Far Out Flora

Pitchers of Nepenthes


Our three Nepenthes have been growing like crazy for the last couple of months.  I suspect that they’re well feed due to a recent outbreak of flies in the hood.



Nepenthes are tropical pitcher plants that secrete a sweet tasting fluid around the lip of their pitchers which attract insects.  Check out the fly above.  Insert theme music from Jaws…Da da, Da da.

Tropical Pitcher Plant species - Nepenthe sp.

Tropical Pitcher Plant species - Nepenthes species unknown

We picked up this Nepenthes species for FREE at the SF Bromeliad Society.  We still do not know the species name, and seems to love our bright west facing windows.   Hey, here is a picture of it when it flowered.  Can anybody identify the species?

Detail of Tropical Pitcher Plant species - Nepenthe sp.

Detail of Tropical Pitcher Plant species - Nepenthes species unknown

Onward to our other two Nepenthes.  We picked up both of these from California Carnivores.  Below is Nepenthes sanguinea.  Looks a lot like the one above huh?  Well, take another look at the cups.  N. sanguinea has these little spikes that run down the sides of the cups, and the lip is smoother.

Detail of Detail of Tropical Pitcher Plant - Nepenthe sanguinea

Detail of Detail of Tropical Pitcher Plant - Nepenthes sanguinea

Speaking of cups, I have found a common name for Nepenthes in general.  They are called Monkey Cups in many parts of the world, supposedly because people witness monkeys drinking the water that collects inside the cups.  Looks like California Carnivores still has some N. sanguinea left in a pink variety.

Overview of Tropical Pitcher Plant - Nepenthe sanguinea

Overview of Tropical Pitcher Plant - Nepenthes sanguinea

Our last guy is Nepenthes singalana.  This guy has been sickly since fall 2009, but is making a comeback.  I think felt bad when we started to ignore it, then decided to kick out two new pitchers to display.  Quick Tip:  if you decide to start growing Nepenthes, remember to only use collected rainwater or distilled water…and do not feed them chunks of meat.

Lastly, Tropical Pitcher Plant - Nepenthe singalana

Last one: Tropical Pitcher Plant - Nepenthes singalana

– Far Out Flora

mountains of Peninsular Malaysia


  1. I find these plants both repellent and amazingly attractive at the same time… and that’s one of my fave combos (along with cute/grotesque and pretty/ugly)… there’s a vendor at the Long Beach flea market with all these varieties but I always hesitate to buy them thinking they’d only suffer in R-side’s heat… your post makes me want to try…

  2. I keep eyeing these at a local greenhouse, and haven’t had the gumption to get one! I’ve had the idea that it’s super high maintenance, filling those little pitchers with water! Is it? Your post pushed me farther towards taking the plunge into the World of Weird Plants, though. And gorgeous pics!

    • I think it is one of those plants that grow really well, if they have the right conditions. I would get a less expensive one to start, get excited, and see what happens. We do mist our Nepenthes with distilled/rainwater, but it really is not necessary to fill up the cups with water. The plant itself should do that job for you by soaking up water from the roots and distributing it to their cups. They add a little fluid themselves that help attract insects too.

  3. Wow, these are sooo interesting! That fly is treading on dangerous waters. I love the way they look also. I don’t ever see them at our plant stores.

  4. Pingback: Container Gardening Grab Bag 7/9

  5. I recently saw the pitchers of this plant used for cups to hold appetizers in Indonesia! I wouldn’t have thought the cups were edible, but I guess it works for them!

  6. Hi there! AWESOME SITE!! I think the first Nepenthes in the photo is Nepenthes ventricosa. I am not much of a Nepenthes expert, but I do grow quite a few of the North American pitchers plants — (Genus: Sarracenia)

    Here’s a link you may find helpful for that thang!



  7. Pingback: Huntington Conservatory and More « Far Out Flora's Blog

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.