Nepenthes ventricosa is a variable species, easy to grow in a windowsill or terrarium, and an ideal beginner’s Nepenthes. It’s an intermediate-to-highland species growing around 2000 meters above sea level in the Philippines. Generally, highland species prefer daytime temperatures in the 70s°F (24°C) and evening temperature drops into the 50s and 60s°F (10-16C) (do avoid frost as it will damage or kill highland plants). N. ventricosa, however, is a pretty forgiving plant and will do well even with milder temperature swings.
Nepenthes ventricosa remains fairly compact, with narrow, shorter leaves, medium-length tendrils, and plump, meaty pitchers. Stems branch and scramble, and frequently sprout basal shoots. All of these factors eventually adds up to a small carnivorous bush, dozens of pitchers, and one heck of a display.
Unique biology of a Nepenthes ventricosa
Nepenthes ventricosa pitchers look like they have beer bellies. They’re bulbous with a rounded digestive lower half, a tapered (read: sucked in) waste, and a large, oval mouth. This mouth is lined with a gorgeous, tightly ridged, pink-to-red peristome. Pitcher wings are noticeably missing on plants larger than seedlings, which plays further into the bare beer belly analogy (just needs a little belly button drawn on it).
Nepenthes ventricosa is quite variable when it comes to pitcher structure and coloration. The lower pitchers, as described above, can be a pink hue with red splotches, green with pink splotches, or variations in-between. Some, like N. ventricosa “porcelain” are an attractive shade of white. Pitcher size varies from around 4 inches (10.5 cm) up to 9 inches (23 cm).
Other notable characteristics
Obviously, Nepenthes ventricosa got sick of us pointing out its gut, so it hit the gym in an effort to impress us with dainty upper pitchers. Upper pitchers are usually green-yellow, smaller, and more slender. Good job, ventricosa. Good job.
Petioles on this species are medium-length, slender, and terminate in tendrils up to a foot long. Flowers are densely-packed, and colorful.
In the wild, Nepenthes ventricosa naturally hybridizes with N. alata to produce N. ventrata (clever name, eh?). This is one of the most common Nepenthes circulated in cultivation and, arguably, even heartier than N. ventricosa itself.
Other Nepenthes species, varieties & hybrids
With unique domed pitcher shape and outwardly-facing mouth, Nepenthes aristolochioides is instantly recognizable, and with pitfall, lobster, and flypaper traps, the tropical pitcher plant is a jack of all traps. So beautiful, so deadly.
Nepenthes alata is a highly variable, widely grown, and hugely rewarding tropical pitcher plant. It's great for beginners looking to cut their teeth on an easy-to-grow and pitcher-prolific species.
A heavy-hitting lowland Nepenthes species with broad variability and even broader size. It was treasured by Victorian-era botanists for its beauty and it's easy to see why, even today.
To say Nepenthes ampullaria is unique, among a sea of unique Nepenthes, would be an understatement. The plant leans heavily on a vegetarian diet, playing host to critters that help it digest debris that falls from the forest canopy above.
Nepenthes albomarginata looks like it’s going on a date, all dressed up with a classy white collar. The characteristic band of white under the peristome serves a unique purpose, though - and it’s not for attracting the ladies or gents - rather, a specific type of prey.
Known as the "splendid pitcher plant" for good reason. It combines the most beastly characteristics of a flanged, spikey peristome with the handsome refinement of a cylindrical pitcher shape. It's like a lion in a tuxedo - it will bite your face off, but will do it with style.
Nepenthes robcantleyi x hamata
This gorgeous hybrid Nepenthes is what happens when you take two beauties, N. robcantleyi and N. hamata, and make a celebrity baby.
This tropical pitcher plant has black pitchers and a branched spur on the backside of where the lid and peristome meet. - Kind of like cowboy spurs, but less pokey.
Nepenthes lowii x truncata
This robust Nepenthes hybrid adopts the huge peristome of N. truncata pitchers and gaping mouth and lid of N. lowii. It's truly one beast of a tropical pitcher plant!
With knife-sharp hooks for a peristome, Nepenthes hamata is insect nightmare fuel and, hands-down, the most vicious looking tropical pitcher plant. If I were an insect, I'd refer to this as a Nope-enthes.
Ever imagine what would happen if a vampire bit a Nepenthes? Really? Me too! Well, wonder no more. Nepenthes bicalcarata is our fanged tropical pitcher plant.
Tropical Pitcher Plant
The Tropical Pitcher Plant, or Nepenthes, is an exotic and refined bug catcher. Some even grow large enough to catch small mammals.
The ol' toilet bowl for tree shrews. This tropical pitcher plant is famous for its odd upper pitchers that are not only shaped like toilets, but also act as actual toilets to climbing critters lucky enough to stumble across their secrets.
With upper pitchers like dainty cocktail glasses filled with honey, Nepenthes inermis is a fascinating carnivorous plant that uses both flypaper and pitfall trapping mechanisms.
With a peristome you can serve dinner off of, pitcher volume you can cary 2 liters of soda in, and a hunger that will decimate annoying insects, it's the perfect picnic guest
Translation of sanguinea is "blood red" - suiting name for a Nepenthes with pitchers so red that they almost appear purple.
Nepenthes x ventrata
The name is a combination of "ventricosa" and "alata," like "Brangelina" but with Nepenthes. Because it's easy to grow, popular in cultivation, and has a celebrity name, it's a star in my book.
is an extravagant, fuzzy tropical pitcher plant that hugs and climbs tree trunks as an epiphyte.
Nepenthes mikei Nepenthes mikei is a beautiful highland tropical pitcher plant discovered in 1989 by Bruce Salmon, Ricky Maulder, and Mike Hopkins on an expedition to Mount Pangulubao in Sumatra. The plant was first [...]
Nepenthes truncata A grand lowland Nepenthes, N. truncata is known to swallow entire rats whole. How can you tell? The smell, unfortunately. And the bones. They don't digest the calcium-heavy bones. Nepenthes truncata is [...]