Introduction: Nepenthes Pitcher Plant Potting Mix From Scratch
This is a visual guide to creating a potting mix for a Nepenthes pitcher plant.
See step 6 for pictures 6 months later and 20 days after repotting.
Step 1: Ingredients
You will need the following ingredients:
5 gallon bucket
New container for plant
A note before beginning: In retrospect, I wish I had watered my pitcher plant 1 day before re-potting. It turned out that it was bone dry from the plant store and the butter knife was necessary to loosen it from the original container.
For later feeding: Meal Worms and Crickets.
Step 2: Mix Peat Moss and Perlite
Fill the new container roughly 60-70% full of peat moss. Top off the peat moss in the new container with perlite. Remember that perlite is volcanic glass; you don't want to breathe perlite dust!
Step 3: Add Water and Sand
I added about a liter of water to my bucket. It's okay to mix this with your hands since it doesn't contain anything really harmful like cow manure.
Once it's saturated, add about 2 cups of sand and mix again by hand.
Step 4: Transplant and Trim
Fill the new container with the new mix leaving enough room for the plant and root system.
It really helps to have another person around to repot the hanging varieties. Be careful to keep the potting mix out of the pitchers. It shouldn't be lethal, but I'm sure the plant doesn't appreciate it much.
Water it like crazy and let it drain completely.
You can trim off unhealthy pitchers, but leave the leaves when possible.
Step 5: Maintenance and Feeding
I water my pitcher plant about once a week. Letting tap water sit for 24 hours helps the chlorine evaporate. I've read that pitcher plants like indirect sunlight; I keep mine in a southeast facing window and give it as much light as possible.
It is okay to add some water to the pitchers at first, but they should produce fluid on their own after the plant reestablishes itself.
Feeding should only be necessary if your plant is indoors. You can feed the pitcher plant live insects or purchase dried insects from the reptile food section in pet stores. Add one insect per pitcher leaving one or two weeks for digestion.
Step 6: Update: Happy Plant Pictures 6 Months Later
Here is the same plant about 6 months later on the once-per-week watering schedule. Some pictures are from 20 days after the original repotting which is when I had just began feeding.
Check out all the new baby pitchers in the photos below! I trim unhealthy pitchers at a rate of about one per week with a plant this size.
The plant continues to be happy without any humidity adjustment.
High resolution photos here.