Striking Nepenthes Cuttings

by Trevor Hannam

I have been playing around with a modified hydroponic humid atmosphere system to strike Nepenthes cuttings using Chlorine (1% working strength), I.B.A. solutions and my knowledge of tissue culture using sterile solutions.

Even though this may sound complicated, it isn't and has so far proven to be 100% effective over my 12 months of trial.

First boil some water for 10 minutes or so and let it cool to room temperature. Purchase a small 50ml container of I.B.A. which is sold at nurseries under the name of "rootex-L" hormone rooting liquid. It comes at a strength of 4 g/L, which is far too strong for our requirements. Mix 5ml (1 level teaspoon) of the I.B.A. solution with 20 ml (4 level teaspoons) of your boiled water; this becomes your "Stock Solution" and is equal to 1000 mg/L. Boil another liter of water, let it cool and this time add 0.2 ml (3 drops) of your prepared "Stock Solution" to it. This will be the media you use for striking your cuttings.

Take a cutting of Nepenthes approximately 75-100 mm long or with at least 2-3 nodes, cut the leaves back to 1/4 their size and soak the cutting in a bucket of water to which a few drops of detergent have been added ( the detergent acts as a wetting agent to ensure plant is completely wet). The next step is to prepare some containers and small plastic or glass soft drink bottles are ideal. Clean the bottles with a solution of bleach (1% active chlorine in strength: Snow White mixed 250 ml to 1 L of tap water). Rinse with boiled water and 3/4 fill with the prepared media. Clean your cutting by soaking it in bleach solution (same strength as the bottles) for a couple of minutes and then rinse it with boiled water. Make a small incision at the base of the cutting and by using cotton wool make a plug 1/2 way up your cutting and push this plug down into the neck of your container of media. The cutting should be adjusted so that the base just touches the media.

Place the container in a warm, shaded position with a humidity of 50-70% if possible. You will find that every few days you will have to re-adjust the cutting so that it just touches the media again. in most cases a callous will form in about 3-4 weeks and roots will form 1-2 weeks later. You will find much pleasure in doing it this way, just to see the roots forming above the water line is mind boggling.

When enough roots have developed to support the plant and new leaf growth is evident the cutting is ready to pot up.