This year's project wasn't so much planned, as gifted. I was sent a generous amount of Nepenthes ventricosa seed from a someone on one of the carnivorous plant forums. Back in November, I decided to try an experiment, using both of the generally accepted ways to grow Nepenthes from seed. I have one container that I sowed most of the seeds in using a 50/50 mix of Sphagnum peat moss/Perlite, (which I'm far more comfortable germinating carnivorous plant seed in.) The second container I decided to try germinating with pure (dead) long fiber Sphagnum moss. We'll see if either works better as both containers will be getting the same amount of light and heat, next to each other in my lowland terrarium. The advice I got as far as temperature goes, is better germination comes with warmth, regardless of the species normal preference for temperature range. So although N. ventricosa is an intermediate growing Nepenthes, (1000-2000 m above sea level, 75-85°F/24-29° C day, 55-65°F/ 13-18° C night,) we're going to germinate the seeds without that much of a temperature drop at night.
Container #1: 50/50 Peat/Perlite. It's one of those clear plastic pastry containers from the grocery store. I could've just put a plastic bag over a pot to achieve the same level of humidity, but this seemed easier and there were raspberry turnovers involved in the purchase of this container. An excuse to eat junkfood I never would otherwise have an excuse to eat seemed like a good plan.
Container #2: 100% Chopped, Rehydrated LFS. Clear plastic container again, although I didn't have to eat pastry to clean out this container, it's probably better that way.
I microwave sterilized the media for both containers, and pre-leached the Perlite for a few days.
|Each seed is only about 5-10 mm long.|
I carefully stratified the seeds with a tweezers on top of the media, then sprayed them down with distilled water one last time to ensure good contact with the media. Closed the container tops to get a high humidity level. I punched a few holes for drainage, and a few smaller one's for a little air flow in the containers as well.
Now to wait a few weeks to a few months to see if anything germinates. Nepenthes seed has a short shelf life and are best sown right after harvesting. I'm not sure how old these seeds are, but hopefully no older than a month or two would be best.
|Container #1, 200 N. ventricosa seeds on 11/5/12|
|Container #2, 110 N. ventricosa seeds on 11/5/12|
Germination started around the end of November, about 3 weeks after being sewn. The majority of germination so far is in Container #1, the peat/perlite mix. Along with a lot more algae. I ended up removing the tops for both containers inside the terrarium because I got mold and fungus on the seedlings after about a week. I sprayed them down with water and without the tops it didn't grow back much. I think even though the humidity in the terrarium is not at 100% these seedlings need a little airflow more than they need ultra high humidity.
After the move these are in a 10 gallon terrarium that gets a combination of artificial and natural lighting, which keeps it warm enough in there too, never below 70 F/ 21 C. In the pictures below, look for 2 tiny leaves, that's all they are when they 1st germinate. Sorry no macro photos for the germinating seedlings, once I get my camera back I'll make up for this.
|Bottom right, 2 tiny green leaves.|
|There are more than 1 in this picture, but one at the top center you can see easiest.|