Q/A - #59 - No Pitchers on Etiolated Nepenthes

March 28, 2023

Q/A - #59 - No Pitchers on Etiolated Nepenthes

I've got a Nepenthes aristolochioides x glabrata hybrid which has become etiolated -- weak elongated vine (when compared to pictures on your site) -- and not put out any new pitchers in 6 months or so that it's been in my house. It has put out a lot of growth in the time that I've had it, but each pitcher turns brown before starting to develop. 

I live in Western Washington and have it in the sunniest window in the house. Daytime temperature ranges tend to be mid-low 70s, dipping into the mid-low 60s at night. I don't have a way to measure humidity, but do mist it regularly and keep the soil moist. I repotted it into a ~50/50 mix of sphagnum moss/perlite after a bit of an adjustment period.Based on what I know about Nepenthes care my best guess is that it's not getting enough light, so I plan on putting it under a bright artificial light. It was ~12-16" when I got it and has probably grown to ~24" at this point and has to be supported on nearby plants.

My questions are: 
• Based on this information, is there anything else you'd recommend to encourage pitcher growth?
• Is it worth cutting the plant back a bit in order to encourage higher density growth, or should I just increase light exposure and let it adjust? 
(Submitted in March 2020.)


You're spot on with your hypothesis on not enough light. That is exactly what these symptoms sound like -- weak growth, longer distances between leaf nodes, and no pitchers. Nepenthes aristolochioides x glabrata can take a bit of sunlight, but it also likes cool temperatures. I doubt it's getting too warm in that window at this time of the year, but if there is a heat vent nearby, you may need to divert the air flow away from the plant. 

Make sure it's getting several hours of direct sun. Ambient light doesn't cut it for most Nepenthes. They need direct sun. A few hours is sufficient. If that's not possible, supplement with artificial lights. Watch our video about ligiting.

This plant also produces long vines naturally. You can try staking up the vine. Another option is to transfer the plant to a hanging pot and allow the vine to drape over the side. This will encourage basal shoots to form. 
If possible send me a photo of your setup so I can provide you with more specific recommendations. 

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