N. mirabilis "echinostoma"
purchase date: 11 / 03
arrived as a size 3
plant origin: Cook's Carnivorous Plants
photo taken: 7 / 04
purchase date: 8 / 04
arrived as a rooted cutting
plant origin: unsure
photo taken: 12 / 05
photo taken 7 / 05 at the Sunbelle Nursery
N. mirabilis "purple New Guinea"
purchase date: 8 / 05
arrived as a rooted cutting
plant origin: Sunbelle Exotics
photo taken: 8 / 05
Nepenthes mirabilis is really a lowlander that can grow into intermediate elevations. The leaves tend to be very "papery" and thus make it a species that likes high humidity. Currently I'm growing three different varieties: echinostoma, typical green form, and New Guinea purple. N. mirabilis has many different variants available and one of the most widespread distributions of any of the Nepenthes in its native habitats. Some of the new unidentified species like N. "Viking", N. anamensis, and to some degree N. rowanae may be variants of N. mirabilis so I'm told. This species is a bit problematic for me to grow indoors and outdoors because of the papery leaves. I'm having some success growing "echinostoma" as a windowsill plant. That variant produces the flattened peristome that makes it such an unusual plant. I am also trying it outdoors too and it appears to be doing alright. My typical green finally pitchered outdoors after taking about a year to adapt to my growing conditions. By all accounts, N. mirabilis is an easy and quick growing species under typical warm, humid lowland conditions. The fact that I got my plant to pitcher outdoors is somewhat remarkable to me. Same is true with the echinostoma clone as well. I do suspect that when winter comes, this species will definitely stress and have leaf deformity. But so far, it has withstood temperatures in to the 40's and humidity well into the low 20 % under shade cloth. So maybe this is one of the crossover species that takes a while to adapt to highland conditions.
My purple variety I acquired from Sunbelle Exotics. They told me that they obtained their plant from a friend's collection. Their friend told Sunbelle that the N. mirabilis was collected legally by a Missionary many years ago in New Guinea. The missionary thought he had a new species, but it turned out to be a color variant of N. mirabilis. I've never seen this variety around. It really is a purple / red all the way down to the bulbous base that stays green. The leaves tend to be a bit more sturdy than my other variants. Sunbelle Exotics told me that it can take intermediate temperatures so I tried growing it outdoors. It started to show some stress so I moved it back indoors as a houseplant. It seems to be doing fine and is putting out some basal shoots. I would have experimented more with this plant but I was afraid I might lose it and never have a chance to replace it. Growers that cultivate N. mirabilis say it grows like a weed in typical humid, lowland conditions. It is an easy grower that does take off quickly. It would be a great starter plant because it is cheap, available, and comes in many different colors as long as it has high humidity.
Cultivation: easy under warm, humid conditions;
moderate to difficult as a windowsill specimen; very difficult outdoors
initially, but easier once acclimatized
Market availability: size 3, larger plants and rooted cuttings
Species variability: highly variable; echinostoma, typical, smilesii, anamensis, purple, and others
$ / size: inexpensive; $10.00 and up for larger plants
Cuttings: none available for trade
Notes: prefers high humidity because of papery leaves; expect some leaf damage and pitcher curl at first from lower humidity if grown as a windowsill specimen