Carnivorous plants

Nepenthes alata

The Nepenthes alata is one of the most cultivated tropical carnivorous. Their traps are very unique, adopting a very striking red jug shape. In addition, it can be used to decorate the interior of the house, as long as the room meets a series of conditions that we will tell you below.

And if the climate is mild or if you want to enjoy it outside during the warm months of the year, it will surely look great on a small high terrace table, or on a balcony protected from the sun.

Origin and characteristics of Nepenthes alata

Image – Wikimedia/ Anneli Salo

It is a carnivorous plant belonging to the genus Nepenthes endemic to the Philippines characterized by developing lanceolate to ovate leaves, with a sharp or attenuated apex, green in color and a size of about 10-15 centimeters long by 2-3 centimeters wide..

The flowers sprout from a long stem, and are tiny, yellowish-green in color. And the traps, undoubtedly their main attraction, are shaped like a jug inside which we find a liquid substance, which is where the insects that fall when sliding from the edge of the same drown down.

It has a climbing habit, being able to reach a height of up to 4 meters.


It is a species that easily hybridizes with others naturally. Thus, these hybrids are known:

  • Nepenthes alata x Nepenthes burkei
  • Nepenthes alata x Nepenthes ventricosa: giving rise to Nepenthes x ventrata
  • Nepenthes alata x Nepenthes mirabilis: giving rise to Nepenthes x mirabilata
  • Nepenthes alata x Nepenthes pulchra
  • Nepenthes alata x Nepenthes x merrilliana: giving rise to Nepenthes x merrilliata

What are the care you need?

Having a well-cared and healthy Nepenthes alata is not difficult, but it is important to keep a few things in mind:


  • Outdoors: in semi-shade, in an area where it is exposed to non-direct sunlight for 3-4 hours. This way you can form your jugs normally.
  • Indoor: ideal for large terrariums with special plant bulbs. It can also be had in bright rooms, with high humidity, of at least 60%.


It is grown in plastic pots with holes in the base, filled with a mixture of equal parts blond peat moss or sphagnum moss with perlite.


Image – Wikimedia/ Sylvain Bezy

Irrigation must be frequent, as it does not resist drought. Generally, it should be watered 3-4 times a week during the summer, and about 2 times a week the rest of the year.

Use distilled, osmosis, or rain water as long as the latter is not contaminated.


You never have to pay it. The Nepenthes alata feeds on small insects such as ants, mosquitoes or flies, which digests its nutrients.


It can be multiplied by seeds and leaf and stem cuttings in spring:


If your plant is flowering, you can get seeds from it as it produces both male and female flowers. To do this, you just have to pass a small brush through them, ensuring that all of them receive pollen from all of them. In a few weeks you will see that the fruit, and therefore the seeds, have finished maturing.

It will be then when you can sow them in plastic pots with a mixture of blond peat and perlite in equal parts, previously moistened with distilled or rain water. Then, all that remains is to put them in an area where the temperature remains between 10 and 21ºC.

After about six weeks they will germinate.


It is the method that is used the most, because it is quick and easy. To do this, you have to cut stems that contain at least 2 points from where the branches of the plant sprout. Then, they are planted in pots with blond peat and perlite mixed in equal parts previously moistened with distilled or rain water.

Finally, it is placed in semi-shade, where the temperature remains between 10-21ºC.

In order to prevent fungi from appearing, cuttings and plants should be treated with fungicides.


Image – Wikimedia/ Gere72

If you see that the roots are coming out of the drainage holes, or if it has already occupied the entire pot, you will have to transplant it to a larger one in spring.

Plagues and diseases

It is quite resistant in general, but during the summer some mealybugs could damage it. If so, you can remove it with a brush soaked in rain or distilled water.


The Nepenthes alata is a meat that does not stand frost. The cold will not hurt you much, but if the temperature drops below 5ºC you will have a hard time. For this reason, it can only be grown outdoors all year round if the temperature never drops below 5ºC, although the ideal is that it does not drop below 10ºC.

What uses does Nepenthes alata have ?

It is a plant that is used only as an ornamental plant, either for gardens or indoors. It is not difficult to care for, and it also has a very high ornamental value, especially when it produces its traps.

What did you think of this carnivorous plant? Did you know her?

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