My 2019 visit to Christian Klein's nursery
25 February 2019
I first visited Christian Klein’s
fantastic carnivorous plant nursery back in 2017. As well as giving me a full tour of his greenhouses, Christian was kind enough to sit and chat about his experiences growing these plants for a feature which I published here on the blog. If you’re not familiar with Christian and his plants, I recommend reading that article first.
Last week I returned to Merzig and took the opportunity to visit Christian again. Despite it being so early in the season, his
Nepenthes and other tropical plants were all looking great, as you’ll see below. Species and hybrid names are identified in the captions (including some very exciting crosses Christian has coming up). Article continues below. The doorway into a tropical paradise! Obligatory selfie with Christian, some N. veitchii visible in the background. This is my favourite form of one of my favourite species: Nepenthes veitchii 'Candy'. Christian explained that last year was very special, since he had both male and female candy striped N. veitchii in spike at the same time. Here's the male. This male plant is also the pollen parent in some of Christian's exciting crosses. ...and here's the female seed parent, an equally stunning specimen. Christian demonstrated how he pollinates the female plant. Christian has some truly fantastic crosses involving N. veitchii 'Candy' in the pipeline - look out for these in due course! A peek under the benches, which are illuminated by fluorescent tubes. As anyone who has visited Christian will know, he makes very good use of every inch of space. The tops of the benches are similarly filled to the brim. Under the benches I spotted this Nepenthes inermis. Like Christian, I've found this to be one of my fastest growing species. Drosera and Utricularia bisquamata growing alongside the Nepenthes. At any one time, Christian has hundreds of seedlings which will eventually be offered for sale to his distributors (of which you can expect there to be one more in the near future 😊). While he focuses primarily on producing horticultural species seed, he does create some fantastic hybrids too. Among the crossers I saw on the benches were N. robcantleyi x hamata ('Robmata' returns!), N. lowii x veitchii 'Candy', N. veitchii 'yellow' x trusmadiensis, N. glandulifera x lowii, and a nice recreation of Tiveyi: N. maxima Wavy leaf x veitchii 'Candy'. Exciting times. I think this was N. edwardsiana x tenuis. Cool plant. This is Andreas Wistuba's cross, Nepenthes undulatifolia x hamata. Christian has a number of plants grown from wild seed, and unsurprisingly, not all turn out as expected. I think this was supposed to be N. dubia (which it clearly isn't). Another N. veitchii. A nice N. veitchii with flared, copper-coloured peristome. Christian's famous Nepenthes hurrelliana (or Nepenthes mollis, rather, as of just several days ago!). Difficult to capture how stunning this plant is. Nepenthes mollis peristome detail. A pitcher on a different Nepenthes mollis specimen, this one with a fantastic elongated neck. Nepenthes spathulata x edwardsiana, an interesting cross. The unmistakable Nepenthes robcantleyi. Nepenthes robcantleyi peristome detail. The beautiful Nepenthes burbidgeae. I love the cream and red peristome striping on this species; such a nice plant. Nepenthes trusmadiensis x truncata from Exotica. Nepenthes reinwardtiana. I really like Neps with this kind of pale green interior, like some forms of N. lingulata, N. ramispina, N. mikei, etc. Another Nepenthes veitchii. Nepenthes campanulata x lowii. I spotted this N. rajah hybrid growing amongst several others, but couldn't guess the other parent. Turns out it's N. rajah x mira. Nice plant. N. rajah x mira again - lovely pitcher shape. A spectacular pitcher on Nepenthes lowii x ephippiata. Nepenthes lowii x ephippiata again. Christian told me this plant is noticeably faster than either parent. Nepenthes veitchii x hurrelliana. I love this hybrid, and ended up buying a young plant from Christian before I left. A toothy Nepenthes x trusmadiensis with great colour. The fearsome mouth of N. x trusmadiensis. An upper