Nepenthes hamata “red hairy”

The elusive red hairy variant of Nepenthes hamata was brought to light by famous naturalist and explorer Ch’ien Lee back in 2005, and as of 2019, it still is exceedingly rare in collections. I wanted my own specimen the second I saw the photo from the link above, so I was very excited when I secured a seedling from Simon Lumb, no less than ten (!) years after. That said, he warned me: “They are extremely slow and always seem to develop poor almost non existent root system compared to other species. I always say to growers only buy them if you are a fairly experienced grower.” Challenge accepted!

September 2019

Sadly, the plant did not make it through the hot summer. The combination of long-lasting high outdoor temperatures and extra heat from the lighting system was just too much. All other highlanders are fine, but they are much more robust and certainly more tolerant to begin with.

I will try again, but the cost for a new plant is steep, and the overheating lighting setup has to be replaced first. I’m thinking about investing in a LED panel to reduce energy consumption and avoid providing unnecessary warmth.

February 2019

The past few months have been interesting. First, the main plant killed its offshoots, so to speak. As a result, it started producing leaves and pitchers at a much faster rate. Now what would be great is a size jump, but that may require fertilization.

I also observed that old pitchers start dying from a “rot dot” located either on their left or right side, and not from the lid as is usual on Nepenthes. The dot extends very slowly and then accelerates suddenly, leading to the inevitable demise of the whole leaf.

Nepenthes hamata "red hairy" growing slowly
I trimmed the sphagnum moss a bit. Note the nascent black dot on the right pitcher.

December 2018

As expected, growth has been painfully slow, but it is alive. Much more surprising is the basal offshoot. Usually, Nepenthes make basals when the mother plant is about to die. At some point, it might have been close. That or it was a reaction to stress. Anyway, with the plant being so weak, I’m not sure that spreading the energy within two plants is sustainable. As always, time will tell.

Nepenthes hamata "red hairy" young plant
I replaced the plastic basket by a tree fern “trunk” that I cut in half and filled with sphagnum moss. It looks more natural.

April 2018

Here is the little “red hairy hamata” seedling in a basket full of sphagnum moss, recovering from its journey in the dark. The foliage did not suffer and the plantlet appears to be healthy.

Nepenhes hamata "red hairy" seedling
I hooked the basket to the middle portion of the tree fern panel, so that it occupies a central position in the terrarium.

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