One of the most satisfying aspects of the hobby - growing your very own Nepenthes!
Why is growing Nepenthes from seeds difficult?
One of my most favorite seedlings so far - check out that curly lid! You never know what you will get!
My favorite stage - starting to see differentiation between individuals when they are only 1" across!
One of the most satisfying things to do in this hobby is grow plants from seeds. Growing Nepenthes from seeds is a notoriously difficult process for a number of reasons:
Nepenthes are dioecious, meaning they are either male OR female. Females are much rarer (some sources estimate wild populations to be 70% male and only 30% female), limiting the number of potential crossings.
Female flowers are receptive within a very short time frame. You must either have a male flowering at the same time, or have pollen stored properly (extremely dry and cold - even then this loses potency over time).
Blooming is random and plants can potentially take many months or years between blooms, meaning growers much coordinate sharing pollen across long distances.
The seeds must be sown very quickly after they ripen - within days if possible! Germination rates plummet within weeks.
Nepenthes seedlings can take many weeks or months to emerge, making them vulnerable to fungal attack.
They mature slowly! Even with adequate light, space, and nutrients, many plants start very slow and gradually pick up in growth rate over time.
Despite all these challenges, I have thoroughly enjoyed growing my own Nepenthes! I sowed my first Nepenthes seeds in 2020 and there is nothing more gratifying than watching them mature over time. There is often surprising variation among seedlings in a single seed set! It is of course impossible to keep every one, but the sheer joy I get from watching the individuals attain characteristics different from their siblings makes picking out the ones I do keep very fun. I also greatly enjoy bringing the seedlings to my local meetups and sharing them with other growers! I feel like a proud mama hen when they thrive in other peoples' care.
Predatory Plants does an amazing video on growing Nepenthes from seeds, all the way from identifying male vs female flowers, pollination, ripening, sowing, and growing them out. There is really no way I can improve upon Josh's video, so enjoy! I only just recently sowed seeds from pollen taken from my own Nepenthes Titanic Tyrant and I am SO excited to see how they turn out!
Growing Nepenthes from seeds certainly takes a lot of PATIENCE!
Nepenthes ((Rokko "Exotica" x boschiana) x veitchii "HL") x vogellii
Nepenthes (globosa x 'coccinea') x (globosa x ampullaria 'Black Miracle') SG
Nepenthes (Mira wing x ampullaria black) x ampullaria black "super black" SG
Nepenthes (vk x tiger) x [(vk x amp) x (amp x vent)] squat X mirawing x (vk x amp) squat SG
Nepenthes mirabilis winged x (viking x ampullaria) F2 "super wing" SG
Nepenthes rafflesiana ‘Maroon’ x (globosa x ampullaria ‘Black Miracle’) SG
Nepenthes viking x ampullaria SG
In October 2022 I sowed my very first seeds derived from pollen from one of my own plants! Crossing fingers that Nepenthes Titanic Tyrant (pollen parent) combined with James Fong's Nepenthes alata turns into some bulletproof plants!