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Thread: Feeding Bugs to Neps

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    Formerly known as Pineapple Nepenthesis's Avatar
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    Feeding Bugs to Neps

    I purchased three neps yesterday, all of which had full cups of digestive fluids. I would like to give them some extra nutrients without fertilizing through the roots. I know it's not 100% necessary, but I'd like to give them some more growing strength. So would it be appropriate to feed them at this time, or shall I water a while before feeding them since they just changed habitats? They're currently in a terrarium and there are no bugs for them to naturally catch. The meal won't be major, just a few ants per pitcher. Does feeding decrease the life of the pitcher?

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    swords's Avatar
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    Pineapple, there's no problem feeding your pitchers as long as there's fluid in them. They shouldn't be "full" though that means someone filled them with water or it rained on them and they caught water. Naturally they're only about 1/6th to 1/3 full of digestive juices. Once the fluid level is reduced to these amounts you can feed them.

    As long as you do not put too big of a bug in for the fluid to cover it completely you'll be fine. If you put a really big beetle in there the bug parts sticking out of the fluid will rot and get fungusy. So just keep the meals appropriately sized.

    I use fertilizer squirted in the pitchers, then there's no chance of bugs rotting them and they get the same benefits of being pitcher fed insects and probably more so since fertilizer are balanced with all nutrients. I have noticed in my collection that fertilized pitchers tend to last longer than insect fed ones because there is no invitation to bacteria with fertilizers as there is with the dead insects.

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    Formerly known as Pineapple Nepenthesis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swords View Post
    Pineapple, there's no problem feeding your pitchers as long as there's fluid in them. They shouldn't be "full" though that means someone filled them with water or it rained on them and they caught water. Naturally they're only about 1/6th to 1/3 full of digestive juices. Once the fluid level is reduced to these amounts you can feed them.

    As long as you do not put too big of a bug in for the fluid to cover it completely you'll be fine. If you put a really big beetle in there the bug parts sticking out of the fluid will rot and get fungusy. So just keep the meals appropriately sized.

    I use fertilizer squirted in the pitchers, then there's no chance of bugs rotting them and they get the same benefits of being pitcher fed insects and probably more so since fertilizer are balanced with all nutrients. I have noticed in my collection that fertilized pitchers tend to last longer than insect fed ones because there is no invitation to bacteria with fertilizers as there is with the dead insects.
    Thanks for the fast reply!

    By full I meant that the pitchers had lots of fluid in them, they aren't literally filled all the way up. They are probably 1/3 or a little more full. I know that it's being filled naturally because I saw them drooling from the rim of the pitcher into the cup before I even put them in their temporary terrarium.

    I'm probably going to feed ants, because there is a surplus of them in my house. I think the pitchers on some of my neps are too small to fit anything bigger into them.

    I was told that squiring fertilizer into the pitcher will reduce the life of the pitcher. I think I want to try bugs just to start out, but I'll definitely feed tiny bugs.

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    swords's Avatar
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    If you put TOO MUCH liquid fertilizer (or even just plain water) in the pitchers it can definitely reduce pitcher lifespan. Especially on young / small plants where it doesn't take much more than a few drops. You want to make sure any fertilizer you do ever use on Neps is marked UREA FREE for orchids or succulents. This is proper fertilizer for plants growing in non-soil media. If it doesn't specify that it's urea free I warn you against using it.

    Ants should be small enough not to rot the pitchers unless you have some really small plants.

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    Small plants = one pitcher, one ant.

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    Formerly known as Pineapple Nepenthesis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whimgrinder View Post
    Small plants = one pitcher, one ant.
    Got it. One ant per pitcher.

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    Formerly known as Pineapple Nepenthesis's Avatar
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    While we're on the subject of feeding...

    My N. x Ventrata from Home Depot doesn't have any liquid in the pitchers. Obviously, it wasn't kept in ideal conditions if it was at Home Depot for a while, and some liquid probably came out during shipping. There are four or five pitchers forming right now on the plant, all in different stages. Some are just forming, some are growing larger, some have developed lids, others lids are about to open, and some of them have lids that are opening. I read that keeping them well watered will help them create their own juices. Is it too late for this? Is there anything I can do to get the pitchers to fill up so I can feed them? Will filling it with a tiny bit of water do the trick?

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    Class 5 Nepenthes hoarder lance's Avatar
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    fill them up with water and they'll recover their digestive mix.


    In addition to growing plants, I design and build RC planes powered by Tesla batteries. Check out my progress at www.chargedplanes.com

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