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Thread: Will this fertilizer kill my plants?

  1. #17
    BigBella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nepfreak View Post
    So you think foliar feeding is useless? Let's test it. I'll try foliar feeding with the fert at 1/4 tsp per gallon every other week. I'll keep track of whether the plants actually show any difference. Then we'll see . Thanks for the help guys, feel free to let this thread meander off topic and quite probably turn into a 30 page debate about fertilization in which several people send angry PMs to mods and leave the computer crying! Post Scriptum: There is no sarcasm in this post. Really, thanks for the help!
    I have to agree with the real benefit of 1/4 strength twice-monthly foliar feeding. I've tried a number of other methods, fertilizer strengths (to 1/2), time-release products (Osmocote, etc), periodicity, but most have had a truly negative effect on any live sphagnum in the pots -- and I do like the moss.

    I have known of foliar feeding's benefit with Heliamphora for some time now and I've used it on Cephalotus for the past two years with measurable results -- earlier leaf production in Spring and good-sized pitchers by mid-May. All my Nepenthes produce pitchers like clockwork, and the moss -- it still looks good. What could be . . . more better?

    For those who do not believe in the practice of foliar feeding, simply inquire of your orchid-growing friends and of their constant litany of 30-10-10, 6-30-30, and 20-10-20 . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

  2. #18
    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    Why don't you try feeding the pitchers and see if you don't think foliar feeding isn't nearly as great as you say

    I can't fertilize the media AND grow live Sphagnum, either. I've never heard of an orchid grower who ONLY foliar feeds and doesn't feed the roots, too. Nepenthes in general have pretty waxy cuticles, and the mist just runs off into the media if you mist heavily enough for anything to matter.... oh wait.. that would be media fertilization wouldn't it :P Think of it like this. How much mist can you put on a plant before it rolls off? Not much at all, and if it rolls off that's media fertilization and ruins your argument that foliar feeding is so fantastic. However, how much solution can you fill a pitcher up with? Neigh, every pitcher on the plant! A whole lot more, and that means the plant gets a whole lot more nutrients.

    It's literally like misting your skin with vitamin water. You will absorb some vitamins... but it's a joke when you could take a vitamin orally. I've received plants with white residue all over them from foliar feeding. I wonder how much better they would have grown prior to me receiving them if they didn't have that layer of unused crap blocking the light

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Sphagnum hates fertilizer for sure!

    Can you feed with various other methods other than putting food in the pitchers? Sure. Feeding regardless of how is really important.

    The problem with other methods such as slow release, water soluble etc is you have to be really careful you don't either over do it and/or let salts build up. Which can be a challenge for most hobbyists growing indoors in an enclosed space. Different plants will also respond differently and what might be fine for one species/hybrid may be too much for a more delicate plant. If you have a small collection and can regularly put various insects into the pitchers you will have happy healthy plants. Provided of course all the other requirements such as water quality, light, temperature etc are met.
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

  4. #20
    Doing it wrong until I do it right. xvart's Avatar
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    I'm in agreement with everyone else about foil feeding. When compared to root feeding, it just doesn't make much sense. Roots are designed to suck up nutrients, whereas leaves do not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clint View Post
    Why don't you try feeding the pitchers and see if you don't think foliar feeding isn't nearly as great as you say
    Wow. There are way too many double negatives in that sentence!

    xvart.
    "The tragedy of life is not that every man loses; but that he almost wins."

    "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

  5. #21
    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    Lmao. I'm not writing a term paper.

    Maybe I've been in the south too long...

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    BigBella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint View Post
    Why don't you try feeding the pitchers and see if you don't think foliar feeding isn't nearly as great as you say

    I can't fertilize the media AND grow live Sphagnum, either. I've never heard of an orchid grower who ONLY foliar feeds and doesn't feed the roots, too. Nepenthes in general have pretty waxy cuticles, and the mist just runs off into the media if you mist heavily enough for anything to matter.... oh wait.. that would be media fertilization wouldn't it :P Think of it like this. How much mist can you put on a plant before it rolls off? Not much at all, and if it rolls off that's media fertilization and ruins your argument that foliar feeding is so fantastic. However, how much solution can you fill a pitcher up with? Neigh, every pitcher on the plant! A whole lot more, and that means the plant gets a whole lot more nutrients.

    It's literally like misting your skin with vitamin water. You will absorb some vitamins... but it's a joke when you could take a vitamin orally. I've received plants with white residue all over them from foliar feeding. I wonder how much better they would have grown prior to me receiving them if they didn't have that layer of unused crap blocking the light
    As I had previously mentioned, I have attempted any number of methods to fertilize Nepenthes and many others, including adding it to the pitchers; the usual result was an increase in algal growth -- especially after insects were trapped -- and a diminished life-span of the leaves in question. Also, the orchid growers I know tend to fertilize specifically, depending upon the media they use; if it is a live media, particularly moss, foliar feeding is a likely method to use. If it is bark or some synthetic aggregate, they are likey to submerge the whole pot in a fertilizer solution. My eight year old Nepenthes hamata is just coming back after such a treatment (the feeding of the pitchers) and I am not likely to repeat that. My experiment with a large Heliamphora heterodoxa x minor divided into thirds last Fall sold me on foliar feeding -- even with that species notoriously thick and woody cuticle. The one which received the fertilzer will be ready to divide once more in the Fall . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    Ta-Da! That was your problem. You should not mess with the pitchers if they can catch insects. It's literally indigestion when you water down their natural solution.

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    BigBella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint View Post
    Ta-Da! That was your problem. You should not mess with the pitchers if they can catch insects. It's literally indigestion when you water down their natural solution.

    There's a firm grasp of the obvious . . .

    Well, I certainly realize that but did not count on how efficient the plant was in catching things, even when while indoors. The pitchers I added fertilizer to were then new leaves and, at that time, completely empty; it was only a couple of weeks later that the Nepenthes had managed to lure several wasps that the problem began. Other plants -- foliar-fed -- remained unharmed and grew very well . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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