Nepenthes - 5 Seeds - Very small seeds
Nepenthes , a native of Southeast Asia and Australia, forms pitchers (cups) that hang from trees. Its pitcher is similar to that of the North American pitcher plant in that it relies on a pool of water to trap its prey. It has a most unusual leaf that first looks like a normal leaf, then develops a tendril at its tip, and finally the tip of the tendril develops an amazing pitcher.
As it matures, it suddenly begins inflates with air. Once inflated it begins to fill with liquid, then opens, revealing the enticing interior. The top of the trap has a lid that initially covers the pitcher until growth is complete. When the leaf is fully grown, the lid opens and the trap is ready.
They attract insects with the odor of nectar. Once inside, the insect finds it cannot get a grip on the walls of the pitcher because a flaky wax on the interior surface peels off as it struggles to climb. Eventually, it falls into the water and struggles to escape. The motion caused by the struggle stimulates digestive glands to release a digestive acid. This acid is so strong that a midge will disappear within hours. The largest of these, the Rajah pitcher, is able to digest mice! Like our own pitcher plant, this one too has its live inhabitants, the largest of which is a small crab.
NepenthesRafflesiana is a scrambling dioecious vine. The stem may climb to a height of 15 m and is up to 10 mm thick. The internodes are up to 20 cm long and the tendrils may be over 110 cm long. The pitcher coloration varies greatly from dark purple to almost completely white. The typical form of N.Rafflesiana is light green throughout with heavy purple blotches on the lower pitchers and cream-colored aerial pitchers.
The lower pitchers of N. Rafflesiana are bulbous and possess well-developed fringed wings. These terrestrial traps rarely exceed 20 cm in height, although the giant form of N.Rafflesiana is known to produce pitchers up to 35 cm long and 15 cm wide. The upper pitchers are funnel-shaped and often bear a distinctive raised section at the front of the peristome. Both types of pitchers have a characteristically elongated peristome neck that may be 3 cm or more in length.
The Nepenthes seeds should be started on chopped live sphagnum moss in very damp but not wet conditions. If the sphagnum starts to overgrow the seeds, pinch it back with a forceps. Sow the seeds, on the surface, very sparingly. It is best to spray the sown seed with a fungicide to help keep the seeds from molding. Cover the pots or place them in plastic bags in warm, 32°C (90°F) plus temperatures. They should be in light shade or under fluorescent lights. Germination can take from 4 weeks to almost a year. Most seedling Nepenthes are lost soon after germination. For the best survival rate, transplant the seedlings on the week of germination. If transplanted with care and spaced about 1 to 2 cm apart in live sphagnum, fungus and desiccation problems are greatly reduced. Transplant the seedlings as they just begin to overgrow each other or their pots. Short day periods and cool temperatures are the most dangerous for the plants. Try to keep them warm and humid but not stagnant and wet. Watering and misting should be performed frequently, and preferably with distilled water, to avoid mineral build-up that is not only unsightly but that may damage the delicate roots of Nepenthes (and most other carnivorous plants). Standing water is inadvisable. A wet, well-draining potting medium is a necessity.