Pitcher plant not producing pitchers – House Plant Journal

Pitcher plant not producing pitchers

Plant: Pitcher plant (Nepenthes alata)

How long have you had the plant? 1 to 6 months


The plant seems very healthy, it continues to give off new leaves but it doesn’t seem to be producing pitchers.

I keep the soil wet, it’s in a self watering pot:

I keep it in my very used bathroom so humidity should be good.

It’s directly across from an east window with frosted glass cling for a filter:



Thanks for the photos and info!

The main reason for slow growth and lack of pitcher development is poor light.  Measuring light is the only way to truly understand it.  Vague descriptions of “bright indirect” and “filtered” are open to a wide range of interpretations.  When I look at your light situation, I would estimate the plant sees no more than 100-200 FC most of the day, which is fine for a low-light plant like pothos – and probably fine if you only wanted leaves to grow on your pitcher plant – but much too weak to get the plant to produce pitchers.

I’ve never personally owned this plant but here’s a resource I found: Nepenthes care

The section on light states:

Sun: Nepenthes generally like bright light without much direct sun. About 50% sun or dappled shade is good.

When a grower states “50% sun”, they mean *in a greenhouse*, you should block direct sun using 50% shade cloth so the light reading is in the 5000 FC range.  The situation indoors with a window is completely different because your walls and ceiling are opaque to the sky.  In order to come close to what a greenhouse with 50% shade cloth can achieve, your best bet would be to put the plant RIGHT IN FRONT of your LARGEST window.  Then, take note of the duration of unobstructed sun – if it exceeds 3 or 4 hours, then block it with a white sheer curtain.

After that, your watering strategy of keeping the soil evenly moist at all times will be fine.

Whether or not pitcher will form is a matter of how good your light is, which, for natural light, is really all about how big your windows are and exactly where the plant sits relative to the window.

Most plant care advice out there isn’t wrong but it can be difficult to correctly interpret the directions unless you have a solid foundation in how plants work.

If you want to develop strong fundamentals in plant care, my book and online course will help you cut through the noise.

Tired of your houseplants dying on you?

2 responses to “Pitcher plant not producing pitchers”

  1. Need help with pitcher plant not producing potchers. Only distilled water, looks very healthy, producing lots of leaves with starts on tip, us in bright filtered light in a south window.

  2. My pitcher plant is 25″ tall. Looks very healthy. Producing new leaves with the buds on tips that go no further. Only has distilled water and is in bright filtered light. The buds (don’t know correct name) start but do not grow. Is in front of a south window. Can you help me?

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