Re: Nepenthes pruning

Date: Wed Apr 28 1999 - 18:40:55 PDT

Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 21:40:55 EDT
Message-Id: <aabcdefg1477$foo@default>
Subject: Re: Nepenthes pruning

<< All these scare stories I've read about Nepenthes
 are disappearing like the wind or at least they are for N. bicalcarata.
 My next goal is to prove that prunning is NOT nessecary for their
 survival. So these plants will NOT be pruned at all. Unless they start
 taking over my green house.
 Robertivore >>

Dear Robert,

Pruning in Nepenthes is usually done for a variety of reasons, but survival
is probably not one. What seems to occur in cultivation of various species
is a growth patern of: 1. seedling stage or small rosette plant, followed by,
2. elongation of the rosette to form a climbing stem, then either 3a. new
(and larger than the original) rosette forming from below the media and then
gradual atrophy of the climbing stem as more nutrition is diverted to
developing rosette, or 3b. flowering of the climbing stem followed by 3a.
This seems to be a progression in young plants or perhaps plants being grown
in less than optimal conditions, that is the plant cannot support both the
old and new growth on the same root system. It may also just be a natural
progression as it can be seen in very easy species like N. alata. In species
like N. bicalcarata the climbing stem does not usually atrophy and may flower
year after year until the plant has to be topped due to lack of greenhouse

The other reasons for pruning are to encourage shorter bushier plants with
more growing points and therefore more pitchers, the production of cuttings
for propagation, and sometimes to just clean of the look of an 'ugly' plant.

One pruning technique that is a no-no is to cut a plant to the soil line
unless you have a visible rosette starting to replace a climbing stem, and
then it is best to wait until three good leaves are open on the rosette.
Otherwise you may just end up with a pot of soil!

Pruning of plants like Nepenthes, especially in greenhouse situations is a
must. If you allow these plants which are mostly lianas (woody vines) to run
freely you end up with a tangled mess and hidden pockets of insects and
disease, and even dead plants that have been overwhelmed by stronger species.
 Also constant removal of dead leaves and pitchers will help here as well.


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