Nepenthes 'ventricosa' is another easy pitcher plants to grow. These carnivorous pitcher plants are similar to N. burkei and N. sibuyanensis and are native to the Philippines. Ventricosa are highland nepenthes, growing at an altitude of 1000 to 3000 feet. Nepenthes are non-toxic and the pitchers are actually used for cooking in some cultures, however small reptiles that could get trapped in the pitchers should not be allowed near them for fear of them getting stuck inside and drowning. Sometimes frogs, anoles and bats can be seen living in some pitchers, but it is important not to allow baby reptiles near them that are too small to get themselves back out.
Nepenthes is a vine that produce long, bright green leaves and orange/yellow pitchers with red speckles on a tendril at the end of the leaves. The first set of pitchers may be green with a hint of red but the next round of pitchers and the subsequent rounds show more of their true colors. They produce a sticky nectar that attracts bugs that slip and fall into the pitcher where they get trapped and drowned in the liquid at the bottom, and then are broken up and absorbed by the plant for nutrients. Ventricosa are slow growing and remain compact with good lighting. Pitchers will may out at about 9 inches long and are wide and squatty with a large mouth.
Plants come in a 2.5 inch pot with pure long fiber sphagnum moss and do not need to be repotted immediately upon arrival, but they will likely need to be repotted when their pitchers get too heavy for their pot to stay standing, as they will become large plants that will tip over the pot as they grow. In addition, these are plants that were grown from tissue culture and not a vine cutting from a larger plant, and while they may produce basal babies, they don’t have the cut end on the top like others grown from cuttings.
These Nepenthes are highland and are cold hardy year round in Zone 11. They need to be indoors in bright indirect light when temperatures outside dip below 55 degrees. Normal room temperature inside is ideal. Easy to grow outside or in a window. If left outside they will catch everything they need. Moss should be kept moist at all times with reverse osmosis water, distilled water or clean collected rain. NO tap water! If inside, check pitchers and if there are no bugs in them, feed once a month or so by dropping a couple beta pellets into a couple of pitchers, give them one or two fresh bugs a month or give them some sort of dried or live bugs purchased for that purpose. When plants are large enough, we use Black Soldier Fly Larvae which we have available in our shop in the accessories section with carnivorous plant safe fertilizer for experienced growers here. See our nepenthes care guide for more detailed instructions.
When plant arrives: Plant will be in a zip seal bag or bubble wrap with paper tucked between the leaves and around the pitchers or wrapped in bubble wrap with crinkle paper between the leaves. Do NOT attempt to wrestle plant out of the bag, and simply cut the bottom and top off with a pair of scissors and then carefully cut bag down the middle and then open it up. It is very difficult to get the plants into the bag at this point because of their size and the pitchers can get hung up on the bag if you try to wrestle them out, so just cut it open and then remove paper packaging material Carefully remove paper that is tucked in between the leaves of the plants, and untangle the pitchers by following the stem on the bottom of the pitcher to the leaf to figure out the best way to untangle them without tearing the pitchers off. Replace any moss that has fallen out of the pot. Water ONLY with distilled water (but NO other types of bottled water), reverse osmosis water or clean, collected rain. NO TAP WATER! Tap water contains dissolved minerals that will slowly kill your plant. Neps can tolerate tap much better than other CPs, so if you are in a pinch and that is your only option, flush well with appropriate water once you have some to get any dissolved solids that have built up in the growing medium out. After cutting out of the bag and removing paper, water thoroughly until water runs out of the holes in the bottom. When not flushing, you can also catch the water that runs out and use it again the next time you water, but don’t let the plant just sit in a tray of water so the roots don’t rot.