Heliamphora Introduction:

Known by many names, the Heliamphora are considered by some to have a prehistoric appeal.  The flowers resemble that of Orchids, and many consider the plant beautiful because of the simplistic look of the pitchers.  Found in the mountainous regions of the Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil, above the clouds and the tropical jungles below, you will find these Pitchers of the Sun.  These plants have only recently been discovered and have entered into cultivation with good success.  Currently there are around ten different types, with one just recently being discovered!

Watering:

The Heliamphora ( or Marsh, Sun Pitcher Plants ) need to stay moist at all times.  They do best with cool water.  Overhead watering is just as good as watering from a shallow tray.  Do not allow the plants to sit in lots of water.  The pot needs to be allowed to drain off excess water.

As with all carnivorous Plants, distilled water or rain water are the best things.  If you have a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter, that will work as well.

NEVER ALLOW them to dry out! They will die!

Humidity Requirements for Heliamphora:

These plants need to be in conditions where the humidity is above 75-80 percent.  A terrarium, greenhouse is the best environment for the plants.  Low humidity will result in deformation of the pitchers or even death of the plant.  Try to always maintain a high humidity level for this plant.  For this reason…this plant will not do well in a bog or on a windowsill.  

Light:

These plants enjoy bright light.  Partly Sunny conditions are equally as beneficial for the Heliamphora.  With proper lighting you will see the red develop in the pitchers.  Without proper lighting, the pitchers will look elongated and thin.  Artificial lighting works well.  8-10 hours of light a day is good.  Just make sure not to overheat the soil temperature.  

Temperatures:

These plants will thrive in conditions of 50’s to mid 80’s.  The plants can sometimes take temperatures into the 90’s, but this is not the norm and is not advised.  Heliamphora are perfect for terrariums and greenhouses.  Just be careful about the temperatures not getting to higher than 85 or below 45.  They have been known to take temps into the 30’s ( or around freezing ), but again this is not advised.

Food:

As with all Carnivorous Plants, Heliamphora enjoy regular feeding.  Just make sure that the insect isn’t bigger than the pitcher ( for reason of damage to the pitcher ).  Many people will feed the older pitchers that are about to die, so you do not risk damage to the newer ones.  Crickets, Flies are fine for the plant.  Some people have even applied fertilizer to the roots ( ¼ the strength ).  Miracid, Orchid Fertilizer or Epiphytic fertilizers can be applied once or twice monthly.  Some people have noticed great success with this and the plants seem to respond with bigger and faster growth.

Tampering:

Heliamphora are very fragile and should be handled with EXTREME care!  The pitchers are very brittle and will break with the slightest pressure.  It is best to leave this plant alone and not offer anything extra ( than what has been explained ).  

Soil:

This plant enjoys a very well drained soil.  Mixing 1:1 peat moss and perlite will be good.  Some people add lava rock, pumice and long fibered moss to this.  You can even goes as far as to mix 2 parts perlite to 1 part peat moss.  The plant will thank you for it.

Never allow the soil to get compact.  This will cause rotting of the roots.  Whatever the soil you choose to use, make sure that it is open and well drained.

Growth:

The Heliamphora are typically not a quick growing plant.  Some have observed that the plant grows 10% bigger pitchers with every new pitcher that forms.  It is not uncommon for the plant to ‘clump’.  Meaning several pitchers all together.  Given time, the proper care, fertilizing monthly…your plant will show good signs of growth.  The best thing is to be patient with this plant.

This is a tropical plant and DOES NOT require dormancy.  The plant will grow year round. Never subject the plant to temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Important Notes When Ordering Online:

  1. However due to the nature of the pitchers ( fragile ) growers / sellers cannot usually guarantee that there will not be a pitcher that is broken.  New pitchers will readily form with the proper care mentioned above.
  2. Remove all plastic and packaging from the plant.  Be careful not to damage the pitchers.
  3. When this is complete, water your plant.  It has been on a great trip and is in need of a drink. 

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