Growing Tips

Growing tips for Nepenthes


It's important to pot your Nepenthes into the correct soil when you receive it. Since Nepenthes consume their nutrients from their prey, the soil is typically nutrient-poor. Additionally, since Nepenthes roots are more sensitive, the soil should have good airflow. Typically, we use a mix of 1/2 coco coir (washed), 1/4 perlite, 1/8 akadama and 1/8 orchid bark. All of these materials are cheaply available from online sources like amazon or ebay. The akadama isn't a strict requirement, but we have found that since many Nepenthes live in volcanic regions, certain species such as N. Peltata respond positively to the akadama bonsai rocks. The perlite is quite important as it prevents the soil from becoming too soggy, which could cause the plant to develop root rot (unlike most tropical plants, Nepenthes are more susceptible to root rot). The roots of Nepenthes will often use the orchid bark as an anchor, so the plant won't become unpotted so easily if the pot is knocked over. There are other soil combinations, but this is what we have found to work best for us as it is the cheapest soil mix to make and can last for many years, whereas sphagnum-based soil mixes break down more quickly and require the plant to be repotted sooner. 

NOTE: If you are using coco coir, it is important to wash the coir, as most coconuts are harvested near the ocean where they may collect salt and other minerals on their outer layer before they are harvested. 


Nepenthes should be watered with relatively pure water less than 80ppm. In our experience, Nepenthes are more resistant to higher PPM levels than Sarracenia or Venus Flytraps. Make sure to check your tap water with a PPM meter. Some tap water is perfectly fine (San Francisco water has 5-30 PPM all year round), but in most cases you will either need to get distilled water, rain water, or water from an RO system. All of our plants are watered with an RO system. 


Nepenthes come in three different forms: Highland, Lowland and intermediate. As the name suggests, highland nepenthes grow up high on mountains, and typically need a temperature drop of 15-25 degrees. Lowland nepenthes don't require a large temperature drop, but they typically grow in more hot conditions where temperatures reach into the 90s. Highland nepenthes usually have daytime temperatures between 75-80F, and nighttime temperatures between 55-60F. Lowland nepenthes typically experience daytime temperatures between 85-90F and nighttime temperatures of 70-75F. It's important to make sure that highland nepenthes get nighttime temperatures atleast in the low 60s. Without these cold nighttime temperatures, most highlanders will die within a year. Hybrids between highland and lowland nepenthes don't have a specific temperature range and are usually grown as intermediates. This temperature range is more broad and typically is used to represent indoor temperatures. 


Nearly all Nepenthes appreciate high levels of humidity around 60-80%. Some species, such as Truncata, are more robust and can be adapted to low humidity environments. This species can be grown successfully in a windowsill as long as the plant recieves enough direct light. In some coastal regions, Nepenthes can be grown outside since the nighttime fog mimicks the rainforest cloud cover. One grower in San Francisco has done this quite successfully with many Nepenthes species. You can find his species documentation at .