Heliamphora ceracea

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June 2020

Both clones are slightly on the slow side compared to most other Heliamphora I have grown. Wistuba’s plant first produced three mature pitchers basically identical in size, and recently a slightly taller, beautifully colored one, as can be seen on the photo.

As for the Michael Schach clone, it does not progress in terms of size but I must keep in mind that it was still a small cutting less than a year ago, not to mention the hot summer that followed. Also, its pitchers have been relatively short-lived, which is a common behavior with Heliamphora that are still adjusting. During the first months, there was no more than a single pitcher alive, but it now manages to keep two healthy pitchers at a time. This is also visible on the photo.

Heliamphora ceracea in June 2020
MS clone on the left, Wistuba clone on the right.

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

The more you get into marsh pitcher plants, the more you perceive their subtleties and how beautiful they are. I set my sights on the rare Heliamphora ceracea as I really like the colors and unusual shape of the mature pitchers.

As an extra challenge, my plant arrived as an unrooted cutting. The first few days are crucial for its life, 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 for drainage and air circulation. 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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