How To Propagate And Winter Ready Pitcher Plants

Apparently, plants also like it when they are special. Some plants therefore decorate themselves with fragrant flowers, other plants dress themselves in attractive foliage. The pitcher plant is probably too bored with both, it prefers to hang itself with “pitchers” and use them to catch insects. If you want to add a few decorative specimens to your pitcher collection, you can try propagating your Nepenthes.

Is propagation possible?

If the existing pitcher plant thrives well, the desire to add more pitcher plants quickly emerges. To expand your collection, you do not have to buy new plants. If it may be the same variety, propagation is a viable alternative. It is fun and less expensive than buying new. However, it also requires a little horticultural experience, skill and knowledge around the care of the demanding carnivores. Last but not least, patience is also required, because it takes weeks for the new plant to take root properly and start growing on its own. Further time passes until the first pitchers are formed.

Requirements for successful propagation

Pitcher plants can be propagated in a variety of ways. New plants can be obtained from head cuttings, side cuttings, leaf cuttings and from seeds. However, for you to succeed in propagating these carnivores, important requirements must be met.

  • mother plant must be healthy and well developed
  • healthy and strong head cuttings are available
  • leaf cuttings require patience
  • ideally you are already well acquainted with its care requirements
  • you can offer her the optimal conditions at your home.

The seed must be very fresh.
Hybrid cultivars are not suitable for propagation by seed

Propagation by head cuttings

Nepenthes Kannenpflanzen

From experience, propagation by cuttings has proved to be the easiest and most successful method. It is therefore the ideal method for all amateur gardeners who want to dare to propagate this carnivorous plant for the first time.

Step 1: Wait for the right time.

The best period to dare to propagate Nepenthes is late spring. The winter with its darkness is then over, and vegetation has fully set in with the canna plant. If it has been well overwintered, this is now reflected in a healthy and rapid growth. These are ideal conditions for creating new pitcher plants from head cuttings. The cutting will have plenty of time all summer in optimal conditions, namely plenty of warmth and light, to root well and start its own growth.

Step 2 Obtain cuttings

The basis for the emergence of a new pitcher plant is a healthy and well-developed offshoot. It is therefore important that the mother plant is healthy, well cared for and in growth. It should have at least one side shoot in addition to the high shoot. For the cuttings, however, the high shoot of the old plant must be decapitated.

  • cut the cutting directly on the stem
  • cut between two leaves
  • cutting should have a length of 10 -15 cm
  • cutting should have 2-3 eyes
  • use clean and sharp knife
  • do not cut side shoots
  • Don’t worry, the “headless” plant
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may be an unsightly sight at first, but it will certainly survive cutting. It is extremely pruning friendly. It doesn’t take long for it to sprout new young shoots.

Tip: If a large growing Nepenthes is shortened by pruning, the resulting cuttings can be wonderfully used for propagation.

Step 3: Plant offshoots

The offshoot obtained from the old pitcher plant should be planted immediately. The
ideal soil temperature is 35 degrees Celsius. 1.

  • obtain a suitable substrate. It should be moist and rich in nutrients.
  • Fill a small flower pot with the substrate. 3.
  • plant the cutting.
  • put an air-permeable foil over it to keep the humidity high. 5.
  • give the pot a bright but not too sunny location. 6.
  • Ventilate the plastic cover in between to prevent mold from forming.
  • After about 3 to 4 weeks, new roots will have formed.

Tip: Instead of planting the cutting immediately, it can first be placed in a glass container with lime-free water for rapid root development. After sufficient roots have formed on the cutting, it can be planted in a pot with soil for orchids

Nepenthes Kannenpflanzen

Step 4: Repot the plantlet

Once new tender roots have formed and the cutting is well rooted, the new pitcher plantlet will need a new pot.

  • choose a larger pot
  • use substrate suitable for pitcher plants
  • or a mixture of sand and peat and some clay
  • when repotting, pay attention to the tender roots

Propagation by cutting off side shoots

If you have an adult pitcher plant that finds optimal growing conditions in your home, it will produce new “offspring” on its own. If it gets plenty of food and sufficient moisture, it will sprout new small offshoots directly from the substrate. In this way, miniature pitcher plants develop directly from the main stem. From these you can grow independent Nepenthes.

  • wait until two or three new lateral offshoots have formed
  • they should be about 15 cm tall
  • cut them off from the mother plant
  • plant each offshoot separately in a new small pot
  • use only carnivorous soil
  • water well and keep moist
  • place them in a bright and warm place
  • provide high humidity

Soon after planting, the small pitcher plants will continue to grow, all the better if the conditions are optimal.

Propagation via leaf cuttings

Vegetative propagation is also possible via leaf cuttings. This method is quite often crowned with success. To do this, fill a small container with peat and moisten it well. Separate a leaf from the mother plant and place it on the peat, covering the stem with some peat. Roots will form at the stem end after some time. A high
Humidity additionally favors the formation of roots. Cover the pot with cling film, opening it only occasionally for ventilation.

