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Thread: Is there any evidence that artificial fertilisers are detrimental to CPs?

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    mobile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swords View Post
    I would imagine hydroponic fertilizers would be the same as Urea Free orchid ferts since hydro grows soilless in inert media and has no bacteria to break down the urea fertilizers.
    Yes, hydroponic nutrients are urea free. They usually contain a large number of trace elements as these are not present in hydroponic inert media.

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    http://www.bestcarnivorousplants.com..._nutrition.htm

    VII. High-nutrient conditions

    Some CPs may reduce their growth and even die when grown in nutrient enriched soils (see Juniper et al., 1989, p. 134). Dionaea muscipula grew very poorly in a conventional clay-loam garden soil (Roberts and Oosting, 1958). The leathery leaves did not develop traps and flowering was greatly reduced. After 5 months, most plants were dead. Similarly, when grown in a fertilized greenhouse potting soil, roots of Dionaea were atrophied, no new roots formed, and plants died within 70 days. In another experiment, the growth of Dionaea in a sand culture with mineral nutrient solution was poor; plants declined in weight, and died after about 3 months, while the controls watered with distilled water grew much better. The insect- or protein-fed plants showed more vigorous growth than the controls. As follows Dionaea is very susceptible to higher soil nutrient level and its root growth is suppressed in heavier soils (cf. Adamec et al., 1992). Eleuterius and Jones (1969) studied the growth of Sarracenia alata in a southern Mississippi bog and found a growth decrease in fertilized bog soil (seasonal supply of 37.1 g N.m-2 and 5.9 g P.m-2; cf. Stewart and Nilsen, 1992; chapter VI.). Possible negative effects of nutrient-rich soils on the growth of Nepenthes were discussed by Juniper et al. (1989, p. 134).

    These findings demonstrate that higher nutrient levels in soils may inhibit growth of some CPs (mainly root growth). Due to shortage of data, it is not clear whether this effect is confined only to some species or whether it is an extreme consequence of the above stated competition between root and leaf nutrient conditions (sensu Chandler and Anderson, 1976a) or of an unsuitable pH (cf. Rychnovská-Soudková, 1953, 1954). However, many CP species including Dionaea may grow vigorously in rather concentrated nutrient solutions (e.g. Small et al., 1977; Simola, 1978; Aldenius et al., 1983) and are generally able to tolerate these conditions. On the other hand, CPs growing in nutrient solutions in vitro lose some features of carnivory. For example, in-vitro grown D. capillaris formed non-functional tentacles, while Dionaea formed immobile leaf lobes (Adamec, unpubl.). Thus, the development of carnivory is partly blocked under high-nutrient conditions.
    Nepenthes will stop growing pitchers if you fertilize them enough.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    mobile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not a Number View Post
    http://www.bestcarnivorousplants.com..._nutrition.htm



    Nepenthes will stop growing pitchers if you fertilize them enough.
    Thanks, Interesting. The first paragraph basically confirms that Dionaea does not grow well in mineral based soils but does not attribute nutrients to being the reason for failure. The second paragraph states 'Dionaea may grow vigorously in rather concentrated nutrient solutions'. I have been growing a Dionaea in hydroponics since last season in a nutrient solution of 0.75EC during active growth and the the plant grows well.

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    Not really a black and white answer to your question but...
    IMHO, any "gray" answer would be highly species dependent,

    Most CP's need a combination of root and insect nutrition

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&r...=&oq=&gs_rfai=
    There are many papers on the subject of CP root/insect nutrition... jstor is an excellent resource

    Av

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    Butch, those are basically the conclusions of the Adamec paper, however he cites lack of data in many cases. This is a 13 year old paper after all.

    I've noticed unpublished studies cited in other papers. It's difficult to obtain copies of these without be acquainted with the author.

    Let's see how your plants are doing a year or two down the road. Long term results on hydroponics is lacking.

    Just on my own observation with Dionaea the plants I've grown in pure peat moss develop massive root systems - a mat forms on the bottom of the pot - vs those grown in the usual 50/50 sand/peat moss mix or even live Sphagnum. Yet very little difference in growth of the plant and rhizomes themselves. So substrate in itself may make a difference in root growth for this species. I've started using much less sand in my mixes from now on.
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    Oh I totally agree, my main point is that it is not an either/or situation...but in most cases both are inter-related with nutrition from insects usually being the regulation variable. For optimum health, both variables must be met.

    Adamec did a good follow up in 2002 for New Phytologist
    "Leaf absorption of mineral nutrients in carnivorous plants
    stimulates root nutrient uptake
    "

    Basically restating that root uptake was directly proportional to leaf/trap uptake...

