Nepenthes x hookeriana (Hooker’s Pitcher-Plant, Tropical Pitcher Plant, Monkey Cup)
Best to grow them in hanging baskets or pots to show off the colourful beauty and attractiveness of the pitchers or monkey cups.
Hooker’s Pitcher-Plant that is a colourful and natural lowland hybrid.
Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :
- Botanical Name:
Nepenthes x hookeriana (syn.: Nepenthes amabilis).
- Common Names: Hooker’s Pitcher-Plant, Tropical Pitcher Plant, Monkey Cup.
- Family Name: Nepenthaceae.
- Etymology: The specific epithet was named after Joseph Delton Hooker, director of Kew Gardens from 1865 to 1885 who collected many tropical species to add to Kew Gardens collection.
Native throughout the lowlands of Borneo, Peninsula Malaysia, Singapore and Sumatra.
- Plant type: A climber, vine and liana.
- Features: Nepenthes x hookeriana is a natural lowland hybrid from the genus, Nepenthaceae that consists of about 150 species and numerous natural and many cultivated hybrids.
This lowland hybrid is a cross between Nepenthes rafflesiana and Nepenthes ampullaria.
It has evergreen, simple, glossy and leathery leaves, measuring 3-8 cm long are spirally arranged. The pitcher starts as a small bud and gradually expands to form a tube-shaped trap.
The leaf tip is modified to form a pitcher trap which catches insects.
The trap contains a fluid of the plant’s own production, which may be watery or syrupy, and is used to drown
the preys that are usually small insects including ants, spiders and mosquitoes.
The rim of the pitcher known as a peristome is wide, while the oval lid is erect or angled upwards.
Pitchers are 7-10 cm high or more.
The colour varies from green with red spots to dark red with green spots.
It will eventually produce a charming flowering spike and followed by seeds.
Seed is typically produced in a four-sided capsule which may contain 50–500 wind-distributed seeds,
consisting of a central embryo and two wings, one on either side.
It is commonly known as Monkey Cup because the monkeys have been observed drinking rainwater from these plants.
- Culture (Care): Nepenthes x hookeriana can be easily grown with minimum care.
Light: Full sun or bright filtered sunlight. If their leaves burn or turn brown, decrease the intensity of light. Avoid full shade.
High water requirements. Use rainwater. Do not water the pitcher plants with chlorinated water.
Soil: Nepenthes adapts well to a wide range of soil mixes. Mixing 1 part of dried sphagnum moss and 1 part perlite will be just fine to provide excellent drainage and aeration.
Others: Occasionally, prune your pitcher plant to increase its vigour and create a fuller plant. Should your plant blossom, deadhead the flowering spike to keep it tidy. Provide the pitchers with full sun or bright light as they will be more colourful and larger in bright light as compared to filtered light.
Prune established plants by shortening their stems and use them for propagating new plants. This plant should not be fertilized regularly as it inhibits the production of pitchers. Should the insect prey be absent, the pitchers can be fed with tiny dabs of fish food paste. Alternatively, you may mist your plant with a high quality orchid or bromeliad fertilizer, using only ¼ to ½ teaspoon per gallon of water.
For subtropical and temperate regions: Hardiness: USDA Zone 10a – 11. Nepenthes x hookeriana, a lowland hybrid may be cultivated as a houseplant and in greenhouses.
Provide sufficient light, at least 14 hours during spring and summer, and 12 hours during autumn and winter if grown indoors. They often require warm night temperatures, preferably above 21°C. Feed your plant weekly during spring and summer but none at all during winter when growth slows down. Feeding is not needed as insects naturally live in the pitchers’ trap and provide the miniscule amounts of nutrients required. You may also grow it outdoors if the outdoor temperature is warm enough.
- Propagation: Easily propagated from stem tip cuttings. Learn how propagation is done by Jerry Jackson here.
Nepenthes x hookeriana or Hooker’s Pitcher Plant will be excellent as an outdoor plant and indoors. Ideal to be grown in hanging baskets to add interest to your garden. Suitable too for container gardening.
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