In a bright place without direct sun, a new plant will develop from the leaf, first forming roots, and then sprouting new leaves. Once roots and a few leaves have formed, the young plant must be transplanted into carnivorous soil.

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Propagation by seed

Nepenthes - Kannenpflanzen

Nepenthes growing as houseplants rarely develop seeds. Moreover, most of them are cultivated hybrid varieties, from the seeds of which can not be grown new pitcher plants. The main challenge, then, is to obtain fresh, germinable seed. Purchasing the seed does not guarantee that it is really fresh. So there is always a risk whether after painstaking preparatory work the seed will actually germinate. But there are advantages to this method. The following is an overview of the main points:
Seed formation takes place only at the age of several years

  • pollination is necessary, if necessary help with a brush
  • the fine seed is not long lasting
  • only a few weeks or even days
  • it is difficult to store
  • seed purchase is a matter of trust
  • slowest method of propagation
  • spring and summer are ideal for sowing
  • germination period about one to two months
  • Advantage: many new plants
  • mother plant is not weakened by cutting
  • genetic diversity is promoted
  • new plant is not identical to the mother plant

Instructions for seed sowing

If suitable seed is available, propagation must be started as soon as possible. This is how to proceed:

  1. feel a pot with suitable material, for example, with peat, sphagnum, cocohom or cellulose. Germination should also work with normal growing soil.
  2. spread the seeds on it, but do not scatter too closely. If you have a lot of seeds, it is better to use a larger pot or a new one.
  3. these seeds are light germinators and should not be covered with soil or only very lightly.
  4. press the seeds lightly and water them. Use only lime-free water for watering. Rainwater is also good for this purpose.
  5. Place the pot in a semi-shaded location at a temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius.
  6. Keep the substrate moist at all times.
  7. make sure that the humidity is high. Plastic wrap over the pot has worked well for this. Do not forget to air it regularly to prevent mold from forming.
  8. as soon as the first seedlings appear, select the most vigorous ones and transplant them, in a separate container with carnivore soil. Pay attention to the tender roots, at this stage of growth they can easily break.

Note: Many varieties are protected species. If you order seeds from abroad, you must make sure that you are actually allowed to import them. Otherwise, you can quickly become liable to prosecution.

Give the young Nepenthes a suitable location

Nepenthes Kannenpflanzen

So that the new pitcher plant continues to develop well, and all the effort of propagation was not in vain, give it a suitable location.

  • For upland species applies:
  • Terrarium is well suited
  • otherwise bright place
  • if necessary illuminated by additional plant lamp
  • no direct sunlight
  • very high humidity, best at 70
  • during the day warm around 25 degrees Celsius
  • at night the temperature may drop to 10 degrees Celsius.

Lowland species have similar requirements as the highland plants. However, they like consistently high temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius. This temperature is not consistently reached in any room, which is why they really belong only in the terrarium or greenhouse. If the new plantlet does not get this heat and humidity, it can not continue to thrive well. Newly bred hybrid varieties can also cope with deviating living conditions. Often the normal room temperatures and lower humidity are sufficient for them.

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Proper care of the young pitcher

The new pitcher plant needs proper care from day one to grow big and strong. Here, a good substrate is the be-all and end-all of optimal care.

  • air-permeable and water-permeable substrate
  • should be able to store water without forming waterlogging
  • not normal potting soil
  • must be kept constantly moist
  • water daily during the vegetation phase
  • always water through a saucer, never from above
  • never use water containing lime
  • rainwater is soft and good for carnivores
  • usually no fertilization is necessary
  • some orchid fertilizer in spring is good for growth
  • the growing plant needs a new pot regularly

Watch the young pitcher plant as it develops in its location with the care it is given. If growth retardation sets in, or other problems emerge, timely countermeasures must be taken. Perhaps a new location is due or something is not going well with the care.

Wintering the new plants

Nepenthes Kannenpflanzen

By the first winter pitcher plant should be large enough to survive well the upcoming period of low light. To continue to thrive, it must also find certain living conditions in the winter. Exactly how to overwinter a pitcher plant depends critically on the variety. Indeed, pitcher plants grow at different altitudes, which provide them with correspondingly different climatic conditions.

A distinction is made between highland species and lowland species. In the meantime, there are also numerous cultivated hybrids, which are generally less demanding in terms of care. Clarify, if it is not yet known to you, from which variety the mother plant is. The newly formed plantlet is identical to the mother plant and should be overwintered just like her.

  • the ideal location provides a lot of brightness
  • additional plant lamp is necessary in winter
  • fertilizer is not needed
  • the water requirement is less than in summer

day and night continuous 20 to 30 degrees Celsius, is ideal for lowland species
highland pitcher plants like 10 to 16 degrees Celsius at night


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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