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Thread: Fertilizing Nep pitchers caused shortened life span

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    Veronis's Avatar
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    Fertilizing Nep pitchers caused shortened life span

    To all who fertilize neps via pitcher, what fertilizer do you use?

    20-14-13 Better-Gro Orchid Plus at quarter strength worked well in the soil (minus the algae problem it caused regardless of how much I flushed), but putting the fertilizer into the pitchers, while the results were fantastic, did seem to shorten the life of the pitchers. The pitcher I fertilized twice (over the last month or so) is dead, and the one I fertilized once is starting to die. Neither of the pitchers were more than a month old.

    Observances: The pitcher that was fertilized 10 days ago has a brown spot at its waist that is quickly spreading. Also, the operculum (lid/hood) is beginning to shrivel.
    The pitcher that was fertilized twice was completely dead late last week (25 days to pitcher death).

    I'm thinking something like Maxsea 16-16-16 might be better suited to fertilizing the pitchers. This particular fertilizer's 0.5% copper and 0.5% zinc content may have everything to do with the pitcher death.

    Attachments:
    1. (Top left) Pitcher that was fertilized 10 days ago. You can see the brown spot at its waist beginning to spread.
    2. (Top right) Same pitcher as 1. This pic shows the operculum (lid) starting to shrivel.
    3. (Bottom left) Pitcher that was never fertilized; no issues apparent. It's about two days younger than the one pictured in 1 and 2.

    My plant has a few other pitchers as well, and none of them seem to have been effected by this, other than growing like mad.

  2. #2
    Not Growing Up! GrowinOld's Avatar
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    Well,
    Good observations and nice photo documentation!
    I would ask if you noticed an overall growth improvement in your plant,
    as that makes the loss of a pitcher worthwhile.
    Many of us lose a trap more quickly once we "feed" it, (no matter what type of plant)
    especially if fed heavily, and it seems even diluted fertilizer is quite harsh on the traps.
    It is possible that the Copper/Zinc is somewhat responsible, however it could also just be
    that twice a month is pushing it too much.

    That is how we all learn what works for us!
    Sometimes what works for one person doesn't for another, as we all have
    small differences in the environments we provide for our plants.
    There seems to be no "one size fits all" in every aspect. In general there are good
    guidelines to follow, however when it comes to smaller nuances of what to do,
    we have to find out what works best for us.
    In a way, this is how NEW and better ways of doing things comes into play,
    as someone trys something that ends up working for many people.

    I myself have tried a variety of fertlizers, and have had mixed results. More a factor seems to be
    how much/often and when I fertlize, if at all. One thing common seems to be our desire to get
    bigger and faster growth from our plants.
    I am sure others will have various recommendations which cutting the copper/zinc certainly can't hurt,
    however in my experience, patience is sometimes the best fertilizer!

    Good luck and do keep experimenting, as like I said,
    this is how new and better ways of doing things is discovered!

    Paul
    Experience is the best teacher. At least it used to be.
    But then, common sense isn't so common anymore, is it.


    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=113866

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    Frilleon's Avatar
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    My theory is: one you are over fertilizing, So yes a lower fertilizer should work better (meaning your pitcher won't completly die). I highly doubt that an insect (or even many insects) that the pitcher can capture will ever amount to 20-14-13 ratio in the pitcher fluid. That being said I ONLY feed my nep's insects (owning reptiles makes this easy for me). I have noticed the the top half (from waist/hip to lid) of some pitchers will die off. The bottom half will stay alive and continue to digest. For me I have seen the bottom half of the pitcher survive up to 3 months past the top half die off. My belief is the top half of the pitcher dies off to prevent more food capture (no more nectar production) which would lead to complete pitcher die off ( over fertilazation). The bottom half stays alive to complete the digestion of captured prey. Again this is based on my belief and loose observations on my part.
    Grow List: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=116427
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    BigBella's Avatar
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    I've had far better results with biweekly 1/4 strength 30:10:10 -- both as a foliar feed and in the pitchers as 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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    Veronis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frilleon View Post
    My theory is: one you are over fertilizing
    If I'm fertilizing at 1/4 strength every 2-3 weeks, how is that over-fertilizing? Not trying to argue, I'm just curious.

    Other than the one pitcher starting to die, the growth response of my nep has been impressive.

    I may switch to Maxsea 16-16-16; I had also considered Schultz Orchid 19-31-17.

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    Frilleon's Avatar
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    Sorry I should have stated that I considered your frequency of feeding was one of the issue. I believe (again this is my opinion) you were feeding faster then the plant could consume. Over time you build up unnatural levels of fretilizer in the pitcher. The other issue I see is you are putting fertilizer in both soil and pitchers. I believe (again another opinion) this could also lead to shorter life of the pitchers. The plant doesn't need the pitchers so they die off faster. Again I only feed my neps insects so this is all speculation. My plants grow just fine without any fertilization and I would not want to risk lossing some of my favorite plants.

    Were not arguing were are having a good debate!

    Ultimately you will have to run your own tests and find what works for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Veronis View Post
    If I'm fertilizing at 1/4 strength every 2-3 weeks, how is that over-fertilizing? Not trying to argue, I'm just curious.

    Other than the one pitcher starting to die, the growth response of my nep has been impressive.

    I may switch to Maxsea 16-16-16; I had also considered Schultz Orchid 19-31-17.
    Grow List: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=116427
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    Veronis's Avatar
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    I see what you mean - I know a number of people who fertilize via pitchers and don't have these problems; I wasn't sure why I was having a problem.

    Maybe I wasn't clear though - I don't fertilize both the pitchers and the soil simultaneously. I used to fert via soil then flush it out a couple days later. I recently switched to fertilizing the pitchers. Maybe this is what you mean, since I may have remnants of fertilizer still in the soil from the two times I fertilized that way.

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    Moderator Cindy's Avatar
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    I dropped a particular brand of osmocote into the pitchers and got the following. Another brand did not cause the same problem.

    Burnt bottoms...




    Shrivelled lids. These are the newest pitchers on the plant which had perfect lids before I dropped the osmocote in.




    Cindy

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