pitcher of Nepenthes lowii. Another N. lowii upper. I really like this species, its pitchers are so tough they almost feel like wood. A developing Nepenthes naga pitcher. N. naga, old and new. The distinctive hairy stem of Nepenthes glandulifera. Christian had a number of younger N. glandulifera too, and was hoping for a breeding pair. Nepenthes peltata. I should've got a photo of the tendril insertion and dark red underside of the leaves, but could easily have spent all day in Christian's greenhouse! Nepenthes eymae, which had recently bloomed. This is the plant Christian calls Nepenthes spec. Murud, and which has been the subject of much debate lately. A close-up of the pitcher on Nepenthes spec. Murud. I can certainly see the N. vogelii in it, but I'm no taxonomist. Nepenthes sibuyanensis. A lower pitcher of Nepenthes hamata. These were growing right down by the ground and seemed to be growing happily with very little light. A very large N. hamata upper pitcher. Christian told me this was the first Nepenthes he ever grew! I believe he said it was N. alata var. boschiana. Lovely shape and that pale interior/throat which I really like. This was the only plant which Christian ordered from the latest Exotica Plants import: N. veitchii x burbidgeae. I also got a specimen from this cross - it's a beautiful plant. Nepenthes platychila upper pitcher. Nepenthes adrianii. Under the benches growing under lights, this was Nepenthes burkei. Great shape! Nepenthes dubia. A young plant of the magnificient Nepenthes klossii from the recent Borneo Exotics release. This is Andreas Wistuba's hugely popular cross, Nepenthes hamata x edwardsiana. As you can see, it's pretty stunning. I have one coming in my Spring order, can't wait. Nepenthes edwardsiana, another of my favourite species. A larger pitcher on Nepenthes edwardsiana. Nepenthes boschiana. Nepenthes boschiana. Lovely elongated pitchers. I think this was Nepenthes tentaculata x campanulata. Nepenthes truncata. In the lowland area, I spotted this tricolor form of Nepenthes ampullaria. Clumps of Nepenthes ampullaria tricolor growing on the thick stem.
Christian was kind enough to show us round his temperate nursery too. Enormous in comparison to his tropical nursery, this is where Christian grows his
Sarracenia, Dionaea, Cephalotus, temperate Drosera and Pinguicula, along with various other genera. Most plants here were still dormant, although that very morning, Christian had spotted the first flower buds emerging from his Sarracenia. Article continues below. Christian's tropical greenhouse is next to his house, but his main nursery is down the road. Here he grows temperate carnivores in polytunnels, and also runs his primary business as a landscape gardener. The first of Christian's polytunnels, absolutely filled with Dionaea, Sarracenia, temperate Pinguicula, Cephalotus, and more. Freshly repotted Dionaea. Christian has literally hundreds of Venus flytrap cultivars. A Sarracenia leucophylla which had held its pitchers throughout winter. Carnivorous cabbages: the Sarracenia purpurea bench. Some nice Sarracenia purpurea varieties. Hepatica japonica, one of Christian's non-carnivorous plants. Pots of Cephalotus follicularis, the Albany pitcher plant. Cephalotus cultivars. This one had particularly large pitchers, and lacked any markings on the underside of the lid. This Cephalotus had pitchers around 2 inches in size, probably the biggest I've ever seen in person. Me and Christian looking over his Sarracenia benches. Some of the plants I bought from Christian, sitting next to N. robcantleyi back in my greenhouse. I finally got my hands on a N. veitchii Candy x Candy and a N. hurrelliana x veitchii, both plants I've wanted to grow for ages. I also picked up N. reinwardtiana 'Red' and N. spathulata x lowii, having seen a great example of this cross grown by Drew Martinez at Carnivero.
Huge thanks to Christian for showing me round his collection.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, you can
subscribe via email to be notified when my next post goes live. I have some exciting articles in the pipeline and some big plans for 2019.
Thanks for reading, and happy growing!