Asexual Reproduction

  1. Rhizome: Cut rhizomes into pieces about 1 in. (2.5 cm) and place them horizontally on the medium if a maximum number of plants is desired, or place them vertically if you prefer fewer but larger plants. Dust the cut surfaces with fungicide. Cover the rhizomes with about Vi in. (1.75 cm) of medium. Keep the medium damp, the humidity high, and the light bright with temperatures in the range of 70-90°F (21-32°C). Leaves should appear in about 1 month. Several plants will emerge from each cutting. When roots have formed the plants can be severed from each other and replanted.
  2. Leaf cuttings: Both types of leaves can be used; the older, more mature leaves produce best results. (Photos 3-14,3-15) Remove the leaves carefully so that the leaf and petiole or the pitcher with its petiole is removed intact. Dip the cut or broken end of the stalk in Rootone and fungicide, shake off the excess powder and insert the severed end in planting medium so that about Vi of the petiole is buried. Some growers prefer to lay the leaves flat on the surface of the medium without covering them. Our experience indicates that the best results are obtained when the petioles are buried in the medium. Treat these cuttings in the same manner as outlined for rhizome cuttings.
  3. Decapitation: Cut the plant off at ground level or just below ground level without uprooting it. Treat the cut off plant as a cutting. The rhizome remaining in the medium will send up new shoots.


R. H. Schomburgk, a German naturalist, discovered these plants in 1839, while surveying the Guayana Highlands for The Geographical Society of London. G. Bentham, in 1840, established the genus on the basis of specimens collected by Schomburgk on Mount Roriama, which he named Heliamphora nutans.

The genus name is derived from two Greek words meaning "marsh" and "vessel." Since the prefix heli, also refers to the sun, the name has been interpreted to mean sun pitcher. The common names for Heliamphora are South American Pitcher Plant, Sun Pitcher Plant, and the Marsh Pitcher Plant, with the latter being preferred.

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