He flushes it so it doesn't build up, however the plants still absorb some until he flushes. It's sort of like eating cadmium or lead. You can eat non lethal doses... but then they build up and kill you. Extreme example, I know.
At the end of the day, even though he's flushing so it doesn't really build up in the media, he's still adding copper and zinc for the plants to absorb, and that's bad. I wouldn't buy it again if I were him. Besides, added micro nutrients cost more and Nepenthes haven't been shown to benefit them. Maybe they get their micro nutrients from the microfauna they inevitably catch. If you find a brand with added micro nutrients EXCEPT for copper and zinc, then go for it.
I'd like to know which osmocote line is made specifically for Nepenthes. That's a first. If osmocote does contain copper and zinc, don't use it! Or find a line of osmocote that does not. Why knowingly add POISON to your plants? Remember, minuscule amounts of arsenic is still arsenic. Some fertilizers, if you dig through the internet and find EVERYTHING in them tested at a lab, contain mercury, copper, zinc, lead, arsenic. I'm not kidding! These aren't added (trust me, if anything is added then they play it up with bright labels and charge more, and no one would add arsenic, lead, and mercury), but are impurities. These quantities are so minute that they don't matter. PURPOSELY added zinc and copper are bad.
To me, flush means thoroughly running water through the pot two or three times.
I use Maxsea seaweed fertilizer. The 16-16-16 kind shown here:
(note: I have never used that vendor)
I was recommended this stuff by one of the top nepenthes growers there is, and my experience with it has been very good. I use it once a month, watering normally as if it were regular water. I know several expert growers that do the same, but as always, your mileage will vary.
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The fertilizer I use has 13.4% urea, 0.05% copper, and 0.05% zinc. Are you going to seriously tell me that my plants are being poisoned even though the majority of them look great? Yeah, copper and zinc aren't great for neps, but you need to seriously think about concentration. If 0.05% of 1/4tsp is water soluble copper, which is then diluted in a gallon of water, the concentration is obviously negligibly low. If my plants that have been dosed at slightly over 1/4tsp/gal every 2 weeks for over a year suddenly all die, then I'll believe it. Until then, its just hearsay. Not only are my plants not looking worse, they're looking better. There are no studies I'm aware of which look into a toxic amount of urea/zinc/copper on Nepenthes. In fact, in all the time I've been fertilizing with this fertilizer, I've only burned 1 plant, which I attribute to heightened sensitivity of fertilizer for that one plant.
I am definitely not a nep expert, However I think it needs to be said that fertilizer levels are a dynamic variable. What is the right amount depends on many other variables.
Example... "bob" uses a substrate that is very low in micronutrient "Z", but his fertilizer is high in micronutrient "Z" so Bob can increase the amount without running into nutrient antagonism whereas the same amount may kill "Henry's" plant
"George" has bulb "A" while "Mary" uses bulb "B"., Bulb B puts out more usuable energy so Mary can increase her feeding amounts/frequency more then George can without problem. Her plant can process the increased nutrient levels, but his cant.
and then we have to take into consideration that species B grows faster then species C, so it can take a higher amount...
what is the substrate, what are the light levels, what spectra, what is the temp, humidty, species, watering regiment, airflow, photoperiod... etc. etc etc
my point is each person has to experiment and observe their own plants under their own specific conditions. Start slow... watch for signs of stresss, let the plant teach you what it can and cant handle
the questions you are asking do not lend themselves to black and white answers... what works for JLAP may not work for PK, what works for PK may not work for me, what works for me may kill your plant... on and on
its ok to ask for advice... but realize that at the end of the day you will have to fine tune your own techniques mate
For the curious - although some may already know about this site, but here it is:
Lets you look up all kinds of fertilizers to see how much copper, mercury, zinc, etc, is in it. Here's what I've used so far. Looks good to me, I guess
JLAP, the pitcher didn't rot at all, it wilted in a matter of hours, and went floppy like potato slices subjected to osmosis! It was because of too much fertiliser!
So I want to use 1/2 a teaspoon to a litre every seond week, or 1/4 of a teaspoon to a litre each week. I'm only fertilisng at all because I read sometihng about fertilsing a while back, looked in my nana's washhouse, and wallah! ther just happened to be orchid fertiliser handy!
Wilted, rotted, whatever. It wasn't happy.
Ron, yes. Don't flush your pots properly and you can burn your plants with urea. Don't flush your pots properly and copper and zinc can build up. Ignore the fact that urea burns, must be broken down before uptake by plants by microorganisms (so that you're giving them less nitrogen than you think
I flush once 3 days later, not 2 or 3 times, and everything works out fine. I'll ignore it because making a blanket statement in nep culture will make you a fool, at least eventually. It hasn't done a bit of harm to any of my plants, and like Av said, it depends on your conditions, etc.
My mix is 5:2:2 peat/perlite/vermiculite, though I do use bark mixes on some plants. The bottle of fert even says "....for epiphytic orchids..." on the bottle. It's never been a problem on these mixes either.
But enough talk, I figure I'll show my plants:
The pitchers are 7", and the same size as the leaves!
Last edited by xvart; 04-30-2008 at 09:42 PM.