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Thread: Foliar feeding

  1. #1

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    My pot of Pinguicula moranensis is obviously a good deal away from being healthy enough to consider fertilizing them (I want them to reestablish their roots and commence healthy growth in their new homes), but what do all of you use to fertilize your pings? Or do you even bother to fertilize them at all?

    Have any of you experimented with seaweed extract? I have a bottle at home (Saltwater Farms' SeaStart) with a NPK value of 0-4-4 and it is supposed to contain a great variety of micronutrients and trace elements. It is also fortified with vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, vitamin C, folic acid, biotin and pantothenic acid. Believe me, I have no idea what role all of these additives play in healthy plant growth, but I have used this product (which is designed to applied as a foliar spray) on my non-CPs for several years as an occasional boost and they all seem to love it. Do you think this product would also work for Mexican Pinguicula if applied as a very dilute foliar spray?

    Also, have any of you ever applied just straight trace elements, such as iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, etc., or any combination thereof?

    Please share all of your experiences! I am curious to know what you all think.

    Thanks,
    Corey

  2. #2

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    Corey, hold off experimenting with anything until somebody gets back to you.

    My little voice is screaming at me and it is saying don't fertilize any of your CPs. Lemme explain. Bogs are nutrient deficient and the plants we now grow came from these bogs. Our little pretties co evolved over centuries and have adaptive traits that we have all come to love that compensate for an environment all but devoid of nutrients. Minute amounts of dissolved minerals picked up from the air are how natural bogs are formed and would therefore be their only source of nutrients. Think of their traps that EAT insects. Think of their very shallow root systems that basically do nothing but keep them grounded. Our plants adapted to this harsh type of environment. I'm thinking that virtually any form of a fertilizer would be right up there with tap water and would kill off your CPs in no time flat.

    My plants get zip nadda nothing in the form of a fertilizer. I'm actually glad you asked this question as I'm most curious to know how off base I am.

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    Good call Laura.

    Don't do it Corey. It's not a good idea for these plants. If you are a novice Ping. grower you are certainly steering your valued plants toward cp heaven. Carnivorous plants are carnivorous for a reason. If you feel it necessary to experiment, try using very, VERY, small drops of skim milk on the leaves. Otherwise...do nothing to them at all. Your question was very intelligent and well thought out. As Laura says....wait until you hear more from us about our experiences.

    Good growing.

    Phil

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    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
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    I have had good results by lightly dusting my Mexican Pinguicula leaves with freeze-dried bloodworms ground into a powder.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

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    Don't worry, I don't yet have any designs to force fertilizer on my pings! LOL! But I brought up this question because of what Peter D'Amato states in his book The Savage Garden on page 215 of the 1998 paperback edition: "The Mexican species greatly benefit from foliar feeding once or twice monthly during their carnivorous growth using an epiphytic or orchid fertilizer diluted to about a quarter of its normal strength."

    Adrian Slack, in his book Carnivorous Plants, also mentions that Pinguicula species are not always found growing wild under mineral-deficient conditions (page 104 of the 2000 paperback edition).

    What do you all make of this?

    Thanks,
    Corey

  6. #6
    drosera guy
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    Nearly all commercial available cps got fertilizer in their childhood. Ask any of the big sellers. I agree that beginners should'nt use fertilizer. At first propagate the plants, then do experiments with some of the offspring.

    As I grow my plants indoors and do not want to catch or buy prey, I fertilize all my plants and the love it. Thats the only alternative if you don't want to waste the substrate and change it every year or two. My substrate has nearly no nutrients any more (yes peat has nutrients...) and now I use foliar feeding and applications directly in the substrate.

    Cheers,
    Jan

  7. #7

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    Hi Corey,

    As Pingman pointed out, he uses dried, ground blood worms; an organic food source. As for peter D's book comment... He has written an excellent reference book on culture, etc, and it contains valuable information. But what people need to consider, and often fail to realize, is that much of Peter's sound advice is based on his own personal growing experience. I can remember standing in his greenhouse (not his current facility) by the Pingucula benches and having to wear sun glasses and constantly wiping the sweat running off my face because it was so unbearbly sunny and hot. Not what you would consider typical Pinguicula growing conditions. Under these conditions it was possible for his plants to utilize artificial or chemical fertilizers, without the fear of hurting the plants because they were grown so 'hard'. And boy did his plants look great! Many horticulture authors, especially orchidists, write based on what works for them, under their growing conditions.

    I like Pingman's idea. If you want to fertilize your plants you can probably get by with the freeze dried blood worms lightly dusted over the leaves. In fact, I think I may do this myself and I have hundreds of Pings.

    You could take photos of your plants now, and then start a feeding program, and then take more pictures like every month or so. You could document your findings and post them here or just keep them for yourself. This is what I consider 'playing' with cps. It's very rewarding.

    Good growing.

    Phil

  8. #8

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    Hi Phil:

    I did put down a few leaves of P. moranensis, so if they bud I will have some extra plants to experiment with. I do have a digital camera, too, so it will be easy to document any possible progress and/or decline for all of you. But any experiment of this kind will still be weeks, if not months, away. It all depends on if my first leaf cuttings make it or not, since I don't want to submit my mother plants to any more unnecessary stress at this point. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]

    And thank you for your input, Jan!

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