Nepenthes ventricosa, commonly known as Tropical or Asian Pitcher Plant, is a highland plant from the Phillippines. It's a relatively compact climber. There are several forms, this is the Red form. Ventricosa produces a beautiful pitchers, and displays well in a hanging basket. A very easy highland species. One of the easiest to grow of all nepenthes, great for beginner.
The long leaves cascade over the pot, 8-12 inches long, growing in a rosette fashion from a central climbing stem and terminated with a tendril. The tendril is used both to support the plant as it climbs up through the undergrowth and the trap itself which forms from it.
The traps start out at first as a small swelling, but quickly expand to their full size over the course of several weeks. As these plants mature, they produce long vines and reddish pitchers of 4-8 inches across. The plant has two types of traps, lower and upper. This brightly colored Philippine native has hourglass-shaped, are red, ringed by a darker red peristome.
The lid opens to reveal digestive fluids in the bottom of the trap. Prey is attracted by the gaudy colours and nectar produced by the trap, under the lid, which does not close and around the rim. The pitchers of Nepenthes species have a smooth lining. Insects and other small animals that are attracted to the pitchers cannot maintain a grip on this slippery surface and fall into the pitcher. Once they move their way inside, they lose their footing and slip into the nectar. The nectar is also quite intoxicating. The lower section inside the trap is covered in digestive glands and these quickly dissolve the soft parts of the prey, leaving the remains to drop down to the bottom into the soup.
While in some species the upper and lower pitchers look similar, there are others where the two are so distinctly different that you would swear they are two different species. The upper pitchers are generally smaller than lower pitchers, often lacking wings, and attached to the tendril at the back. These upper pitcher tendrils, before forming a pitcher, will often curl around an object such as a branch, to give the climbing stem support. Nepenthes are dioecious, male and female flowers exist on different plants. If you have several plants, and a few are blooming, then you may be able to pollinate them.
Hardiness zone 10, (1øC/35øF) in Winter. This plant is a highland. It can live in a wide range of temperatures. Although it is a highland plant, it actually grows as well as an intermediate.
Species of Nepenthes grow on soils that are poor in nutrients or on other plants where nutrients are not readily available. Plants, such as some Nepenthes, that grow on other plants, but do not take nutrients from the supporting plants, are referred to as epiphytes. In order to grow in places that are poor in nutrients, Nepenthes have adapted a carnivorous lifestyle, which supplements their intake of nitrogen and other nutrients. The soil needs to be light and airy. All the plants grew in a very wet acidic sandy soil. Use pure peat moss. You can also use a mix of equal parts of peat moss, perlite, vermiculite and long-fibred sphagnum moss.
The plants should be watered regularly but should not be left standing in water at any time. Try too keep them warm and humid but not stagnant and wet. Use rain water or distillated water, hard city water will kill your carnivorous plant. Lowlands and Highlands Nepenthes like high humidity and watering should be done when the soil starts to look dry on the top.
It seems to prefer bright indirect sunlight to partial sun. Light will color the traps red. Highland Nepenthes tend to be slower growing than lowland and require a lower night temperature than day temperature. Nights range between 13-17øC and days 23-29øC. Night temperatures absolutely must drop below 17øC for seedlings of most species to survive. Highlanders will be happy with a minimum relative humidity of 60%.