How to care for Nepenthes?

Nepenthes is found in Jungles all over the world. This species likes a tropical climate, which is why it is best to keep Monkey Cup plants indoors in the UK. The species of Nepenthes lure their prey with cup traps. Taking care of Nepenthes is easy, but you need to know how to do it.

What is the difference between Highland and Lowland Nepenthes?

Monkey Cup plants (Nepenthes) live in Jungles and either live highland or lowland. Generally Lowland Nepenthes plants are considered to be easier to grow indoors, as they need a stable temperature between 20 to 35 C degrees (with an absolute minimum of 14 degrees) night to day with high humidity. Best known Monkey Cup plants are Nepenthes x ventrata, Nepenthes ‘Gaya’, Nepenthes ‘Bloody Mary’ and Nepenthes hookeriana. Highland Nepenthes require warm days, but rather cool nights, with a range around 10 to 30 C degrees.

terrarium is a very useful way to mimic the natural surroundings of a Nepenthes and keep the plants humid. 

How to water a Nepenthes?

We recommend to wet the cups and leaves of the Nepenthes every few days with a handheld sprayer. Nepenthes prefers to be watered from above. A splash of water every other day will be sufficient. Never use tap water, as the plant cannot tolerate it. Preferably use rainwater, osmosis water or demineralised water. The soil of Nepenthes should be kept wet, but not sogged. 

Refill cups: have you just received your Nepenthes and are the cups empty due to transport? Then refill them once to 1/3 – otherwise the plant may shed the ‘dried-out’ cups quite quickly. The Nepenthes will then fill the old and new cups itself with water and enzymes. So make sure the plant receives enough water.

What type of light do Nepenthes plants prefer?

Nepenthes like direct and indirect light. In their natural surroundings, they receive little direct light because bigger plants take most sunlight. The Nepenthes will do fine in a stand with indirect light, but likes direct sunlight too. In front of a window with both direct sunlight and indirect sunlight, the plant will thrive best.

An ideal spot would be to put the Nepenthes plant in a place where the plant has (cool) direct sunlight in the morning and indirect sunlight in the afternoon.

IMPORTANT: Make sure not to place a Nepenthes in direct sunlight during summer, as it can become extremely hot in front of a window, which can cause the cups and leaves to burn. 

Do I need to feed Nepenthes?

Carnivorous plants generally don’t need supplementary feeding. But when the plants are indoors, they are also likely to attract less flies. You could feed your Nepenthes with (dried) insects, but never feed the plants meat. 

Pruning Nepenthes

When the traps turn brown you can simply cut them off from the leaf. When the leaves also turn brown, then carefully cut these away too.

Do Nepenthes need a dormancy period?

Nepenthes hibernates, but not like Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) and Trumpet Pitcher plants (Sarracenias). The plant will grow slower in winter and create few new traps. In spring, the growth period will start again. Read more about hibernation of Carnivorous Plants in our blogpost about ‘Dormancy Period Carnivorous Plants’.

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