Heliamphora ceracea

When you get used to the Heliamphora beauty, you want more of it. I set my sights on Heliamphora ceracea because I really like the somewhat unusual look of the pitchers, and the relative scarcity of this species in collections makes me all the more intrigued.

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November 2019

I was a bit worried when the pitcher from the September 2019 update started to blacken, with no sign of fresh growth. So I checked Wistuba’s website, noticed Heliamphora ceracea was in stock, and without further ado, decided to buy one as a replacement. Well, my first H. ceracea decided it was not up for dying and finally produced a new pitcher. So I now have two different clones of the species. I’m completely fine with that… It will make for some interesting comparisons.

As you can see, they’re not in the same class, but Wistuba’s specimen is quite a bit older. That said, I was not expecting it to be that beautiful—quite frankly the best-looking juvenile Heliamphora I have ever seen. It also seems to be very vigorous, given how quickly the new pitcher has appeared.

Heliamphora ceracea in November 2019
Same species, different clones. Note the hairs and the beak-shaped lids on both plants.

September 2019

After the roots, here comes the first pitcher! I’m quite proud, as this is my first try with a Heliamphora cutting.

The plant went through the long and hot summer unscathed, but the much cooler autumn nights will be appreciated, without a doubt.

Heliamphora ceracea in September 2019
For a few weeks, there was a single old pitcher alive—the one in the blurry background. It started to dry out while the new one was growing.

July 2019

Fleshy roots! Here they are, barely digging into the soil. This is all I wanted to see after removing the small pieces of sphagnum moss that started to overgrow the plant itself.

Six weeks have passed since I received the unrooted cutting and the conditions have been mostly suboptimal, with two strong heat waves preventing suitable temperature drops at night, and cooking the terrarium inhabitants during the day. A range of 25 to 38°C (77-100°F) is way too high for highland plants, let alone stressed ones. Luckily, the heat did not last long enough to unsettle Heliamphora ceracea in its rooting process.

I can now remove the cloche that I placed on the pot to maintain sufficient humidity around the cutting. Several times each day, I took the cloche off to let excess heat escape, sprayed some water around the plant, and put it back.

Heliamphora ceracea in July 2019
The first three roots. After I took the photo, I carefully added a bit of soil around them.

June 2019

I received H. ceracea as an unrooted cutting and therefore have the challenging task of making it root. The first few days are crucial in this regard, with the plant getting entirely new growing conditions, on top of being already stressed. The weather is quite warm at the moment, with about 25-28°C in the terrarium, but a heat wave is on the way. Fingers crossed…

I went for a slight variant of Mike King’s peatless mix (see the May 2019 entry on this page for more details), with a nice amount of pine bark choppings and perlite to offer drainage + air circulation + root anchoring material. I am curious as to how the plant will grow in that soil.

Heliamphora ceracea in June 2019
Brittle leaves often mean a bit of breakage from shipping, but nothing to worry about.
Heliamphora ceracea in June 2019
This was formerly the pot for Drosera spiralis, which is now outside of the terrarium. I added a layer of coarse quartz sand for extra drainage, as there is only a small hole, at the bottom, that gets filled up with soil easily.
Heliamphora ceracea in June 2019
And there it is, ready to root. The few living sphagnum moss heads help the plant stay in place.
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