Nepenthes in Santa Monica?

From: Charles Bigelow (
Date: Wed Jun 30 1999 - 20:27:23 PDT

Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 17:27:23 -1000
From: Charles Bigelow <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg2407$foo@default>
Subject: Nepenthes in Santa Monica?

I used to grow highland Nepenthes outdoors in high
altitude Hawaii.

Several species and hybrids did very well, grown in
hanging pots - N. alata, N. tobaica, N. ventricosa,
N. x (Thorelli x Wittei), N. x Williamsoni, and others
(I may have some of the hybrid spellings awry).

Most set large traps and flowered occasionally. They
were growing at an altitude of 3,500 feet at the edge
of what once was cloud forest (before the indigenous
timber was logged off in the 19th century). Daytime
temperatures were in the 70's most of the year, getting up
into the high 80's in late summer, down into the low 60's
in late winter. Night temperatures were around 15 to 20
degrees cooler. Humidity usually ranged between 60% to 75%,
and higher in fog (actually, cloud), and rain. The highland
Nepenthes seemed to love it.

Recently I moved Santa Monica, CA, about a mile and a half
from the ocean. I left my Nepenthes with friends in Hawaii,
but would like to grow some again.

So far, the climate of Santa Monica is reminiscent of where
I lived in Hawaii. Occasionally cloudy or hazy, or a little
foggy; daytime temps in the 70's, nighttime down into the
50's. Intriguingly, many of the same plants that grew well
in upcountry Hawaii are growing here, including what appears
top be _Metrosideros polymorpha_, a native Hawaiian tree once
common in wet forests. It is planted all along 4th street in
Santa Monica, as an ornamental. It has bright red bottlebrush
like flowers.

The main difference is humidity. Santa Monica is drier than
upcountry Hawaii. So far, it seems to range from 55% to 65%,
but more often in the 50's, around 10% less than where I
lived in Hawaii. I don't know if it freezes in Santa Monica,
because I haven't spent a winter here, but judging from all
the frost-tender plants I see in gardens, it probably
doesn't freeze.

Does anyone have advice about growing Nepenthes outdoors in
this climate? Can it be done with occasional misting and
spraying, as well as watering? Or do I need a greenhouse to
keep the humidity higher. Any particular species or varieties
that might do well?

-- Chuck Bigelow

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