Nepenthes sp., or Monkey Cup, is an epiphytic carnivorous plant. Most Nepenthes are native to the Philippines to the Malay Peninsula. There are literally hundreds of hybrids many dating back to Victorian times. Our plants are most likely hybrids, but we don't know the parentage. The plants have dark green leaves up to 7 inches (17.5 cm) long by about 2 inches (5 cm) wide. The pitchers are up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and reddish in color without wings. The pitchers contain a pepsin-containing liquid that drowns insects and digests them. They are very easy to grow in the greenhouse and they are always considered interesting oddities in the plant world.
Blooming: The plants bloom in terminal panicles. The very small flowers are greenish in color. They are not particularly showy.
Culture: Nepenthes need full shade to very high interior lighting. In the greenhouse, we use a mix of milled sphagnum and long fibred sphagnum with coarse sand as the potting mix. Plants are grown in hanging baskets under 70% shade all year long. The potting medium is kept moist and the plants are misted daily to keep humidity levels around the plant high. Humidity is one of the most important factors in growing the plants. We try to keep the humidity levels around 60%. We have not used commercial fertilizers on the plants, but we do use fish emulsion on them twice a year. Be careful not to fertilize too much or they will not produce traps. During the winter months, the temperature should never fall below 70° (22° C).
Propagation: Nepenthes is propagated by seed.
Nepenthes sp. was featured as Plant of the Week June 15-21, 2007.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.