BioDomes

A Bio-Dome is a new innovative and very simple growing system that enables anyone to grow Nepenthes plants at home, in the office, greenhouse or garden, with minimal care and maintenance.

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What is a Bio Dome?

A Bio-Dome is a new innovative and very simple growing system that enables anyone to grow Nepenthes plants at home, in the office, greenhouse or garden, with minimal care and maintenance. The system waters the plant using capillary action to wick water up from a reservoir below the plant. The dome maintains the high humidity around the plant which it needs to grow when it is still young and tender. It is carefully designed so that as the plant grows, new leaves will seek out the hole in the dome and eventually develop outside the dome, provided the external environment is not too hostile.

Simple Care & Maintenance
Keep your Bio-Dome unit in a bright place and away from central heating outlets, strong drafts, wind, or direct breeze from air conditioner units. Occasionally top up the reservoir (ideally with rainwater) as as needed, attempting to maintain around the mid-way mark. If you are going away, you can top up to the 'full' level on the reservoir and then water will not be needed again for many weeks. Eventually, perhaps after about a year, the plant will outgrow the Bio-Dome unit and then there are then several options as to what you can do next. See later sections of this page for more information. You can be kept informed of updates to this website by subscribing to our Facebook page from our homepage.
Where should I keep my plant?
Nepenthes need more light than many people suppose. Try to find a spot where there is a little sun for a few hours per day, or better still, dappled sunlight but be careful not to cause overheating in hot weather. If sunlight is not available, they can be grown very successfully under a normal fluorescent light placed about 30cm (12") from the plant. If the light can be put on a timeswitch to keep it on for 12-14 hours per day, so much the better.
Help! The existing pitchers and some older leaves are turning black, what should I do?
Firstly, do not panic! Your plant has been through a great deal of stress before you gave it it's new home. The natural fluid from the old pitchers may have been lost in transit and the plant naturally responds to stress by abandoning older leaves and pitchers; this is completely normal and nothing to worry about. Cut them off and wait. The plant can grow well with a minimum of 3 leaves and growing point. Each new leaf formed should produce a new pitcher that will last for a very long time, many months at least. If this does not happen, then probably there is not enough light. Please refer to the relevant FAQ below.
How Should I water my plant?
Keep an eye on the water in the reservoir. When it falls to near the low level mark, the water will need to be topped up simply by pouring gently through the hole in the dome. Please do not use tap water but rain water if you can. Tap water can be used in an emergency but should be replaced with rainwater as soon as possible, otherwise your plant may slowly decline depending upon the hardness of your tap water. The reservoir pot easily unclips from the dome for cleaning as required. Later versions of this website will include videos showing how this can be done. You can be kept informed of updates to this website by subscribing to our Facebook page from our homepage.
How Should I feed my plant?
There is fertiliser built in which will last for at least 12 months, so don't worry about that yet. We will deal with this topic in future updates.
Can I open the lid of the Bio-Dome Unit?
The Bio-Dome unit provides the high humidity that the plant needs when it is still young. You may certainly open the lid for a few minutes at a time - it clips off with a gentle pull - but please do not remove it entirely or leave it open for long periods unless in a very humid place such as a bathroom or moist greenhouse. Even then, it's best to slowly acclimatise the plant by leaving the lid open for longer and longer periods each day. Regular misting with rainwater is useful when the dome lid is left open or removed entirely.
Unsightly algae is forming in the water reservoir, what can I do?
This is inevitable and will happen after a few months but will not harm the plant directly. If you wish to clean it, you can change the water by unclipping the lid with a gentle pull from above. Please remember to replace the water with rainwater and not tap water, unless there is no choice.
Does this product represent a potential mosquito breeding ground?
This is a matter of great interest to growers in tropical countries and the answer is a definite "No!". Mosquitoes are unable to reach the water reservoir to lay their eggs and the natural digestive fluid in the pitchers is regulated by the plant to be highly acidic, which makes it impossible for the dangerous dengue and malarial carrying species of mosquito to breed in them. This has been scientifically proven.
My plant produces new leaves but pitchers do not form. What's wrong?
Either the humidity is too low or there is insufficient light. If the dome lid is kept closed, the humidity will be fine, so insufficient light is the problem. You should find pitchers form with good colouration, similar to the ones on the plant when you first purchased it but hopefully becoming larger with each new leaf!
What happens when my plant starts to outgrow the Bio-Dome unit?
Now it's time to consider rehousing your plant. There are several options available, depending upon whether you live in a temperate or tropical country and whether you wish to grow the plant indoors, in a greenhouse or conservatory, or in a garden. Some truly remarkable mature plants have been raised indoors under fluorescent lights on a desktop or windowsill. It's all a matter of technique. We shall be offering various alternatives and examples in future updates. You can be kept informed of updates to this website by subscribing to our Facebook page from our homepage.