Nepenthes: They Live!

Nepenthes. Yes, they live!

A few months ago, we had a relatively nasty cold snap (hey, cold for us at least) that the Nepenthes didn’t appreciate very much.  I think it got down to the mid 30’s or something. I had the Nepenthes growing out in the unheated greenhouse with no protection like this.

With lack of a better plan, I moved them to the corner of the greenhouse and just threw overwintering film on them. For the past few months, there they stayed. I didn’t pay much attention to them as they were kind of depressing to look at. Crispy brown all over the place. Not good. Dahlia or I would water them every now and then by lifting up the overwintering film and just aimlessly hosing everything down. I had my fingers crossed hoping I would get something that would survive. And survive they did!

I wanted to do a better job this year. If I left that monster dome up, the plants would of had better protection. But nooooo, I was ambitious and brought that house down in December (DECEMBER!) of all  months. Geez. Hey, that dome took up 3 tables worth of space! I didn’t need anything that big. So my plan for this year was to provide them better shelter that didn’t take up a footprint of 20′ x 15′. That’s too much and I need that space for Sarracenia.


So, I picked up a sweet 6 x 8 greenhouse find on Craigslist and that would be the new Nepenthes house. (Thanks Steve!) This is a great size. It doesn’t take up a lot of room, and come winter I can insulate the small greenhouse with greenhouse bubble wrap, or something of that nature. This should keep it a little warmer and offer a little more protection from the cold. I had my eldest son Josiah help me put the greenhouse together. It reminded me of when I put my first greenhouse together with my grandfather when I was about Josiah’s age.

This last week I spent some time cleaning the Nepenthes up and moving them into their new home. The photo below is very depressing. I had thought this plant was a goner for sure! If you look closely, a few months under the overwinter film proved helpful. There’s a couple basal shoots in there!! Yeah!!

Nepenthes reloadedThe Nepenthes took a beating from the cold a few months back…

I know, that’s just nasty up there. Fortunately after trimming all the dead crap off, I found signs of life! YEAH!

Nepenthes reloadedThe Nepenthes lives! Yes. Yesss… YEAASS!!

Nepenthes densiflora x truncata-1-3I did have a lot of losses though and I’m still mourning those plants. As my friend Kinjie told me regarding these plants, “Hey, you gotta learn somehow!” Yes, true, but losing plants is a sucky way to learn! To the left is a Nepenthes densiflora x truncata. You can see some of the cold damage that this baby took. The center of the plant is still alive and there are new growpoints forming where the cold turned the main growpoint into mush. In any event, I’m so very glad that many of the plants survived. Some of the surprises that I found under that overwinter film provided some great comfort, hope, and solace.


Nepenthes HouseNepenthes cleaned up and just moved in!


They have survived.

Nepenthes spectabilis x singalana
Nepenthes spectabilis x singalana

Nepenthes peltata
Nepenthes peltata – new foliage looking good.

Nepenthes spectabilis

Nepenthes boschiana x densiflora – new pitcher forming.

Nepenthes “Dormouse”

A very pleasant surprise – pitchers on Nepenthes jamban!

Nepenthes tiveyi – “Red Queen”

Nepenthes Poi Dog – Maxima Hybrid

Last year’s cuttings with new growth!

Nepenthes ventricosa x tiveyi – new pitcher just opening.

5 responses to “Nepenthes: They Live!

  1. Hi Rob, sad to hear you lost some plants,good to know you have felt the cold like me.
    We get winter like that and believe me its a long time.

  2. Becky BrinkmanNo Gravatar

    Yea for the new shoots! You know, painful though it was, there’s some useful information to be had from the cold hardiness test that you just performed. Which ones survived/which didn’t? I think a lot of folks would be curious to know.

    Portable propane heaters from Home Depot saved our butts a few times.

    I’m crushing on that jamban.

  3. I have a large Sanguinea and two Alata nepenthes in a pop-up type greenhouse. The temp have been in the low 30’s without any problems until last night when it went below 30F in the greenhouse. The pitchers had ice in them. I covered the plants for tonight and it’s not go below freezing but it will be in the low 30’s. Do you think these plants will come back from the freeze damage? The leaves have yellow spots showing the freeze damages. I grow some smaller nepenthes in a plastic bin inside the greenhouse and those plants were not affected by the freeze. I grow the VFT and Sarracenias in the same greenhouse since I am just a hobbyist I can’t afford to have a second greenhouse with a heater just for the Nepenthes.

    • Hi! I hope they survive. I am not too familiar with how low each species/hybrid could take, but it sounds pretty cold to me. Perhaps bringing them in might help? Last year I had some of my Nepenthes covered under cold weather frost film, but inside I had two seedling heat mats that helped to supplement heat. The heat mats were placed on a timer to go on at night and turn off during the day. I think this may of helped some of the plants survive. Anyway, I hope that you are able to keep the Nepenthes alive – keep us posted on how they turn out!

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