pitcher plant/nepenthes is shrivelling

dave-poole at ilsham.demon.co.uk dave-poole at ilsham.demon.co.uk
Fri Nov 20 10:56:54 EST 1998

Anna wrote, begged or pleaded:
>Hi there. I have a pitcher plant (nepenthes cochina (sp?)). It has been
>growing fine up until I went on holiday for 2 weeks where it was looked after
>by a friend. Since I have come back, one of the pitchers started shrivelling
>up. Then almost overnight, ALL the flipping pitchers shrivelled up! I moved
>it up to the bathroom (gets quite humid) but no joy.

A couple of questions:  Can you be sure your friend used boiled or
rain water only?  Also, have the pitchers started dying away just
recently or has this been happening for several weeks?  If this is a
recent occurrence, it may be due to the very low light levels we've
been having recently.  Also, if you have turned the central heating
on, the dramatic reduction in humidity may well have something  to do
with this.  Nepenthes species are a bit tricky once natural light
levels start to diminish despite the fact that most are natural shade

>The plant itself isn't dying as it it producing new leaves (but not new
>pitchers). I have always used rainwater or boiled kettle water and it has
>loved this. I am assuming that it was not watered with the correct water
>whilst I was away and now it is paying me back by shrivelling up!

Ah well, it may be that lime or salt levels have built up, but 2 weeks
is a very short period for this to happen.  My guess is that the
problem lies with the season and the conditions the plant now finds
itself in.  I had much the same with a Nepenthes that I kept in my
bathroom, but on returning it to a very warm, humid greenhouse, it
resumed production of pitchers, albeit very small, pale ones.

You could move it to the lightest spot in the bathroom and even though
it is fairly humid in there, an extra light misting on a regular basis
might not go amiss.  Just keep it moist using boiled or rain water and
whatever you do, don't give any feed whatsoever.  It will probably
sulk for much of the winter (most plants, especially those from the
tropics get the 'hump' when overwintered in the home) and pick up once
the longer days return.

David Poole

More information about the Plantbio mailing list