Heliamphora nutans is endemic to the Tepuis of Venezuela, where they have evolved into several different species. It is commonly known as the Sun Pitcher Plant and Marsh Pitcher. They belong to the same plant family as Sarracenia, but have a much more primitive appearance.
The Tepuis are the remnants of a sandstone shield laid down 1.6 billion years ago. Although only about five degrees north of the Equator, the altitude of Mount Roraimae at 2,772 meters creates a climate vastly different than the rain forest below. The tops of the tepuis are open marshy savannahs. Altitude keeps temperatures cool. Rain, fogs, and thunderstorms frequently shroud the summits. The sand-based soils are nutrient-poor. Heliamphoras are uniquely adapted to this sodden environment.
The traps of Heliamphora are little more than leaves which have been curled around to form a funnel of handsome apple-coloured pitchers. The pitchers arise from a brittle rhizome and slowly form clumps over time. It has pitchers 10-15 cm long by 2-3 cm in diameter. At the front of the pitcher is a slit about one quarter of the way down, which allows excess rain waters to drain.
Insects are attracted to the pitchers by the nectar bell, a small red protrusion at the top of the back of the pitcher. The bell has a very slippery inner surface. At this point there is a good probability that the insect will slide down the surface of the bell, and if it doesn't quickly fly out of danger, falls into the water. The Heliamphora pitchers don't have digestive glands, this process is provided by bacterial action, and the pitchers are able to absorb the results.
Hardiness zone 11, (4ºF/40ºF) in Winter. Requires day temperatures of 10ºC-32ºC and night temperatures to drop to 18ºC or less. Despite being from the tropics, the Tepuis are relatively cool. In cultivation Heliamphora needs very bright light, under lower light levels the pitcher shape would change and also the coloration would be much less; relatively high humidity above 50%, well drained but always moist soil, warm days and cold nights year around. The collector must be able to provide cool, misty, very humid and damp conditions for the plants to grow adequately. The soil should be a mix of peat moss and sand. There is no dormancy.