Q/A #18 - No Pitchers on Nepenthes Peter D'Amato

January 16, 2023

Q/A #18 - No Pitchers on Nepenthes Peter D'Amato

I got my Nepenthes Peter D'Amato from you about two months ago. I live in Saint Louis, Missouri. I water my plant with tap water. It's still in the soil it was sent in. I leave it in a tupperware with water to try and give it some extra humidity but it's not physically sitting in the water. I move my plant from my windowsill and kitchen window.
(Submitted in January 2022.)

I'm guessing, even though you didn't say it, that your actual question here is, "Why isn't my plant making pitchers?"  So, I'm going to assume that's the case.

Your plant was produce as a cutting at our nursery. From the time of the cutting to when it is established enough to ship to new homes can be 6-9 months. During that time, this hybrid almost never produces pitchers for us since it produces its roots very slowly. So, it reserves its energy for root development rather than pitcher development. If it happens to produce a pitcher while at the nursery, it's usually when they're potted up waiting to go to a new home.

This hybrid also has a parent plant, N. lowii, that grows very slowly. Very. Slowly. So, you will need a lot of patience when waiting for this plant to produce its first pitcher. On the flip side, once it produces pitchers, its pitchers will last for months, sometimes up to 6 months!

Many Nepenthes also stop making pitchers when light levels drop, such as during winter. This is normal, and it should resume pitcher production when we get past the Equinox in March. 

You mentioned moving your plant. Don't do that! Plants in nature never move around, and everytime a plant is moved, the microclimate changes. Plants register this as disturbance, and when they sense disturbance, they often stop making pitchers. Just pick the sunniest window that gets about 4 hours of direct sunlight, and leave it there.

The other issue is using tap water. In general, it's OK to use tap water as long as you know what the total dissolved mineral content is and the risks involved in using it. (Some cities, such as Portland, has tap water very low in minerals.) Most Nepenthes can tolerate hard water (up to 200 parts per million [ppm] or so), but you need to allow the water to drain through the soil completely before setting it back into the saucer. You should also flush the soil one to two times monthly with a gallon of distilled water. This will flush out mineral residues and keep the soil healthy.

Now, I did say most Nepenthes can tolerate hard water. Nepenthes lowii is one that prefers water with less minerals in it. I don't have experience in growing this species, but you should be aware that there is a possibility that hard water might cause this plant not to produce pitchers. I don't know if it's true or not. I've never tested it out. But, just keep that in the back of your mind. The water we use at the nursery as about 10 ppm of dissolved minerals.

Overall, though, your plant is healthy. You can clip off that yellow leaf if you want. It's an older leaf that was likely there at the time the cutting was taken, so it's at least 6 months old. No harm will happen to the plant if you decide to cut it off.

For general information about growing Nepenthes, read our care guide.

Submitted in January 2022. The original question and response have been edited for publication.
• With a database of thousands of questions, we will post a Q&A every few days or so.
• To search for similar posts, click on a hashtag below or use the site's search function.
• To submit a carnivorous plant question, visit
Ask the Growers.