wasn't aware that algae could be damaging and indeed I have plenty of them now. I may search for something to deal with them.
For the lighting, they are in a clear spot, only natural light with sometimes the winter sun.
Hopefully they get their next leaf soon, I'll post an update then
  • #11
Algae can be a serious problem, it tends to overwhelm seedlings, and produces toxin and other chemicals that can be dangerous. As lance said, Physan 20 works well, and doesn't seem to harm Nepenthes seedlings, though it can in high enough concentrations bleach out sphagnum.