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Thread: How to foliar feed (properly)

  1. #9
    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    No, and that's precisely why I don't fertilize the media. Every time I do, no matter how much I flush, the LFS gets sticky, gooey, algae infected, discolored, and breaks down quickly. Some people say this does not happen (like the people who have had that experience are making up it ) but I fertilized a few pots (had no pitchers) a while ago, flushing heavily (think a gallon per 6 inch pot) 24 hours later, and the NEW LFS used is clearly crappier than the OLD LFS in other pots. It's sticky and grayish-brown and this... stuff.. growing on top.

    Maybe you didn't notice a big difference because you only used 1/4th strength. How many plants did you have in each group, and were they all exactly the same? If not then your experiment wasn't controlled. Fertilizing in the pitchers is the logical place to fertilize, I think. Is it better for the plant than fertilizing the roots? I don't know. It does not decrease pitcher life, and IME it lengthens it. You have total control over what the plants get, there's little or no waste (depending on what you use), it often has less odor, I've NEVER had a speck of mold or had to shake pitchers. It's just so much better.

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    Veronis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xvart View Post
    I have problems with neither algae nor shortened pitcher lifespan (at least that I attribute to fertilizing).

    xvart.
    So you feed fertilizer into the pitchers instead of into the soil (one-third pitcher fill I assume)?

    If you do pitcher fill, do you also give it insects, or only fertilizer?


    In my research, fertilizing Nepenthes via root, foliar, or pitcher seems to be a huge debate and every web site contradicts the next. Some say foliar only (another says foliar does nothing); others say root feed (another says this will cause algae in your soil); others say one-third pitcher fill (another says this will kill the pitchers). I've never seen so much differing opinion.

    My plant is still young and its leaves don't even hang over the edged of the four inch pot yet, so it may not be even time to start fertilizing yet. My fertilizer is an Orchid 30-10-10 with micronutrients.

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    Lover of Mountains nightsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustLikeAPill View Post
    No, and that's precisely why I don't fertilize the media. Every time I do, no matter how much I flush, the LFS gets sticky, gooey, algae infected, discolored, and breaks down quickly. Some people say this does not happen (like the people who have had that experience are making up it ) but I fertilized a few pots (had no pitchers) a while ago, flushing heavily (think a gallon per 6 inch pot) 24 hours later, and the NEW LFS used is clearly crappier than the OLD LFS in other pots. It's sticky and grayish-brown and this... stuff.. growing on top.

    Maybe you didn't notice a big difference because you only used 1/4th strength. How many plants did you have in each group, and were they all exactly the same? If not then your experiment wasn't controlled. Fertilizing in the pitchers is the logical place to fertilize, I think. Is it better for the plant than fertilizing the roots? I don't know. It does not decrease pitcher life, and IME it lengthens it. You have total control over what the plants get, there's little or no waste (depending on what you use), it often has less odor, I've NEVER had a speck of mold or had to shake pitchers. It's just so much better.
    Thanks for the reply. Yeah, my experiment definitely was not very scientific or exact in nature. It was mostly just to make sure I didn't mess up and kill anything. I'll go ahead and try the your approach on one of my plants for several months and see how it does. Do you think maybe the neptunes harvest I used is just too weak - it's 2-3-1, but has lots of nutrients. I had read of people having great results with it, which is why I chose it.

  4. #12
    Doing it wrong until I do it right. xvart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valydius View Post
    So you feed fertilizer into the pitchers instead of into the soil (one-third pitcher fill I assume)?
    Sorry for not being clear. I fertilize the soil, not the pitchers. I used to do a variety of things in the pitchers but it was too time consuming and I've observed better results thought the soil.

    Quote Originally Posted by JustLikeAPill View Post
    Every time I do, no matter how much I flush, the LFS gets sticky, gooey, algae infected, discolored, and breaks down quickly. Some people say this does not happen (like the people who have had that experience are making up it ) but I fertilized a few pots (had no pitchers) a while ago, flushing heavily (think a gallon per 6 inch pot) 24 hours later, and the NEW LFS used is clearly crappier than the OLD LFS in other pots. It's sticky and grayish-brown and this... stuff.. growing on top.
    I hardly use any LFS in my mixes. My mixes are hardly scientific, but I usually throw a handful in a mixing bowl and stir it up, most of which doesn't get used. That could be the difference, I would imagine.

    Quote Originally Posted by JustLikeAPill View Post
    Maybe you didn't notice a big difference because you only used 1/4th strength. How many plants did you have in each group, and were they all exactly the same? If not then your experiment wasn't controlled. Fertilizing in the pitchers is the logical place to fertilize, I think. Is it better for the plant than fertilizing the roots? I don't know. It does not decrease pitcher life, and IME it lengthens it. You have total control over what the plants get, there's little or no waste (depending on what you use), it often has less odor, I've NEVER had a speck of mold or had to shake pitchers. It's just so much better.
    First, I never used a fertilizer solution like you describe in pitchers. I did the old fashioned bugs and other stuff for a while. Second, it wasn't really an experiment so my observations are simply that: observations. Ever since I started fertilizing through the soil I've noticed a dramatic increase in pitcher (and leaf) size for established plants. For example, my N. sabre's latest pitcher is a third to half times bigger than the previous one, in both height and girth. Again, I have no control N. sabre to compare it to; but, the pitchers are growing bigger, faster than before. Of course, it could be a normal growth pattern at this stage in growth; but I would think it would be more subtle.