    Later in 2005, we have
    The roots of carnivorous plants
    Wolfram Adlassnig1, Marianne Peroutka1, Hans Lambers2 & Irene K. Lichtscheidl1,3
    1Institute of Ecology and Conservation Biology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna,
    Austria. 2School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of
    Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009, Australia. 3Corresponding author*
    Received 30 April 2004. Accepted in revised form 31 August 2004

    "....Some carnivorous plants appear to have a
    limited capacity for nutrient absorption from the
    soil, and therefore depend on animals to a
    greater extent: Utricularia gibba (Pringsheim and
    Pringsheim, 1967) can survive on an inorganic
    medium, but grows very slowly. Better growth
    occurs, when beef extract, peptone, glucose and
    acetate are added to the medium. The same is
    the case with Dionaea muscipula on a nutrientrich
    soil: without animals plants produce no new
    roots, only few flowers, no fertile seeds, and die
    (Roberts and Oosting, 1958). Therefore, in the
    natural habitat of Dionea, only 8–25% of the
    total N comes from the soil. The greatest
    amounts are found in dense vegetation, where
    the traps work less effectively (Schulze et al.,
    2001). The closely related Aldrovanda vesiculosa
    is able to survive without animal prey, but shows
    only poor growth (Adamec, 2000).
    The amount of nutrients obtained from either
    prey or from the soil seems to vary substantially.
    Sarracenia leucophylla can get 60 times more ions
    from the prey than from the soil (Gibson,
    1983b). Nepenthes mirabilis gets about 60% of its
    N from insect prey, whereas in Cephalotus it is
    only 30% (Schulze et al., 1997). In Drosera
    rotundifolia about 50% of the total N is of animal
    origin (Millett et al., 2003), and in D. hilaris
    68% (Anderson and Midgley, 2003). The protocarnivorous
    Roridula gorgonias, which needs
    symbiotic hemipterans for digestion, even up to
    70% of N comes from animals (Anderson and
    Midgley, 2003).
    For another group of plants, applied mineral
    nutrients (i.e. fertilizers) can be fatal: Sarracenia
    alata, for instance, grows on soil containing sufficient
    concentrations of N, P and K; it is, however,
    very sensitive to fertilizer additions, and
    dies when growing in such nutrient-enriched
    areas (Eleuterius and Jones, 1969).
    Nutrition can also influence the morphology
    of some carnivorous plants, and the size
    and number of their traps. In some species of
    Sarracenia (Ellison and Gotelli, 2002) and of Nepenthes
    (Smythies, 1963) more, and more efficient
    pitchers are produced on a nutrient-poor medium.
    On a richer medium the leaf bases become
    flattened and hence more suitable for photosynthesis,
    whereas the pitchers are reduced.
    Another interesting observation is that plants
    may take up only some specific nutrients through
    the roots, whereas others come through the
    leaves from the prey. This is the case for some
    Australian Drosera species that grow in habitats
    subjected to fires. The soil in this habitat in general
    is very poor, but enriched in K after a fire.
    Drosera is thought to take up the K+ by its
    roots, and the other nutrients from insects
    (Dixon and Pate, 1978; Pate and Dixon, 1978),
    but this effect has not been quantified. Nepenthes
    pervillei sends its roots into rock cliffs where the
    cyanobacterium Lyngbia (Oscillatoriaceae) grows.
    Lyngbia fixes atmospheric dinitrogen, which is
    suggested to be absorbed by the roots, whereas
    other nutrients may come from animals that are
    caught in the few functioning traps (Juniper
    et al., 1989)."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brokken View Post
    It is my understanding that sarracenia - at least - is intolerant of fertilizers. Such additives will quickly kill off their roots - which are unaccostumed to large concentrations of salts and minerals - both of which are present in fertilizers - and once this happens they will quickly fall to rhizome rot. Having said that, there's no denying the results obtained from osmocote in young plants. The key is most likely moderation. CPs do require minerals - just not in the same proportion as other plants. A slow release, dilute fertilizer will do wonders for your plants - just don't over do it.
    In corals, maximum cellular growth occurs at a temperature just below the maximum tolerable heat that would kill the cells. Same principle applies to CPs: You never know how much is too much until it's too late - so most people opt for the safe road: No fertilizer at all.
    Last year was the first time I used Osmocote on my Sarrs and they seemed to respond VERY favorably to it. As Brokken mentions above "the key is moderation". I only use 3 to 8 pellets per pot depending on the pot size but the rhizomes and roots really took off (especially the seedlings).

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    mobile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not a Number View Post
    Butch, those are basically the conclusions of the Adamec
    Let's see how your plants are doing a year or two down the road. Long term results on hydroponics is lacking.
    .
    This is true; however, the plant has survived in a peat free media for a season with added nutrients.

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