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18 Pages
Heliamphora-chimantensis Heliamphora-ciliata Heliamphora-elongata Heliamphora-exappendiculata
Heliamphora folliculata Heliamphora glabra Heliamphora heterodoxa Heliamphora hispida
Heliamphora huberi Heliamphora ionasi Heliamphora macdonaldae Heliamphora minor
Heliamphora neblinae Heliamphora nutans Heliamphora pulchella Heliamphora sarracenioides
Heliamphora tatei Heliamphora uncinata    

Heliamphora the sun pitchers

Heliamphora is endemic to the tepuis of Venezuela (Brasilia) where they have evolved into several different species. Up to date there are eight known species: Heliamaphora nutans, ionasii, minor, heterodoxa, tatei and the recently discovered and described Heliamphora hispida, folliculata and chimantensis.
On top of the tepuis is a harsh tropical highland climate with daily heavy rains and strong wind, high intensity of sun (including lots of ultraviolett radiation), moderate warm days and cold nights.
In cultivation Heliamphora needs very(!) bright light, relativly high humidity above 50%, well drained but always moist soil, warm days and cold(!) nights year around. There is no dormancy.
I'm growing my sunpitchers in a terrarium (120cm x 60cm x 80 cm) standing at an east facing window (recieving some direct morning sunlight). On top of the terraium is a 70 W high pressure sodium light which emittes additional 6500 lumens for 14 hours during summer and 12 hours during winter. The Heliamphora are standing directly under this light (50cm distance) and they seem to highly appreciate the yellowish intensive light. They are nicely coloured and have lids almost as big as in natural habitat. Coloration and lid size is the best indicator for enough light.
Temperature can raise over 30C for short periods during sunny summer days but are usually around 24c during day. Nighttime temperature drops down to 20C in summer and down to 12-15C during winter (which surely is better). I installed a miniature ultransonic fogger and a PC fan which is blowing fresh air from outside into the terrarium on intervalls during the night to get some air movement and cooling (evaporation). Heliamphora seems to like these "misty" nights.
I use a mixture of equal parts peat and perlite and do not let the plants stand in water. I had also used pure Sphagnum before and watered some plants on the tray system and this was successfull, too. But the peat/perlite mix works very well and doesn't need frequent repotting. I have one small Heliamphora nutans growing in pure peat and it is also doing fine.
During summer 2002 I had a Heliamphora minor x heterodoxa growing outside in my artificial bog and it was growing well and captured lots of prey (similar to a Sarracenia purpurea standing nearby). After heavy rains the water level was sometimes as high as the soil surface without doing any harm to the plant.

Heliamphora can be propagated by dividing larger clumps of plants. Be careful because the roots and pitchers are quite fragile. If you have separated a piece of plant with part of a rhizom but no roots treat it like a cutting and it should survive.
The plants have beautiful flowers and I once menaged to get some seed even under artificial lights. This flower was directly below the high pressure sodium light (about 10 cm away from the bulb). Seems that extremly intensive light and heat around the flower will stimulate polination ?!?
I will try this again with my next Heliamphora flowers.
I got 15 seeds out of the seed capsule and 14 of them germinated after some weeks. The seedlings are growing very slowly but propagation through seed without the use of tissue culture seems to be much easier than I always thought.


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