    After reading your method, I'm thinking about trying that to compare some relatively similar sized Nepenthes.

    xvart.

    edit: lol, I guess you were talking to nightsky about the experiment. Somehow I missed his post.
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    I only have algae if the plants aren't established (i.e. if I am fertilizing tiny tiny seedlings, etc). I use a peat based media and after over a year of fertilizing, there is little to no breakdown. I still have two or three plants in LFS that came to me that way and I never repotted. I also fertilize them in the same manner and don't flush the pots until 3 days alter, and I don't experience any accelerated breakdown whatsoever. I stay away from LFS and coco-based products because I find them inferior in every aspect, but if they are breaking down within weeks, you're probably doing something wrong (too high a conc of fertilizer, watering too much, not enough air movement, etc).

    Some say foliar only
    Uhh...where is that? Foliar feeding of Nepenthes is worthless.

    (another says this will cause algae in your soil)
    Most of the time yes, but not always. Who cares though? Algae is totally harmless.

    others say one-third pitcher fill (another says this will kill the pitchers)
    Definitely, if the concentration of the fertilizer is too high, the pitchers will die. I tired putting Osmocote pellets into the pitchers but gave up because they're not uniform. Some plants would take 2 or 3 pellets no problem. Others, even large plants with large pitchers, would drop a pitcher in a week or 2 from 1 small pellet.

    Oh, and the right time to start fertilizing, is immediately. I fertilize seedlings that are less than 1/4" even.
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    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    Fill one third of the pitcher? Fill it up all the way! As long as you go by the instructions of other people who have experience, you really can't mess up. If you're unable to measure powders and liquid, then perhaps fertilizing isn't for you. Insects or fertilizer, but not both. You don't want to mess with the balance if you fertilize a pitcher full of bugs. Your plant is certainly large enough. I've got dime sized plants I'm fertilizing right now, and if I had not have fertilized them, I'm not so sure they'd be alive right now from shipping and a rotting incident. If they would be alive they certainly wouldn't look as good now (not that it's much to look at.) Fertilize anything green.

    Don't use fertilizer with added micro nutrients. You don't need them and any added copper or zinc is toxic to your plants, so it's not really worth it. If you can find a brand that you can say with 100% certainty does not have added zinc or copper, then go for it if you want to spend the extra money for something you don't need. Keep in mind that some websites are old and outdated, and some growers are afraid to try new things so they perpetuate myths that they believe.


    Neptune's Harvest is fine. Those numbers are just ratios. 2% nitrogen, 3% phosphorous and 1% potassium.

    If you're afraid to measure out a spoon, go buy some Terracycle and use it straight out the the bottle. It's pre-mixed and ready to use. The cost is high when you can get fertilizer to dilute yourself, though. It even comes in misting bottles if you are afraid to fertilize the other ways. For some reason, they have different labels for different groups of plant, yet they all have the same ingredients and the same amount of each (at least last time I checked.) Weird.

    I actually was talking to NightSky lol.


    I don't see how people can be skeptical about fertilizer when almost every picture is of a fertilized plant these days.

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    Veronis's Avatar
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    Nice, JustLike...from what you've just told me, I need to get a different fertilizer, for starters. I've ordered the fert that xvart linked and am putting this 30-10-10 +zinc/copper stuff back in the shed.

    With the help I just got from you guys, I won't piss off (or kill) my Nep.

    And yea Just, you really could read forever regarding CP's.

    I came into this knowing zero about gardening and horticulture in general, and primarily because of this forum & The Savage Garden, all my plants (except one of my three capensis) are doing very well.

    Thanks again, guys, for all your input.

  8. #16
    Katherine
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    I too am interested in fertilising Nepenthes. I have been fertilising my two Neps for a while. I have orchid fertiliser, I'm not sure which or what it has in it, but it's been sitting on a shelf for 5+ years, so it's probably gotten more potent.

    I don't use very much orchid fertiliser at all. I add 6 drops of orchid fertiliser to 1.25 litres
    (0.33 gallons) of water. This is equivalent to 1/8 of a teaspoon of fertiliser in 1/3 of a gallon. I then water the Nepenthes once a week with about 1/8 of the bottle, or 0.039 gallons of the water fertiliser mix. I don't fuss over where it goes, it gets on the leaves and in any pitchers without lids as well as in the soil. It also gets in the little cups of water which evaporate over the week until the next watering to raise humidity, so essentially they're getting it in the humidity too, I suppose. They also get insects whenever I can catch them, and pillbugs every second week to the ratio 5 bugs a pitcher.

    Just as a note, I once fertilised every pitcher on one of my plants with fertiliser. It was quite strong, about 1/4 of a teaspoon to 1.25 litres liquid, (1/4 teaspoon to 0.33 gallons) and it was essentially only half diluted. I then sprayed a generous amount in each pitcher, and of course, killed off all the pitchers. It didn't effect the leaves at all, just the pitchers it'd got into. 1 month later, exactly 1 month, and the plant now has a basal offshoot

    I would be interested in knowing how much more I can 'up' the dosage. Also, I was wondering if you can fertilise both leaves and roots, as I've been doing, and pitchers as well, and still add bugs every second week?
    Last edited by xvart; 04-28-2008 at 07:00 AM. Reason: merged posts
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